Hearing Communism: Part One

This is a special mid-week podcast called Hearing Communism—five short audio pieces by students in my International Communism undergraduate research seminar at the University of Pittsburgh.

I wanted to try something different in this class. Instead of having students write the standard research papers, I had them make short audio documentaries. So, in addition to reading and discussing the history of international communism, I taught my five students with the basics of audio documentary making, scriptwriting, narration, interviewing, audio editing, and digital recording equipment.

This was the first time I’ve taught such a course, and the audio portion was an experiment. The idea was to not only expand my work in audio. It was also to give students an opportunity to learn something new and think about history and how it’s presented in a different way.

Things were going swimmingly until the coronavirus hit. The audio equipment and recording studio at the university was no longer available. The students had to make do with what they had in quarantine to finish their projects.

I’m proud to say I think they did a wonderful job. To give them some recognition and a wider audience, I’m sharing them with you.

Here are the first two projects. The other three will be out in a few days.

“Lysenko’s Haunting Legacy” by Draven Bechtel-Clark.

“Soviet and American Youth Groups in the 1970s and Social Change” by Samantha Mason.


Pete Seeger, “The Internationale,” Singalong Sanders Theater, 1980