#112 The Ottoman Empire and the Rise of the Modern Middle East w/ Eugene Rogan

At the beginning of the 20th century, most of the territory that we call the Middle East- including Syria, Iraq, Israel and Turkey- were part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman alliance w/ Germany and Austria-Hungary during World War I provided Britain and France w/ the opportunity to divide the once-great empire into many states based on European imperial ambitions. In this episode Bob and Ben speak w/ Dr. Eugene Rogan to learn more about why the Ottoman Empire was divided, how that process explains a lot about the region today, and how this history can help us make better decisions today.

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#23.2 Felon Disfranchisement and Citizenship in the US w/ Pippa Holloway (w/ update)

On November 6, 2018, the people of Florida voted to amend their state’s constitution to restore voting rights to an estimated one and a half million citizens who had lost this right due to a prior felony conviction. In recognition of this significant restoration of rights, we’re re-airing our interview w/ Pippa Holloway on the history of felon disfranchisement and citizenship in America (originally aired Oct. 10, 2016) along with an additional interview w/ Pippa recorded Nov. 10, 2018 on the Florida amendment’s implications and the path to ratification.

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#111 Dvořák in America w/ Matt Negrin

What does it mean to be American? This isn't just a question for us in 2018 -- it was an unanswered question for the country in the late 19th century when it came to musical identity. And of all the people to try to answer it, it may have been the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak who came closest, while living in New York City and a small town in Iowa during the 1890s. Dvorak harnessed what he experienced -- African-American folk tunes, Native American culture, sounds of nature -- and worked them into four pieces including his most famous, the symphony "From the New World." In this episode, Bob Crawford and Matt Negrin (neither of whom are experts on Dvorak but who did play viola like Dvorak) sit in the Russian Tea Room next to Carnegie Hall where the New World symphony debuted to discuss their favorite classical music composer, and what it must have been like to be Dvorak in America.

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#110 Gerry Adams and the Global Road to Peace

Gerry Adams has dedicated most of his life to finding an end to the conflict that engulfed Northern Ireland since his youth. As the President of Sinn Féin, he played a crucial role in facilitating the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which brought about an end to a three decade-long period of violence known as “The Troubles.” In doing so, he built connections with civil rights leaders from around the world, including Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela, and learned some valuable lessons about the humanity that connects all people regardless of their race, religion or national origins. In this episode of The Road to Now, Gerry shares his story of struggle and how he found a road to peace at a time when few believed it was possible. Also joining us on today’s episode is Ben’s friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Doyle, who was kind enough to help explain the history of Northern Ireland and why Gerry Adams was such a crucial figure in that country’s history.

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RTN Theology #6 The Road to Hope? The Challenges of Faith in Politics

Discussing the relationship between faith and the public sphere has been a part of America’s story since its beginning. Over the past decade, the presence of Christian faith in public policy and politics has been questioned and challenged in new and unique ways. How are citizens, Christian and non-Christian alike, to respond to issues of faith in politics? Join former Obama staffer Michael Wear and Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities at Duke University Farr Curlin for a conversation moderated by musician and The Road to Now podcast host Bob Crawford to hear Christian perspectives on these enduring questions.

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#109 Presidential Impeachment w/ Jeffrey Engel

Bob and Ben speak with Southern Methodist University’s Jeffrey Engel about the history of Presidential impeachment and how understanding the past can inform the debates surrounding the impeachment of current and future Presidents. Jeff’s new book Impeachment: An American History, which he co-authored w/ Peter Baker, Jon Meacham, and Timothy Naftali is out from Modern Library on October 16, 2018.

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#107 Laughing at Stalin: The Politics of Humor w/ Jon Waterlow

Bob and Ben speak with Jon Waterlow about his new book It’s Only a Joke Comrade! Humor, Trust and Everyday Life Under Stalin and the role humor plays in helping humans make sense of the world in even the darkest times. Jon also shares his take on humor’s role in politics under Stalin and today, the process he went through to uncover these jokes, and how the artistic technique of crosshatching helps us understand what it was like to live under the Stalinist system. He also discusses his decision to forego publishing his book with an academic publisher and why he decided to leave a bright future in the academy to purse fulfillment elsewhere.

