US History

Freedom Dreams w/ Robin D.G. Kelley

27 Jan 2023
Featuring Robin D.G. Kelley on Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.

New Deal Ruins w/ Edward Goetz

17 Dec 2022
Featuring Edward Goetz on his book New Deal Ruins: Race, Economic Justice, and Public Housing Policy. Goetz tells the story of American public housing and then its destruction and dismantling, which took off in the...

Founding Finance with William Hogeland

02 Dec 2022
Astra Taylor interviews William Hogeland on his book Founding Finance: How Debt, Speculation, Foreclosures, Protests, and Crackdowns Made Us a Nation. Hogeland recovers a fascinating crop of mostly-forgotten rebels, the movements they led, and their...

Taming Free Speech w/ Laura Weinrib

25 Sep 2022
Featuring Laura Weinrib on The Taming of Free Speech: America’s Civil Liberties Compromise. Did you know that the ACLU was founded as a radical labor organization allied with the IWW? Weinrib traces the rise of...

Emancipation Circuit w/ Thulani Davis

18 Sep 2022
Featuring Thulani Davis on The Emancipation Circuit: Black Activism Forging a Culture of Freedom, a monumental history of freedpeople organizing amid the Civl War and Reconstruction.

Dead Generations w/ Matt Christman

30 Jul 2022
Featuring Matt Christman on how American history brought us to this awful present.

Transcript: The New Democrats w/ Lily Geismer

14 Jul 2022
Read the transcript here.

The American Right w/ Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell

18 Jun 2022
Know Your Enemy hosts Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell on terrifyingly protean right-wing American politics.

Gunpower Death Drive w/ Patrick Blanchfield

10 Jun 2022
Patrick Blanchfield analyzes the long history of US gun violence and the American death drive.

The New Democrats w/ Lily Geismer

05 Jun 2022
Dan’s second episode with historian Lily Geismer, who he interviewed in 2019 about Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party. This interview is on Left Behind: The Democrats’ Failed Attempt...

Invisible Hands w/ Kim Phillips-Fein

26 Feb 2022
Dan interviews historian Kim Phillips-Fein on Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan.

Occupy at 10 with Astra Taylor

25 Sep 2021
It’s Occupy Wall Street’s tenth anniversary. Dan interviews Astra Taylor.

Jesus and John Wayne w/ Kristin Kobes Du Mez

12 Aug 2021
Dan interviews historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez on her book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. “Having replaced the Jesus of the Gospels with the vengeful warrior...

Inflation Politics with Tim Barker

28 Jul 2021
Inflation is once again at the center of political debate. Dan interviews Tim Barker to put monetary policy in its historical and class war context.

The Ruling Class with Doug Henwood

29 Jun 2021
Who governs? Upon closer inspection, the composition of the ruling class has undergone huge changes that are driving this political moment. Dan interviews Doug Henwood, the author of “Take Me to Your Leader,” an extensive...

Empire's Workshop with Greg Grandin

21 Jun 2021
The history of the United States is in no small part the history of US intervention in Latin America. Historian Greg Grandin on his classic book Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the...

Hammer and Hoe with Robin D.G. Kelley

15 May 2021
Dan interviews historian Robin D.G. Kelley on his classic book Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists during the Great Depression.

The Social Question with Gabriel Winant

03 Jan 2021
Dan interviews historian and essayist Gabriel Winant on the social worlds that make US politics and how that sociality is rooted in the economy, carceral state, social media, religion, and more. Read these n+1essays and...

Anti-Populism with Thomas Frank

29 Nov 2020
Guest host Astra Taylor interviews Thomas Frank about his book The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.

Arctic Energy Frontiers with Bathsheba Demuth

02 Oct 2020
Bathsheba Demuth on her monumental book Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait. From the 19th century through today, governments and capitalists on the Russian, Soviet, and American Arctic borderlands extract energy from...

Philly Black Power with Matthew Countryman

03 Sep 2020
Dan interviews historian Matthew Countryman on his book Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia.

Young Lords with Johanna Fernández

16 Jul 2020
This is an incredible moment to learn about the Young Lords from historian Johanna Fernández, the author of The Young Lords: A Radical History.

