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Today I interview Erin Reed. Reed is an activist, public speaker, and writer across multiple platforms, including a Substack newsletter, all of which she gathers under the title “Erin in the Morning.” Reed’s work centers on advocacy for the transgender community and the greater queer community. At the moment, she’s undertaken the momentous task of …
 
In this engaging life of the twentieth century’s most self-consciously learned dictator, Geoffrey Roberts explores the books Stalin read, how he read them, and what they taught him. Stalin firmly believed in the transformative potential of words, and his voracious appetite for reading guided him throughout his years. A biography as well as an intel…
 
The ideology of capitalism, which drives us to find happiness in endless exertion and economic gain, dulls our emotions and blinds us to the source of our most abundant meaning—relationships and solidarity with other people. Guest: Kathryn Lofton is a scholar of religion and has written extensively about capitalism, popular culture, and the secular…
 
In 1524, a man named David Reubeni appeared in Venice, claiming to be the ambassador of a powerful Jewish kingdom deep in the heart of Arabia. In this era of fierce rivalry between great powers, voyages of fantastic discovery, and brutal conquest of new lands, people throughout the Mediterranean saw the signs of an impending apocalypse and envision…
 
Laura Ann Twagira, an associate professor of history, head of African Studies, and an affiliate with science in society program and feminist gender sexuality studies program at Wesleyan University, talks about her book, Embodied Engineering: Gendered Labor, Food Security, and Taste in Twentieth-Century Mali with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. E…
 
Lesley Higgins and Marie-Christine Leps's book Heterotopic World Fiction: Thinking Beyond Biopolitics with Woolf, Foucault, Ondaatje (Academic Studies Press, 2022) demonstrates how world fiction by Woolf, Foucault, and Ondaatje counters biopolitics with aesthetic and political-biopoetic-strategies producing transhistorical, transnational experience…
 
Focusing on Los Angeles farmland during the years between the Immigration Act of 1924 and the Japanese Internment in 1942, Transborder Los Angeles: An Unknown Transpacific History of Japanese-Mexican Relations (U California Press, 2022) weaves together the narratives of Mexican and Japanese immigrants into a single transpacific history. In this boo…
 
Ever since Pearl Jam first blasted onto the Seattle grunge scene three decades ago with their debut album, Ten, they have sold 85M+ albums, performed for hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, and have even been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In Long Road: Pearl Jam and the Soundtrack of A Generation, music critic and journa…
 
What is the Third World? The term has essentially been scrubbed from our collective consciousness. What once used to be something concrete seems to have vanished into thin air. Today, the Third World seems to be “a closed chapter in world history.” But my guests today are determined that it not remain so. In their new edited volume, Inventing the T…
 
In 1942, the US government began construction on a sixty-thousand-acre planned community named Oak Ridge in a rural area west of Knoxville, Tennessee. Unmarked on regional maps, Oak Ridge attracted more than seventy thousand people eager for high-paying wartime jobs. Among them was author Emily Strasser's grandfather George, a chemist. All employee…
 
What happens to policies when a president dies in office? Do they get replaced by the new president, or do advisers carry on with the status quo? In November 1963, these were important questions for a Kennedy-turned-Johnson administration. Among these officials was a driven National Security Council staffer named Robert Komer, who had made it his p…
 
Venkatesh Rao is a writer and consultant based in Los Angeles. The bulk of his consulting practice comprises 1:1 work with senior executives as a conversational sparring partner, to stress test and improve the rigor and quality of their ongoing thinking about their evolving challenges. The Art of Gig is a two-volume guide to the modern gig economy,…
 
How can we build greener infrastructure in the face of the global climate emergency? In Trade Winds: A Sailing Voyage to a Sustainable Future for Shipping (Manchester UP, 2023), Christiaan De Beukelaer, a Senior Lecturer in Arts and Cultural Management at the University of Melbourne intertwines an depth analysis of modern shipping, with a memoir of…
 
