Topic: His book - The Great Demarcation: The French Revolution and the Invention of Modern Property, Oxford University Press, 2016.
Where & when: "Debate on Equality:" Talk given for the World Inequality Database, on 16 March 2021.
What does it mean to own something? What sorts of things can be owned, and what cannot? How does one relinquish ownership? What are the boundaries between private and public property? Over the course of a decade, the French Revolution grappled with these questions. Punctuated by false starts, contingencies, and unexpected results, this process laid the foundations of the Napoleonic Code and modern notions of property as a result.
As Rafe Blaufarb demonstrates, the French Revolution remade the system of property-holding that had existed in France before 1789. The revolutionary changes aimed at two fundamental goals: the removal of formal public power from the sphere of property and the excision of property from the realm of sovereignty. The revolutionaries accomplished these two aims by abolishing privately-owned forms of power, such as jurisdictional lordship and venal public office, making the state purely sovereign.
As a result, the French Revolution brought about a Great Demarcation: a radical distinction between property and power. From there flowed the critical distinctions between the political and the social, state and society, sovereignty and ownership, the public and private. It destroyed the conceptual basis of the Old Regime, laid the foundation of France’s new constitutional order. It also crystallized modern ways of thinking about polities and societies. In other words, by tracing how the French Revolution created a new legal and institutional reality, The Great Demarcation shows how the revolutionary transformation of Old Regime property helped inaugurate political modernity.
Topic: Nearly 70 years on, what will it take to end the Korean War?
Where & when: Interview with “The Stream,” Al Jazeera’s contemporary events show, on 29 May 2018. Interview starts 7 minutes into the 25-minute show.
For some Americans, the Korean War is considered a forgotten conflict. For North Korea, the three years of fighting that killed more than 2 million between 1950 and 1953 remains a constant reminder for vigilance against what Pyongyang sees as US imperialist aggression. Heavy fighting in the Korean War ended in a 1953 armistice agreement, but not a peace treaty.
More than six decades since the armistice, the historic inter-Korean summit held last month at Panmunjom resulted in another pledge between North and South Korean leaders to officially end the Korean War by the close of this year. This episode looks at the history of the Korean War and the current prospects for ending it.
Topic: Significance of the Trump-Kim Summit
Where & when: Interview with Tom Flanigan, WFSU, an NPR affiliate, on 13 June 2018.
Topic: Abdication of Emperor Akihito
Where & When: Interview with “Market Edge,” ABS-CBN News Channel, Philippines, on 1 May 2019.
Topic: Creek Indians and the First Seminole War
Where & When: C-Span, 26 February 2013, ca. 50 min.
Andrew Frank spoke about the Creek Indians and the First Seminole War, which took place in the early 19th century in the southeastern United States and Spanish controlled Florida. The war was fought in part to prevent slaves from fleeing into Florida.
Topic: Seminoles, Retirees, and Florida Man: A Brief History of the Sunshine State
Ethnohistorians Patsy West and Andrew Frank talk with Nathan Connolly about the origins of Florida’s indigenous peoples, known as the Seminoles. Andrew Frank speaks about the diverse communities built by the Seminoles – which included both Native Americans and African Americans.
Topic: His book - Medical Monopoly: Intellectual Property Rights and the Origins of the Modern Pharmaceutical Industry, University of Chicago Press, 2014.
Where & when: Interview with Mikey McGovern on NewBooksNetwork.com, 19 February 2015.
"My book is a study of the intellectual property and the pharmaceutical industry in the nineteenth-century United States. In the interview I discuss attitudes toward patents and trademarks among pharmaceutical manufacturers, the relationship between medical ethics and changing attitudes toward the monopolization of healing goods among physicians, and the transformation of intellectual property law – including both changes in patent law that allowed for the patenting of naturally occurring substances and changes in trademark law that led to the concept of generic names."
Topic: What’s the Deal with Prescription Drug Prices?
Where & when: Discussion with Dr. Jeremy Greene and Rob Ferrett, Wisconsin Public Radio, 28 September 2015.
A pharmaceutical company got an angry backlash after buying the rights to a lesser-known medication--and then increasing the price five thousand percent. Joseph Gabriel and Jeremy Greene discuss the issue with Rob Ferrett.
