On May 11th, 2012, BackStory with the American History Guys, a seven-year radio collaboration between historians of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, begins a new weekly broadcasting schedule today on PBS and other stations across the nation.
University of Virginia history professors Brian Balogh, Peter Onur and University of Richmond President and historian Ed Ayers will discuss “Born in the USA: A History of Birth.”
The American History guys are “three congenial, learned, funny men fly-fishing in the rock-strews river of American history,” writes novelist Nicholson Baker.
Check local listings for days and times.
The inaugural weekly episode, A History of Birth, will also feature guests Laura Wattenberg of BabyNameWizard.com; Peggy Bendroth of the Congregational Library at the Congregational Christian Historical Society; Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Professor of History at Harvard University and author of a Midwife’s Tale, and Jessica Waters, professor of law at American University and expert in reproductive law.
Upcoming shows include:
May 18—Home! Bittersweet Home!
Where does the American dream of home ownership come from and who has been excluded from it? Turns out that even many homesteaders lost out to railroads in the end. And since emancipation, African Americans have been systematically challenged in their efforts to enter and remain in the housing market. BackStory also looks at Hollywood’s visions of a how a house of one’s own can turn into a nightmare.
May 25—Monumental Disagreements
For Memorial Day, the American History Guys are taking time to consider how and what Americans have memorialized. They’ve been wondering about the marble statues of presidents and those faces blasted into mountains—what do they really represent? Turns out, their meanings often say more about their creators than the people they memorialize. The Washington monument itself was the subject of decades of controversy about what sort of country the founders meant this to be.
June 1—Of Monkeys and Men
BackStory traces the ups and downs of the evolution debate. How were Darwin’s ideas received in the U.S., and why did it take six decades before the teaching of his theories in public school systems was seriously challenged? What lessons does history offer those interested in charting a harmonious relationship between science and religion.