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Rank #151 in Books category

Arts
Society & Culture
Books

Smarty Pants

Updated 5 days ago

Rank #151 in Books category

Arts
Society & Culture
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

59 Ratings
Average Ratings
41
10
4
1
3

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

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 5 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.

Rank #1: #78: Postcolonial Punchlines

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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

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Rank #2: #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 #3: #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 #4: #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 #5: #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 #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: #107: The Banjo and the Ballot Box

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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.


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Oct 04 2019

21mins

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Rank #8: #91: The Space Between Your Ears

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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

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Rank #9: #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 #10: #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 #11: #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
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

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Rank #12: #80: A Different Sort of Superhero

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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

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Rank #13: #62: Long Live the Library

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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.

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Aug 24 2018

19mins

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Rank #14: #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 #15: #82: A Woman’s Place

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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

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Rank #16: #30: Jane Austen and the Making of Desire

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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!

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Nov 20 2017

37mins

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Rank #17: #22: What the Nose Knows

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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

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Rank #18: #15: All the Rage

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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

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Rank #19: #33: CSI: Roman Empire

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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

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Rank #20: #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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