Cover image of Smarty Pants
(59)

Rank #196 in Books category

Arts
Society & Culture
Books

Smarty Pants

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #196 in Books category

Arts
Society & Culture
Books
Read more

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. A podcast from The American Scholar magazine. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

Read more

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. A podcast from The American Scholar magazine. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

iTunes Ratings

59 Ratings
Average Ratings
41
10
4
1
3

Interesting

By emily174317 - Sep 28 2018
Read more
I enjoy the stories from this podcast and always find new books to read!

Love it!

By Scholar Reader - Apr 07 2018
Read more
This is a perfect podcast for my morning commute.

iTunes Ratings

59 Ratings
Average Ratings
41
10
4
1
3

Interesting

By emily174317 - Sep 28 2018
Read more
I enjoy the stories from this podcast and always find new books to read!

Love it!

By Scholar Reader - Apr 07 2018
Read more
This is a perfect podcast for my morning commute.

Listen to:

Cover image of Smarty Pants

Smarty Pants

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. A podcast from The American Scholar magazine. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

#78: Postcolonial Punchlines

Podcast cover
Read more

Alain Mabanckou is an award-winning Congolese essayist, novelist, and poet with a string of darkly funny books to his name. His work pokes at taboos and the borders between literary traditions with glee and irreverence—while subverting what it means to be an African writer, educated in Congo-Brazzaville and in France, now living and writing in America. His second novel, Broken Glass, is narrated by a former schoolteacher turned drunk, also named Broken Glass, who records the irregular lives of the regulars at his local bar, Credit Gone West. It’s a potent apéritif for the dark humor of his work—just mind you don’t drink too deep.


Go beyond the episode:

  • Alain Mabanckou’s Broken Glass
  • Read Amos Tutuola’s The Palm Wine Drinkard, the first African novel published in English outside of Africa (and the wild ups and downs of its critical reception)
  • Read The Paris Review interview with Louis-Ferdinand Céline, like Tutuola, an inspiration for Mabanckou
  • Of the Latin American writers Mabanckou named, Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa have both won the Nobel Prize. But Horacio Quiroga (after whom a species of South American snake is named) wrote many books, only a few of which are translated into English—like The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories.


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Feb 15 2019

19mins

Play

#63: Smell Ya Later

Podcast cover
Read more

Why does New York City smell? Is its smell distinguishable from that of other large cities? Does that smell tell us something about the world that our other senses cannot? Last year we spoke to historian Melanie Kiechle, who has devoted a considerable amount of brain- and nose-power to our long relationship with the scents around us. Her book, Smell Detectives, is an olfactory history of 19th-century urban America, from delightful scents to foul stenches, including those that everyday citizens used to bolster the budding environmental movement.


Go beyond the episode:

  • Melanie Kiechle’s Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America
  • On our episode page, we've got sanitary surveys of New Orleans and New York, along with sketches of the early respirators people used to protect themselves from foul odors
  • Check out a modern-day smell map of the City of Light (and odor), from graphic designer Kate McLean
  • Live in Pittsburgh? Download Smell PGH, the app that tracks pollution odors (read more here)
For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 07 2018

19mins

Play

#73: Opera 101

Podcast cover
Read more

Opera has a bad rap: it's stuffy, long, convoluted, expensive, weird … and at the end of the day, who really understands sung Italian anyway? The barriers aren’t just financial: there are hundreds of years of musical history at work, along with dozens of arcane terms that defy pronunciation. But opera has been loved by ardent fans for centuries, and the experience of seeing it—once you know what to listen for—can be sublime. So we asked Vivien Schweitzer, a former classical music and opera critic for The New York Times, to teach us how to listen to opera.


Go beyond the episode:


Songs sampled during the episode:


For a taste of contemporary opera's eclecticism, here are three examples:

Nov 30 2018

47mins

Play

#108: Live, Laugh, Love Ancient Philosophy

Podcast cover
Read more

Despite the rampant success of books like Mari Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, intellectual circles tend to look down on anything that sells itself as self-help. And yet, in a certain light, the most original form of self-help might actually be philosophy—an older and more respected genre, even, than the novel. So this week, we're going back to the past and asking that old chestnut: what is a meaningful life? The Stoics are awfully popular these days, but the philosopher Catherine Wilson joins us this episode to pitch a different kind of Greek: Epicurus, whose teachings live on most fully in Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things. For a few centuries, Epicurus was wrongly remembered as the patron saint of whoremongers and drunkards, but he really wasn't: his philosophy is rich with theories of justice, empiricism, pleasure, prudence, and equality (Epicurus, unlike the Stoics, welcomed women and slaves into his school). Epicureanism advocated for a simple life, something that appeals to more and more people today with the return to artisan crafts, self-sufficiency, and, yes, the KonMari method.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Oct 11 2019

