#5 Colleen Haight on the Oracle of Delphi
Date: August 19th, 2018

As noted in my farewell monologue, the characteristics that I look for in an interview are topics that are a little off the beaten path and the enthusiasm of the scholar for his/her topic.  Dr. Colleen Haight, a professor of economics at San Jose State University, is the perfect embodiment of both these characteristics.  Not only has Colleen studied the economics of fair trade coffee, and the historical importance of Jewish peddlers on the American frontier, she also undertook a project (with previous RoR guests Larry Iannaccone and Jared Rubin) on the institutional significance of the Oracle of Delphi.  This is certainly not a topic you would expect to see an economist studying, and yet there are numerous insights that we discuss that once you hear them, you say, “Oh, but of course!”  This is a great episode for those interested in trivia as there are all these little historical tidbits dropped throughout the interview that make for fun discussion at cocktail parties.  More importantly, though, is Prof. Haight’s passion for her topics.  I was debating whether to feature this episode or her one on Jewish peddlers (see below), but the offbeat nature of ancient Greeks inhaling sulfur fumes was too good to pass up.  I’ve used this podcast in my own classes and recommend it to folks as a great conversation-starter if you want to chat history or international relations with folks.

On an additional note in the “honorable mentions” category, we have two podcasts that included musical clips.  (Our show actually featured several episodes with musical interludes.)  These were simply fun to do even though editing was a bit more complex.

Original Podcast Link.


Colleen Haight on Jewish Peddlers in 19th Century America.

Sarah Bond on Funerals and the Church in Late Antiquity.

Peter Leeson on Witch Trials and Human Sacrifice.

Jared Rubin on Christian and Islamic Economic History.

Murat Iyigun on Monotheism, Conflict, Europe, the Ottomans and the Blues (with musical clips).

Lerone Martin on Preaching on Wax and Phonographic Religion (with musical clips!).

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