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Smarty Pants

Updated 3 days ago

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Books
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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.

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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

63 Ratings
Average Ratings
43
10
4
2
4

Interesting

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

Love it!

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

iTunes Ratings

63 Ratings
Average Ratings
43
10
4
2
4

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.
Cover image of Smarty Pants

Smarty Pants

Latest release on Dec 13, 2019

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 3 days ago

Rank #1: #63: Smell Ya Later

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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

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Rank #2: #55: A Whale of a Show

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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.


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Jun 29 2018

24mins

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Rank #3: #108: Live, Laugh, Love Ancient Philosophy

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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

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Rank #4: #109: Where the Wild Things Are

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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

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Rank #5: #87: The Ten Commandments of Bible Translation

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Few people have read the Hebrew Bible all the way through—maybe you memorized a portion for your bar or bat mitzvah, or read parts of it in Sunday school or a college course. But the whole thing? Hardly. Fewer people still have read it as a work of literature, treating every sentence as an expression of literary style. Even fewer have read the Bible all the way through in the original language, gotten frustrated with available English translations, and then decided to blaze ahead with their own. One such person is award-winning translator and literary critic Robert Alter, who between books of literary criticism on the modern novel has been translating the Hebrew Bible for more than two decades. Last year, he finished: all 24 books of the Bible—a three-volume set weighing 10 pounds and three ounces.

Go beyond the episode:


His Ten Commandments for Bible Translators:

  1. Thou shalt not make translation an explanation of the original, for the Hebrew writer abhorreth all explanation.
  2. Thou shalt not mangle the eloquent syntax of the original by seeking to modernize it.
  3. Though shalt not shamefully mingle linguistic registers.
  4. Thou shalt not multiply for thyself synonyms where the Hebrew wisely and pointedly uses repeated terms.
  5. Thou shalt not replace the expressive simplicity of the Hebrew prose with purportedly elegant language.
  6. Thou shalt not betray the fine compactness of biblical poetry.
  7. Thou shalt not make the Bible sound as though it were written just yesterday, for this, too, is an abomination.
  8. Thou shalt diligently seek English counterparts for the word-play and sound-play of the Hebrew.
  9. Thou shalt show to readers the liveliness and subtlety of the dialogues.
  10. Thou shalt continually set before thee the precision and purposefulness of the word-choices in Hebrew.


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

Apr 19 2019

29mins

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Rank #6: #2: Superheroes Are So Gay!

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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

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Rank #7: #58: Wonderbrain

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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

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Rank #8: #73: Opera 101

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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

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Rank #9: #92: Meat Made

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The production of beef requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas than the cultivation of beans, and seven times more than that of chicken. We're not eating as much beef in America as we were in the 1970s, but we’ve held steady at over 50 pounds per person a year, and beef consumption is rising exponentially in places like Brazil and China. How did having cheap beef become so desirable that we were willing to overlook environmental degradation, worker safety, and animal welfare, in order for the average American to eat 220 pounds of meat a year? The historian Joshua Specht thinks the answer lies with 19th-century cattle. In the span of just a few decades, American beef production flipped from a small-scale, local operation to a highly centralized industry with its heart in the meatpacking plants of Chicago and railroad supplies veining the United States. Modern agribusiness as we know it today was born in the cattle-beef complex, and those meatpacking conglomerates did such a good job of aligning their interests with those of consumers that the system has remained largely unchanged for the past hundred years. The model is now used in the entire industry, from poultry to pig farming.


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 31 2019

24mins

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Rank #10: #102: One Job Should Be Enough

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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

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Rank #11: #3: Reading Lolita in Maximum Security Prison

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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

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Rank #12: #89: Little Boxes, Big Ideas

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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.


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May 03 2019

28mins

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Rank #13: #74: The Microscopic House Guest

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The modern American home is a wilderness: there are thousands of species of insects, bacteria, fungi, and plants that lurk in our floorboards, on our counters, and inside our kitchen cabinets—not to mention the microbes that flavor our food itself. The trouble with wilderness, however, is that humans always want to tame it. Cleaning, bleaching, sterilizing, and killing the organisms in our homes has had unintended—and dangerous—consequences for our health and the environment. Biologist Rob Dunn, a professor in the department of applied ecology at North Carolina State University, joins us to impart some manners about how to welcome these formerly unknown guests into our homes.


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.


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. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

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

Dec 07 2018

19mins

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Rank #14: #100: Junk Science

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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

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Rank #15: #110: From Black Cabs to Blacklisted

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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

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Rank #16: #101: Bloodsuckers

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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

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Rank #17: #75: The Snow Maiden

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The Snow Maiden—not to be confused with the Snow Queen, Snow White, or Frosty the Snow Man—is a popular Slavic folktale about an elderly couple and a miraculous child born from snow. In addition to being a charming story about the passing of seasons, it references a number of folk rituals, from jumping over fires on the summer solstice to mock funerals marking the Yuletide. Philippa Rappoport, a lecturer in Russian culture at George Washington University, explains how folktales and rituals overlap, and reads aloud her own version of this wintry tale.


This is our last episode of the year, and we want to hear from you about 2019! If there are any subjects or guests you would especially like to hear on the show, send us an email at podcast@theamericanscholar.org. And, of course, help us find more listeners by rating us on iTunes and telling all your friends.


Go beyond the episode:

  • Read six versions of “The Snow Maiden,” classified by folklorist D. L. Ashliman as tales of “type 703,” or, relatedly, nine different spins from across Europe on “The Snow Child” (“type 1362 and related stories about questionable paternity”)
  • Watch the 1952 animated film The Snow Maiden, based on the Rimsky-Korsakov opera of the same name
  • Listen to Kristjan Järvi conduct an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s Snow Maiden with the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir


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.


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. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

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

Dec 21 2018

16mins

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Rank #18: #45: Voicing a Legend

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Some of our best poets have the greatest range: think of Shakespeare, in all his wild permutations, or Edna St. Vincent Millay boomeranging from heartbreak to revelry. Or, quintessentially, T. S. Eliot, who captured our bruised souls in “The Wasteland,” itemized the neuroses of unrequited love in Prufrock, and then turned around and set to verse the antics of cats like Growltiger and Rumpleteazer. You could say that the same range exists in the best of actors—like Jeremy Irons, say, who’s played everyone from starry-eyed Charles Ryder to Humbert Humbert himself. Irons’s iconic voice has lent itself to animated lions and audiobooks before, but now, he joins us to talk about perhaps his most ambitious project yet: narrating the poems of T. S. Eliot.


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. Excerpt of “The Rum Tum Tugger” used courtesy the BBC, which owns the production copyright.

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

Apr 13 2018

19mins

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Rank #19: #98: You Never Step Into the Same Internet Twice

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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

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Rank #20: #4: Go West, Young Scholar

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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
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Jul 25 2016

38mins

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