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When Esther Barazzone took over Chatham College in 1992, it was in danger of closing – selling off property each year surrounding its beautiful in Pittsburgh, PA campus to cover its budget shortfall. In this episode, she describes the first stages of her remarkable 24-year tenure that transformed Chatham from a small, all women’s liberal arts colle…
 
Since the historic #MeToo movement materialized in 2017, innumerable survivors of sexual assault and misconduct have broken their silence and called out their abusers publicly--from well-known celebrities to politicians and high-profile business leaders. Not surprisingly, conservatives quickly opposed this new movement, but the fact that "sex posit…
 
For the first time, one volume includes a discourse analysis of every writing in the New Testament. Discourse analysis of written texts involves examining units of language higher than the sentence and considering how the author used those units of language to accomplish communicative purposes. But discourse analysis is not a clearly defined method…
 
In Mapping Abundance for a Planetary Future: Kanaka Maoli and Critical Settler Cartographies in Hawai'i (Duke University Press, 2021), Candace Fujikane draws upon Hawaiian stories about the land and water and their impact upon Native Hawai'ian struggles to argue that Native economies of abundance provide a foundation for collective work against cli…
 
Jeremy Black's new book on England in the Age of Austen, just published by Indiana University Press (2021), will be a treat for anyone who loves Jane - and who does not? - as well as anyone who is interested in her contexts. Black situates Austen's work in its social, political, economic and religious cultures, showing how her youthful commitments …
 
Through discussion of his famous 1970s experiment alongside new research, in Why Chimpanzees Can’t Learn Language and Only Humans Can (Columbia University Press, 2019), Herbert Terrace argues that, despite the failure of famous attempts to teach primates to speak, from these efforts we can learn something important: the missing link between non-lin…
 
Digitization is reshaping creative industries. Old gatekeepers in music, publishing, television, movies, and other industries no longer play such an important role, and digital piracy makes it easy for consumers to avoid paying companies, artists, and writers for what they produce. On the other hand, independents can now cheaply produce and distrib…
 
When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History (New Press, 2019) is part-memoir, part-history of Jewish Arabs. We follow Massoud Hayoun as he documents his family’s history, their place in the Arab world and how they came to America, as well as engage with how Massoud engages with his own sense of identity. Massoud Hayoun is a journalist a…
 
For many young adults, the college years are an exciting period of self-discovery full of new relationships, new independence, and new experiences. Yet college can also be a time of personal testing and intense questioning— especially for Christian students confronted with various challenges to Christianity and the Bible for the first time. In Surv…
 
How did Japanese academics study their "fields" in places like Manchuria and Inner Mongolia in the transwar decades? How did they transform in the postwar, under the US Occupation, and after? Into the Field: Human Scientists of Transwar Japan (Stanford UP, 2019) is the first monograph on the collective biography of this cohort of professional Japan…
 
Sadomasochism and the BDSM Community in the United States: Kinky People Unite (Routledge, 2021) chronicles the development of sadomasochistic sexuality and its communities in the United States from the post-war period to the present day. Having evolved from scattered networks of sadomasochists to a coherent body bound by shared principles of "safe,…
 
In this episode, I interview Kas Saghafi, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Memphis, about his book The World After the End of the World, published through SUNY Press in 2020. In this book, Kas Saghafi argues that the notion of “the end the world” in Derrida’s late work is not a theological or cosmological matter, but a meditat…
 
Is curiosity political? Does it have a philosophical lineage? In Curiosity and Power: The Politics of Inquiry (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), Perry Zurn shows, consequentially, yes. He further asks: Who can be curious? How? When? To what effect? What happens when we are curious together? Engaged with multiple social movements ranging from th…
 
In Vinyl Ventures: My Fifty Years at Rounder Records (Equinox, 2021), founder Bill Nowlin combines memoir with a history of the founding and evolution of Rounder as he talks about his experiences as one of the labels three founders. Rounder Records was born in 1970, a "hobby that got out of control," a fledgling record company more or less conceive…
 
Today I talked to Carol Cram about her new book Love Among the Recipes (New Arcadia Publishing, 2020). After Genna’s husband betrays her, she finds a way to spend six months writing a cookbook based on the city of Paris. In this lighthearted women’s fiction, Cram’s protagonist pairs both famous and lesser-known Parisian landmarks with often mouth-w…
 
In 2013, when the state of Oklahoma erected a statue of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol, a group calling themselves The Satanic Temple applied to erect a statue of Baphomet alongside the Judeo-Christian tablets. Since that time, The Satanic Temple has become a regular voice in national conversations about religious freedom,…
 
The emergence of individual and commercial insurance in Early Modern Europe required an understanding of probability. In Probable Justice: Rethinking the Politics of Risk (U Chicago Press, 2020), Rachel Friedman highlights the political thinking that developed side by side with the advances in statistical methods. By the 20th century, small scale, …
 
Plastic: An Autobiography (Nightboat Books, 2021) explores how technology, sprung from desire, draws all beings into its net, and asks how to live justly within its grasp. In Plastic: An Autobiography, Allison Cobb’s obsession with a large plastic car part leads her to explore the violence of our consume-and-dispose culture, including her own life …
 