Topic: His book - Hitler's True Believers: How Ordinary People Became Nazis, Oxford University Press, 2020.
The Wiener Holocaust Library was delighted to welcome Robert Gellately to the Library for a virtual book talk to discuss his new work, 'Hitler's True Believers: How Ordinary People Became Nazis'. Understanding Adolf Hitler's ideology provides insights into the mental world of an extremist politics that, over the course of the Third Reich, developed explosive energies culminating in the Second World War and the Holocaust. Too often the theories underlying National Socialism or Nazism are dismissed as an irrational hodge-podge of ideas. Yet that ideology drove Hitler's quest for power in 1933, colored everything in the Third Reich, and transformed him, however briefly, into the most powerful leader in the world.
Topic: Tom Paine's Iron Brigade.
Where & when: Podcast, PA Books on PCN, iHeartRadio, 13 June 2016
When Paine arrived in Philadelphia from England in 1774, the city was thriving as America’s largest port. But the seasonal dangers of the rivers dividing the region were becoming an obstacle to the city’s continued growth. Philadelphia needed a practical connection between the rich grain of Pennsylvania’s backcountry farms and its port on the Delaware. The iron bridge was Paine’s solution. The bridge was part of Paine’s answer to the central political challenge of the new nation: how to sustain a republic as large and as geographically fragmented as the United States. The iron construction was Paine’s brilliant response to the age-old challenge of bridge technology: how to build a structure strong enough to withstand the constant battering of water, ice, and wind. The convergence of political and technological design in Paine’s plan was Enlightenment genius. And Paine drew other giants of the period as patrons: Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and for a time his great ideological opponent, Edmund Burke. Paine’s dream ultimately was a casualty of the vicious political crosscurrents of revolution and the American penchant for bridges of cheap, plentiful wood. But his innovative iron design became the model for bridge construction in Britain as it led the world into the industrial revolution.
Topic: Her book - Exhibiting Health: Public Health Displays in the Progressive Era, Rutgers University Press, 2020.
In the early twentieth century, public health reformers approached the task of ameliorating unsanitary conditions and preventing epidemic diseases with optimism. Using exhibits, they believed they could make systemic issues visual to masses of people. Embedded within these visual displays were messages about individual action. In some cases, this meant changing hygienic practices. In other situations, this meant taking up action to inform public policy. Reformers and officials hoped that exhibits would energize America’s populace to invest in protecting the public’s health. Exhibiting Health: Public Health Displays in the Progressive Era (Rutgers UP, 2020) is an analysis of the logic of the production and the consumption of this technique for popular public health education between 1900 and 1930. It examines the power and limits of using visual displays to support public health initiatives.
Topic: All the Lovers of the Sport Should Meet in New Orleans: Slavery and Freedom at the Racetrack.
Where & when: 2020 Williams Research Center Symposium, Historic New Orleans Collection, New Orleans, January 18, 2020.
Horse racing was the first mass-audience sport in the United States, and New Orleans was the home of the highest-class racing in the nation in the pre-Civil War period. The enslaved men who rode and trained at the city's tracks were the first black sports celebrities. The history of racing in New Orleans is also the history of how those men and their descendants made the transition from slavery to freedom and how they sought to gain equality along with that freedom. Jim Crow nearly erased their centuries of accomplishment, but they persevered. New Orleans tracks have fostered some of the most prominent African American horsemen.
Topic: Horse racing pushed out Black jockeys, trainers and owners. But one owner is pushing back.
Usually the Kentucky Derby kicks off in spring, but it took place in early September this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which threw the race schedule into chaos. The race was met with protests. Activists called out Greg Harbut, the only African American to race a horse at this year’s Kentucky Derby. They wanted him to boycott the race alongside them — in light of Breonna Taylor’s death this spring in Louisville. Harbut is the first African American owner to enter a horse in the Kentucky Derby in 13 years. His family has worked with champion race horses for nearly a century. KCRW speaks with Greg Harbut about his family’s legacy in horse racing. Also joining the conversation is Katherine Mooney, history professor at Florida State University and author of “Race Horse Men: How Slavery and Freedom Were Made at the Racetrack.”
Topic: His book – Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State, Oxford University Press, 2020.
