On January 1, 1900, an editorial in the New York World predicted that the twentieth century would “meet and overcome all perils and prove to be the best that this steadily improving planet has ever seen.” The war that broke out just a few years later in 1914 showed that the twentieth century would become something entirely different.
15 Minute History
During the explosion of African American cultural and political activity that came to be known as the Harlem Renaissance, a number of white women played significant roles. Their involvement with blacks as authors, patrons, supporters and participants challenged ideas about race and gender and proper behavior for both blacks and whites at the time. Guest Carla Kaplan, author of Miss Anne in Harlem: White Women of the Harlem Renaissance, joins us to talk about the ways white women crossed both racial and gender lines during this period of black affirmation and political and cultural assertion.
In the early 20th century, an unprecedented cultural and political movement brought African-American culture and history to the forefront of the US. Named the Harlem Renaissance after the borough where it first gained traction, the movement spanned class, gender, and even race to become one of the most important cultural movements of the interwar era. Guest Frank Guridy joins us to discuss the multifaceted, multilayered movement that inspired a new generation of African-Americans—and other Americans—and demonstrated the importance of Black culture and its contributions to the West.
In the late 15th century, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope and conquered the Indian Ocean, bringing the rich trade under the direct control of the crowned heads of Europe and their appointed Indian Ocean Trading Companies. Or did he? Did Europe ever really come to dominate the 90,000 year old trade, or did it become just another in a series of actors competing for attention in an antique system of exchanges and commodities? Guest Susan Douglass offers a nuanced view of the last five hundred years of European encounters with a deeply established international economy, makes the case that the remarkable story of this resource rich region isn’t over just yet.
Every American schoolchild knows that Columbus sailed west to reach Asia with the hopes of finding precious metals, expensive fabrics, and exotic spices: all goods that were being traded in the Indian Ocean, and had been for millennia. Ancient Greek texts describe an active Indian Ocean economy. Some scholars have even linked the peopling of Australia to a slow, methodic collecting of resources along the coastal route from east Africa. In the first of a two part episode, guest Susan Douglass, author of the Indian Ocean in World History web site, describes the murky beginnings of trade and travel in the Indian Ocean basin, and the cultural exchanges and influences that the trade had in the days before the Europeans arrived.
In the first months of 2014, a popular uprising in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine led to the deposition of the Ukrainian president and triggered an intervention of the Crimean peninsula by Ukraine’s neighbor, Russia. No one knows what’s going to happen next in Ukraine, but we can try to understand how we got to this point. What led to such deep and widespread discontent? What are the historical connections between Russia and Ukraine? How does Ukraine’s complex mix of ethnicities contribute to its sense of national identity? What role did economics and global geopolitics play? Guest Charles E. King from Georgetown University discusses the state of Ukrainian-Russian relations, and historical developments in Ukraine itself, before and after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 to help us understand the situation in Ukraine today.