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With Good Reason

Each week on With Good Reason we explore a world of ideas with leading scholars in literature, history, science, philosophy, and the arts. With Good Reason is created by Virginia Humanities and the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Grief

When parents die, we face powerful emotions, rituals, and tasks, including the eulogy. Listen as poet Jahan Ramazani (University of Virginia) pays tribute at the 2016 memorial service to his father. Also: In addition to our grief at the loss of parents, we’re often also faced with so much stuff. Marietta McCarty (Piedmont Virginia Community College) wrote a loving memoir about the daunting task of emptying her beloved family home in Leaving 1203: Emptying a Home, Filling the Heart.Later in the episode: Two years ago, while Brian Henderson (Patrick Henry Community College) was coaching women’s basketball, he experienced the tragic deaths of a player and a fellow coach. How does one grieve while also helping others cope with their grief? Henderson explores this question in his book, No Playbook for Death: Recovering from a Loss. Plus: The addiction epidemic has helped fuel a foster care crisis. Wendy Welch (University of Virginia College at Wise) asked more than sixty social workers, parents, and children who have gone through foster care what it’s like. Their stories show the desperation, frustration, compassion, and hope of foster families in the Appalachian coalfields.

51mins

24 May 2019

Rank #1

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Social Mobility Through College

One of the great American beliefs is that a college education gives us a better shot at moving up in life. But some say that social mobility has stalled and we should expand access to those universities admitting the largest numbers of low income students.

51mins

31 Aug 2018

Rank #2

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1619: Past and Present

The first captive Africans arrived in the Jamestown settlement in Virginia in 1619. A shipload of women intended as mates for the male settlers also arrived that year. How should we be telling and commemorating this history in 2019?

51mins

25 May 2018

Rank #3

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Real Love

In her book Real Love, Sharon Salzberg—one of the world’s leading authorities on love—shows us it isn’t just an emotion we feel when we’re in a romantic relationship. It’s an ability we can nurture and cultivate. Also: The idea of “The Pause,” where medical caregivers take a moment together at the bedside of a patient who has died, began with emergency care nurse Jonathan Bartels at the University of Virginia hospital. This quiet moment honors the life of the person who has died and the efforts made by the caretakers. Later in the show: How do we go about creating a sense of self? Dr. Oliver Hill Jr. (Virginia State University) tells the story of his search for identity, first as a child caught up in a legal battle for school integration in the 1950s, then as a radical college student at a historically black university. After an unexpected connection at an ashram, he became a lifelong student of mindfulness and meditation practices he now brings into the lab and the classroom.

51mins

3 Jan 2020

Rank #4

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Wearing Down the Appalachian Trail

From start to finish, the Appalachian Trail covers a whopping 2,181 miles. Rodney Bragdon dishes on the toughest challenges he experienced while through-hiking the entire trail. And: Camping, hiking, and enjoying the great outdoors are American pastimes. But for African Americans, gathering in public spaces has long been fraught. Erin Devlin discusses the racism that was built into America’s national parks.Later in the show: From its Native American roots to hiking fashion trends, Mills Kelly traces the often overlooked history of the Appalachian Trail. Also: Jeff Marion studies visitor impact on the Appalachian Trail and worries we might be loving it to death.

52mins

19 Mar 2020

Rank #5

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Moonshine and Prohibition

Moonshiners are often portrayed as lawbreakers and profiteers. But these recorded interviews with former moonshiners and their children paint a portrait of close knit poor families in Appalachia helping each other keep food on the table.

51mins

21 Sep 2018

Rank #6

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Stirring the Pot

Although it was once an important part of feeding families, home canning in America has never been just about necessity. Danille Christensen (Virginia Tech) says a look back at home canning reveals the pride and creativity that went into stocking a pantry. And: Lilia Fuquen (Virginia Humanities) takes us inside a community cannery and a basement storeroom to hear from people who are keeping the tradition alive.Later in the show: Hunter Smith and Levi Duncan (Piedmont Virginia Community College and Champion Brewing Company) explain how a culture has grown up around brewing beer locally and at home. And: Susan Kern (College of William & Mary) says that just about everyone drank beer in early America—even for breakfast. We go to the site of a brewhouse that once existed on the campus of one of our nation’s oldest colleges. Plus: Paula Pando and Jesse Miller (Reynolds Community College) explain how a new culinary school aims to transform a food desert into a local food hub.

