Summary: BackStory is a weekly public podcast hosted by U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman. We're based in Charlottesville, Va. at Virginia Humanities. There’s the history you had to learn, and the history you want to learn - that’s where BackStory comes in. Each week BackStory takes a topic that people are talking about and explores it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversations with our listeners, BackStory makes history engaging and fun.
On this episode of BackStory, Ed, Joanne, and Nathan explore how people are repurposing plantations and engaging with the sites' nuanced histories.
On this episode of BackStory, Nathan, Brian and Ed discuss the things in the sky we struggle to explain – unidentified flying objects.
On this episode of BackStory, Joanne, Nathan and Brian explore stories of superstition and the surprising roles the number 13 has played across American history.
In this segment from BackStory’s 2015 show, “They Might Be Giants: China and the U.S.,” host emeritus Peter Onuf talks to historian John Haddad about how Americans smuggling opium into China during the 19th century led the Chinese to crack down on trade that was already very restrictive.
On this episode of BackStory, Nathan talks with historian and activist Nick Estes about his experience at Standing Rock, the history of Indigenous resistance, and the current state of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In this segment from BackStory's 2012 show, "Weathering the Storm," host emeritus Peter Onuf learns from Oxford University professor Gareth Davies that responses to disasters are often fraught with politics.
On this episode of BackStory, Brian presents a compilation of BackStory’s best segments about work and workers.
In this segment from BackStory’s 2013 show, “Fierce Urgency of Now: The 1963 March on Washington,” Ed talks with historian David Blight about the continuing impact of the Civil War in shaping the context within which the March on Washington took place.
On this episode of BackStory, Ed, Nathan and Joanne dig into the complicated history of 1619 and the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to the English colonies.
On Friday's episode, BackStory digs into the complicated history of 1619 and the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to the English colonies.
Producer Nina Earnest explores how the professionalization of the Los Angeles Police Department ended up putting the department above the law they were supposed to enforce.
On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan, explore the ways “American Buddhism" has adapted and evolved throughout the 20th century.
On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Nathan and Joanne consider the origins of illegal immigration and look at how the government’s deportation powers have grown over time.
On this episode of BackStory, Ed, Brian and host emeritus Peter Onuf explore the changing perceptions of American manhood.
In this segment from BackStory’s 2017 show, “Taking it to the Streets,” Brian and Ed talk to Adam Winkler of UCLA about when the Black Panthers became one of the first groups to claim gun ownership as a constitutional right.