At the beginning of the 20th century, most of the territory that we call the Middle East- including Syria, Iraq, Israel and Turkey- were part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman alliance w/ Germany and Austria-Hungary during World War I provided Britain and France w/ the opportunity to divide the once-great empire into many states based on European imperial ambitions. In this episode Bob and Ben speak w/ Dr. Eugene Rogan to learn more about why the Ottoman Empire was divided, how that process explains a lot about the region today, and how this history can help us make better decisions today.
Dr. Eugene Rogan is Director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is author of The Arabs: A History (Penguin, 2009, 3rd edition 2018), which has been translated in 18 languages and was named one of the best books of 2009 by The Economist, The Financial Times, and The Atlantic Monthly. His new book, The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920, was published in February 2015.
We'd also like to say a special thanks to the family of Roscoe L. Strickland Jr. for providing the support that brought Dr. Rogan to MTSU for our annual Strickland Scholars Program. For more on the Strickland program, click here. Additional thanks goes to Dr. Susan Myers-Shirk for her work in arranging for MTSU's Strickland Scholars to appear on our podcast.
On November 6, 2018, the people of Florida voted to amend their state’s constitution to restore voting rights to an estimated one and a half million citizens who had lost this right due to a prior felony conviction. In recognition of this significant restoration of rights, we’re re-airing our interview w/ Pippa Holloway on the history of felon disfranchisement and citizenship in America (originally aired Oct. 10, 2016) along with an additional interview w/ Pippa recorded Nov. 10, 2018 on the Florida amendment’s implications and the path to ratification. Bob and Ben support the voters of Florida, and believe that understanding the history of felon disfranchisement laws is an important step in restoring voting rights to the more than 4 million citizens in other states who have fulfilled their debt to society yet continue to be denied their right to vote.
To better understand the origins of felon disfranchisement laws, we invited Dr. Pippa Holloway of Middle Tennessee State University's Department of History to join us for a discussion about her most recent book Living in Infamy: Felon Disfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship (Oxford University Press, 2013). Pippa explains the ways that these laws were developed as a strategy to prevent black Americans from voting in the post-Civil War-era. This strategy was later exported to other states such as Idaho and Hawaii for the purpose of excluding groups whose interests were in opposition to the ruling party. Pippa also discusses the current impediments to Americans’ right to vote, and offers suggestions to ensure that Americans are not denied a voice in our political process.
What does it mean to be American? This isn't just a question for us in 2018 -- it was an unanswered question for the country in the late 19th century when it came to musical identity. And of all the people to try to answer it, it may have been the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak who came closest, while living in New York City and a small town in Iowa during the 1890s. Dvorak harnessed what he experienced -- African-American folk tunes, Native American culture, sounds of nature -- and worked them into four pieces including his most famous, the symphony "From the New World." In this episode, Bob Crawford and Matt Negrin (neither of whom are experts on Dvorak but who did play viola like Dvorak) sit in the Russian Tea Room next to Carnegie Hall where the New World symphony debuted to discuss their favorite classical music composer, and what it must have been like to be Dvorak in America.