Backstory-logo

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


Listen on a live station

Episodes

Billy Graham, Black Panther and Haiti, and Thomas Edison’s Reputation

2/23/2018
More
The BackStory hosts look back on the rise of influential pastor Billy Graham, who died this week. Nathan probes how Black Panther’s mythical kingdom of Wakanda is a fully realized dream of a black-led country. And Joanne introduces a new segment, in which the hosts reevaluate American icons and their reputations. First up, Thomas Edison: gifted inventor or corporate thief? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:33:25

Life After the Oval Office: Presidential Legacies

2/16/2018
More
In honor of President’s Day, Joanne, Brian, and Nathan explore the ‘afterlives’ of presidents: what do they do with their time once they’re out of office -- and how do we remember them once they’re gone? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:47:46

Catholics in America

2/9/2018
More
Ed, Brian and Nathan mark the beginning of Lent with an exploration of American Catholicism—recounting the struggles, triumphs, and unique impact of Catholics on the history of the United States. From Spanish missionaries on the California coast and early converts among the Mohawk, to JFK and modern nuns living in the Blue Ridge Mountains - BackStory considers how what it means to be Catholic in America has changed over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:46:51

Forgotten Flu: America & the 1918 Pandemic

2/2/2018
More
The U.S. is in the grips of the worst flu season in nearly a decade, with hospitals full across the country. But it’s nothing compared to the flu season one hundred years ago, when a nationwide pandemic killed over half a million Americans. Brian, Nathan, and Joanne look back at the so-called “Spanish Flu,” how it affected the U.S., and why it’s often forgotten today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:45:00

US vs Them: Sports on the World Stage

1/26/2018
More
This year’s Winter Olympics have already seen their share of drama -- and political jockeying -- and the games haven’t even begun. So, BackStory is digging into the history of the power of international sports. We’ll discuss how sports have been tangled up in what’s going on off the field, from Cold War politics to Americans’ sense of ourselves at home and abroad. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:55:50

All that Glitters? Legacies of the California Gold Rush

1/19/2018
More
Gold was discovered in California 170 years ago this month. It set off a mad rush from across the United States -- and around the world. Ed, Joanne, and Nathan delve into what happened in California after gold was found and some of the lasting impacts of the Gold Rush. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:53:19

Presidents in the Public Eye, Slogans, and the Value of History

1/12/2018
More
In this week’s roundtable conversation, Ed, Joanne, and Brian focus on President Trump’s Twitter habit and look back at how presidents have interacted with the public. They discuss this year’s Golden Globes, the scene of very public activism around the #TimesUp campaign - how have slogans affected the causes we’ve championed? Finally, how do we put a price on history? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:37:05

Schism: The Branch Davidians at Waco

1/5/2018
More
This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most infamous law enforcement confrontations in American history: a bloody stand-off between federal agents and an apocalyptic Christian group known as the Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas. In this episode, Brian and Ed explore the 51 day siege, and what the Branch Davidians actually believed. This episode is sponsored by Paramount Network’s presentation of WACO. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:38:27

History for the Headlines: 2017 in Review

12/29/2017
More
On this episode, Brian, Ed, Joanne, and Nathan look back at the stories we produced in 2017. Topics include fake news, the opioid crisis, and the August 12th white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:49:11

Untrammeled: Americans and the Wilderness

12/22/2017
More
With President Trump moving to drastically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, Brian, Ed, and Nathan return to our episode on Americans’ fascination with wild places. They explore how early European arrivals actually created wilderness out of a landscape long shaped by human intervention, how humans impact even the most remote corners of our country, and ask how our ideas about wild places have changed over time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:51:47

What’s Cooking? A History of Food in America

12/15/2017
More
It’s the holidays -- that time of the year when food is everywhere. So, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan sit down to discuss some of America’s many homegrown culinary traditions and what the food we eat says about American identity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:53:22

Man of The People: A New Technology Falls Into the Wrong Hands

12/8/2017
More
BackStory features a guest podcast this week, from Reply All. The episode, Man of the People, first aired on January 19, 2017. It’s about the rise and fall of an American demagogue. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:43:33

Men Apologizing, Alabama Senate Race, Net Neutrality

12/1/2017
More
In this week’s roundtable conversation, Ed, Joanne, Nathan and Brian focus on three stories in the news: famous men apologizing (or not) for bad behavior, the Alabama Senate race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones, and the FCC’s plans to repeal net neutrality. In this episode, Brian mentions Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech. View the full speech (with transcript) via the Miller Center. And to hear the segment of Brian interviewing Tyrone Jones, a Black Santa, check out "Being...

Duration:00:38:59

On the Take: Corruption in America

11/24/2017
More
With allegations of corruption flying on both sides of the aisle in Washington, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan return to our episode on how Americans have wrestled with political corruption. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:48:50

The Thin Light of Freedom

11/17/2017
More
Brian sits down with Ed to talk about a project of his that’s been twenty-five years in the making. We’re talking about Ed’s series on the American Civil War and Reconstruction. The first volume, In The Presence of Mine Enemies came out in 2003, and won the Bancroft Prize. It opened with John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, and ended just before the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Ed has just published the second volume in the series: The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and...

Duration:00:46:11

Red Dawn: Americans and the Bolshevik Revolution

11/10/2017
More
One hundred years ago, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik Party seized power in a revolution that would change the world. They would establish the world’s first Marxist state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a few years later. As the 20th century wore on, the USSR became the United States’s chief military and ideological foe. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan explore how that distant revolution had an immediate impact in the United States. Learn more about...

Duration:00:54:14

Other People’s Battles: American Volunteer Soldiers

11/3/2017
More
An estimated 200 American volunteer soldiers have joined the fight against the Islamic State. They’re part of a much longer tradition of freelance fighters, like early 19th century American privateers who fought in Latin America’s wars of independence and those who participated in the Spanish Civil War. On this episode, Ed, Brian and Joanne explore when and why Americans signed up to fight for other countries’ causes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:54:24

Close Encounters: UFOs in American History

10/27/2017
More
On this week’s episode, Nathan, Brian and Ed discuss things in the sky we can’t explain - unidentified flying objects. What the heck are they? And what do they say about American history? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:01:04:41

Boy Scouts Welcome Girls, Trump Drums Up Support for War, America as a Judeo-Christian Nation

10/20/2017
More
In this week’s roundtable, the hosts tackle three stories that have been in the news: the Boy Scouts’ decision to include girls, growing GOP support for war with North Korea, and America’s identity as a Judeo-Christian nation. Advisory: the footnote segment contains references to sexual assault. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:35:00

What’s in a Number? Thirteen in American History

10/13/2017
More
This Friday the 13th, Joanne, Nathan and Brian explore stories of superstition and the surprising roles the number 13 has played across American history. survey.panoply.fm Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:52:27

See More