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In her detailed cultural history of technological change, Electrifying Mexico, Diana Montaño argues that ordinary Mexicans became electrifying agents who actively negotiated the extent and manner electricity entered their lives and lived spaces in Mexico City. An Assistant Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Montaño's te…
 
Linking morality and science can conjure up disturbing histories around social Darwinism, eugenics, and genetically engineered humans. But scientists today are making discoveries that moral agents shouldn’t ignore: how to overcome aggression and tribalism, and how to sustain cooperation in a modern pluralist world. Guests: Diane Paul, professor eme…
 
What does it mean to be Black in Scotland today? How are notions of nationhood, Scottishness, and Britishness implicated in this? Why is it important to archive and understand Black Scottish history? In Black Oot Here: Black Lives in Scotland (Bloomsbury, 2022) Dr. Francesca Sobande and layla-roxanne hill explore the history and contemporary lives …
 
With In and Out of This World: Material and Extraterrestrial Bodies in the Nation of Islam (Duke University Press, 2022), Stephen C. Finley, Inaugural Chair, Department of African and African American Studies at Louisiana State University, examines the religious practices and discourses that have shaped the Nation of Islam (NOI) in America. Drawing…
 
For generations, the composition and recitation of poetry has been a key mode of expression among Bedouin populations in the Middle East, reflecting social norms, religious practices, relationships with the natural environment, and tribal histories and politics. In Words Like Daggers: The Political Poetry of the Negev Bedouin (Brill, 2022), Kobi Pe…
 
Since 2020, Europe's financial sector has been severely stress-tested by a global pandemic and a major land war yet, compared to the period between 2007 and 2012, the impact has been remarkably muted. Still minnows compared to their US peers, Europe's post-crisis recapitalised banks nevertheless have held up well. And so, by and large, has the qual…
 
China re-opened border in a final farewell to its strict zero-COVID policy on the 8th of January, 2023. But in the first few weeks of January, the Myanmar side of the border and the Myanmar immigration authorities refused to open the border for fear of COVID surge. This has continued to affect the livelihood of Myanmar jewellers who used to travel …
 
Since 2016, and with the blessing of Pope Francis, Father Jim Martin has been talking with LGBT Catholics about their relationship with their church. That’s the subject of his book, Building a Bridge, and also a documentary film by the same title; we talk about what the bridge is and where it might take us. He also reflects on his vocation as a Jes…
 
The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton UP, 2010) documents the process, and relative ease, with which institutions of higher learning and the religious establishment, can be corrupted by political ideology and power. In Germany of the 1930’s the thin cloak of religion covered and sanitized the murderous evil…
 
Maimonideanism, the intellectual culture inspired by Maimonides’ writings, has received much recent attention. Yet a central aspect of Maimonideanism has been overlooked: the formal reception of the Guide of the Perplexed through commentary. In Rewriting Maimonides: Early Commentaries on the Guide of the Perplexed (de Gruyter, 2018), Igor H. De Sou…
 
David Geisser was a Swiss Guard protecting Pope Francis and the Apostolic Palace between 2013 and 2015. He was following the footsteps of his father who had been in the service a generation earlier under Pope John Paul II, including on the dark day (May 13, 1981) when a would-be assassin shot the Holy Father. I ask him about his experiences in one …
 
For almost a year now, we have been absorbing news and information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There are a variety of different, or competing, narratives to explain and define what we understand about the origins of this conflict and the ongoing military successes and failures on the ground in Ukraine and in Russia. I had the chance to inte…
 
Today I talked to Batja Mesquita about her book Between Us: How Cultures Create Emotions (Norton, 2022). To a degree sometimes not realized, we discuss emotions through the lens of what have been called WEIRD cultures, i.e. Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic. As a result, the perspective taken tends to be inside/out, privileging…
 
In Opening Kailasanatha: The Temple in Kanchipuram Revealed in Time and Space (U Washington Press, 2020), Padma Kaimal deciphers the intentions of the monument’s makers, reaching back across centuries to illuminate worldviews of the ancient Indic south. By focusing on the material form of the complex—the architecture, inscriptions, and sculptures, …
 
Why do PhD programs assume students will become professors, when most people find careers outside academia? How can we better prepare graduate students for the post-grad career path? This episode explores: What a “Connected PhD” program is, and why it’s necessary. The negative impact on students when they feel "less than" or as if they have failed …
 
Feeling down about museums? We have so many reasons to, but Chris Newell, Tribal Community Member-in-Residence at UConn and Director of Education at the Akomawt Educational Initiative, gives a dose of optimism about the future of museums. Learn more about the Seeing Truth exhibition at our website. Follow us on Twitter @WhyArguePod and on Instagram…
 
Not long ago it seemed flood control experts were close to mastering the unruly flows funnelling toward Hudson Bay and the Prairie city of Winnipeg. But as more intense and out-of-synch flood events occur, wary cities like Winnipeg continue to depend on systems and specifications that will soon be out of date. Rivers have impulses that defy many of…
 
Frank Wolff's ground-breaking Yiddish Revolutionaries in Migration: The Transnational History of the Jewish Labour Bund (Haymarket Books, 2021) investigates how this social movement transformed itself from one of the most important revolutionary protagonists in early twentieth-century Russia to a socialist institution of secular Jewish life and yid…
 
Jewish Flavours of Italy: A Family Cookbook (Green Bean Books, 2022) is a culinary journey through Italy and a deep dive into family culinary heritage. With more than 100 kosher recipes, Silvia offers readers a unique collection of authentic and traditional Italian-Jewish dishes, combined with stunning photography, practical tips, and clear explana…
 
Tibetan nomads have developed a way of life that is dependent in multiple ways on their animals and shaped by the phenomenological experience of mobility. These pastoralists have adapted to many changes in their social, political and environmental contexts over time. From the earliest historically recorded systems of segmentary lineage to the incor…
 
Harm takes shape in and through what is suppressed, left out, or taken for granted. Unsaid: Unsaid: Analyzing Harmful Silences (U California Press, 2022) is a guide to understanding and uncovering what is left unsaid—whether concealed or silenced, presupposed or excluded. Drawing on a variety of real-world examples, narrative criminologist Lois Pre…
 
Disruption resulting from the proliferation of AI is coming. The authors of the bestselling Prediction Machines describe what you can do to prepare. Banking and finance, pharmaceuticals, automotive, medical technology, retail. Artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into many industries around the world. But the truth is, it has just begun it…
 
Many histories of science have been written, but A New History of the Humanities (Oxford UP, 2014) offers the first overarching history of the humanities from Antiquity to the present. There are already historical studies of musicology, logic, art history, linguistics, and historiography, but this volume gathers these, and many other humanities dis…
 
Resurgence of Global Populism: A Psychoanalytic Study of Projective Identification, Blame-Shifting and the Corruption of Democracy (Routledge, 2022) provides a psychoanalytic perspective to the global implications of the populist movement in the U.S. and its relationship to other parts of the world, particularly focusing on the presidency and legac…
 
Fatigue, disorientation, numbness, envy, rage, burnout. What good could come from thinking about trans experience and these bad feelings? In Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling Bad (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), Hil Malatino theorizes the centrality of bad feelings in a world of quotidian and spectacular anti-trans misrecognition, host…
 
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