Lectures & Speaking Topics

From Mortgage Crisis to Market Meltdown: The Depression of 1873 and Its Lessons
It was a terrible time: banks with bad mortgages started it, complex financial instruments prolonged it, and poor risk analysis made it seem to last forever. This was not the Crisis that began in 2008, but the Great Depression of 1873. Professor Nelson will demonstrate the eerie parallels between that six-year-plus financial crash and today’s financial problems, describe those who prevailed, and share lessons for today.
The Death of John Henry and the African American Roots of Rock and Roll
How do chilling stories about murder and mayhem form the basis of American popular music? Nelson explores how white murder ballads melded with African-American field hollers and ring shouts to become the hybrid musical form we call rock and roll.
Revolution in a Can: How Branded Foods Made America an International Superpower
George Orwell hated tinned food, calling it a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun. Nelson looks at how American processed food actually emerged as a vital tool for the Union Army during the American Civil War, building brands like Armour, Swift, and Van Camp.
The Depression of 1893 and the Birth of American Progressivism
The panic of 1893 brought the “Avalanche of 1894,” the largest partisan shift in Congress in U.S. history. It also fractured both parties and ushered in the political movement we call Progressivism. How did a bitter railroad strike change the course of American history?

Find a Speaker by Name