12 episodes

The Last Archive​ is a show about the history of truth, and the historical context for our current fake news, post-truth moment. It’s a show about how we know what we know, and why it seems, these days, as if we don’t know anything at all anymore. The show is driven by host Jill Lepore’s work as a historian, uncovering the secrets of the past the way a detective might. 

The Last Archive Pushkin Industries

    • History
    • 5.0, 1 Rating

The Last Archive​ is a show about the history of truth, and the historical context for our current fake news, post-truth moment. It’s a show about how we know what we know, and why it seems, these days, as if we don’t know anything at all anymore. The show is driven by host Jill Lepore’s work as a historian, uncovering the secrets of the past the way a detective might. 

    The Last Archive Presents: The Chronicles of Now

    The Last Archive Presents: The Chronicles of Now

    The Last Archive presents: The Chronicles of Now. Three billion birds have gone missing in North America over the past 50 years. Or is that fake news? J. Courtney Sullivan, the New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including her most recent, Friends and Strangers, tells the stories of two sisters forever connected by birds and forever divided by politics.

    Narrated by Cindy Katz. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
     

    • 16 min
    Tomorrowland

    Tomorrowland

    For ten episodes, we’ve been asking a big question: Who killed truth? The answer has to do with a change in the elemental unit of knowledge: the fall of the fact, and the rise of data. So, for the last chapter in our investigation, we rented a cherry red convertible, and went to the place all the data goes: Silicon Valley. In our season finale, we reckon with a weird foreshortening of history, the fussiness of old punch cards, the unreality of simulation, and the difficulty of recording audio with the top down on the 101. Hop in.

    • 54 min
    For the Birds

    For the Birds

    In the spring of 1958, when the winter snow melted and the warm sun returned, the birds did not. Birdwatchers, ordinary people, everyone wondered where the birds had gone. Rachel Carson, a journalist and early environmentalist, figured it out — they’d been poisoned by DDT, a pesticide that towns all over the country had been spraying. Carson wrote a book about it, Silent Spring. It succeeded in stopping DDT, and it launched the modern environmental movement. But now, more than 60 years later, birds are dying off en masse again. Our question is simple: What are the birds trying to tell us this time, and why can’t we hear their message any more?

    • 52 min
    She Said, She Said

    She Said, She Said

    In 1969, radical feminists known as the Redstockings gathered in a church in Greenwich Village, and spoke about their experiences with abortion. They called this ‘consciousness-raising’ or ‘speaking bitterness,’ and it changed the history of women’s rights, all the way down to the 1977 National Women’s Convention and, really, down to the present day. The idea of ‘speaking bitterness’ came from a Maoist practice, and is a foundation to both the #MeToo movement and the conservative Victim’s Rights movement. But at what cost?

    • 47 min
    The Computermen

    The Computermen

    In 1966, just as the foundations of the Internet were being imagined, the federal government considered building a National Data Center. It would be a centralized federal facility to hold computer records from each federal agency, in the same way that the Library of Congress holds books and the National Archives holds manuscripts. Proponents argued that it would help regulate and compile the vast quantities of data the government was collecting. Quickly, though, fears about privacy, government conspiracies, and government ineptitude buried the idea. But now, that National Data Center looks like a missed opportunity to create rules about data and privacy before the Internet took off. And in the absence of government action, corporations have made those rules themselves.

    • 47 min
    Cell Strain

    Cell Strain

    In the 1950s, polio spread throughout the United States. Heartbreakingly, it affected mainly children. Thousands died. Thousands more were paralyzed. Many ended up surviving only in iron lungs, a machine that breathed for polio victims, sometimes for years. Scientists raced to find a vaccine. After a few hard years of widespread quarantine and isolation, the scientists succeeded. The discovery of the polio vaccine was one of the brightest moments in public health history. But a vaccine required Americans to believe in a truth they couldn’t see with their own eyes. It also raised questions of access, of racial equity, and of the federal government’s role in healthcare, questions whose legacy we’re living with today.

    • 50 min

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