History for the Future

Through interviews with historians and journalists, History for the Future explores the historical roots of contemporary social issues and policies, often revealing the hidden assumptions and political choices defining the present.

By Kevin C. Brown | Discrimination, History, Race
Enjoy this new episode of History for the Future, featuring an interview with Karl Jacoby, professor of history at Brown University. Jacoby is the author of two award winning books, Crimes Against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation (2001), and most recently, Shadows at Dawn: A Borderlands Massacre and the Violence of History (2008). We talk about the history of the southwest and the forces that produced the massacre of Apache Indians outside of Camp Grant, near Tuscon, Arizona in April of 1871. Deeply concerned with myth, Jacoby also discusses how the memory of this event fits in with larger — and misleading — perceptions of Native Americans, violence, and the West we still wrestle with today. The book has a great website, so be sure to give that a click if you like the interview. More
By Kevin C. Brown | Alternative models, Economy
This week on HFTF, I interview Richard D. Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and author of many books and articles on capitalism and economics. Recently, he is the author of Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What To Do About It (2009). We talk about the origins of the current economic crisis, especially changes in the system since the 1970s, and how we can do better than capitalism… So check out the episode and also be sure to visit Professor Wolff’s website, www.rdwolff.com, for a lot more of his writings! More
By Kevin C. Brown | Environment, Regulation
This mid-week bonus of HFTF was actually the pilot episode of the show we recorded in January, but is only now hitting the website and iTunes (apologies!). It features an interview with Lee Vinsel, doctoral candidate in the history department at Carnegie Mellon University. We talk about his dissertation, “Breaking Detroit: State Management of the Automobile in the U.S., 1966-1988.” Lee’s dissertation focuses on the federal government’s efforts to regulate crash safety, fuel efficiency, and emissions. Though we recorded the interview before much of the fallout from the Toyota brake failures hit the media, Lee’s work explains the origins of the government involvement — and perhaps negligence — in the automobile industry. Also, just yesterday the EPA and DOT announced new, tighter restrictions on fuel efficiency for automobiles sold in the U.S. Check out the New York Times article on the new regulations, and enjoy this belated episode! More
By Kevin C. Brown | Economy
This week HFTF interviews Doug Henwood, editor of the Left Business Observer, host of the radio show, “Behind the News,” and author of Wall Street and After the New Economy. The LBO is a wonderful source for sane analysis of truly troubling, and often baffling, economic and political developments. In the episode we discuss the origins of the economic collapse, the bailout, the significance of health care “reform,” the lack of progressive pressure on the Obama administration, and more. For more on Doug Henwood’s work be sure to check out the Left Business Observer, but also his blog at: www.doughenwood.wordpress.com. More
By Kevin C. Brown | Media
Check out the latest episode of HFTF, featuring an interview with Bob McChesney on the serious crisis facing journalism in the United States and what to do about it. McChesney is professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has written widely on issues related to the media, journalism, and society. Most recently he is the author, with John Nichols, of The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again. We spend the whole half-hour discussing this brand new, and critically important book that details how the decline in the production of journalism (particularly at the local level) is a potent threat to our democracy. McChesney is also a co-founder of Free Press, the media reform organization. If you like the interview be sure to check out their website to get involved! More
By Kevin C. Brown | Environment
Check out this new episode of “History for the Future”! Samuel P. Hays, University Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Pittsburgh, talks about the history of the National Forests in the United States, the changes in their management, and the development of “ecological forestry.” Professor Hays has written widely in American History, his 1959 study Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920 was a major contribution to American political history and now also regarded as a founding document in the field of environmental history. More recently, Professor Hays is the author of Wars in the Woods: The Rise of Ecological Forestry in America (2007), and The American People and the National Forests: The First Century of the U.S. Forest Service (2009). Enjoy the interview! More