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 | History, Media
Anna McCarthy delves into the role of television in articulating what it meant to be a citizen in the early days of the Cold War in the United States, an issue addressed in her book, "The Citizen Machine: Governing by Television in 1950s America." More
By Kevin C. Brown | Energy, Environment, History
Journalist Jeff Biggers discusses the history of coal mining in Illinois and the nation, focusing on the full costs of coal, especially the toll its production takes on people and the environment. More
By Kevin C. Brown | History, Housing, Politics
Historian Rhonda Williams discusses public housing policy in Baltimore since the 1930s. Williams suggests that this urban space became a center of debate over the meaning of race, equality, and citizenship in the U.S. More
By Kevin C. Brown | Media
Documentary filmmaker and sociologist Geoff Harkness discusses his film, "I Am Hip Hop: The Chicago Hip Hop Documentary." The film explores the world of underground hip hop in Chicago and provides a unique perspective on this vibrant music scene. More
By Kevin C. Brown | Politics, Race
Historian Thomas J. Sugrue discusses President Obama's life and political development in the context of the Civil Rights Movement, persistent economic inequality, and the myth of the U.S. as a “post-racial” society. More
By Kevin C. Brown | Civil rights, History, Race
Historian Benjamin Houston discusses race, civil rights, and urban life in Nashville, Tennessee during the middle third of the twentieth century. In particular, he introduces the concept of “street theater” to describe how Jim Crow was played out by black and white Nashvillians as they navigated — and in some cases challenged — the racial etiquette of the city every day. More