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What does it mean to be a man in white evangelical Christianity? In this episode we talk with historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. We discuss definitions of masculinity, the Gospel Coalition, Beth Moore, Donald Trump, the 2016 election, the differences between White and Black views of Christian manhood, and how the thesis of her book might be applied to American evangelical culture during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this episode we talk with Daniel Feller, the editor of The Papers of Andrew Jackson at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. We discuss his work as a documentary editor, the uses of Andrew Jackson in the age of Trump, and a controversial paper he recently delivered at the annual meeting of the Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR).
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At their podcast “The Whiskey Rebellion,” Frank Cogliano and David Silkenat, American historians at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, discuss the recent controversy in the Society for the History of the Early American Republic.
Listen to “SHEAR Madness” here.
Have you ever wanted to write a children’s, middle-grade, or young adult history book? How do you get started? What is the process like? Do I need an agent? In this episode, we talk about writing history for young readers with former Smithsonian educator and author Tim Grove. Tim is the author, most recently, of Star Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem. Learn more about his work at TimGrove.Net.
We have done several episodes on race in America at The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast. They are now more relevant than ever as people are showing an interest in learning more about the African-American experience.
Episode 8: Historians Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf on Thomas Jefferson
Episode 16: Historian Manisha Sinha talks about the history of the abolitionist movement.
Episode 25: Historian Kelly Baker talks about religion and the history of the KKK.
Episode 27: Historian Julian Chambliss discusses the relationship between race, the environment, and Mar-a-Lago.
Episode 28: Public historian and Stax Museum director Jeff Kollath talks about the “Memphis Sound.”
Episode 39: Historian Nicole Hemmer on the one-year anniversary of the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia race riots.
Episode 43: Public historian Chris Graham on how a Richmond, Virginia congregation is coming to grips with its racist past.
Episode 48: Historian Jemar Tisby on Christianity and race in America.
Episode 58: Historian Richard Bell on the “reverse underground railroad.”
Episode 63: Historian Tom Mackaman on the 1619 Project
Episode 69: Sports historian Paul Putz on the legacy of Michael Jordan
The members of Donald Trump’s controversial cabinet are regular features of the 24-hour news cycle. He has fired members of his cabinet who challenge his thinking on a host of foreign and domestic issues. Just ask Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and Jeff Sessions. But how did our first president, George Washington, imagine the role of the cabinet? In this episode, we think historically about this important part of the executive branch with historian Lindsay Chervinsky, author of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution.
But we can’t do it without your help!
The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast is back after a short COVID-19 hiatus. We have been out of the studio, but with the help of studio producer-extraordinaire Kaci Lehman (now a resident of Nashville!), we have figured out a way to produce episodes with decent sound quality.
In the past, we have taken summers off. But this year we are hoping to not only produce summer episodes, but drop one every week! Right now we are close to making this happen, but we still need a bit more support. If you are interesting in supporting the podcast, or our work here at the blog, click on “Support,” follow the link to our Patreon page, and join our community of patrons. Your money goes directly toward our work here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home. And all of the benefits of membership–mugs and books–are still available! You can also go directly to the Patreon page by clicking here.
We already have three summer episodes in the can.
Episode 67 (Dropped on May 24, 2020): Public historian Susan Fletcher, author of Exploring the History of Childhood and Play Through 50 Historic Treasures, talks about the history of your favorite games and toys. This episode dropped on May 24, 2020.
Episode 68 (Drops on May 31, 2020): Historian Lindsay Chervinsky, author of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, talks about the first presidential cabinet.
Episode 69 (Drops on June 7, 2020): We talk NBA history, Michael Jordan, and the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” with Baylor University historian of sport Paul Putz.
Stay tuned. We are ready and eager to go with more episodes, but we can’t do it without you! Shoot me a DM on Facebook or Twitter and let me know what guests you want to hear from this summer.
And, as always, a BIG THANK YOU to our current and ongoing patrons!
