Launched in 2021 — a podcast from the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and hosted by its director William Deverell, historian of the American West — seeks to engage Angelenos, Californians, and Westerners as critical thinkers, conscious consumers, and informed community members. The podcast tells the fascinating stories of the people and communities of our region, connecting the past to the present, and demonstrating the tightly woven fabric of history.
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Western Edition is a production of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.
Season 1: The West on Fire
The West on Fire, explores the West’s relationship with fire, and how it has shaped both our past and present. Topics include fire practices in Indigenous communities, the history of Black firefighters in Los Angeles, smoke and urban air quality, farmworker community health during wildfires, post-wildfire debris flow, the origins and endurance of Smokey Bear, incarcerated firefighters, and more.
Season 2: L.A. Chinatown
L.A.’s Chinatown is a bustling cultural and business hub, legendary in cinematic history and popular with tourists and locals alike. Yet below its surface lies a challenging history – of racial discrimination as well as community resilience – going back more than a century and a half. This season explores the past, present, and future of one of L.A.’s oldest neighborhoods and one of the first Chinese American cultural centers in the U.S. Expanding on ICW’s multi-year Chinatown History Project. Episodes focus on the many ways we view Chinatown, both in L.A. and nationally; the Los Angeles Anti-Chinese Massacre of 1871; exclusion and inclusion of the Chinese American community; the erasure of old Chinatown and the emergence of new Chinatown; the long L.A. history of the See family; and the future of Chinatown in the era of COVID, the Stop Asian Hate movement, gentrification, and more. Season 2 of Western Edition is produced by Avishay Artsy, Katie Dunham, Greg Hise, Jessica Kim, Elizabeth Logan, Olivia Ramirez, Li Wei Yang, and Stephanie Yi.
Season 3: Memorializing the West
Given the nation’s widespread and often heated reckoning with sites of memorialization and commemoration in recent years, the new season of Western Edition questions six such sites across the American West from Catalina Island to Daly City, California; Jackson, Wyoming to Los Angeles; Denver to San Antonio.
Who put that plaque there? Who decided that a statue needed to be fixed on a plinth in that space or on that street corner? And when? Why was it worth marking or remembering? Is it still important or significant, perhaps now maybe for different reasons? Do community members, people who walk by, or those who make an effort to visit, find these places and the words written about them meaningful?