BackStory' History Guys to Examine Unemployment in Live Taping of Radio Show

May 28, 2009 — Join the creators of "BackStory with the American History Guys" on June 19 at 5:30 p.m. for a live taping of the radio show at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

U.Va. history professor Peter Onuf, University of Richmond president Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh, chairman of the Miller Center's Governing America in a Global Era Program, will discuss "Looking for Work: A History of Unemployment" and explore themes such as joblessness, immigration and internal migration through three centuries of American life.

Central questions for the hour will include:

• When did the concept of unemployment arise in the first place?
• How did industrialization change our notion of "the job?"
• Are people more or less attached to their professions than they used to be?
• How has Americans' search for work shaped the American landscape?
• What has it meant for American workers that there are almost always new immigrants willing to work for less?

The event is free, but attendance at the reception which follows the program is limited to the
first 200 people who sign up. To register for the reception, visit, or call Amber Lautigar at 434-982-3719.

In advance of the taping, the show's producers are asking people to visit the "BackStory" Web site and contribute their ideas, questions and personal stories about the topic to incorporate into the show. During the taping, audience members will be invited to pose questions to the "History Guys."

"BackStory with the American History Guys" brings historical perspective to the events happening around us today. On each episode of the show, "18th-century guy" Onuf, "19th-century guy" Ayers and "20th-century guy" Balogh take a current event and plumb its historical depths. Over the course of the hour, they are joined by fellow historians, people in the news and callers interested in exploring the roots of what's going on today. Together, they drill down to colonial times and earlier, revealing the connections (and disconnections) between past and present.

"BackStory" is produced at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and receives support from the Miller Center and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2008, the program was a recipient of the Federation of State Humanities Councils' Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize, given each year to recognize the most imaginative and significant public humanities projects in the nation. More information can be found at