In March 2011, many Syrians stood up in the midst of the Arab Spring to protest President Bashar al-Assad and demand the country’s leader step down. Since then, a tumultuous civil war has ensued between the government, its citizens and rebel extremists.
In 2015, folk singer and songwriter Tift Merritt was busy as a touring musician. At the time she had spent years on the road, was approaching 40 years old and was getting a divorce so she decided to take a year off from touring. During that time she processed her role as a writer and individual. Out of that reflection came her latest album, “Stitch of the World.”
As Donald Trump’s inauguration draws closer, popular culture wrestles the influence of the president-elect. In its latest episode, ‘Lemons,’ the ABC television show ‘Black-ish’ grappled with post-election grief and what the impending presidency might mean for communities of color.
Host Frank Stasio talked with popular culture experts Mark Anthony Neal and Natalie Bullock Brown about the program and how it compares to political commentary in other television shows.
In the summer of 2014, writer Susan Rivers was busy researching historical documents in her local library when she came across something interesting. It was an inquest from 1865 about a young woman who was accused of giving birth to a child and murdering the infant while her husband was away fighting for the Confederacy.
Note: this program is a rebroadcast from August 17, 2016.
For years, the Pentagon has partnered with conservation groups to protect hundreds of endangered and threatened species on military bases across the country.
The partnership started at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in the early 1990s after a rare woodpecker was found and halted training on parts of the base. Since then, the military and conservationists have worked together to manage the bases' rich ecosystems.
Note: This program is a rebroadcast from January 9, 2017.
Activist Bree Newsome gained national attention in the summer of 2015 when she was arrested for scaling the flagpole at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, and removing the Confederate flag. The act of civil disobedience took place in the wake of the killing of nine African-American people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
Bluegrass singer and songwriter Sierra Hull has been playing music professionally since she was just a kid.
Now, at 25, Sierra has released a new album that is a departure from her previous work. "Weighted Mind" features a more stripped down version of Sierra Hull's sound- a departure from her earlier works. “Weighted Mind” is nominated for a Grammy.
Host Frank Stasio talks with Hull about her life and career, and she performs songs from her new album.
As the year wraps up, "The State of Things" takes a moment to reflect on the highlights of 2016 with the program's producers. Some of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond's favorite segments include conversations with hip-hop producer 9th Wonder and hip-hop artist Rapsody.
He also chose a conversation with members of the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team and recaps what brought identical twin comedians the Sklar brothers to the Triangle.
Host Frank Stasio talks with producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond about his favorite conversations from 2016.
It's easy to think of a "selfie" as a narcissistic way to accrue "likes" on social media and flaunt your latest traveling adventures. But every "selfie" tells a story about the photographer's world.
Negar Mottahedeh, associate professor of literature at Duke University in Durham, says taking a selfie is a humanizing way to document history in the age of social media. In a recent speech at TEDxDurham, Mottahedeh illustrated the ways selfies can be used as tools for protest and citizen journalism.
Professors and popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal reflect on music, film and broadcast media of 2016.
As the year comes to a close, popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown, professor of film and broadcast media at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, and Mark Anthony Neal, professor of African & African American Studies at Duke University in Durham, reflect on cultural media that stood out to in 2016. They shared some of their favorites from the year in music, movies and television on The State of Things with host Frank Stasio.
Back in the mid-1990s, singer/songwriter Elizabeth Haddix had just entered law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when she realized academics should not be the only thing in her life. On the first day of class, she went to the local music store and bought herself an acoustic guitar to fill her passion for a creative outlet.
When most people hear “Rose Bowl,” they immediately think Pasadena, California. But in 1942, the Rose Bowl was relocated to Durham, North Carolina, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It's the only Rose Bowl played outside of Pasadena, and the game almost did not happened.
On November 26, 1996, a group of housekeepers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill settled a lawsuit with the university that provided the workers with increased wages, improved career training and education programs and more transparent communication with university administrators.
The settlement was the culmination of a movement led by the UNC Housekeeper's Association. The group's efforts follow a legacy of activism by workers at UNC-CH.
Dean Smith is known as a legendary basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His teams won 879 games and two NCAA national championships.
But one of Smith's most crowning achievements isn't instilled in a trophy. In 1967, Smith recruited basketball player Charlie Scott, the first African-American scholarship athlete at UNC-CH. It was a seminal act for Smith and furthered his push for civil rights in the South.
More than 30 years ago, comedian Paula Poundstone hopped on a Greyhound bus and traveled the country performing in small comedy clubs. Over the years, Poundstone rose up through the ranks of comedy and eventually earned her own HBO special.
Triangle-based musician Jasmé Kelly grew up singing in church choirs and eventually decided to pursue music as an independent musician. Kelly combines her upbringing in gospel with popular blues and soul aesthetics in her new album called "Lady Jasmé."
A cultural response to the election with professors and popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal.
After years of mostly staying out of the spotlight, comedian Dave Chappelle hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live" last week. Chappelle's opening monologue mirrored the stand-up comedy that helped make him famous more than a decade ago. Chappelle's jokes grappled with a Trump presidency.
For more than 80 years, the Landis family has gathered at their family farm in Creedmoor, N.C. for a family reunion. The event is a testament to the strong sense of place and kinship within the family.
Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn is most known for writing more than 100 symphonies in the 18th century. However, Haydn also wrote 175 compositions featuring a unique instrument: the baryton. The baryton is a string instrument similar to a cello in the front with six string that are bowed.
From the 1940s through the 1960s, a group of elite black women mathematicians known as "human computers" helped NASA put rockets, and eventually astronauts, into space. The women began working with federal aeronautical agencies at the Langley Research Laboratory during World War II, computing endless sets of data while enduring racial segregation and discrimination of the Jim Crow South.
Last night, North Carolinians watched as successful candidates for President, U.S. Senate, and State Supreme Court took to the podium to thank crowds of exuberant supporters in their acceptance speeches. But one race is still undecided: the race for North Carolina's governor. Only a few thousand votes separated Republican incumbent Pat McCrory from his Democratic challenger Roy Cooper.
Voters cast their ballots and elected Donald Trump as their 45th president. Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. North Carolinians also re-elected Republican Richard Burr to the Senate, and Democratic Judge Mike Morgan as the newest N.C. Supreme Court Justice.
When writing a short story, an author must be swift and succinct. A short story does not allow a plot the same amount of breathing room compared to a novel. Writers April Ayers Lawson and Clare Beams welcome the immediacy inherent in a short story as they integrate intimate and engaging tales into their work.
For Hank Willis Thomas, a good photograph is an image that sticks with somebody long after they first see it. As a photographer and conceptual artist, Thomas uses images to critique cultural perceptions about race, gender and class.