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Sanaë Lemoine is the author of The Margot Affair and a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow. She was born in Paris to a Japanese mother and French father, and raised in France and Australia, and now live in New York. She received an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. Book Recommendations: Meera Sodha, Made in India Jes…
 
Hannah Zeavin, lecturer in the department of History and member of the executive committees of both the Center for New Media and the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society at University of California, Berkeley, talks about her book, The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy, with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. The book tracks t…
 
For many residents of Western nations, COVID-19 was the first time they experienced the effects of an uncontrolled epidemic. This is in part due to a series of little-known regulations that have aimed to protect the global north from epidemic threats for the last two centuries, starting with International Sanitary Conferences in 1851 and culminatin…
 
A century after being expelled from Portugal, cryptoJews in Mexico, false converts to Christianity, could not speak of their beliefs for fear of becoming embroiled in the imprisonment, torture, and death in flames that characterized the Inquisition. Without written texts, the Jewish liturgy lost, clans of cryptoJews created a unique body of religio…
 
Adorno and the Ban on Images (Bloomsbury, 2022) upends some of the myths that have come to surround the work of the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno – not least amongst them, his supposed fatalism. Sebastian Truskolaski argues that Adorno's writings allow us to address what is arguably the central challenge of modern philosophy: how to picture a world…
 
Professor Cathleen Chopra-McGowan examines some the incongruities of our Bible in the context of the Ancient Near East, showing how the stories and traditions of Israel resembled and borrowed from those of Babylon and Assyria. She compares the Genesis narrative to two others, the epics of Gilgamesh and Atra-Hasis, especially discussing the universa…
 
M. R. Sharan is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, studying questions centred around development economics and political economy. He obtained his PhD from Harvard University in 2020 and was previously at the Delhi School of Economics and Hansraj College. His novel, Blue, was published in 2014. His writings have appeared across va…
 
We have usually relied on public intellectuals to provide facts, ideas, and cultural leadership--though not all have lived up to the ideal of “speaking truth to power.” Today, however, online networks and social media mean we are all public intellectuals, and we have new responsibilities that come with this role. Guests: Cornel West, professor at U…
 
Virginia Woolf’s 1938 provocative and polemical essay Three Guineas presents the iconic writer’s views on war, women, and the way the patriarchy at home oppresses women in ways that resemble those of fascism abroad. Two great Woolf experts, Professor Anne Fernald, editor of two editions of Mrs. Dalloway which she movingly discusses on another Think…
 
Change is not about grand statements and sweeping gestures. It is about chipping away, a bit at a time, at the habits that hold us back. Dr Rebecca Ray knows about the power of small habits to make big changes. By introducing small changes into her own life, she transformed her career as a clinical psychologist to become one of Australia's most eff…
 
Angela Vanhaelen's The Moving Statues of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam: Automata, Waxworks, Fountains, Labyrinths (Penn State University Press, 2022) opens a window onto a fascinating and understudied aspect of the visual, material, intellectual, and cultural history of seventeenth-century Amsterdam: the role played by its inns and taverns, specifi…
 
How do ideas manifest outside of their place of origin, and how do they change once they do? The Emergence of Global Maoism: China’s Red Evangelism and the Cambodian Communist Movement, 1949–1979 (Cornell University Press, 2022) by Matthew Galway examines how ideological systems become localized, both in the indigenization of Marxism-Leninism by Ma…
 
In this episode of High Theory, Jack Jen Gieseking tells us about queer space. Queer geographies matter alongside queer temporalities. And it turns out that lesbian life in the 1950s cannot be generalized from the specific history of Buffalo, New York. In the episode they reference a number of scholarly books including J. Jack Halberstam, In a Quee…
 
Patrick McCray, Professor of History at University of California, Santa Barbara, talks about his book, Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture, with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. The book shows how artists eagerly collaborated with engineers and scientists to explore new technologies and create visuall…
 
Persecution of Christians in the Middle East has been a recurring theme since the middle of the nineteenth century. The topic has experienced a resurgence in the last few years, especially during the Trump era. Middle Eastern Christians are often portrayed as a homogeneous, helpless group ever at the mercy of their Muslim enemies, a situation that …
 
Menachem Brod's In Search of Truth: Three Yeshiva Students on a Spiritual Journey (BSD Publishers, 2022) describes the struggle of yeshiva students searching for a path in serving Hashem. Examining various paths within Torah tradition reveals challenging new concepts and exposes them to the fascination of Chassidism. Today I talked to the book's tr…
 
What kind of country is America? Zachary Shore tackles this polarizing question by spotlighting some of the most morally muddled matters of WWII. Should Japanese Americans be moved from the west coast to prevent sabotage? Should the German people be made to starve as punishment for launching the war? Should America drop atomic bombs to break Japan'…
 
The work of Ibram X. Kendi distinguishes between two forms of racism: segregationism and assimilationism. Segregationists argue that some groups are inferior by nature; assimilationists, on the other hand, argue that some groups are inferior by 'nurture,' but can overcome this inferiority if they conform to another group's cultural standards -- in …
 
Avi and Gita Manaktala discuss how researchers should approach the book publishing process, including determining whether research should be published as an article or book, how to make an impact on the acquisitions editors, the significance of the editorial process, and the importance and function of an 'author platform' to spread your book. Gita …
 
Historian John Jeffries Martin traces narratives of the Apocalypse over the last 500 years in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions in his new book, A Beautiful Ending. This discussion about the culture of Apocalypse follows (and is the second part of) an interview we began on the New Books in History Podcast which was a historical discussio…
 
As I slowly settle into 2023 — reflecting on the blur that was 2022 — I can’t help but think about the complex problems (aka big messes!) we face at every turn: from increasingly devastating manifestations of the climate emergency, to the ubiquitous homelessness crisis, to the perplexing challenge of accessing a family physician in prosperous regio…
 
Ellen O'Hara was a young immigrant from Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century who, with courage and resilience, made a life for herself in New York while financially supporting those at home. Hereafter: The Telling Life of Ellen O'Hara (NYU Press, 2022) is her story, told by Vona Groarke, her descendant, in a beautiful blend of poetry, prose…
 
Though we rarely see them at work, building inspectors have the power to significantly shape our lives through their discretionary decisions. The building inspectors of Chicago are at the heart of sociologist Robin Bartram’s analysis of how individuals impact—or attempt to impact—housing inequality. In Stacked Decks: Building Inspectors and the Rep…
 
How do you see India? Fuelled by a surge of migration to cities, the country's growth appears to be defined by urbanisation and by its growing, prosperous middle class. It is also defined by progressive and liberal young Indians, who vote beyond the constraints of identity, and paradoxically, by an unchecked population explosion and rising crimes a…
 
In Water the Willow Tree: Memoirs of a Bethlehem Boyhood (Gorgias Press, 2022), George A. Kiraz tells the story of a young Palestinian boy growing up in Bethlehem, fascinated with understanding his Syriac roots even as he drew steadily nearer to the day when he would inevitably be transplanted to the United States. George first traces his ancestors…
 
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