BackStory show

BackStory

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.

Podcasts:

 Stuck: A History of Gridlock | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:32

On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed, and Peter take an in-depth look at stalemate in American history. Are there other times when the system has so routinely ground to a halt? Is compromise the main way of ending legislative standoffs, or does accommodation just tend to kick the day of reckoning further down the road? And if deadlocks are endemic to national politics, could they actually have a silver lining? For more information on the guests featured in this episode, as well as further reading and fun resources related to the topic, visit: http://backstoryradio.org/stuck-a-history-of-gridlock/ ‎

 Bridge for Sale: Deception in America | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:53:49

In America, you can be anything you want to be. Or anyone. Literally. So on this April Fools edition of BackStory, we dig into the long story of confidence men and counterfeiters. We discover a time when fake money jump-started the economy, and take a look at the long, strange history of "the truth compelling machine." And, oh yeah... we try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge. For more information on the guests featured in this episode, as well as further reading and fun resources related to the topic, visit: backstoryradio.org/bridge-for-sale-deception-in-america Listen to individual episode segments here: soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/bridge-for-sale-deception-in

 Turf War: A History of College Sports [rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:01

Just in time for the latest round of March Madness and Final Fours, we're taking on the history of college sports. The sometimes-uneasy relationship between higher education and sports has provided some especially heated controversies over the past few years, but as it turns out, the relationship between higher ed and athletics has been controversial for many generations. From Amherst College in the 19th century, where the first collegiate Phys. Ed. program blossomed, to the University of Alabama -- the last university football team to integrate -- the History Guys look at how colleges and universities have justified the presence of sports on their campuses in the first place. [FULL EPISODE] For more information on the guests featured in this episode, as well as further reading and fun resources related to the topic, visithttp://backstoryradio.org/turf-war-a-history-of-college-sports-rebroadcast/

 Committed: Marriage in America [rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:53:57

Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear challenges to two major laws on marriage -- California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Both define marriage as between a man and a woman, and both have sparked heated arguments over what marriage should mean in America today. And of course, those arguments have a history. So in this hour of BackStory, we look at how past generations of Americans have defined and redefined marriage. We explore the 20th century origins of marriage counseling (and its dark side) as well as a panic over child brides that swept across the country in the late 1930s. We'll also take a look at how the experience of marriage changed for enslaved people after Emancipation. And, we visit a modern-day wedding in Elkton, MD -- the former get-hitched-quick capital of America. For more information on the guests featured in this episode and further reading on the topic, visit http://backstoryradio.org/?p=7949 Listen to individual episode segments here: soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/committed-marriage-in [FULL EPISODE]

 On the Clock: A (Brief) History of Time | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:34

In 1883, the American Railway Association carved the continental U.S. into five time zones, introducing Americans to the idea of "standard time." Twenty five years later, the revolutionary idea was codified into law, with the 1918 Calder Act. In this episode, we'll look at the changing ways Americans have experienced the span of a day, from pre-industrial times up through today's era of time-shifted media. We'll explore the impact of transportation technologies -- like trains -- and the role of economic forces in shaping people's relationship with the clock. And of course, our investigation into time would not be complete without a review of the origin of the shot clock. For more information on the guests featured in this episode and further reading on the topic, visit http://backstoryradio.org/?p=7893 [FULL EPISODE]

 Been There, Done That Historical Reenactments [rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:33

Americans have a fascination with their past - not just discussing it, but actually reliving it. And we're not just talking about the Civil War. Every weekend, there are people in various parts of the country putting on the clothes of old time baseball players, enslaved people -- even KKK members. And so on this episode, we're asking what drives Americans to the scripts of the past. Is it purely educational? Or is there something deeper, more personal, at stake? What events do we reenact and why? Are there some chapters of American history that are still off-limits for this sort of treatment? For more information on the guests featured in this episode and further reading on the topic, visit backstoryradio.org/been-there-done-that-historical-reenactments-rebroadcast [FULL EPISODE]

 Real to Reel: History at the Movies | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:00

Six of this year’s nine nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars are films based in history. That may seem like a lot, but for the past 40 years, the majority of Best Picture winners have had an historical bent. On this episode we ask what makes history such a popular subject for American filmmakers. From the early days of film — when people thought movies would replace textbooks in the classroom — to the Cold War — when the government and Hollywood thought they could control behavior through film — the History Guys look at the impact of history on celluloid culture, and at how movies have made and remade history. They also debate the merits of current Oscar nominees (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and Django Unchained) and consider the ways those movies reflect contemporary thinking about history. For more information on the guests featured in this episode and further reading on the topic, visit http://backstoryradio.org/real-to-reel-history-at-the-movies/ [FULL EPISODE]