Where & when: Interview with Stephen Pimpare on NewBooksNetwork, 30 April 2020.
"My book narrates how the bereaved parents of missing and slain children turned their grief into a mass movement and, alongside journalists and policymakers from both major political parties, propelled a moral panic. Leveraging larger cultural fears concerning familial and national decline, these child safety crusaders warned Americans of a supposedly widespread and worsening child kidnapping threat, erroneously claiming that as many as fifty thousand American children fell victim to stranger abductions annually. The actual figure was (and remains) between one hundred and three hundred, and kidnappings perpetrated by family members and acquaintances occur far more frequently.
Yet such exaggerated statistics-and the emotionally resonant images and narratives deployed behind them-led to the creation of new legal and cultural instruments designed to keep children safe and to punish the “strangers” who ostensibly wished them harm. Ranging from extensive child fingerprinting drives to the milk carton campaign, from the AMBER Alerts that periodically rattle Americans’ smart phones to the nation’s sprawling system of sex offender registration, these instruments have widened the reach of the carceral state and intensified surveillance practices focused on children."
Topic: His book – Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State, Oxford University Press, 2020.
Where & when: Interview with Chuck Mertz, "This is Hell," June 10, 2020. Interview starts 18 min into the show.
Historian Paul M. Renfro on the child abduction panics of the 70s and 80s, America's political and social response, and his book "Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State" from Oxford University Press.
Topic: His book - Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State, Oxford University Press, 2020.
Dan interviews historian Paul Renfro on his book Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State.
Topic: Hitler's Management of the Germans: Coercion, Compromise and the View from Washington?
Where & when: Talk in the Richard M. Krasno Distinguished Lecture Series at UNC Chapel Hill on January 20, 2015.
"How much power did Hitler have, really? We are approaching this question by asking how did Hitler manage dissent? Dissent occurred only after manipulations had failed, and the immediate choice was whether to use force or to make some compromise, at least for the moment. The regime always wished to prevent dissent, whether through deceptions, camouflage, propaganda. The terror-system, always formed a backdrop to the Third Reich. And of course, Hitler and the Nazis did not change their ideology. It seems to me, however, that party leaders, and in particular Hitler, were opportunistic about the tactics they used. They tried to match their methods with the immediate circumstances in light of long-term goals, established by ideology. Thus, Hitler did not rule through charisma and terror alone.
But under what circumstances did Hitler use compromise as a tactic for coming out on top, rather than resorting to instrumental force? For what reasons and to what extent? How significant are these compromises for understanding Hitler’s system of leadership? This is a discussion of what we know with a focus on compromises Hitler made to stay in step with the Germans. A relevant image is of a dance, with Hitler the malevolent leader of the dance conducting the people across the floor from their traditional beliefs to exclusively Nazi perspectives."
Topic: How Modern Was Hitler’s Dictatorship?
Where & when: Talk at the Woodrow Wilson Center on Monday, October 2, 2017.
Scholars distinguish traditional from modern dictatorships on the basis of their goals and tactics. Hitler and Stalin epitomize the traditional, marked by reliance on violence and efforts to impose ideologies. Today’s dictators rely primarily on other means to maintain popularity and power and do not seek social revolution. Nathan Stoltzfus argues that Hitler’s goals of mass murder and his resolve to change German beliefs limited his reliance on instrumental force to rule his own Volk.
Topic: Her book - Archipelago of Justice: Law in France's Early Modern Empire, Yale University Press, 2020.
Where & when: Interview with Julia M. Gossard on NewBooksNetwork, 23 July 2020.
"Historians have long treated the Atlantic and Indian Ocean routes of early modern French empire separately. But, early modern people understood France as a bi-oceanic empire, connected by vast but strong pathways of commercial, intellectual, and legal exchange. Laurie M. Wood’s Archipelago of Justice: Law in France’s Early Modern Empire (Yale UP, 2020) recasts our view of France’s empire by evaluating the interwoven trajectories of the people, like itinerant ship-workers and colonial magistrates, who built France’s first empire in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in the long eighteenth century. Imperial subjects like these sought political and legal influence via law courts, with strategies that reflected local and regional priorities, especially in regards to slavery, war, and trade. Courts became liaisons between France and new colonial possessions.