Pod Academy

An International podcast combining pop culture and academics

In our second episode about the depictions of Julius Caesar in movies and shows, we go over the most compelling episodes of his life - the conquests, the incursions, the ingenuity, the civil war - and the dramatic assassination.

Julius Caesar might be the most iconic historical figure of all time, yet since he was such a complex and interesting man of flesh and blood, each movie or TV version of him depicts him in a different way, emphasizing one or several sides of him.

How the animated fantasy children's movie How To Train Your Dragon accurately reflects the views of white privileged liberals who are living in an intractable conflict. Guest appearance: Omri Cohen.

The Americans is ostensibly a spy thriller set during the Cold War, but it is also a story of the struggles of immigration to the US, and negotiating your old and new identities. Linguist Mallory Aler joins Gil to talk languages.

Reposting the episode from Christmas 2019: To mark Christmas, we look at movies depicting the life and times of perhaps the most controversial rabbi of the Second Temple period: Jesus of Nazareth. We rewatch the Life of Brian and are reminded of Empire and of the brutality with which the Romans imposed their will homogenously across enormous swathes of land, ironically setting up the environment in which the ideology of the guy they executed could spread. We then go over the odious Passion of the Christ, which features prosthetic noses and blood curses, and wrap it up with the interesting but slow-moving Last Temptation of Christ. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and everything else!



The Expanse is back on Amazon for its fifth season. We go back to the sci-fi show to explore its rich historical themes and its Solar System geopolitics to talk about those, as well as science. This is a review for episodes 1 through 3 (that were dropped together), but from this coming Thursday, we'll post on Thursdays episode reviews for the new episode aired on Wednesdays. Those will be on top of our regular content.

The Rise of Rome

In our first episode on Rome in antiquity, we look at the rise of the eternal city from an insignificant hamlet ruled by petty kings to an empire spanning much of the known world. Gil and Rutger watch The First King (2019, about the founders Romulus and Remus; Coriolanus (2011), on the warfare between city-states during the early republican era; and Hannibal (2006), where Rome defeats its last existential threat. We wrap up with an early look at I, Claudius (1976), at the dawn of the imperial age.

In our fourth installment in the series, we review the 2012 Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln and its portrayal of America's most iconic president. But is it actually a movie about Lincoln? Or is it a movie about Barack Obama? Gil and Rutger dive in.

In our third instalment of The Downfall of the U.S. in Movies, we go back to the most iconic Hollywood movie ever made: Gone With The Wind. How does the highest-grossing movie in history (adjusted for inflation) tell the story of the American Civil War and the following Reconstruction? Gil and Rutger dive in.

In our second installment of The Downfall of the U.S. in Movies, we go back to the official and popular stories of the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, which led to the formation of a new nation. The movie we chose for that dramatic event is A More Perfect Union (1989), with a sprinkle of Hamilton the musical (2015).

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