25mins

Play

#55: A Whale of a Show

Podcast cover
Read more

It’s hard to believe that one of the biggest and oldest creatures of the planet is also the most mysterious. But whales have been around for 50 million years, and in all that time, we still haven’t figured out how many species of whales have existed—let alone how many exist today. How did these creatures of the deep get to be so big, and how did they make it back into the sea after walking on land? Most importantly, what will happen to them as humanity and its detritus increasingly encroach on their existence? The Smithsonian’s star paleontologist, Nick Pyenson, joins us to answer some of our questions about the largest mysteries on Earth, and how they fit into the story of the world's largest ecosystem: the ocean.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • acast.com/privacy

Jun 29 2018

24mins

Play

#2: Superheroes Are So Gay!

Podcast cover
Read more
What do the X-Men have to do with feminism, and how did the Fantastic Four get caught up in the radical politics of the New Left? Learn about the queer history of superhero comics with Ramzi Fawaz, and check in on reporter Karen Coates's documentary project on world hunger, "Bellyache." For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jun 27 2016

35mins

Play

#107: The Banjo and the Ballot Box

Podcast cover
Read more

Love it, hate it, or refuse to listen to anything released after 1980—however you feel about country music, you can’t drive across the United States without hearing it. Even people who don’t appreciate the genre have been thinking about it lately, as the controversy over Lil Nas X’s exclusion from the Billboard country music charts has inspired discussion of country music, racism, and who gets to use trap beats on their tracks. It looked to a lot of people as if a genre that had traditionally celebrated outlaws and outsiders were locking its gates against a new kind of outsider. But as this week’s guest, the historian Peter La Chapelle, points out, none of this is new. Country music has been deployed to political ends since its birth in Appalachia. Nowhere is this more striking than on the campaign trail, where scores of politicians have used country music to appeal to voters. On the show, La Chapelle explains how fiddler-politicians and politician-fans have used this oddly flexible genre to advocate for the poor and dispossessed, fight for racial justice, fight against racial justice, lobby for gun rights, and articulate a whole range of sometimes contradictory positions.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • acast.com/privacy

Oct 04 2019

21mins

Play

#91: The Space Between Your Ears

Podcast cover
Read more

The prevailing view on how we think is that we use language: through writing our thoughts down, or debating them with friends, or reading other people’s words in books. But might there be some concepts, some feelings, some images, that are beyond words? After all, what’s the point of visual art or design or classical music if they don’t have meaning without the words to describe them? What are our thoughts really made of? The psychologist Barbara Tversky has a wrench to throw in the argument that language is behind cognition. She makes the case that movement and spatial reasoning are the real keys to understanding our bodies and their place in the world, as well as the wildly abstract thoughts we come up with.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

May 17 2019

24mins

Play

#89: Little Boxes, Big Ideas

Podcast cover
Read more

The mythology of the 1950s American suburb—mom, dad, white picket fence, two-car garage, two-point-five kids—doesn’t align with the reality of who lives in suburbs today. Suburbs are bustling with multigenerational families, immigrants, and multiracial residents who defy the Stepford stereotype. While it’s true that after WWII, the federal government heavily invested in the creation of middle-class suburban havens for nuclear families—slashing funding for downtowns and forcing de facto segregation through redlining and community covenants—in the decades since, the suburbs have become more diverse than ever. With affordable housing currently in crisis, climate change ascendant, evictions on the rise, and a flood of people abandoning the suburbs for rapidly gentrifying cities, can this pocket of the American dream evolve? For solutions to the present-day problems of suburbs, Amanda Kolson Hurley, senior editor at CityLab, looks to the suburbs hidden throughout American history that did something a little different: forgotten places where utopian planning, communal living, socially conscious design, and integrated housing flourished.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • acast.com/privacy

May 03 2019

28mins

Play

#3: Reading Lolita in Maximum Security Prison

Podcast cover
Read more
How do you run a literature course for convicts, and what do a headless chicken and Pinochet have in common? Mikita Brottman discusses her new book, The Maximum Security Book Club; Idra Novey reads a short story; and we venture underground to check out what's happening to the abandoned streetcar tunnels under Washington, D.C.
Mentioned in this episode:

