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Honors Hosts Public Historian, Podcast Producer

Ryan Stitt speaks at Dr. Thorndike’s class at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, October 22, 2018. Ryan Stitt speaks at Dr. Thorndike’s class at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, October 22, 2018.

The Honors Program this week hosted U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Ryan Stitt, a public historian and podcast producer of “The History of Ancient Greece,” one of the best known podcasts on that subject with more than two million downloads in 175 countries.

Stitt, who studied classical languages and ancient history at the University of Alabama and began postgraduate work in classics at UCLA before commissioning into the United States Air Force, talked with Honors students on Mon., Oct. 22 about Plato’s Symposium and also led a convocation on his background in college, how he got into podcasting, and his experience in the military.

Director of Honors Dr. Jonathan Thorndike said, “Ancient Greece is especially fascinating as a subject because of the great characters like Achilles, Athena and Odysseus. Ancient Greece is the beginning of Western civilization, democracy, literature, philosophy, science, medicine, art, architecture and so many subjects we value. All we have to do is walk around Belmont’s campus or anywhere in Washington, D.C. to see the indelible impact of Greek and Roman culture on how we view ourselves and the values that we hold. The study of history allows us to understand where we began.”

A fan of history podcasts, Stitt decided to start “The History of Ancient Greece” Podcast–which addresses a wide range of topics in Greek social, political and cultural history–after finding there were few comprehensive podcasts devoted to ancient Greece. From the Hellenistic culture and literature to the work behind podcasting an episode, Stitt shared his passion for history and technology with students.

“Public historians are more influential than famous academic historians because they design monuments, lead tours, talk with visitors to historical sites, and produce videos and audio programs,” said Thorndike. “Podcasting, audio books, movies and video games have taken off so that people are able to learn a lot about history through many diverse electronic mediums in addition to the classic texts and books. We live in a world of augmented reality and great movies, shows, games and audio books that can teach anyone willing to learn.”

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