This encore episode from 2019 explains how the National Rifle Association become one of the most controversial and divisive organizations in American history. The NRA was once a sportsmen’s group. Since the 1970s, however, it has taken a very strict view of the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, and has gone to extremes in its defense of gun ownership. We explain how and why this happened, and dispel historical and cultural myths along the way.
Income tax is a troubling issue in American politics and history. We explain its long and complicated history, and delve into the even more complicated history of how personal income tax has related to the question of equality and inequality in US society. Professor Nash tells us how the American government has raised funds for peacetime needs and, of course, times of war. It’s not a simple tale of taxes rising as the country grew and the US government grew. Taxation is perhaps the most difficult thing to explain in American governmental history, but we make it easy to understand.
Professor Adam Goodman explains the unknown history of deportation and of the fear that shapes immigrants' lives in the modern United States. He explains how federal, state, and local officials have targeted various groups for expulsion, from Chinese and Europeans at the turn of the twentieth century to Central Americans and Muslims today. A very timely show! Episode #410
It’s a rare thing indeed to find someone in history who stands up and rebels against almost all the things she finds oppressive in society. Such a woman was Qiu Jin, the Chinese revolutionary whose short but dramatic life has led her to be called “China’s Joan of Arc.” She rebelled not only against the strictures placed on her as an individual, but also against the broader restrictions and repression against women in Chinese society in politics and society in the early 20th century. A great woman for a Woman Crush Wednesday!
Professor Linda Colley gives us the first full integrative, as well as literary, examination of the written constitution globally. Tracing their rise to the mid-eighteenth century and the emergence of hybrid warfare (cross-continental battles waged on land and at sea), constitutions addressed a growing concern for rulers during the Enlightenment: popular support. Episode #409.
The number of different images and different sayings or phrases printed on t-shirts exploded in the early 70s. And one of the most striking was the t-shirt from the women’s rights movement which said, "A Woman Needs a Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle," most famously worn by the feminist champion, Gloria Steinem. Did she coin the saying? We explain the history behind that great phrase.
Professor Mar Hicks joins us to talk about gender and employment in the emerging field of computing in Britain, and all the historical myths that surround them. In 1944, Britain led the world in electronic computing. By 1974, the British computer industry was all but extinct. We examine why this happened in the tense post-war world, as Britain was losing its role as a global leader and innovator. Professor Hicks calls this a story of gendered technocracy, and it undercut Britain's flexibility in the technology age. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers!
Professor Philip Nash tells us the broader context of America's First Female Ambassadors, the "Big Six," and how they carved out their rightful place in history. He takes the story up to the present day to explain the trajectory of gender parity in US foreign relations.
Professor Philip Nash tells us the history of America's First Female Ambassadors, the "Big Six," and how they carved out their rightful place in history. He explains how these trailblazers helped pave the way for more gender parity in US foreign relations!
Professor Martha Jones offers a new history of African American women's political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women -- Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more -- who were the vanguard of women's rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.
Alice Hamilton was a pioneer in occupational medicine and industrial toxicology. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that she was the most important person in helping to make the American workplace safer. She also campaigned for women’s rights, social and economic reform, and international peace. There are very few people who need more historical fame and glory than Dr. Alice Hamilton. Listen and be inspired!
Lots of people are credited with coining the great phrase, “well-behaved women rarely make history.” These include Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Boleyn, and our own Aunt Ginger from the Buzzkill Institute. Given time, any powerful woman with backbone and verve will get credit for this phrase and sentiment. Listen and learn who said it first.
Do women have a constitutional "right to vote" in America? Didn't the 19th Amendment resolve that issue? Professor Lisa Tetrault enlightens us about this very thorny issue in American history and politics. One of our best episodes ever!
Almost all history books, encyclopedia entries, and news items place the exact origin of the women’s rights movement in the USA to the meeting at Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. But did a movement as big as women’s rights have one specific geographic origin at only one meeting? Professor Lisa Tetrault explains the complexity and the multiple histories of Seneca Falls and the American female suffrage movement.
The Munich Crisis of 1938 had major diplomatic and political effects. It was also a "people’s crisis," and an event that gripped the world. Join Professors Richard Toye, Julie Gottlieb, and Daniel Hucker as they present new research and findings about this prelude to World War II. Episode #408
Ever wonder how the shamrock, the Celtic Cross, and the Claddagh Ring became symbols of Irish culture? And which Irish people deserve more historical attention and shouldn't remain "Hidden Hibernians"? Professor Edward O'Donnell explains all in this St. Patrick's Day episode!
The Professor seems to want to make enemies in this episode. He shows that many things central to Irish culture and identity are actually British in origin -- St. Patrick, “the craic,” and “Danny Boy” come under his withering analytical gaze. But he may surprise you with the ultimate conclusions he reaches. Maybe he’s not that much of a buzzkill after all.
The Irish slaves myth claims that Irish people were enslaved by the British and sent to the Americas (especially the Caribbean) to work on plantations. The history of Irish slaves has been buried by our politically-correct world, so the myth goes, and has been replaced by an over-emphasis on the enslavement of Africans in the New World. But is there any truth to it, Buzzkillers? Listen and learn.
Feb 9th is National Pizza Day in the USA! This is a good time to learn about the "pizza effect." It helps explain why assumptions about the history and development of certain cultural practices and traditions help build hardy historical myths. Learn about the "pizza renaissance" in Italy, the "Hindu renaissance across India, the "Cornish pasty renaissance" in south-west England, and the "Clancy Brothers" or "traditional music renaissance" in Ireland! Listen while enjoying your favorite pizza pie!
The development of concentration camps in world history is both compelling and distressing. Award-winning author and journalist, Andrea Pitzer, explains how and why human societies have come to use them so frequently. From 1890s Cuba to the detention camps in the 21st century USA, concentration camps have exposed the "savage practicality" used by governments and militaries. Episode #407.
Professor Eric Cervini tells us the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory. Episode #406
Professor Julie Gottlieb deepens our understanding of the crisis between World War I and World War 2 in Britain. She shows us how crucial female public opinion was to the development of foreign policy during this period. Chamberlain, Churchill, Munich, and appeasement are better-illuminated light by her new research and interpretations. Join us for a truly eye-opening examination of the crucial years leading up to the Second World War. Episode #405.
The Trump second impeachment trial has started. This is a good time to re-visit our episode from 2018. Why is impeachment so complicated, and what's the history behind each way to get a dangerous, criminal, or just plain crazy chief executive out of the highest office in the land? Join Professor Buzzkill and Professor Nash as they work through all the possibilities, and illuminate all the history and politics behind the various processes. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers!
Catherine Grace Katz joins us to tell the story of three intelligent and glamorous young women (Sarah Churchill, Anna Roosevelt, and Kathleen Harriman) who accompanied their famous fathers to the Yalta Conference in February 1945, and how they affected the conference and its fateful reverberations in the waning days of World War II. Episode #404.
General Ty Seidule returns to the Buzzkill Institute to talk about his wonderful new book, "Robert E. Lee and Me: a Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause." This is required listening for every American, and all those interested in why our country continually struggles with racism, white supremacy, and false and ahistorical interpretations of the Civil War. Episode #403