History

Book Cover For 'In A Different Key'
Crown Publishers

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.  

The term "autism" dates back to the 1930s when a pediatrician named Hans Asperger coined it to describe young boys he was treating who had high intelligence but limited social skills.

The new book, "In A Different Key: The Story of Autism" (Crown/2016) looks at the term and documents how scientific and popular understanding of the disorder have shifted and evolved tremendously in the past century.

photo of a spread at Grady's Barbecue in Dudley, N.C.
Rien Fertel

North Carolina is the number two producer of pigs in America, and barbeque is by most accounts the state’s food. But historian Rien Fertel argues that most barbecue writing is hyperbole. 

In his new book “The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook The Whole Hog,” (Touchstone/2016) he examines the history of the southern barbecue art, and the wide range of mythology surrounding the meat and those who tend to it.

State of Things Host Frank Stasio hosts a broadcast at the Duke Chapel on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 to commemorate the chapel's reopening.
Duke Photography

Duke University has reopened the iconic chapel at the center of its Durham campus after a $19 million renovation.

Crews have been working for a year to restore the limestone walls and ceiling that define the chapel's Gothic architecture. 

In a special broadcast at Duke Chapel, university archivist Valerie Gillispie told WUNC’s "The State of Things" the chapel has served as an institutional icon at Duke for nearly 90 years.

Leesa Jones

The story of the American Civil War is often told through famous battles and important generals. But that narrative doesn’t accurately represent North Carolina’s civil war story. In this state, the impact of the civil war was felt more on the homefront, within the homes, families and communities of ordinary people. The North Carolina Museum of History has begun an effort to pay tribute to these lesser-known Civil War stories through the North Carolina Civil War History Center, set to open in 2020.

Image of Katharine Wright sitting beside Wilbur before her first flight in 1909.
Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University

The state of North Carolina has many claims to fame, but there is likely none more popular or controversial than the slogan on the state license plate: “First In Flight.” The phrase commemorates the spectacular achievement of brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright who piloted their first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.

    

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun's smiling self-portrait.
Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun / Wikimedia Commons

A white-toothed smile is a gesture that many likely engage in dozens of times a day without thought. Historian Colin Jones traced the history of the smile and found a toothy smile is a relatively young phenomenon. 

In his recent book, "The Smile Revolution In Eighteenth Century Paris," he argues that the white-tooth smile emerged in 18th century Paris in conjunction with the cult of sensibility and the creation of modern dentistry.

The Biltmore Company

Biltmore House is bringing Downton Abbey to Asheville with a new exhibit featuring more than 40 original costumes from the show.“Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times” traces the evolution of fashion and social norms during the early 20th century and draws a number of parallels between

Laura Wagner/ The Radio Haiti Archive

Radio Haiti was the first independent Haitian radio station and the first public media platform to broadcast largely in Creole. Under the leadership of journalists Jean Dominique and Michele Montas, the station spent decades covering the social, cultural and political stories often ignored by most other Haitian media. Radio Haiti was shut down by the government a number of times and was under constant government pressure while it was on the air.

Creative Commons/ Wellcome Library, London

Writer Megan Mahew Bergman describes her newest collection of short stories as “10 years of my reading life.” Almost Famous Women (Scribner/2015) is historical fiction that explores the lives of powerful and unusual women who have remained in the margins of history. The stories range from an account of conjoined twins who were sold into show business in North Carolina, to the life and legacy of Africa’s first female horse trainer. Host Frank Stasio talks to Megan Mahew Bergman about women who took risks, broke rules, and disrupted cultural and gender norms in the early to mid 20th century.

Image of William Shakespeare.
Flickr/Books18

This year marks the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare, and worldwide celebrations earlier this year indicated that his life and work continue to transcend racial, ethnic and geographic boundaries. 

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