• Idra Novey’s short story, “Under the Lid”
• Our original coverage of the Dupont Underground
• Mikita Brottman’s essay, “Jane Austen’s Ivory Cage”
Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 11 2016

42mins

Play

#4: Go West, Young Scholar

Podcast cover
Read more
Terry Tempest Williams talks America’s national parks and her new book, “The Hour of Land;” James Conaway explains how to survive a California wildfire while downing petit syrah; and Ted Levin sticks up for the beleaguered timber rattlesnake.
Mentioned in this episode:

• Our Summer 2016 cover story about America’s national parks, “The Taming of the Wild”
• James Conaways’s essay about the Valley Fire, “Waiting for Fire”
• Ted Levin’s Shelf Life excerpt
Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 25 2016

38mins

Play

#80: A Different Sort of Superhero

Podcast cover
Read more

On Sunday, Black Panther made history as the first superhero movie with a Best Picture Oscar nomination. And though it didn’t win that one, the film did win the most Oscars in the history of superhero movies. Given those historic firsts, and the inevitable onslaught of superhero movies that 2019 will bring, we're revisiting one of the first episodes from the podcast. Professor and comic book fan Ramzi Fawaz joined us to talk about origin stories, the X-Men, and what the queerness of the original mutant family can tell us about comic book heroes today.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 01 2019

19mins

Play

#62: Long Live the Library

Podcast cover
Read more

In case you missed it, last month Forbes published an op-ed that stoked so much public outrage that the editors felt compelled to delete it. Libraries, it argued, should be replaced by Amazon to save taxpayers money. Yet Panos Moudoukoutas’s piece was based on a common misconception: that libraries are only repositories of books, whereas in truth, they provide myriad other services—and generate an enormous return on investment. To bust the myth that libraries could ever be replaced by a for-profit enterprise, we hit the stacks ourselves and spoke to librarian Amanda Oliver about the services that libraries don’t get enough credit for.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!


This episode features a beloved song from PBS’s Arthur. Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 24 2018

19mins

Play

#58: Wonderbrain

Podcast cover
Read more

The most unusual brains are not the largest, nor the ones that can remember the most digits of the number pi. What fascinates Helen Thomson—a neuroscientist by training, a journalist by trade—are the brains that see auras, feel another’s pain, or play music around the clock. In her new book, Unthinkable, she travels the globe to find out what life is like for these people who perceive a completely different world than she does. How does a man who believes he’s a tiger live in a human community? How can a father who believes that he’s dead go to dinner with his kids? What’s it like to be lost in your own living room? The answers can teach you something about your own noggin.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 27 2018

18mins

Play

#82: A Woman’s Place

Podcast cover
Read more

In her explosive new book, They Were Her Property, historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers corrects the record about white women slave owners in the American South, proving that slavery and its associated markets were far from the sole domain of men. Since women often inherited more slaves than land, they were deeply invested, in a social, moral, and an economic sense, in the trade of enslaved people. A white woman could cordon off her property from her husband’s in a prenuptial agreement, preserve her right to manage her own property, and fend off her husband’s debtors in court. She also ensured the continued reproduction of the institution by engaging in the market for wet-nurses, who were often coerced into serendipitous pregnancies through sexual violence, and whose breast-milk was then used to nurse white children. How does the power of women slave owners change our understanding of the relationship among gender, slavery, and capitalism in the 19th century? Why were these relationships obscured for so long?

Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 15 2019

23mins

Play

#30: Jane Austen and the Making of Desire

Podcast cover
Read more

This week on the podcast, we’re talking about sublimated desires—and the repressed kind, too. William Deresiewicz expands on an essay he wrote for us about being a man in Jane Austen’s world—and how her novels are about so much more than Colin Firth-as-Mr. Darcy. And Hallie Lieberman explains how the history of sex toys—and the laws banning them—can illuminate America’s complicated relationship with sexuality. • Go beyond the episode: William Deresiewicz’s essay, “A Jane Austen Kind of Guy” • Read an essay on the dark underbelly of Mansfield Park’s grand estates and country balls from Mikita Brottman • Further proof of how everyone wants to be Mrs. Darcy from our Daily Scholar alum, Paula Marantz Cohen • Hallie Lieberman’s Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy • Anthony Comstock and his obscenity laws play a big role on another podcast episode, “Out of the Closet and Into the Courts” • Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. • 

SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast • Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast@theamericanscholar.org. And rate us on iTunes!