The Art of Experiment: Post-Pandemic Knowledge Practices for 21st-Century Architecture and Design (Routledge, 2020) is a handbook for navigating our troubled and precarious times. In search of new knowledge practices that can help us make the world livable again, this book takes the reader on a journey across time—from the deep past to the unfoldin…
 
In 2007, the Museum at Eldridge Street opened at the site of a restored nineteenth-century synagogue originally built by some of the first Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New York City. Visitors to the museum are invited to stand along indentations on the floor where footprints of congregants past have worn down the soft pinewood. Here, many …
 
Owed (Penguin, 2020) is the second collection of poems by Dr. Joshua Bennett, poet, professor, and artist. This volume is a wide-ranging, celebratory book focused on what Bennett calls "the Black quotidian," including the poetry of the barbershop, plastic slip-covers on couches, and the benign struggle between a father and a son over a pair of long…
 
Though poverty and vagrancy as social phenomena greatly preoccupied authorities of Colonial Mexico, the social and individual lives of vagabonds and strangers of Spanish American early modernity remain elusive to the historian. In his new book, Fugitive Freedom: The Improbable Lives of Two Impostors in Late Colonial Mexico (University of California…
 
The three decades that followed World War II were an exceptionally fertile period for American essays. The explosion of journals and magazines, the rise of public intellectuals, and breakthroughs in the arts inspired a flowering of literary culture. At the same time, the many problems that confronted mid-century America--racism, sexism, nuclear thr…
 
Our democracies repeatedly fail to safeguard the future. From pensions to pandemics, health and social care through to climate, biodiversity and emerging technologies, democracies have been unable to deliver robust policies for the long term. In Can Democracy Safeguard the Future? (Polity Press, 2021), Graham Smith, a leading scholar of democratic …
 
Dr. J. M. White’s new book, Unity in Faith?: Edinoverie, Russian Orthodoxy, and Old Belief, 1800-1918 (Indiana University Press, 2020) discusses the Russian Orthodox/Old Believer schism. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Russian government decided, largely for reasons of state, to bring the schismatic Old Believers back into the Orthod…
 
The western travel narrative genre has a history long tied to voyeurism and conquest. A way to see the world—and its many unique people and places—through the eyes of mostly white and male travelers. In an increasingly globalized world, many writers are beginning to raise questions about the ethics of travel writing and its tropes, especially the w…
 
The rapid gentrification of Black and brown neighborhoods in urban areas by predominantly upper-class white and other white-adjacent peoples is largely facilitated by urban redevelopment and revitalization projects. These projects often usher in aesthetics that seek to attract those understood as desirable populations. But what happens when the aes…
 
Mehmet the Conqueror shook Europe to its foundations when he captured Constantinople in 1453 and, over the next decades, the Ottoman sultan continued his westward advance through the Balkans and the Mediterranean. But one Albanian fortress became an “unexpected bone in Mehmed’s throat” (xviii). David Hosaflook’s The Siege of Shkodra is the first En…
 
Apps have transformed dating from a mysterious adventure into a daily chore. Young, single, college-educated women are sick and tired of competing for a shrinking supply of guys. And marriage-material men, long expected to take the lead when it comes to asking women out, are suddenly balking at making the first move, fearing they'll come across as …
 
If health policy truly seeks to improve population health and reduce health disparities, addressing homelessness must be a priority. Homelessness is a public health problem. Nearly a decade after the great recession of 2008, homelessness rates are once again rising across the United States, with the number of persons experiencing homelessness surpa…
 
Successful word-coinages--those that stay in currency for a good long time--tend to conceal their beginnings. We take them at face value and rarely when and where they were first minted. Engaging, illuminating, and authoritative, Ralph Keyes's The Hidden History of Coined Words (Oxford University Press, 2021) explores the etymological underworld of…
 
Political Theorist and activist Dana Mill’s latest new book, Rosa Luxemburg (Reaktion Books, 2020), is part of an extensive series of books published by Reaktion Books, Ltd, which focuses both on the ideas or creations and the lives of many leading cultural figures of the modern period. These volumes are not long, but they are thorough, and they he…
 
Jürgen Melzer’s Wings for the Rising Sun: A Transnational History of Japanese Aviation (Harvard UP, 2020) traces the history of Japanese aviation from its origins with hot-air balloons in the 1870s until the end of the Pacific War in 1945. Melzer’s narrative centers around three themes: transnational technology transfer and Japan’s efforts to attai…
 
What is the power and significance of mindfulness and similar practices in conflict zones and conflict situations? Does a person need to challenge the norms and authority of the society and the attachment to nationality in order to seriously meditate? Is it possible to teach meditation and still encourage young people to serve in the military? What…
 
Jeremy Black, one of the most prolific and punchy of historians of modern Britain, has written a new account of a period on which he has previously published. A Brief History of Britain 1851-2021: From World Power to ? (Robinson, 2021) traces an arc of decline and opportunity, from the confidence that was reflected in the Crystal Palace’s Great Exh…
 
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