Mike Davis on Prisoners of the American Dream

25 Jun 2020
Mike Davis on his classic book about why the US has long lacked strong socialist and labor politics. One recurrent answer: racism.

Fear City with Kim Phillips-Fein

13 Apr 2020
Dan interviews historian Kim Phillips-Fein about her book Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics and about how the destruction of social democracy made today’s city where coronavirus is killing...

Settler-Colonial Revolutionaries with Joshua Simon

01 Nov 2019
The divide between Latin American and the United States was not always so evident. Across the hemisphere, creoles—the descendants of European settlers, born in the Americas—launched revolutions to cast off European rule and preserve their...

From the archives: Aziz Rana on Two Faces of American Freedom

26 Jul 2019
Dan is taking his first week off ever in Dig history to finish his book. Here’s a classic from deep in the archives: our first interview with Aziz Rana, on his book The Two Faces...

Whither White Ethnics with Matthew Frye Jacobson

27 Jun 2018
Everyone wants to know what’s wrong with Appalachia. But beginning in the 1960s, it was “white ethics”—Italians, Irish, Polish, Jews and other non-WASPs—who broke from the New Deal coalition, embracing their Ellis Island immigrant roots...

Democracy in Chains with Nancy MacLean

05 Jun 2018
For libertarians, liberty means something different. It’s about liberty for property owners. And in their quest to preserve that absolute freedom for the ownership class—whether their assets be human slaves, factories or extractive industries—democracy must...

Two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal

02 Jun 2018
Fifty years ago, a mainstream group of high-profile Americans declared the following: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal. Reaction to last summer’s disorders has quickened the movement and...

Aziz Rana: The Cold War’s Late Demise

14 Feb 2018
What if the Cold War only just ended in November 2016, as Donald Trump grotesquely encircled and then captured the presidency, finding it, to his surprise, unguarded? The Cold War proper, of course, ended with...

Building an American Empire with Paul Frymer

30 Jan 2018
We are living on land from which indigenous people, over hundreds of years, were violently removed. On some level, everyone knows this—yet it’s mostly nowhere to be found in stories that Americans tell themselves about...

The Militant 70s Labor Movement You Never Heard of with Lane Windham

24 Jan 2018
Everyone agrees that the 1970s was the beginning of the end of capitalism as we had known it since the New Deal. But historian Lane Windham makes it clear that it wasn’t for a lack...

A New Poor People’s Campaign with Nijmie Dzurinko

16 Jan 2018
Martin Luther King Jr. launched the Poor People’s Campaign alongside other organizers shortly before he was assassinated 50 years ago. Today, organizers nationwide are relaunching that movement as The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call...

Killing the Black Body with Dorothy Roberts

09 Jan 2018
Chattel slavery made black women’s reproduction the source of private property—and in doing so invented race and American racism. Ever since, the denigration and regulation of black women’s childbearing has been central to the construction...

Troop Veneration and US Empire with Catherine Lutz

03 Jan 2018
The protest movement against the onset of the Iraq War was countered by a call to “support our troops” from militarists on the right. Venerating American soldiers, of course, is not about supporting actual American...

Peace Can Happen in Korea with Tim Shorrock

05 Dec 2017
View Transcript

Clintonism's Dreadful Legacy with Robert Reich

01 Dec 2017
Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary, explains one of Clintonism’s most dreadful results: President Trump. The new film available on Netflix, is Reich’s quasi-autobiographical documentary about the origins of contemporary political-economic inequality. The premise that...

A History of Human Caging with Kelly Lytle Hernández

14 Nov 2017
Historian Kelly Lytle Hernández tells the story of human caging in Los Angeles, from the Spanish Conquest to the mid-twentieth century, in her new book. It’s a story of indigenous exploitation and elimination, immigrant detention...

Universalizing American Liberty with Aziz Rana

31 Oct 2017
Rana overturns conventional accounts of American history, from settlement and Revolution to the Populists and the present day. In reality, settler-colonialism, empire, and a brutally exploitative economic system grounded in racial subjugation have always been...