127 episodes

A biweekly discussion dedicated to American History, historical thinking, and the role of history in our every day lives. Hosted by historian John Fea

The Way of Improvement Leads Home: American History, Religion, Politics, and Academic life‪.‬ John Fea

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 116 Ratings

A biweekly discussion dedicated to American History, historical thinking, and the role of history in our every day lives. Hosted by historian John Fea

    Episode 124: Christian Capitalism in Early America

    Episode 124: Christian Capitalism in Early America

    In this episode we talk with Wesleyan University historian Joseph Slaughter, author of Faith in Markets: Christian Capitalism in Early America. He offers a new account of the interplay between religion and capitalism in early American history by focusing on 19th-century Protestant entrepreneurs and how they infused faith into their business and, in turn, how those businesses shaped our capitalist economy today.
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    • 54 min
    Episode 123: Drew Gilpin Faust on Growing-Up at Midcentury

    Episode 123: Drew Gilpin Faust on Growing-Up at Midcentury

    She was a privileged baby boomer who grew up on a horse farm in segregated Virginia. By her 21st birthday she had worked for peace in Communist Europe, traveled the country in the cause of racial justice, marched for voting rights in Selma, and led anti-Vietnam protests at Bryn Mawr College. Our guest in this episode is distinguished American historian and former Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faust. She talks about her memoir, Necessary Trouble: Growing Up at Midcentury.
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    • 44 min
    Episode 122: The Metropolitan Sound of the American Century

    Episode 122: The Metropolitan Sound of the American Century

    In his new book Bridge & Tunnel Boys, historian Jim Cullen discusses how Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen represented what he calls "the metropolitan sound of the American century." In this episode of the podcast, we talk with Cullen about how Joel and Springsteen were shaped by their lives on the periphery of New York City. Our conversation ranges across several subjects, including politics, cosmopolitanism, history, the culture of the 1980s, and even Taylor Swift!
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    • 52 min
    Episode 121: Reagan's Evangelical Vision for America

    Episode 121: Reagan's Evangelical Vision for America

    How did Ronald Reagan use the media to shape his evangelical vision for America, a vision rooted in political freedom, economic freedom, and religious freedom that is still with us today and continues to define the discourse of both of our political parties? In this episode we talk to Diane Winston, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California, about her new book Righting the American Dream: How the Media Mainstreamed Reagan's Evangelical Vision.
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    • 54 min
    Episode 120: Popular Historians in Post-War America

    Episode 120: Popular Historians in Post-War America

    Should professional historians write for the general public? If so, who is the "public" they are trying to reach? And when historians do write for the public how do they manage to make their work readable and accessible without sacrificing scholarly integrity? What role does politics, and even activism, play in popular history writing? These are questions that the historical profession, and in some respects, the nation, are currently wrestling with. Our guest today, historian Nick Witham, author of Popularizing the Past: Historians, Publishers, and Readers in Postwar America, reminds us that these questions are not new. Some of the country's most prominent writer-historians, including Richard Hofstadter, Daniel Boorstin, John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, and Gerda Lerner, grappled with how to reach the public with good historical scholarship.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Episode 119: How the Social Gospel Undermined Social Democracy

    Episode 119: How the Social Gospel Undermined Social Democracy

    There was a profound difference between Christian Socialism and the so-called "Social Gospel." Janine Giordano Drake explains these differences in her new book The Gospel of Church: How Mainline Protestants Vilified Christian Socialism and Fractured the Labor Movement. Drake argues that Protestant reformers associated with Mainline Protestantism and the Federal Council of Churches undermined workers' efforts to bring about social democracy in the United States.
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    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
116 Ratings

116 Ratings

gggyoung ,

Perfect for my commute.

I first heard Jon on an episode of PA books. Where he referenced this podcast, and I’m so glad I checked it out and subscribed. On my commute it is great time too as a joke get smarter. This definitely fits the bill. Through Jon’s podcast. I also found some new favorite voices in American contemporary history.

Bill Garrett ,

Excellent Interviews and Insights

John Fea's podcasts are enjoyable to listen to and very informative. The interviews are always well prepared and gives some much needed attention to Christian political discourse on the American "left".

NM CK ,

Wonderful

I have enjoyed every episode. I suppose I am new to the podcast and it looks like the podcast has ended - strike that last sentence, Dr Fea still releases new episodes - not as often as I’d like, but he seems to be a very busy man. The new platform is called Current and I have enjoyed the site (looks like the podcasts there are only for subscribers $), but, once I finish all of the back episodes here - well, I will have to go back and listen to them again. Well worth the time.

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