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Nov 20 2017

37mins

Play

#22: What the Nose Knows

Podcast cover
Read more
Melanie Kiechle introduces us to the 19th-century world of smell detectives, where the nose reigned supreme and cities mapped their stench patterns;  Sam Kean tells how gases can have a profound effect on us—from knocking us out to making us laugh, and even causing the French Revolution. Plus, top off our exploration into the sensory world of invisible forces with an excerpt from a new book on all the light we cannot see.
Go beyond the episode: Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

Subscribe: iTunes • Feedburner Stitcher • Google Play • Acast

Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 28 2017

40mins

Play

#15: All the Rage

Podcast cover
Read more
Pankaj Mishra goes back to the Enlightenment to explain our age of anger; Ronald Rael imagines how architecture might dismantle a wall rather than construct it; and our editors offer up their favorite tales from the Emerald Isle. Sláinte!
Episode extras:

• Our St. Patrick’s Day Reading list
• Martha McPhee on Edna O’Brien
Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 17 2017

51mins

Play

#33: CSI: Roman Empire

Podcast cover
Read more

The Roman Empire's reputation precedes it: a wingspan that stretched from Syria to Spain, and from the Nile to Scotland's doorstep. Centuries of unbroken rule, a unified commonwealth, and at one point nearly a quarter of the world's population. And then, it all came tumbling down. Why Rome fell has been a favored subject of armchair theorizing pretty much since the empire started teetering—and now, one historian has a bold new idea. Kyle Harper joins us on the podcast to explore how climate change and disease might have played a key role in the fall of an entire civilization.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast@theamericanscholar.org ... And rate us on iTunes!


Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 22 2017

19mins

Play

#98: You Never Step Into the Same Internet Twice

Podcast cover
Read more

Did you notice when it suddenly became okay not to say goodbye at the end of a text message conversation? Have you responded to work emails solely using 😃? Is ~ this ~ your favorite punctuation mark for conveying exactly just how much you just don’t care about something? Welcome, Internet Person—you’re using a different kind of English from the previous generation. But these conversational norms weren’t set on high, and how they evolved over the past decades of Internet usage tells us a lot about how language has always been created: collaboratively. Or, as Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch puts it, “Language is humanity’s most spectacular open source project.” She joins us to analyze the language we use online and off—how it got this way, where it’s going, and why it’s a good thing that our words are changing so quickly.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 26 2019

26mins

Play

#114: House of Mirrors

Podcast cover
Read more

Two years ago, Carmen Maria Machado pushed the weird and gothic into the mainstream with her debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and made her a Guggenheim Fellow. Now she’s back with In the Dream House, a memoir of a harrowing relationship told in a splintered, fractured style. The list of chapters reads like an introduction to literary tropes 101: dream house as an exercise in point of view, as a memory palace, as a stranger comes to town, as a plot twist. Ultimately it is, as one title puts it, an exercise in style, but one in which Machado considers all the territory surrounding the dream house: stereotypes about lesbian relationships as safe or as hysterical, her religious adolescence, the insufficiency of the law, and the absence in the archives of stories that don’t fit traditional demographics of abuse.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 06 2019

19mins

Play

#113: Getting Physical

Podcast cover
Read more

When thinking of the past, one of the hardest things is to imagine what it would have been like to inhabit a physical body in a world so different in look, smell, and feel from our own. What was it like to go to the doctor 800 years ago? If you cut your finger and bled, what would that blood mean to you? What about the blood of saints—would that be different? What about exercising, eating, giving birth, having sex, burying the dead? The way we think about these experiences fundamentally changes how we experience them. So how has our thinking changed since the Middle Ages? Jack Hartnell’s new book, Medieval Bodies, explores the answers to these questions through a series of vivid objects, stories, texts, and paintings, starting with the head and meandering through skin and heart and stomach all the way to the feet. Along the way, he constructs a living, breathing body of evidence that helps us understand our physical past.


Quick note: In our sign off, we promised a Thanksgiving episode—but a holiday cold has made liars of us, and we cannot put one out! We'll be back with a brand new interview on Friday, December 6th. Til then, take care, and stay warm!


