History Talk from Origins

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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Origins Podcast
10:30 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Democratizing American Higher Education: The Legacy of the Morrill Land Grant Act

The Great Dome at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the nation's first land-grant institutions and now, 150 years later, a leader in providing free online courses.

In May 2012, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced a partnership to offer on-line courses, free to anyone anywhere in the world. There is a historical resonance in MIT's involvement in the MOOC (massive open on-line courses) movement. MIT is a land-grant university and the announcement came during the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land Grant Act which created the land-grants. Arguably the greatest democratization of higher education in history, the Morrill Act stressed that higher education should be practical and that it should be accessible. This month historian David Staley looks back over the 150 year history of this experiment in state-funded, democratic higher education.

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Origins podcast
11:38 am
Thu November 15, 2012

"Merchants of Death": The International Traffic in Arms

This detail from an early-20th-century image over the entrance to an arms factory in Belgium depicts a European arms manufacturer selling a gun to a darker-skinned purchaser in an exotic setting. International arms merchants have a long history of complicity in Third World violence.

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As we try to sort out the causes and consequences of armed conflicts around the globe, we seldom ask the question: where do all those weapons come from that make these wars possible? With the United States racking up a record shattering $66.3 billion in overseas weapons sales last year, the question has become even more pressing. This month, historian Jonathan A. Grant looks at the history of the governments and individuals who have created a global trade in armaments. Except when they run afoul of the law, as Russian arms dealer Victor Bout did in 2011, these men tend to operate out of public view but the impact they have had on societies around the world is hard to over-estimate.

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Origins Podcast
4:35 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

From Commonplace to Controversial: The Different Histories of Abortion in Europe and the US

Planned Parenthood supporters demonstrate in Columbus, Ohio, 2012.

As the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, approaches, many Americans assume that legalized abortion is only as old as that ruling. In fact, as Anna Peterson discusses this month, abortion had only been made illegal at the turn of the 20th century. The different histories of abortion in Europe and the United States reveal much about the current state of American debates-so prominent in the 2012 elections campaigns-over abortion and women's health.

Origins Podcast
10:24 am
Sat September 15, 2012

Socialism Takes Over France, Again?

Detail from the painting Liberty Leading the People, by Eugène Delacroix, commemorating the French Revolution of 1830. The Socialist Party regained power in this year's elections.

After François Hollande’s victory in the French presidential elections in May followed by socialist victories in the more recent legislative elections, many commentators declared a decisive swing to the Left in Europe’s second largest economy, at a moment of intense political paralysis in the Eurozone. This month historian Alice Conklin explores why the socialists won now in France, after two decades out of power, and what their return portends for the future of the country.

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Origins Podcast
10:30 am
Wed August 15, 2012

From Karl Marx to Karl Rove: “Class Warfare” in American Politics

Detail from an illustration in a 1911 Industrial Workers of the World publication depicting a class of workers struggling to hold up finely dressed elites while they drink and dine.

In the midst of a presidential election campaign that pits a wealthy Republican businessman against a self-proclaimed warrior for the middle class, Americans are talking a lot these days about “class.” Many credit the Occupy Wall Street movement with making “class warfare”—which, in its contemporary use, is really about tax policy—a driving issue in 2012. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ original idea of class struggle emerged with the creation of a class of factory wage earners during the Industrial Revolution.

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