I drove to the exciting first Reading History Workshop in Longview yesterday listenting to a Back Story Radio episode which took the contemporary issue of a “mixed-race?” “Black?” presidential hopeful as an opportunity to consider the history of the idea of “racial purity.” I had never heard of Back Story – I stumbled on it as I searched for ways to fill my iPod for the commute – and was pleased by what they put together.
The description of the show from their website:
BackStory is a brand-new call-in radio show that brings historical perspective to the events happening around us every day. Each week, renowned U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh tear a topic from the headlines and plumb its historical depths. Over the course of a show, the hosts are joined by fellow historians, people in the news, and callers who want to explore the roots of what’s going on now. Together, they drill down to colonial times and earlier, revealing the connections (and sometimes, the disconnections) between past and present. With its passionate, intelligent, and irreverent approach, BackStory is fun and essential listening no matter who you are. A compelling alternative to partisan talk radio, it’s the best history course you’ve never taken–curiosity is the only prerequisite.
It’s focus – taking contemporary stories and providing the historical backdrop – is perfect for planning CBA work, perhaps most so for Why History? The idea of three guys whose scholarly expertise falls into different era (each describes himself in turn as 18th, 19th, and 20th century geeks) makes for compelling conversation. The guests are great. I look forward to having them join me on more trips to Longview!