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Backstory

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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

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; America 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

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

Crowning Glory: A History of Hair in America

5/4/2018
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It’s been fifty years since “Hair” debuted on Broadway. The groundbreaking play featured an integrated cast and defined the rock musical genre. On this episode, Brian, Joanne and Nathan explore some of the many meanings Americans have attached to hair - as a marker of personal identity, a living connection to distant loved ones, and even as the root of business empire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:50:31

“Dear Mr President…”: Letters to FDR, #twitterstorians, and one man's experience of slavery's legacy

4/27/2018
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Joanne talks about the letters that flooded into FDR’s Whitehouse and how historians reach the public using social media. Also, one man reflects on his family’s experience of slavery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:30:09

Behind the Bylines: Advocacy Journalism in America

4/20/2018
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In 2015, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly challenged Univision journalist Jorge Ramos on his role as a voice for Latinos in America. In an interview with the reporter on the O’Reilly Factor, he called Ramos “an advocate for people who enter the U.S.A. illegally.” In recent decades, however, more journalists have vocally advocated for underrepresented communities. Websites like the theGrio.com are unapologetic about finding stories the mainstream media aren’t picking up. On this episode,...

Duration:00:48:40

Teen Activists: A History of Youth Politics and Protest

4/13/2018
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As students organize protests around the country, Joanne, Brian & Ed talk about the role young people have played in American politics. They’ll look at how the desegregation movement in Virginia was sparked in part by a 16-year-old girl, how young Americans made it okay to be independent voters and thinkers in the early centuries, a 1945 student walkout against integration, and the story of a young Lakota activist who travelled to Standing Rock when she was in high school. Learn more...

Duration:01:04:15

The Habit: Opioid Addiction in America

4/6/2018
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As the opioid epidemic continues, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome M. Adams said this week that Americans should carry and learn to use naloxone, an overdose antidote. In this episode, Nathan, Ed and Brian look at America's long history with opioids - like opium, morphine and heroin. They’ll discuss how late 19th century doctors spurred the nation’s first addiction crisis and how race and class have shaped our perception of addicts and addiction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...

Duration:00:41:13

The Real Martin Luther King: Reflecting on MLK 50 Years After His Death

3/30/2018
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Civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago. Today he is celebrated as an American hero and championed in children’s books and inspirational posters. But have Americans lost sight of the real MLK? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:50:41

You Have The Right to Remain Silent: A History of the Miranda Warning

3/23/2018
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Fifty-five years ago this month, a man named Ernesto Miranda confessed to rape and kidnapping in a Phoenix police station. His trial would go all the way to the Supreme Court in one of the most well-known cases of the 20th century: "Miranda v Arizona." Nathan and Joanne look at the interrogation that led to the Supreme Court decision and ask how the Miranda warning transformed from technical bit of police procedure to pop-culture lexicon. Image credit: Ernesto Miranda, 1963. Source:...

Duration:00:34:11

Wherever Green is Worn: The Irish in America

3/16/2018
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On this St. Patrick’s Day special, Brian, Joanne and Nathan explore Irish American culture and identity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:51:46

Turf War: A History of College Sports

3/9/2018
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On this episode, Brian, Peter, and Ed unpack the origins of college sports and the ways universities originally justified athletics on campus. From the first collegiate PHYS ED program at Amherst College to the little-known story about the integration of the University of Alabama’s football team - the hosts discover why college sports even exist in the first place. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:49:29

Too Good To Be True?: Myths in American History

3/2/2018
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On this week’s episode, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan explore some of the stories Americans tell about our past and find the kernels of truth that lie at the heart of a few American legends. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:55:46