51mins

19 Dec 2019

Rank #7

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The Conflicting Ideals of Jefferson's Architecture

The most important architectural thinker of the young American republic was Thomas Jefferson. He also held captive more than 600 enslaved men, women, and children in his lifetime. Architects Mabel O. Wilson (Columbia University) and Louis Nelson (University of Virginia) discuss Jefferson’s conflicting ideals. Also featured: Erik Neil (Chrysler Museum of Art) takes us through the new Chrysler exhibit that explores the inherent conflict between Jefferson’s pursuit of liberty and democracy and his use of enslaved laborers to construct his monuments.Later in the show: Phillip Herrington (James Madison University) says the white-columned plantation house is one of the most enduring and divisive icons of American architecture. Also: The history of segregation is not just in our architecture, but in other public arts. John Ott (James Madison University) is studying how artists in the early 20th century represented integration in their works, particularly in public murals and sculptures.

51mins

17 Oct 2019

Rank #8

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Muggles Abroad!

A few lucky college students who love the Harry Potter fantasy series get to travel to London for 3 weeks of magical creatures, potions, and herbology. And if you're impatient for the final season of Game of Thrones, we have your GoT fix--how the women of Westeros gain and lose power in that fictional patriarchal world of dragons and warfare. Plus: Long before there was Black Panther or the Blaxploitation movies, there were Race Movies. 500 were created by black actors and directors, but only 100 remain.

51mins

19 Apr 2018

Rank #9

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Heroes of American Dissent

In part three of our series American Dissent, With Good Reason Associate Producer Kelley Libby talks with Dr. Michael Higginbotham (University of Baltimore) about a list of people—some well known, some not—whom he credits with seeing America for what it could be and then working toward making it so. Vilissa Thompson (LCSW, Founder of Ramp Your Voice!) explains how understanding Harriet Tubman as a disabled Black woman has inspired intersectional disability rights activists.Terry Beitzel helps his students better understand political protest as a form of citizen engagement. Isabel Fay and Christopher Labosier (Longwood University) come from different disciplines: communications and science.

51mins

18 Jan 2019

Rank #10

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Presenting: Broken Ground

This week we’re debuting a new podcast series called Broken Ground, produced by the Southern Environmental Law Center and hosted by Claudine Ebeid McElwain. Episode 1: The Kingston, Tennessee coal ash spill of 2008 and and its devastating consequences for hundreds of workers who had to clean up the toxic mess. Find more episodes at brokengroundpodcast.org.Later in the show: In 2010 the small, mostly black community of Fulton, Virginia, was shocked to learn a black mountain of 85,000 cubic yards of toxic coal ash had been dumped at the edge of a landfill half a mile from the town center. Jason Sawyer (Norfolk State University) says low income communities are often targeted by industrial polluters, looking for the cheapest and easiest way to dispose of toxic materials. Also: Rob Atkinson (Christopher Newport University) and Jon Hallman (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation) discuss the decline of the Atlantic White Cedar, a tree found in vast stands from Maine to Florida, whose wood once supplied roofs, barrels, and ships for Colonial America.

51mins

19 Apr 2019

Rank #11

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How to Go Clubbing

Even as shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Pose bring that culture into the mainstream, real-life gay bars and clubs are shuttering. DJ and Professor madison moore (Virginia Commonwealth University) argues that the club scene and the “fabulous” fashions on display there are radical spaces for queer and trans of color togetherness. Gregory Samantha Rosenthal (Roanoke College), Don Muse, and Peter Thornhill describe the sometimes-dangerous, always-exciting gay bars of the 1970s and 1980s in Roanoke, VA, before the AIDS crisis and gentrification changed the scene forever. Growing up, Lauron Kehrer (William and Mary) wasn't allowed to listen to hip-hop music. Now, she studies it for a living. Kehrer says hip-hop by both straight and LGBTQ artists can help us better understand race, gender, and sexuality. Choreographer and performer Al Evangelista brings us into the world of experimental queer Pilipinx-American dance, a form that he says can spark conversations and social change.

