Culture, the Revolution, and the Beginnings of the American Fertility Transition

Economic, demographic, and sociological studies of historical fertility transitions have tended to seek direct, quantifiable correlations between economic change and the fiscal well-being of heads of household--that is, of men. The prevailing assumption has been that men make fertility decisions and that they make these decisions based entirely on simple cost-benefit analyses. Women's perceptions and goals have been largely ignored as have cultural and political transformations.

Devouring the Earth: How British Food Changed the World

Between 1750 and 1900, the British diet underwent significant change, becoming much richer in meat, wheat, and sugar. This talk explores a series of significant consequences of this dietary transition, including the transformation of agrarian ecologies across the globe, and the accelerated, human-driven evolution of cattle, pigs, wheat and sugar. At a national scale, this recognizably “British” diet, albeit one with regional peculiarities, provided the calorie flows necessary for the domestic labor force to power the industrial revolution. While calorie levels rose on the British mainland, there were also a growing list of dietary pathologies, from constipation, food allergy, diverticulitis and tooth decay to anorexia nervosa and obesity. Our contemporary food crises--including world hunger, the diabetes epidemic and the limits of human global carrying capacity--has a much deeper history.

Disease, People, and Environment: The Plague in China

Many of the biological organisms and processes linked to the spread of infectious diseases are especially influenced by fluctuations in climate variables, notably temperature, precipitation and humidity. Evidently, in its passage from one individual to another, a pathogen is dependent on a specific mode of transmission and a particular configuration of various external factors. Temperature and humidity are crucial with respect to its reproduction, survival and infectiousness.

Fault Lines: The Urban-Rural Divide in America (a History Talk podcast)

Today, urban and rural areas seem more distant than ever. Pitted against one another on a range of economic, political and social issues, many attributed the outcome of the 2016 election to the frustrations of just 15% of rural American voters. But is the divide that clear? Are the differences that stark? And are conflicts between rural and urban areas a new phenomenon? Explore the history of rural-urban conflicts with hosts Brenna Miller and Jessica Blissit as they speak with three experts on rural-urban relations: Steven Conn, Clay Howard, and Mark Partridge.