Episode 122: The History of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy in the U.S.

Host: Christopher Rose, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Historical Studies
Guest: Chris Babits, Andrew W. Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow

Sexual orientation conversion therapy, the attempt to change one’s sexual orientation through psychological or therapeutic practice, has now been banned in 17 American states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, three Canadian provinces, one state in Australia and several nations in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Beyond the merits of sexual orientation conversion therapy as a medical practice, however, lies a social importance of what the practice represents for a segment of American society.

Today’s guest, Chris Babits, is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, where he researches the history of the practice and why so many people still support it, even in the face of opposition from medical and psychological professionals.

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Episode 121: The Case for Women’s History

Cover of Oxford Handbook of American Women's and Gender HistoryIn the spring of 2019, a widely circulated column assailed the field of history for being too “esoteric,” in particular calling out subfields like women’s and gender studies. The executive director of the American Historical Association, Jim Grossman, wrote a response suggesting that the critic should have talked to actual historians about why fields that may seem esoteric are actually very valuable. Today’s guests are the editors of the Oxford Handbook of American Women’s and Gender History.

Ellen Hartigan O’Connor and Lisa Materson, both professors of history at the University of California, Davis, join us to discuss the field of women’s studies, which as they’ve argued in the introduction to the book, is not an esoteric topic at all, but actually quite critical to our understanding of American history.

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Episode 74: The Changsha Rice Riots of 1910

Host: Christopher Rose, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UT-Austin
Guest: James Joshua Hudson, Visiting Assistant Professor, Knox College

HIS_8In the waning days of China’s Qing Empire, a riot broke out in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. After two years of flooding, a starving woman had drowned herself in desperation after an unscrupulous merchant refused to sell her food at a price she could afford. Three days of rioting followed during which symbols of Qing power were destroyed by an angry mob, which then turned its sights on Changsha’s Western compound. Historians have long assumed the mob was controlled by the landed gentry, but as nearly every dictator knows, a crowd has a mind of its own.

James Joshua Hudson, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Knox College, describes the riots and some surprising finds he made conducting fieldwork in Hunan that offer a glimpse into the deeply layered tensions on the eve of the downfall of the Qing dynasty.

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