The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.
Fighting Fires and Family Secrets
Uncontrollable western wildfires and a hidden family history — two puzzles that can only be solved with knowledge buried in the past. Indigenous people in Montana fight fire with fire, drawing on the unique relationships their ancestors had to one of the West's greatest threats today. And a young woman grapples with the secret that binds her family together, but also tears them apart. This week, we bring you stories produced by two members of the Throughline team: Victor Yvellez and Anya Steinberg. Through their past work before joining the show, we'll travel from the homelands of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes to the freezers of a cryobank to answer questions about family, tradition, and the future.
Nikole Hannah-Jones and the Country We Have
Is history always political? Who gets to decide? What happens when you challenge common narratives? In this episode, Throughline's Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei explore these questions with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an investigative journalist at the New York Times and the creator of the 1619 Project, which is set to be released as a book later this year.
The U.S. is steeped in wars over history. Historical narratives fuel public policy and discourse. Today, the most dramatic battleground is the 1619 Project. It has pushed people on both sides of the political spectrum to ask how our framing of the past affects the present, to interrogate what we remember and don't remember as a society — and whether we need a shared historical narrative to move forward.
In 1927, the most destructive river flood in U.S. history inundated seven states, displaced more than half a million people for months, and caused about $1 billion dollars in property damages. And like many national emergencies it exposed a stark question that the country still struggles to answer - what is the political calculus used to decide who bears the ultimate responsibility in a crisis, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable? This week, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and what came after.
Bonus: The Deep History of Dune
Rund and Ramtin speak to sci-fi writer and Princeton historian, Haris Durrani, about why the lore of Dune still proves so relevant and the ways in which the 2021 film succeeds and fails to convey its messages.
"Dreams are messages from the deep." Those are the first words that appear on the screen in Denis Villeneuve's 2021 film, Dune, a cinematic adaptation of the iconic 1965 sci-fi book by Frank Herbert. The book contains dreams within dreams. Dreams of a future humanity in all of its flawed complexity. Dune takes place about ten thousand years from now with humanity having spread across the galaxy, populating planets and evolving in myriad mysterious and fascinating ways. But Herbert's vision isn't unrecognizable to our contemporary eyes. In fact, unlike many other similar sci-fi stories, Dune projects Islamic belief and philosophy into the future, placing it right at the center of future events. It uses Middle Eastern history to paint a dream of a future which is both futuristic and ancient, exhilarating and full of tension. It is a story about the perils of imperialism, messianic beliefs, and environmental degradation. It is a story about us.
Unseen, they stalk their targets from thousands of feet in the air. Operators are piloting them from military bases halfway across the world. At any moment, they could launch a strike that comes without warning. The attack drone was supposed to be a symbol of the era of precision warfare — a way to wage wars with fewer casualties on both sides. It's a technology that's been honed since it was first dreamed up during World War 1. But are drones actually precise enough? Do drones desensitize us to the casualties of civilians caught between us and our enemies? In this episode, we will explore the past, present and future of drone warfare.
The Dance of the Dead
Halloween — the night of ghost stories and trick-or-treating — has religious origins that span over two thousand years and over time, the Catholic Church, pagan groups, and even the brewing company Coors have played a role in shape-shifting the holiday. How did Halloween turn from a spiritual celebration to a multi-billion dollar industry? From the Great Famine of Ireland to the Simpsons, we present the many evolutions of Halloween.