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#106 Why You Should Vote w/ Andy Bernstein

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, September 25th, and Bob and Ben are doing their part to get the word out. In this episode we speak with HeadCount Executive Director Andy Bernstein to talk about the work HeadCount has been doing to get people registered to vote, the importance of staying on top of local and national politics, and why your vote counts. Since 2004, HeadCount has registered more than half a million voters by working with bands (including The Avett Brothers) to use their concerts as a forum for reaching out to young voters.

If you’re not registered to vote, go to HeadCount.org and learn how to make sure your voice is heard in the 2018 elections and beyond!

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RTN Theology #5: Jeremy Begbie on Theology Of And Through the Arts

In this installment of Road to Now Theology, Bob and Pastor Chris Breslin of Oak Church in Durham, NC sit down with Duke University’s Thomas A. Langford Distinguished Professor of Theology, Jeremy Begbie for a discussion about how we can see God’s presence in our own creative expression. Begbie uses music to try and explain hard to grasp theological concepts like the trinity, as described in his 2018 Eerdmans release, Redeeming Transcendence in the Arts

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#105 Charlie Cook on the 2018 Midterm Elections

This week we take a deep dive into the upcoming Midterm Elections with Editor and Publisher of The Cook Political Report, and NBC News political analyst, Charlie Cook. Since 1984 Charlie has been the preeminent election forecaster for politicians, pundits, and political junkies alike. Charlie joins Bob for a one on one interview and helps to bring a historical perspective to the state of both major political parties.

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#104 Bill Plante & Olivier Knox on Journalism and Politics (live at Glover Park Group)

Veteran journalists Bill Plante & Olivier Knox join Bob & Ben for a conversation about the press and how journalism has changed in recent years. Bill Plante covered politics for CBS News from 1964 until 2016, and had a front row seat to some of the most significant events in the last half century, including the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. Olivier Knox is the President of the White House Correspondents Association and the Chief Washington Correspondent for SiriusXM, and has covered American politics for more than two decades. Their conversation covers a variety of pressing topics, including the relationship between journalism and politics, the role of a free press in a democracy, and the journalists’ responsibility to the public.

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#103 How the American Dream Became Temporary w/ Louis Hyman

Bob and Ben speak with Cornell University’s Louis Hyman about the origins of the so-called “good job” in the mid-20th century, and the forces that led us from there to what he calls the “second industrious revolution.” He also explains how we might structure the economy of the 21st century in a way that offers the freedom of the gig economy without the insecurity that so many face under our current institutions.

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#102 Stand Up Comedy & Los Angeles w/ Pat Reilly

Ben talks with Sociologist Pat Reilly, whose research examines the organization and economics of stand up comedy in Los Angeles. Pat explains what makes stand up a unique form of entertainment, the ways stand up has changed since it began, and how comics deal with issues such a joke theft. Ben and Pat also talk about their own experiences as stand up comics, and the challenges of joining, being part of, and leaving a comedy scene.

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#100 RTN One Hundred

Bob and Ben reflect on the first one hundred episodes of The Road to Now, the state of politics, and what they’ve learned since the first episode launched in May 2016. Bob explains what he thinks most people get wrong about history and the way that hosting RTN and beginning graduate studies have changed his relationship to history, Ben gives his insight on the current state of the US-Russian relationship and why he thinks nostalgia is a big part of the problem in today’s politics, and both say thank you to everyone for helping us turn an idea into a successful podcast.

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#99 The History & Politics of the World Cup w/ Alex Galarza & Matt Negrin

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is underway in Russia, so Ben sat down with soccer historian Alex Galarza and RTN favorite Matt Negrin to talk about the history of the World Cup. We discuss the corruption that has plagued FIFA, the controversy surrounding FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, and what factors helped propel soccer into the world’s most popular sport. We also share some of our favorite experiences at soccer matches abroad and celebrate the recent announcement that the United States, Canada and Mexico will jointly host the 2026 World Cup.

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Episode 33: Jim Cornette on the History of Professional Wrestling

There’s a good chance you don’t appreciate how engrained professional wrestling is in American history and culture, and this episode is about to change that. We didn’t know all this either until wrestling legend Jim Cornette was kind enough to spend an hour taking us from wrestling’s origins in the late 19th century up to the sport as it exists today. Jim knows the sport like no other- he’s been part of the professional wrestling scene since the 1970s, and currently hosts the tremendously popular podcast The Jim Cornette Experience.

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