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The Road to Now

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present. For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow
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Now displaying: August, 2021
Aug 30, 2021

In this episode, Bob speaks with freelance journalist, Julian Rubenstein, author of The Holly: Five Bullets, One Gun, and the Struggle to Save an American Neighborhood (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021).

The book tells the story of anti-gang activist, Terrance Roberts, who shot a young gang member before a peace rally he organized. In telling the story of Terrance Roberts, Rubenstein also tells the history of black organizers from the civil rights era, the black power movement through to today’s black lives matter movement.

Rubenstein is a real journalist; he’s devoted many years of his life telling the story of Terrance and Denver’s North East Park Hill Neighborhood and he was the battle scars to prove it. In an age when so many people have trouble telling the difference between opinion journalism and objective journalism, the depth and scope of Julian’s tenacious reporting deserves recognition.

You can follow Julian Rubinstein on twitter at @Julian_Rubinste.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.

Aug 23, 2021

Neil Hanson is one of the most interesting people we know. He’s written books on World War I, the Spanish Armada, and the fire that destroyed London in 1666. He once teamed up with history’s greatest treasure hunter to tell the story of retrieving over $100 million in gold from a sunken Soviet ship in the arctic. He’s been the owner of the highest Inn in all of Great Britain. And, in 1999 he published a book called The Custom of the Sea, which tells the story of a shipwrecked crew that was put on trial in London after resorting to cannibalism. Their ship, which fell victim to forty-foot waves off the coast of Africa in 1884, was named the Mignonette, and Hanson’s book was so good that in 2004 it inspired an album by an up-and-coming group of musicians called The Avett Brothers.

This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired on April 24, 2017. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.

Aug 16, 2021

According to the US Department of Education, 45 million Americans collectively owe $1.7 billion in total student loan debt. While the weight of student loans has increased substantially in the 21st century, the history of student debt and the institutions that facilitate it is a much longer story than you probably expect. Ellie Shermer joins us to talk about her new book Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in Debt (Harvard, 2021), why student debt may be bad for all of us, and what we might do to alleviate student debt and fix higher education moving forward.

Dr. Elizabeth Tandy Shermer is Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago. Her previous books include Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). You can follow her on twitter at @ETShermer.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.

Aug 9, 2021

When two people look at the same set of facts and reach an entirely different conclusion, it’s often because of a difference in the way they understand their place in the world. In this episode (recorded when Bob began his graduate course in methodology in January 2019), Ben and Bob discuss the power of historical narratives, how they can change over time, and the ways that people in power seek to use history as a source of legitimacy.

If you enjoyed this episode, check out the others in our historical methodology series:

#119 Karl Marx & History

#121 Gender & History w/ Lisa Fine

#143 Research!

This episode originally aired on The Road to Now’s Patreon Feed on January 18, 2019. If you’d like to support our work and get access to exclusive content, please visit TheRoadToNow.com/Patreon. Thank you!

This episode was edited by Ben Sawyer. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.

Aug 2, 2021

The rejection of scientific expertise has been one of the most consequential social trends of the 21st century and, for those of us who remain committed to the scientific method, it may also be the most frustrating. After years of being bombarded with evidence (and often having their intelligence insulted), science deniers seem even more committed to alternative explanations of the world and the leaders who promise to undermine science-based policy. How did we get here and how can we make things better? In this episode, we get answers to those questions from Dr. Lee McIntyre, who shares what he learned from studying the ways that science deniers see the world, how we can use those insights to fight that worldview, and why a little bit of good faith goes a long way in communicating with others.

Dr. Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. His book How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason (MIT Press, 2021) hits shelves on August 17, 2021.

(You remember that study that said confronting people with evidence that disproved their position only made them more convinced of their beliefs? It didn’t hold up in subsequent experiments. There’s more on that in this episode.)

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.

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