7 Benavides procession 1915

Catholic Borderlands

This vision of the borderlands recognizes that it is more than a single geographic space along the U.S.-Mexico border. Rather, the borderlands encompasses a wider swath of American interaction with Spanish peoples in asserting influence and control. American Catholics simultaneously benefited from and sought to undermine various aspects of American expansion.

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When JFK Was Shot


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Othello, a Stage History


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15 Minute History

Episode 59: John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company


Perhaps no individual in American history has achieved such meteoric heights as John D. Rockefeller, who embodies the image of the self-made man who rose from humble origins to become one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.  He has also become the archetype of the ruthless capitalist, singlehandedly crushing competition and ignoring attempts to restrict or regulate his activities. Love him or hate him, his name casts a long shadow over the early 20th century.

Guest Henry Wiencek explores the deep contradictions and equally varied representations of John D. Rockefeller, the self-made millionaire whose name became synonymous with industry and free enterprise.

Listen to the podcast (or read a transcript) here on our website.

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Episode 58: Islam’s First Civil War


In 7th century Arabia, the Islamic community was nearly torn apart by a civil war over the assassination of the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan (d. 656), and the accession to the caliphate of Muhammad’s adopted son Ali, supported by Uthman’s assassins. The events of the first fitna, as it is known, are often portrayed as a struggle over the right to rule the Islamic community, but it was much more—a power struggle between Muhammad’s wife Aisha and Ali, and a dispute over who had the right to avenge the murder of Uthman.

In picking up where Episode 57 left off, guest Shahrzad Ahmadi describes this tragic turn of events that sent shockwaves through the nascent Islamic community, and that continue to reverberate today.

Listen to podcast (or read transcript) of the podcast here on our website 

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