Go beyond the episode:



Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Nov 22 2019

22mins

Play

#112: A Good Yarn

Podcast cover
Read more

If you’re a person who has despaired over ever finding a nice 100 percent wool sweater and decided to knit your own, odds are you’ve heard of Clara Parkes. Parkes, who started out in 2000 with a newsletter reviewing yarn, now has six books under her belt, including the New York Times best-selling Knitlandia. Her seventh book, Vanishing Fleece, is a yarn of a different kind—the unlikely story of how she became the proud proprietor of a 676-pound bale of wool and, in the process of transforming it into commercial yarn, got an inside look at a disappearing American industry. Parkes journeys across the country from New York to Wisconsin and Maine to Texas. Along the way, she meets shepherds, shearers, dyers, and the countless mill workers who tend the machinery that’s kept us in woolens for more than a century, but which for the past 50 years has been on the verge of collapse.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Nov 08 2019

23mins

Play

#111: A Rather Haunted Episode

Podcast cover
Read more

To get into the Halloween spirit, we’ve invited Assistant Editor Katie Daniels and Editorial Assistant Taylor Curry, the hosts of [Spoiler Alert], our online book club, to interview the literary critic Ruth Franklin. Their October book is Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the suspenseful tale of the two Blackwood sisters and the mysterious murder that took place at their house. For a long time, Jackson’s hard-to-categorize novels and humorous parenting memoirs took the backseat to her (in)famous short story, “The Lottery.” That’s starting to change, thanks to film and television adaptations—and Ruth Franklin’s critically acclaimed biography, Shirley Jackson, which argued that her writing is an important contribution to the American gothic tradition.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Oct 31 2019

21mins

Play

#110: From Black Cabs to Blacklisted

Podcast cover
Read more

This week, WeWork got a huge bailout from an investor after its plan to go public went belly-up amid disclosures of rampant mismanagement. Now the company can’t even afford to lay off the thousands of employees it would like to because it can’t afford to pay their severance packages. The parallels to Uber, which did go public this fall, are striking: just like WeWork, Uber was a unicorn startup—lavishly funded and poised to take its place in the tech pantheon. And like WeWork’s Adam Neumann, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted by investors and made millions on the way out the door. When that happened in 2017, Uber went through a public reckoning, but the full details of the company’s misdeeds were only revealed this fall. Award-winning New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac has reported on Uber from its beginnings, and his new book, Super Pumped, tells the whole story of how Uber came to symbolize everything that has gone wrong with Silicon Valley. Isaac joins us in the studio to take us inside Uber, while it was rising and as it was falling.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Oct 25 2019

28mins

Play

#109: Where the Wild Things Are

Podcast cover
Read more

Two decades ago, Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell turned their 3,500-acre farm in West Sussex, England, into a massive outdoor laboratory. They decided to cede control of their land to nature and watched it slowly grow wild again. Now, at what they call Knepp Wildland, herds of fallow deer, Exmoor ponies, and longhorn cows do battle with scrubland and tree branches, while Tamworth pigs rustle in the hedgerows and strengthen mycorrhizal networks in the soil. The result of this experiment is burgeoning biodiversity and resilience, as endangered species like turtledoves, nightingales, and rare butterflies inhabit a landscape unseen in England since the Middle Ages. Isabella Tree joins us to talk about what life is like in a wild world, and how Knepp has ignited a reckoning with traditional methods of land stewardship and conservation. We are re-running this episode to celebrate the U.S. release of Wilding, her book about the project.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Oct 18 2019

28mins

Play

#108: Live, Laugh, Love Ancient Philosophy

Podcast cover
Read more

Despite the rampant success of books like Mari Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, intellectual circles tend to look down on anything that sells itself as self-help. And yet, in a certain light, the most original form of self-help might actually be philosophy—an older and more respected genre, even, than the novel. So this week, we're going back to the past and asking that old chestnut: what is a meaningful life? The Stoics are awfully popular these days, but the philosopher Catherine Wilson joins us this episode to pitch a different kind of Greek: Epicurus, whose teachings live on most fully in Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things. For a few centuries, Epicurus was wrongly remembered as the patron saint of whoremongers and drunkards, but he really wasn't: his philosophy is rich with theories of justice, empiricism, pleasure, prudence, and equality (Epicurus, unlike the Stoics, welcomed women and slaves into his school). Epicureanism advocated for a simple life, something that appeals to more and more people today with the return to artisan crafts, self-sufficiency, and, yes, the KonMari method.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Oct 11 2019

