Story+ Project

American Predatory Lending Podcasts


Overview: Over the past three years, a Duke Bass Connections team conducted oral history interviews about the developments in state-level residential mortgage markets that set the stage for economic turmoil in 2007-08 and beyond. Interviewees include legislators and policy-makers, advocates for borrowers, and actors in the real estate and financial markets. Drawing on these interviews, the American Predatory Lending (APL) Story+ team will begin the process of developing a set of 20- to 30-minute podcasts that explore key themes in that history, such as: the evolution of information technology and embrace of financial deregulation that transformed local mortgage origination, expanding sub-prime lending and opening the door to abusive lending practices; and the contending accounts of the causes of the financial crisis, as well as its lessons for policy-makers. Read more about the ongoing American Predatory Lending project.

Key words: deregulation; financial innovation; booms and busts; political economy of risk; memes and metanarratives

Preferred skills/interests for undergraduates:

  • Essential:
    • Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
    • Capacity to work cohesively and cooperatively on a team
    • Strong organizational skills
  • Advantageous but not essential:
    • Experience with podcast creation (narrative construction, audio editing, etc.)
    • Prior engagement with the APL project
    • Prior coursework related to American political economy, recent American history, the dynamics of regulatory policy, and the role of narrative/storytelling in politics and policy-making

Preferred skills/interests for the graduate student mentor:

The project manager for this team would need to mentor students (along with the project sponsor/PI) in the development of storylines, the selection of audio clips from American Predatory Lending oral history interviews, as well as any other audio background, the development of scripts for any framing commentary from narrators, and ideally, the production of 2 podcasts. This project might be especially appropriate for an MFA|EDA student with experience in podcasting or a History PhD student with a background in oral history.

Project Sponsor(s): 

Ed Balleisen, Professor of History and Public Policy


  • Deregulation
  • Finance
  • History
  • Podcast
  • Public Policy