The Civil War historian talks about combining intellectual, cultural, social, and economic history to truly grasp the U.S.’s past, especially events that took place in the South. He shares with Fred how he helps make free, nonpartisan, educational resources for teaching lively history lessons.


 Past Episodes
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Edward Ayers, University of Richmond   

Edward L. Ayers is the Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus at the University of Richmond. Professor Ayers has been named National Professor of the Year, received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama at the White House, won the Bancroft, Beveridge, and Lincoln prizes in American history, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, served as president of the Organization of American Historians, and worked as the founding chair of the board of the American Civil War Museum. He is executive director of New American, dedicated to sharing innovative work in words, maps, audio, and video with broad audiences and the nation’s schools. His latest book is Southern Journey: The Migrations of the American Past, 17902020. Formerly, he served as Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia.

About Key Conversations 


Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa is a podcast featuring in-depth conversations between Fred Lawrence, Secretary/CEO of Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars. With a new episode released monthly, each podcast invites listeners to take a seat at the table to learn more about the featured Scholar's background, research, and how they have taken their respective paths to where they are now, and where they are headed. 

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America's most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.​

Our Host

Our Host

Frederick M. Lawrence is the 10th Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, he is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression, and bias crimes. Learn More.

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