Beginning in the twelfth century, Jewish moneylenders increasingly found themselves in the crosshairs of European authorities, who denounced the evils of usury as they expelled Jews from their lands. Yet Jews were not alone in supplying coin and credit to needy borrowers. Across much of Western Europe, foreign Christians likewise engaged in profess…
 
How useful will nuclear fusion be? In a major breakthrough last year at the National Ignition Facility in California, 192 lasers achieved fusion – and created energy - for the first time. It was clearly an important moment. But might the development of fusion technology come too late? Owen Bennett Jones speaks with Sharon Ann Holgate, author of Nuc…
 
This study of Galilee in modern times reaches back to the region's Biblical roots and points to future challenges in the Arab-Jewish conflict, Israel's development, and inter-faith relations. M. M. Silver's The History of Galilee, 1538-1949 ( Lexington Books, 2022) covers an array of subjects, including Kabbalah, the rise of Palestinian nationalism…
 
Dr Pierce Salguero sits down with Venerable Soorākkulame Pemaratana, chief abbot at the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center and a scholar of modern Buddhism in Sri Lanka. We talk about his role in adapting Buddhist practices to address social and mental health needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. We also compare Buddhist responses to Covid in Pittsburgh and …
 
The Jewish Reformation: Bible Translation and Middle-Class German Judaism as Spiritual Enterprise (Oxford University Press, 2021) was the 2022 winner of the AHA’s Dorothy Rosenberg Prize in the history of Jewish diaspora. In it, Michach Gottlieb looks at Bible translations by Mendelssohn, Leopold Zunz, and Samson Raphael Hirsch. Gottlieb argues tha…
 
Hello, world! This is the Global Media & Communication podcast series. In this episode, our co-hosts Aswin Punathambekar and Jing Wang discusses the book Platforms and Cultural Production (2021) by Thomas Poell, David B. Nieborg, and Brooke Erin Duffy. You’ll hear about: How this collaborative project came about, given each of the authors has disti…
 
What does the state do when public expectations exceed its governing capacity? The Performative State: Public Scrutiny and Environmental Governance in China (Cornell, 2022) shows how the state can shape public perceptions and defuse crises through the theatrical deployment of language, symbols, and gestures of good governance—performative governanc…
 
Identity is often fraught for multiracial Douglas, people of both South Asian and African descent in the Caribbean. In this groundbreaking volume titled Dougla in the Twenty-First Century: Adding to the Mix (University Press of Mississippi, 2021), Sue Ann Barratt and Aleah N. Ranjitsingh explore the particular meanings of a Dougla identity and exam…
 
With the Biden Administration's student loan relief coming down the pike, Annika sits down with Dr. Beth Akers, a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who specializes in higher education finance. Beth discusses the issue of student debt, and what the Biden relief plan will and will not achieve. You can find more information about Dr. …
 
Food journalist Angela Hui grew up in rural Wales, as daughter to the owners of the Lucky Star Chinese takeaway. Angela grew up behind the counter, helping take orders and serve customers, while also trying to find her place in this small Welsh town. In her new memoir, Takeaway: Stories from a Childhood behind the Counter (Trapeze, 2022), she write…
 
A Radical Pluralist Philosophy of Religion: Cross-Cultural, Multireligious, Interdisciplinary (Bloomsbury, 2020) is a unique introduction to studying the philosophy of religion, drawing on a wide range of cultures and literary sources in an approach that is both methodologically innovative and expansive in its cross-cultural and multi-religious sco…
 
In the United States, unjust disparities in things like income, opportunity, health, safety, and education tightly track racial categorizations of the US population. An intuitive approach to social justice calls us to look to the sites of the greatest disadvantage, and take measures aimed at relieving them. This approach favors “race specific” poli…
 
Throughout much of history, the Jewish way of life has been characterized by strict adherence to the practices and prohibitions legislated by the Torah: dietary laws, ritual purity, circumcision, Sabbath regulations, holidays, and more. But precisely when did this unique way of life first emerge, and why specifically at that time? In The Origins of…
 
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