25mins

Play

#107: The Banjo and the Ballot Box

Podcast cover
Read more

Love it, hate it, or refuse to listen to anything released after 1980—however you feel about country music, you can’t drive across the United States without hearing it. Even people who don’t appreciate the genre have been thinking about it lately, as the controversy over Lil Nas X’s exclusion from the Billboard country music charts has inspired discussion of country music, racism, and who gets to use trap beats on their tracks. It looked to a lot of people as if a genre that had traditionally celebrated outlaws and outsiders were locking its gates against a new kind of outsider. But as this week’s guest, the historian Peter La Chapelle, points out, none of this is new. Country music has been deployed to political ends since its birth in Appalachia. Nowhere is this more striking than on the campaign trail, where scores of politicians have used country music to appeal to voters. On the show, La Chapelle explains how fiddler-politicians and politician-fans have used this oddly flexible genre to advocate for the poor and dispossessed, fight for racial justice, fight against racial justice, lobby for gun rights, and articulate a whole range of sometimes contradictory positions.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • acast.com/privacy

Oct 04 2019

21mins

Play

#106: What Makes a Refugee?

Podcast cover
Read more

The United States has an uneven record when it comes to refugees. It infamously refused to accept a boatload of Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust; at other times, it took in huge numbers of refugees from all over the world. As recently as 1980, we admitted more than 200,000 people. But that number has plummeted to its lowest level in 40 years: in 2018, only 22,491 people were permitted to resettle here, less than half the number admitted the year before. Why do we treat refugees differently today? Why do we distinguish between refugees and immigrants? These are some of the questions at the heart of Dina Nayeri's new book, The Ungrateful Refugee. Dina and her family fled Iran as refugees in 1989, first landing in Italy, and later in Oklahoma, before continuing her nomadic journey across the world. On the podcast, Dina shares her own story and those of others to reveal “what immigrants never tell you”: that being a refugee is painfully disorienting and excruciatingly boring—and it mostly involves waiting around for the chance to tell a government official the right story in the right way.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 27 2019

24mins

Play

#105: Why Has American Classical Music Ignored Its Black Past?

Podcast cover
Read more

More than a century ago, Antonín Dvořák prophesied that American music would be rooted in the black vernacular. It’s come true, to a certain extent: when we think of American music—jazz, blues, rock, hip hop, rap—we are thinking of music invented by black musicians. The field of classical music, however, has remained stubbornly white. At one point in the last century, classical music was on the cusp of a revolution: the Englishman Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was writing works like his Twenty-Four Negro Melodies, Dvořák’s own assistant Harry Burleigh was reimagining black spirituals for the concert stage that would be performed by the likes of Marian Anderson. And the lineage continued with William Grant Still, Nathaniel Dett, Florence Price, and Margaret Bond. The arrival in 1934 of William L. Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony seemed to usher in the imminent fulfillment of Dvořák’s prophecy—and yet Dawson never wrote another symphony. Why not? Joseph Horowitz, a cultural historian and the executive director of the PostClassical Ensemble, joins the podcast to explore why. Scholar managing editor Sudip Bose guest-hosts.


Go beyond the episode:


And keep an eye out for Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony at the following events:

  • Georgetown University’s PostClassical Ensemble will perform the second movement on April 25, 2020
  • The Brevard Music Festival may perform the complete symphony next summer


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • acast.com/privacy

Sep 13 2019

31mins

Play

#104: Fashion Kills

Podcast cover
Read more

To mark New York Fashion Week, longtime style reporter Dana Thomas is ripping the veil off the industry. Her new book, Fashionopolis, is an indictment of the true costs of fashion—like poisoned water, crushed workers, and overflowing landfills—that never make it onto the price tag of a dress or pair of jeans. Between 2000 and 2014, the annual number of garments produced doubled to 100 billion: 14 new garments per person per year for every person on the planet. The average garment is only worn seven times before being tossed—assuming it’s not one of the 20 billion clothing items that go unsold and unworn. It’s no surprise, then, that the fashion industry accounts for at least 10 percent of global carbon emissions and 20 percent of all industrial water pollution. Though the industry employs one out of every six people globally, fewer than two percent of them earn a living wage—more than 98 percent of workers are not only underpaid, they also toil in unsafe, unsanitary conditions. But change is underfoot: retailers are shifting their supply models, circular and slow fashion are on the rise, and new technology is making the manufacture of new and recycled fabrics cleaner. Dana Thomas joins the podcast to explain what will be required to fix a broken system.


