New Podcast Launches With Focus on Humanities

Photo of Soterios Johnson with text: A podcast by UC Davis, The Backdrop, hosted by Soterios Johnson.
Soterios Johnson is the host of the new podcast, The Backdrop.

UC Davis’ newest podcast will showcase its experts in social sciences, humanities, arts and culture.

The Backdrop, a UC Davis podcast exploring the world of ideas, launches today (Dec. 15) with an interview between host Soterios Johnson and professor of history and conspiracy theory expert Kathryn Olmsted. Each month, Johnson will interview a new researcher or scholar.


Johnson is an experienced interviewer and podcast host, having spent 22 years at WNYC, including 15 years as the local host of Morning Edition.

He now hosts UC Davis LIVE: COVID-19 every other week. Prior to the pandemic, he wrote the Capital Culture List blog — and hosted a companion podcast — focused on local entertainment and cultural events.

In addition to his role at UC Davis, Johnson is the Weekend Edition host at Capital Public Radio and hosts the California Now Podcast for Visit California, focused on the people, places and experiences that make the state a unique travel destination.

On the first episode of The Backdrop, Olmsted discusses her work studying the history and impact of conspiracy theories on American society and politics. She also offers advice on how people can avoid falling prey to them. Olmsted is the author of the book Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11.  She has written two previous books on secrecy in the U.S. government.

The first episode is available on The Backdrop’s website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other platforms.

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

Primary Category