History Talk from Origins

  • Hosted by Leticia Wiggins and Patrick Potyondy

Smart conversations about today’s most interesting topics - a history podcast for everyone, produced by Ohio State's Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective.

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The Fate of Crimea, the Future of Ukraine, Part I

Apr 13, 2014
Nessa Gnatoush

The world has been electrified these past weeks by the explosive events in Ukraine: a dramatic political revolution in Kyiv's Freedom Square, the surprise annexation of Crimea into Russia, and rising tensions between Russia and the United States/European Union that are reminiscent of the darkest of Cold War days.

Reaching Beyond the Ivory Tower

Apr 8, 2014

Given all the furor about the role of academics in public life—a debate taking place in The Atlantic, Politico, and The New York Times among other places—History Talk naturally wanted to dive headfirst into the topic.

The Contentious ACA

Feb 25, 2014

Join your usual History Talk co-hosts Leticia and Patrick along with this month's expert guests Sandra Tanenbaum, Steven Conn, and Tamara Mann as they discuss the contentious history of healthcare policy in the United States—specifically the Affordable Care Act, also known pejoratively and positively as "Obamacare." Is the label "socialist" a kiss of death? Does the ACA move away from the "public charge" model? Is Obamacare about cost-effective healthcare or is it more about health coverage for all? How long has it taken policymakers in the past to craft effective programs?

The Syrian Civil War: Alawites, Women's Rights, and the Arab Spring

Dec 15, 2013

Co-hosts Leticia Wiggins and Patrick Potyondy interviewed guests Ayse Baltacioglu-Brammer and Patrick Scharfe on the the civil war in Syria, which continues to dominate headlines across the globe.

Classified documents leaked by private contractor Edward Snowden have raised serious concerns about privacy rights both in the United States and internationally. Beyond the question of personal privacy in the digital age, however, are a set of structural questions as well: How can the judicial process be transparent while still preserving state secrets? How can we draw a line to distinguish between domestic surveillance and foreign spying? How does spying strain the relationship between the President and Congress?

The basic fact was never in dispute: on February 26, 2012 George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in the town of Sanford, Florida. When a verdict of “not guilty” was announced, African Americans saw the outcome as another painful link in a chain of unpunished cruelty dating back hundreds of years. This month historian Hasan Kwame Jeffries examines the long history of racial violence in America and how the issue of race permeated every aspect of the tragedy from the shooting, to the reluctance of the local police to arrest Zimmerman, to the conduct of the trial itself.

Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and the taking of American hostages that year, Americans have tended to see the Iranian regime as dangerous, reckless and irrational. Recent concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions and anti-Israel declarations have only underscored the sense many Americans have that Iran is a "rogue" nation, part of an "axis of evil." There is another side to this story. This month historian Annie Tracy Samuel looks at American-Iranian relations from the Iranian point of view, and adds some complexity to the simplified story often told. Read more here.

European Disunion: The Rise and Fall of a Post-War Dream?

Aug 15, 2013

The economic crisis in Europe has had many predicting the end of the Eurozone and an end to the grand dreams of European unity. This month historian Donald A. Hempson III charts how the European Union and the Eurozone evolved out of a twin set of goals after World War II: to prevent European nations from going to war again and to foster economic prosperity across the continent. The current tensions are nothing new. Instability has long characterized the EU as it has expanded and integrated.

The use of unmanned drones for surveillance, for targeted assassinations, and for attacks more broadly seems to be the latest evolution in the technology of war. But as historian Kenneth C. Hough reminds us, the military use of drones goes back at least a century, as does the controversy they have generated over the morality and meaning of using such technology to kill.

The American Founding Fathers were famously suspicious of political parties and warned repeatedly about the dangers of "factionalism." Americans, however, have long loved them. While much has been made since the November 2012 election about the "death" of the Republican Party, historian Marc Horger reminds us that there have been several major party realignments in American history. Parties may change their characters but the two-party system has proved remarkably durable.

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