What happened when British soldiers and their families arrived in Boston in 1768? In Episode 66 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast, we talk with Carleton College history professor Serena Zabin about her new book, The Boston Massacre: A Family History. Zabin’s close reading of everyday life in revolutionary Boston will forever shape how we understand this important moment in our shared past.
The American historian and cultural critic Christopher Lasch (1932-1994) had a powerful influence on the world of ideas. What would the author of the best-selling Culture of Narcissism (1979) have to say about Donald Trump and his particular brand of populism? In this episode we talk about Lasch, Trump, populism, progress, and “evangelical elitism” with intellectual historian Eric Miller, author of the award-winning Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch (2010).
If not, you are missing a great season:
Forthcoming: Eric Miller on Christopher Lasch; Serena Zabin on the Boston Massacre; Katherine Stewart on the Christian Right; Lindsay Chervinsky on the first presidential cabinet; and more!
Download episodes or subscribe at Apple Podcasts.
We operate on shoe-string budget. If you would like to support our work (and possibly receive valuable gifts!), head over to our Patreon page and make a pledge or a one-time gift.
Thanks for listening!
In August 2019, The New York Times Magazine published The 1619 Project, an attempt to reframe American history by “placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” American historians have praised and criticized the project. In this episode we talk with Thomas Mackaman, a history professor at Kings University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and a writer for World Socialist Web Site. Mackaman has not only criticized The 1619 Project, but has interviewed other critics of the project, including several award-winning historians. Why are socialists so upset about this project? What is the backstory behind Mackaman’s interviews with Gordon Wood, James McPherson, Clayborne Carson, and other 1619 Project critics? Anyone interested in debates over how historians do history and connect the past to present political and social issues will learn something from this episode.
I recently had the honor and privilege of being a guest on Rob Schenk’s podcast “Schenk Talks Bonhoeffer.” We chatted about my book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump and evangelicals and politics more broadly. Perhaps some of you remember my post about Schenk from a few days ago. He is the evangelical pastor who had a seat at the table for many of the conversations and initiatives that launched the Christian Right in the 1980s.
During the conversation, Schenk talks about his attendance at a prayer meeting on the day of Trump’s inauguration. He bumped into a leading court evangelical and suggested that evangelicals needed to “recalibrate our moral compass” to bring it more in line with Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount. The court evangelical responded: “We don’t have time for that, we have serious work to do.”
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
For four years Drew Dyrli Hermeling has been the heart and soul of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast. We are saddened that he has decided to step away from his work here, but excited that he will have more time to devote to his history students at The Stone Independent School, a college-prep school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Drew joins us for one final episode to reminisce with John about their work together on this project.
Are you watching Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial? Are you trying to make sense of it all? We want to help. In this episode we talk with CNN presidential historian and Southern Methodist University professor Jeffrey Engel on the history of impeachment. Engel sheds light on the debates over impeachment in the Constitutional Convention, the historic meaning of “bribery” and “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and the inevitable political and partisan nature of American impeachments.
Here is the announcement:
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 in history with a fresh perspective and revealed lesser-known historical moments with journalistic curiosity and scholarly rigor. Hundreds of guests and listeners have contributed their voices to this conversation, while thousands more tuned in every week.
“When we first tried to find a radio voice for history, none of us would have predicted three hundred episodes of BackStory,” said BackStory host Ed Ayers. “Virginia Humanities has been a wonderful ally throughout our adventures. We’re grateful to them and our loyal donors for having faith in this twelve-year experiment.”
BackStory began in 2008 as a monthly radio show. Created by Andrew Wyndham and somewhat styled after popular radio show “Car Talk,” BackStory then featured noted historians Peter Onuf, Ayers and Brian Balogh as its hosts. In 2017, Onuf retired and historians Joanne Freeman and Nathan Connolly joined the team. Together, Ayers, Balogh, Connolly and Freeman continued to make history engaging, accessible and often, downright fun.
Read the rest here
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Season Six is under way and we are already off to a great start.