The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


Best of BackStory – Ed Ayers’ Playlist

As BackStory moves towards the end of its production, we’ve asked our hosts – both past and present – to select memorable moments from the show that we’re publishing as episodes once per month. As a founding host, Ed has had hundreds of conversations on a huge variety of topics. But some of his favorite […]

From New York to London: South African Music in Exile

Toward the end of, “From Music to Madiba: A History of U.S. Relations with South Africa,” Brian Balogh speaks with Louis Meintjes about the links between South African and American music and the political influence of music during apartheid. Meintjes describes how some musicians performed within the confines of the state-owned system of censored radio. […]

A Conversation with Jonathan Rosenberg

For many of us, political discourse is difficult to extricate from the cultural lexicon that mirrors and helps define it. Movies, music, award shows, and much much more, help us understand our world, and even have the potential to influence it. This interplay between culture and politics is nothing new, even if the lexicon has […]

Black History Month: BackStory Playlist

It’s Black History Month, when we recognize the achievements and history of African Americans throughout US history. BackStory frequently highlights these stories, whether across a whole show or in a specific interview. So to celebrate, we’ve put together a playlist of some of our favorites from different time periods, generations, and viewpoints. The topics range […]

Best of BackStory – Peter Onuf’s Playlist

As BackStory moves towards the end of its production, we’ve asked our hosts – both past and present – to select memorable moments from the show that we’re publishing as episodes once per month. First up is Peter Onuf. Peter is the first (and only!) emeritus host. Peter retired from full time hosting duties in […]

An Interview with Nicholas Buccola

On February 18, 1965, two leading voices in American politics took the stage at Cambridge University to debate the question: “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American negro?” On on side of the debate was James Baldwin, the prolific American writer and documenter of the ongoing civil rights movement. On the other […]

BackStory’s Top Blog Post of All Time

In honor of our last year of production, BackStory is bringing you memorable moments from outside of the podcast. In 2016, BackStory intern Elizabeth McCauley wrote a story about the windigo, a creature from the spiritual beliefs of the Algonquian peoples. The blog post served as a companion to the “Where the Windigos Are” segment […]

BackStory the American History Podcast Ends Production in 2020

Charlottesville, VA— After more than three hundred episodes that have reached millions of listeners over the last twelve years, BackStory, the American history podcast produced by Virginia Humanities, will record its final episode this summer. The last episode of BackStory will publish on July 3, 2020. Over the years, BackStory has looked at pivotal points […]

Constructing Race in Reconstruction: An Interview with Daniel Brook

Almost 100 years before Rosa Parks’s famous protest of segregation on the Montgomery bus system, a woman named Mary P. Bowers took a similar stand on a streetcar in Charleston, South Carolina. Her 1867 protest would eventually lead to the desegregation of the city’s streetcars that same year. This was no isolated incident, either. Elements […]

The Dreamt Land: Mark Arax On the History of California’s Water

We have all read that California is burning. Wildfires continue to threaten, and destroy, communities across the state. They are so numerous that the Los Angeles Times recently published a guide for those who have “lost track of all the California fires.”  These fires have become repetitive, even normal. More commonplace are the causes often […]

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