BackStoryAuthor: BackStory, Panoply
24 Sep 2018

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.

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    Close Encounters: UFOs in American History

    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 flying objects. What the heck are they? And what do they say about American history?







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  • Posted on 21 Sep 2018

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

    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.”

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  • Posted on 14 Sep 2018

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

    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?

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  • Posted on 07 Sep 2018

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    Fit to Print?: A History of Fake News

    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 about what they read.

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  • Posted on 31 Aug 2018

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    Hot Enough For You? The History of Climate Change

    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. 










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  • Posted on 24 Aug 2018

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