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Backstory

Panoply

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 the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Each week we take a topic that people are talking about and explore it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversation with our listeners, we make history engaging and fun.

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 the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Each week we take a topic that people are talking about and explore it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversation with our listeners, we make history engaging and fun.
More Information

Location:

Charlottesville, VA

Networks:

Panoply

Description:

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 the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Each week we take a topic that people are talking about and explore it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversation with our listeners, we make history engaging and fun.

Language:

English

Contact:

145 Ednam Dr. Charlottesville, VA 22903 434-924-3296


Episodes

Close Encounters: UFOs in American History

9/21/2018
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The national Sunspot Solar Observatory was mysteriously shut down on Sept. 6. Located near Almagordo, New Mexico, local law enforcement reported that the FBI was behind the closure that lasted approximately one week. However, the FBI would neither confirm nor deny the reports. The shutdown sparked numerous rumors across the internet with many believing that alien activity was involved. So, on this week’s episode, Nathan, Brian and Ed discuss things in the sky we can’t explain - unidentified...

Duration:01:02:49

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The History of America’s Wealthy Elite

9/14/2018
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It’s been ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers shook the world’s economy. Today Ed, Nathan and Brian explore the iconic figure of the American Millionaire, telling the story of one of the first African American Millionaires, delving into the ambiguities around Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy, and finding out that there is more to the board game Monopoly than just rolling the dice and passing “Go.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:47:12

After Hurricane Maria: The History of Puerto Rico and the United States

9/7/2018
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In August of 2018, officials in Puerto Rico reported that over 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. One year after the disaster, Brian, Ed and Nathan take a look at the historical relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Are Puerto Ricans really Americans in the eyes of the federal government? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:53:43

Fit to Print?: A History of Fake News

8/31/2018
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As we approach the midterm elections, concerns about fake news - widely circulated news stories that are inaccurate, misleading, or completely made-up – continue to dominate the headlines. The topics, targets, and sources of this content continues to expand, while labelling stories as “fake news” has become a commonplace tactic to blur the lines between fiction and reality. On this episode, Nathan, Joanne and Ed will look at other times in history when Americans had to be a bit more careful...

Duration:00:33:59

Hot Enough For You? The History of Climate Change

8/24/2018
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According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2018 is on pace to be the fourth hottest year on record. So, on this week’s episode, Nathan, Brian and Joanne talk about how Americans understood climate and weather in centuries past. They also explore how the invention of air conditioning changed America forever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:32:36

In the Shadow of the Mushroom Cloud: A History of the Atomic Age

8/17/2018
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In 1942, American scientists created the first sustained, controlled nuclear reaction, under the bleachers of a football field. Needless to say, it was the beginning of a new era. On this week’s show, Brian, Joanne and Ed talk atomic power, and the indelible mark it left on American culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:55:39

A More Perfect Union? The Reconstruction Era

8/10/2018
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Lately, Americans feel the country is more divided (at least politically) than ever and often wonder how to go about repairing our divisions. Those same questions were asked when the nation started to come back together after the very real split of the Civil War. When Congress passed the first Reconstruction Acts, paving the way for Confederate states to rejoin the Union after the war, many also asked who belonged in the country and what rights they would have. So, in this episode, Ed,...

Duration:00:44:12

The Battle for Charlottesville's Soul: One Year Later, A Community Looks Back

8/3/2018
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On August 11 & 12, 2017, a “Unite the Right” rally brought chaos, violence and death to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. To mark the anniversary, BackStory broadcasts an episode of “A12,” a new podcast series presented by historian, writer and podcaster Nicole Hemmer. “A12” looks at the legacy of August 12th in Charlottesville and beyond. In it Hemmer, who witnessed the rally and attack, brings together city leaders, activists, scholars, and witnesses to make sense of all the...

Duration:00:47:00

Elementary Mr. President: Sherlock Holmes, the Supreme Court and Dr. Spock

7/27/2018
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Ed, Joanne and Brian explore the history of filling vacant seats on the Supreme Court, discover the secret connections between 221B Baker Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and find out why the publication date of a successful child rearing manual is a Day that Changed America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:39:06

The Melting Pot: Americans & Assimilation

7/20/2018
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This week, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan wrestle with a long-running tension in our country’s history: what it means to assimilate and “become American.” We’ll explore the 19th-century notions of who could become an American and the ways they were expected to change. Plus, we’ll discuss how much room there was for a hyphenated American identity in the past and if there is room today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:01:01:26

Shore Thing: A History of the Beach

7/13/2018
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Summer’s here and BackStory has gone to the beach. Ed, Joanne, and Brian dip their toes into four tales from America’s shoreline. We’ll talk about race, health, and daringly provocative woolen swimsuits. And the hosts will add their own experiences of the beach as a weird, magical place. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:49:47

What’s in a Number? Thirteen in American History

7/6/2018
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The 13th of any month is more likely to occur on a Friday than any other day of the week and it's happened as many as three times in a single calendar year. So, why is it considered bad luck? In this episode, Joanne, Nathan and Brian explore stories of superstition and the surprising roles the number 13 has played across American history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:50:02

Saving American History

6/29/2018
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How is the history of a nation remembered? Well -- it all depends on what you keep. We’re talking about recipes, your old record collection, wedding dresses, newspapers, family letters or even your own personal diary. These are the types of documents future generations depend on to understand past American culture. On this episode, Joanne, Ed and Nathan talk about the people who decided to take it upon themselves to collect stuff they knew people would care about someday -- even if others...

Duration:00:39:37

Summer Reading List: 14 History Books You’ll Want to Read

6/22/2018
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What should you be reading this summer? BackStory’s hosts and special guests share their recommendations of the history page turners you should pack for the beach. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:54:39

The Camera Never Lies? History Through the Viewfinder

6/15/2018
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In the 21st century, we often assume that a picture captures what really happened in a given moment. But on this week’s show, Joanne and Brian look at the early days of photography - when Americans had to figure out how to ‘read’ images - and learn if photos should be trusted at all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:36:55

Death Before Dishonor: Shame and Reputation in American History

6/8/2018
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This week, Ed, Nathan and Joanne discuss the importance of honor throughout American history. We’ll explore how 19th-century honor culture demanded that a man’s good name be saved by any means necessary — even murder. And we’ll consider how the concept lives on today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:45:52

Are We There Yet? Americans On Vacation

6/1/2018
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As Americans hit the road and take to the skies for summer vacation, Joanne, Ed, and Nathan explore the ways Americans have spent their time off. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:35:17

Reflecting on Darkness: Lynching; Americans and the Holocaust

5/25/2018
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On this week’s episode, Nathan, Brian, Joanne & Ed talk about how Americans remember and reckon with systematic violence, and how we keep this difficult history alive and in the public eye. Historian Kidada Williams reads letters from a man seeking justice for his son who was lynched, and Brian visits an exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:39:16

Upward Nobility: American-Made Royalty

5/18/2018
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The marriage of England’s Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle is making headlines around the world. U.S. women marrying into aristocracy has a surprisingly long history. This week, Ed, Brian, and Joanne look at the outsized political impact these marriages often have around the globe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:44:18

Shock of the New: The Legacy of the 1893 World’s Fair

5/11/2018
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The World’s Columbian Exposition opened 125 years ago this month. Known today as the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, it put the emerging United States and its host city on shining display. So, on this episode, Joanne, Ed, and Nathan explore the fairgrounds. They’ll discuss how electric power - a new experience for many Americans - illuminated the White City. And they’ll consider how this presentation of American progress came at a cost. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...

Duration:00:56:28