The History of Podcasting at DH@SDSU

DH@SDSU supported podcasting long before the DH Center opened in late 2017/early 2018. Working with faculty in their classes, DH Librarian Dr. Pam Lach helped students learn to create podcasts for their course assignments. As interest in podcasting grew across campus, and as more faculty began to explore podcasting in their own work, the center began formalizing its support. With Dr. Joanna Brooks’ guidance, we created two podcasting studios with professional-level equipment in the DH Center. When the studios officially launched in the spring of 2019, the DH Center began developing resources to support DIY podcasting.

As we finalized our podcasting studios we began planning a pilot podcasting institute in partnership with the National Humanities Center. We welcomed thirteen humanities doctoral students from UC San Diego, UC Irvine, University of Southern California, Arizona State University, and the University of Arizona to the DH Center in June of 2019 to learn how to produce their own podcasts. Based on the success of that pilot, we began scaling up the number of students and participating universities. In June, 2020 we offered a virtual institute for 25 doctoral students from seven institutions. And this past winter, we hosted 95 students from 26 universities across two different weeks.

Podcast Programming

Flyers from Fall 2020 virtual podcast workshop series
Fall 2020 virtual podcast workshop series.

With the ongoing pandemic, and the challenges virtual teaching and learning presented, we prepared a year’s worth of online programming that would serve to support and enhance virtual instruction while also connecting our community. We drew participants from across campus and far beyond because, in these isolating times, we all want to gather, share, and learn. DH@SDSU stepped up to serve this need.

Of particular significance, we launched a five-part podcasting workshop series in Fall 2020 (workshop recordings can be viewed on the DH@SDSU YouTube channel with additional resources available). By this time, podcasting was becoming a central (and nationally-recognized) pillar of DH@SDSU offerings and expertise.

Podcasting the Humanities: A National Institute Spotlights DH@SDSU Expertise

Our work in podcasting culminated this winter, when 100 doctoral students came together at the latest iteration of our NHC-partnered podcasting institute. Participants from a diverse range of arts and humanities disciplines, drawn from 26 U.S. universities and spanning time zones and oceans, came together over Zoom to collectively build a podcast series addressing an emerging issue of public concern through the lens of humanistic expertise. In small cohorts, and embodying a spirit of collaboration and care for each other, they created 25 unique podcasts in less than five days. Explore some of their podcasts at the links below or on the institute website.

As one participant reflected, “This week was one of my favorite academic experiences of my career. I am so incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the podcasting institute. Last week, I knew little to nothing about podcasting or audio engineering. Now, I am much more confident about — excited, even — about collaborating with my school’s oral history center. I plan to work with them to create a series of podcasts to complement my dissertation… I can’t imagine all of the hard work that went into running this event, but it was spectacular in every way. I will carry these new friendships, new connections, and new knowledge close to my heart for years to come.” 

Sampling of cover art from podcasts produced during the Winter 2020-2021 institute
Sampling of podcast cover art from the Winter 2020-2021 podcast institute with the National Humanities Center

Special thanks to Dr. Pam Lach, lead institute instructor, and Dr. Joanna Brooks, who first conceptualized this program. Learn more about the institute at