Go beyond the episode:


What can you do? Dana Thomas’s Tips

  • Launder your clothes less frequently: Try to break the habit of tossing a pair of jeans into the wash after wearing them once. Get several wears out of clothes before washing, spot-clean small stains, and use cold, short washing cycles. You’ll reduce water usage, cut household expenses and elongate your clothes’ lifespans—a win for the planet, your wallet, and your laundry hamper.
  • Shop your closet: Before buying those new jeans or another black T-shirt, look inside your closet to see if you already have these pieces. Or try gathering some friends for a clothing swap party.
  • Rent your wardrobe: There’s a growing number of websites and programs today that make it easy to rent high-quality fashion, tailored for your fit. Renting will keep your wardrobe fresh and ward off so much waste. You’ll be more daring in your choices—becoming more fashion forward—since you aren’t investing in the items and keeping them forever. If you do fall in love... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 06 2019

31mins

Play

#103: The Next Menu

Podcast cover
Read more

This week, with the world's forests burning from the Amazon to Indonesia, we’re revisiting a 2017 episode about the future of food—the production of which, whether beef or palm oil, has caused an unprecedented number of deliberate fires. Centuries of colonialism and resource extraction have transformed continents and the waters between them. Oceans are rising and acidifying, resulting in the extinction of some species and the proliferation of others. What will the act of eating be like 30 years from now? Fifty? One hundred? To imagine that future, we’re joined in this episode by a novelist and a chef—Alexandra Kleeman and Jen Monroe—who dreamed up what a dinner party might look like in the future, on the border between science fiction and reality … and then threw that dinner party, in the corner of a Brooklyn restaurant.

Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 30 2019

21mins

Play

#102: One Job Should Be Enough

Podcast cover
Read more

Steven Greenhouse was the labor and workplace reporter for The New York Times for 19 years. His last book, The Big Squeeze, is a detailed report on how American workers are being abused by corporations and bosses: freezing wages; replacing long-term employees with contractors, subcontractors, and freelancers; reducing hours. And where full-time employees are to be found, bosses are replacing pensions with 401Ks; trimming down paid holidays, vacations, and sick days; pressuring workers to do more per hour; forcing arbitration instead of lawsuits; mandating non-compete causes—not to mention off-shoring jobs to countries with fewer labor or environmental protections and cheaper wages. In the 10 years since Greenhouse’s book appeared, corporations haven't exactly changed their tune—but the labor movement has. There’s been a surge in organizing from the service industry to Silicon Valley: the Fight for Fifteen, #REDforED teachers’ strikes, walkouts at Google and Wayfair, and, this month, 11,000 airline catering workers across 28 cities voting to authorize a strike for better conditions. Where did this momentum come from? In his new book, Beaten Down, Worked Up, Steven Greenhouse tries to answer that question, alongside its corollaries. Why did worker power decline so much over the past 50 years? And what can we do to rekindle that collective power?


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 23 2019

22mins

Play

#101: Bloodsuckers

Podcast cover
Read more

Travel to any of the hundred-odd countries where malaria is endemic, and the mosquito is not merely a pest: it is a killer. Factor in the laundry list of other diseases that this insect can transmit—dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya, filiaraisis, and a litany of encephalitises—and the mosquito was responsible for some 830,000 human deaths in 2018 alone. This is the lowest figure on record: for context, one estimate puts the mosquito’s death toll for all of human history at 52 billion, which accounts for almost half our human ancestors. How did such a wee little insect manage all that, and escape every attempt to thwart its deadly power? To answer that question, Timothy C. Winegard wrote The Mosquito, a book spanning human history from its origins in Africa through the present and toward the future of gene-editing. In its 496 pages and 1.6 pounds—the equivalent of 291,000 Anopheles mosquitoes—he outlines how the insect contributed to the rise and fall of Rome, the spread of Christianity, and countless wars—not to mention the conquest of South America, in which the mosquito both sparked the West African slave trade and, ironically, led to its end in the United States.


Go beyond the episode:



Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 16 2019

23mins

Play

#100: Junk Science

Podcast cover
Read more

For our 100th episode, we welcome back science journalist Angela Saini, whose work deflates the myths we tell ourselves about science existing in an apolitical vacuum. With far-right nationalism and white supremacy on the rise around the world, pseudoscientific and pseudointellectual justifications for racism are on the rise—and troublingly mainstream. Race is a relatively recent concept, but dress it up in a white lab coat and it becomes an incredibly toxic justification for a whole range of policies, from health to immigration. It is tempting to dismiss white-supremacist cranks who chug milk to show their superior lactose tolerance, but it’s harder to do so when those in positions of power—like senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller or pseudointellectual Jordan Peterson—spout the same rhetoric. The consequences can be more insidious, too: consider how we discuss the health outcomes for different groups of people as biological inevitabilities, not the results of social inequality. Drawing on archives and interviews with dozens of prominent scientists, Saini shows how race science never really left us—and that in 2019, scientists are as obsessed as ever with the vanishingly small biological differences between us.

Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 09 2019

23mins

Play

#99: A Delicate Elephant Balance

Podcast cover
Read more

There are 40,000 Asian elephants left in the world, tucked into the mountainous forests of the continent. They used to roam all over India and far up into China, almost as far north as Beijing—but as humans have expanded into their habitats, the elephants have retreated further into the forests. Nearly a quarter of those elephants, around 9,000, are doing work alongside humans that is invisible to the urban eye: carrying people and supplies across remote areas, going where roads cannot, especially at the height of monsoon season. Paradoxically, the logging industry relies on the work of elephants that need the very forest being cut. The balance of that unseen work—and the complicated, often life-long relationship between the elephant and its handler—is the subject of Jacob Shell's new book, Giants of the Monsoon Forest. He joins us on the podcast to document a disappearing way of life, and to explain how these centuries-long traditions might hold the key to the Asian elephant's survival.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 02 2019

22mins

Play

#98: You Never Step Into the Same Internet Twice

Podcast cover
Read more

Did you notice when it suddenly became okay not to say goodbye at the end of a text message conversation? Have you responded to work emails solely using 😃? Is ~ this ~ your favorite punctuation mark for conveying exactly just how much you just don’t care about something? Welcome, Internet Person—you’re using a different kind of English from the previous generation. But these conversational norms weren’t set on high, and how they evolved over the past decades of Internet usage tells us a lot about how language has always been created: collaboratively. Or, as Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch puts it, “Language is humanity’s most spectacular open source project.” She joins us to analyze the language we use online and off—how it got this way, where it’s going, and why it’s a good thing that our words are changing so quickly.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 26 2019

26mins

Play

#97: Aida’s Story

Podcast cover
Read more

Aaron Bobrow-Strain is a politics professor at Whitman College with decades of history working on the U.S.-Mexico Border. His new book, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez, mixes nonfiction and novel, ethnography and essay, to tell the tale of a single woman as she’s pulled back and forth across this imaginary line. Aida Hernandez—which is not her real name—was brought to the United States when she was in elementary school, ferried across the border from the Mexican town of Agua Prieta to its other half: Douglas, Arizona. She grew up there and had an American son, but she was deported—without him—and only made it back to Douglas after enduring immigration court, for-profit detention, family separation, gendered violence, and a host of attendant traumas. Aida’s is not a Cinderella story, and she’s not a bootstrap immigrant fantasy. Bobrow-Strain joins us on the podcast to talk about how Aida’s life illuminates the everyday consequences of our immigration policy.

Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 12 2019

25mins

Play

#96: How a Language Dies

Podcast cover
Read more

The tiny village of Gapun in Papua New Guinea is home to an equally tiny language called Tayap. No more than a few hundred people have lived in Gapun, so no more than a few hundred people have ever spoken this isolate language, unrelated to any other on the planet. Our guest this episode, the anthropologist Don Kulick, has been visiting the village since 1985, at one point living there for 15 months to document the Gapun way of life, eat a lot of sago palm pudding, and study Tayap—which, even when he arrived more than 30 years ago, was dying. Today, only about 40 people speak it, and Kulick predicts that the language will be “stone cold dead” in less than 50 years. How did that happen? Perhaps more importantly, what cultural and economic losses paved the way? The answer might lie in the backward way we’ve been framing language death.

Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.



SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jun 28 2019

26mins

Play

#95: Crimes Against Sexuality

Podcast cover
Read more

On June 28, 1969, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn rebelled against a police raid and lit the spark for the gay liberation movement. Stonewall patrons were among the poorest and most marginalized people in society: the queens and queers who tended not to show up in the papers of record, because society would have preferred that they didn’t exist at all. But when queer existence was acknowledged, it was criminalized—and never so explicitly as in the true crime stories that exploded in popularity after World War I. Newspapers reported on the murder of men by other men in lurid detail, and breathlessly repeated the suspect’s defenses—that he was driven to violence by the victim’s “indecent advances,” to which the only appropriate response was murder. James Polchin joins us on the podcast to discuss how these stories shaped the public imagination about “deviant” behavior, and were fuel for homophobic discrimination from the sex panics of the 1930s to the Lavender Scare of the 1950s—and even today, when queer and trans people are still subjected to conversion therapy and newspapers underreport the murders of trans women of color.


Go beyond the episode:


Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.


SubscribeiTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast


Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jun 21 2019

21mins

Play