Episode 71: Hats

Friday, April 6th, 2018

For this episode let us join the cat in the hat of history, Professor James Daybell, and the behatted hero of history, Dr. Sam Willis, as they doff their caps and throw their bowlers into the ring to bring you the unexpected history of the hat.

So, cock your bicorne and hang on to your fedora as James and Sam, with their history hats (which may or may not look at bit like pith helmets) firmly on, take you on a journey from the seventeenth-century ‘witch’s’ felt hat to the Dutch-inspired bonnets featured in Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, from the thirteenth-century theologian John Duns Scotus and the Dunce Hat to the Victorian Conformateur, and from Oliver Cromwell’s hat to the Elizabethan Jesuit priest and martyr Edmund Campion.

James and Sam will pull the rabbit out of the hat to reveal that this unexpected history is actually all about: identity and conformity, power and status, etiquette and values, gender and control, humiliation and veneration, authority and rebellion.

Listen out as Sam reveals just what he thinks of Oliver Cromwell’s hat and James gives tips on how to do an object history of the hat.

‘The Quaker loves and ample brim, A hat that bows to no Salaam’ (Thomas Hood, 1778-1845)

‘Hat = wizard, wizard = hat. Everything else is frippery’   (Terry Pratchett)

 

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