51mins

8 Feb 2019

Rank #12

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Voices of Vietnam: Women of War

More than 30,000 American women served in some form in Vietnam during the war. From the Red Cross volunteers who boosted morale to the nurses who treated injuries, women were a major part of soldiers’ experience of the war. The war also upended the lives of millions of wives, widows and girlfriends back home.

51mins

4 Oct 2018

Rank #13

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Brand Survival in the Trump Era

In this political climate, do brands suffer or thrive when companies take sides? Also, self expression through purchasing power has gone through the roof for African Americans.

51mins

7 Nov 2018

Rank #14

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Privatization and Public Universities

With state support shrinking and the dependence on private support increasing for most public universities what does the financial landscape of the future look like? What makes an institution public? Is it the source of funding? History? Mission? Or something else?

51mins

9 Mar 2018

Rank #15

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Holiday Favorites and Memories

Tim Anderson (Old Dominion University) introduces a modern reworking of a Charlie Brown Holiday special classic. Jacqueline Secoy (Longwood University) remembers the tunes that she first played in an orchestra.Orchestra conductor Kevin Bartram (University of Mary Washington) explains what singers like Judy Garland and Tony Bennett bring to the classic songs of the season. Later in the show: Sister Rosetta Tharpe attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her early rock and roll. Chris Kjorness (Longwood University) plays some of her groundbreaking recordings and talks about her legacy. And: Gary Richards (University of Mary Washington) argues that popular musicals tend to have a negative view of the South and don’t reflect its diversity today.

51mins

20 Dec 2018

Rank #16

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Why We Believe What We Believe

The best defense against conspiracy theories and fake news is robust journalism--but only if people trust their sources. Mallory Perryman (Virginia Commonwealth University) studies why people distrust their news sources and what we should do to change their minds. And: Why do people believe weird things? That’s what Jason Hart (Christopher Newport University) wants to find out. He delves into the psychology behind ghost encounters, anti-vaccine hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and more. Later in the show: Lieutenant General George Crocker says that when he was first introduced to Rick Atkinson he was told, “If you like the truth, you’ll love Rick.” Over his long career as a journalist and historian, Atkinson has won three Pulitzer Prizes for works that he has written and edited. As part of the Pulitzer Centennial Campfire Initiative, we honor Rick Atkinson’s career, from Vietnam Veterans, WWII, and the Persian Gulf War to DC police shootings and the War in Iraq.

51mins

12 Sep 2019

Rank #17

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Sacred and Profane

There’s a new podcast called Sacred & Profane hosted by two Religious Studies professors, Martien Halvorson-Taylor and Kurtis Schaeffer (University of Virginia). The podcast explores how people think and act with religion, how religion can affect our experience on almost every level, and the relationship between religion, race, and democracy.Later in the show: Christina Anne Kilby (James Madison University) says religion, at the level of the state, the community, the family, and the individual, can provide positive resources for dealing with refugee and migrant crisis. And: Annie Blazer (William & Mary) examines how Southern congregations, both historically Black and historically white, approach the challenges of urban gentrification. She says that changing neighborhoods have even spurred some churches to transform their religious missions.

52mins

25 Jul 2019

Rank #18

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Voices of Vietnam: A Lost Homeland

The Fall of Saigon marked the bitter end of the American War in Vietnam and the loss of a homeland for hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people. We share stories of the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops, along with heroic rescues and harrowing escapes of Vietnamese citizens. Then we take a glimpse into post-war life under communist rule in Vietnam.Later in the show: Some of the Vietnam War’s most enduring legacies are the Vietnamese communities of America, made up of refugees who arrived en masse after the Fall of Saigon. In our final episode, we explore how these communities became a key to economic success for refugees, and how many still grappled with the complexities of gratitude, guilt, and silence. Members of the next generation share the delicate balance of growing up as both Vietnamese and American, and discuss immigration in the U.S. today.

51mins

11 Apr 2019

Rank #19

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Grief

A poet loses his dad, a daughter empties her parents house, a coach copes with his grief after his player dies in an accident.

51mins

24 May 2019

Rank #20