 Rinse and Repeat: Cleanliness in America | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:30

Cleanliness is next to godliness, we say, and Americans have long associated good hygiene with moral and spiritual purity. On this episode, we dig into the changing ways we've defined what it is to be clean. We'll meet an 18th-century Pennsylvania woman who didn't immerse herself in water for 28 years, and ask how Americans like her kept clean without getting wet. We'll also hear about the campaign to clean up New York City in the mid-19th century, and question the extent to which germ theory really revolutionized sanitary practices. And we'll consider a dark chapter in the history of cleanliness, when social reformers in the early 20th-century set out to "sanitize" America's racial profile. For more information on the guests featured in this episode and further reading on the topic, visit http://backstoryradio.org/rinse-and-repeat-cleanliness-in-america/ Listen to individual episode segments here: soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/rinse-and-repeat-cleanliness [FULL EPISODE]

 Love Me Did: A History of Courtship [rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:00

In this episode, the History Guys explore three centuries of pre-marital intimacy. Did economic considerations used to play a greater role in coupling? In what ways have dating practices challenged class & racial boundaries? Has the idea of “romance” itself morphed over time? Visit our website for additional reading, listener comments, and background on the featured guests: www.backstoryradio.org/love-me-did-a-history-of-courtship-rebroadcast Listen to individual episode segments here: soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/love-me-did-a-history-of [FULL EPISODE]

 Rules of Engagement: Ethics in Warfare | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:53:37

America’s use of targeted drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere raise questions about what is—and is not—an appropriate means of waging war. In this episode, the American History Guys look at how previous generations have answered these sorts of questions. They explore the shockingly violent battle tactics of Europeans in comparison to original Indian ways of war. And, at a time when many fear that chemical weapons may be deployed in Syria, the History Guys consider what made the use of chemical weapons taboo in the first place. Visit our site for more in-depth resources about today's topic and background on the people we interviewed: backstoryradio.org/rules-of-engagement-ethics-in-warfare/ Listen to individual episode segments here: soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/rules-of-engagement-ethics-in [FULL EPISODE]

 Straight Shot: Guns In America [rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:54:06

In the aftermath of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Americans of all political stripes are wrestling with one big question: who should, and shouldn’t, have access to guns? So in this hour of BackStory, that’s the question we’ll be pushing back through the centuries. On this episode, the History Guys look at the changing ways Americans have regulated gun ownership, and at what those weapons have meant to different segments of society. They consider the importance of the militia to the drafting of the Second Amendment, and explore the central role of the state in arming citizens. They also pay a visit to a 21st century version of the armories of the past: a gun show. Visit our website for additional reading, listener comments, and background on the featured guests: backstoryradio.org/straight-shot-guns-in-america-rebroadcast/ Listen to individual episode segments here: soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/straight-shot-guns-in-america [FULL EPISODE]

 Four More Years: Presidential Inaugurations | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

[Full Episode] As the rest of Washington looks forward to the next four years, BackStory is looking back — at the last 224 years of presidential transitions. On today’s show, the History Guys focus in on several of the most high-stakes presidential inaugurations, and ask what these moments tell us about the social and political forces at work around them. Visit our website for additional reading, listener comments, and background on the featured guests: backstoryradio.org/four-more-years Listen to individual episode segments here: https://soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/four-more-years-individual

 Four More Years: Presidential Inaugurations | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 52:00

As the rest of Washington looks forward to the next four years, BackStory is looking back — at the last 224 years of presidential transitions. On today’s show, the History Guys focus in on several of the most high-stakes presidential inaugurations, and ask what these moments tell us about the social and political forces at [...]

 All Hopped Up: Drugs in America | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

[FULL EPISODE] In December, recreational marijuana use became legal in Washington and Colorado. But back in the early 20th century, both states were among the first to ban the drug. If that seems like a radical change, well – it’s hardly the first time a drug has undergone a major image overhaul in America. This week, we trace the changing face of drugs – and drug users – in the U.S. Visit our website for additional reading, listener comments, and background on the featured guests: backstoryradio.org/all-hopped-up-drugs-in-america-2/ Listen to individual episode segments here: soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/all-hopped-up-drugs-in-america

 All Hopped Up: Drugs in America | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 52:04

In December, recreational marijuana use became legal in Washington and Colorado. But back in the early 20th century, both states were among the first to ban the drug. If that seems like a radical change, well – it’s hardly the first time a drug has undergone a major image overhaul in America. This week, we trace the [...]

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