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From the time Mussolini took power in Italy in 1922, Americans have been obsessed with and brooded over the meaning of fascism and how it might migrate to the United States. Fascism Comes to America: A Century of Obsession in Politics and Culture (U Chicago Press, 2022) examines how we have viewed fascism overseas and its implications for our own c…
 
Journalist Katherine Blunt, who writes about renewable energy and utilities for the Wall Street Journal, talks about her new book, California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas and Electric—and What It Means for America’s Power Grid with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. The book tells the fascinating story of how declining performance at an electri…
 
Jennifer Crewe talks about how translation became a key component of the Columbia University Press publishing program and how the press decides which books they want to translate. In addition, we go behind the scenes to understand the mechanics of a translation rights deal and how negotiations are conducted between academic publishers around the wo…
 
Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are special places known for their distinctive flora, including pine-oak forests, sandplain grasslands, and sand dunes peppered with bearberry shrubs. Unfortunately, this unique sense of place is under threat. In recent decades, contemporary landscape practices have come to depend on envir…
 
According to the 2010 US census, more than seventy percent of Black women in America are unmarried. Black Women, Black Love: America's War on African-American Marriage (Seal Press, 2020) reveals how four centuries of laws, policies, and customs have created that crisis. Dianne Stewart begins in the colonial era, when slave owners denied Blacks the …
 
Organizing our lives around the pursuit of happiness—defined as positive feelings—can ultimately leave our souls hungry. Instead, we should try connecting ourselves to deeper things: compassion, community, ritual, and awe. Guest: Emily Esfahani Smith is a writer, editor, and speaker in Washington DC. She draws on psychology, philosophy, and literat…
 
How can the news better reflect important global issues? In Humanitarian Journalists Covering Crises from a Boundary Zone (Routledge, 2022), Drs Martin Scott, an Associate Professor in Media & Development at the University of East Anglia and Kate Wright, Senior Lecturer and Chancellor's Fellow in Media and Communication at the University of Edinbur…
 
A new model of urban governance, mapping the route to a more equitable management of a city’s infrastructure and services. The majority of the world’s inhabitants live in cities, but even with the vast wealth and resources these cities generate, their most vulnerable populations live without adequate or affordable housing, safe water, healthy food,…
 
On Easter Day 1916, more than a thousand Irishmen stormed Dublin city center, seizing the General Post Office building and reading the Proclamation for an independent Irish Republic. The British declared martial law shortly afterward, and the rebellion was violently quashed by the military. In a ten-day period after the event, fourteen leaders of t…
 
Beginning with the Dixiecrat Revolt of 1948 and extending through the 2020 election cycle, political scientists M.V. Hood III and Seth C. McKee trace the process by which rural white southerners transformed from fiercely loyal Democrats to stalwart Republicans. While these rural white southerners were the slowest to affiliate with the Grand Old Par…
 
Buffalo isn't just a city full of great wings. There is a great hot dog tradition, from Greek- originated "Texas red hots" to year-round charcoal-grilling at Ted's that puts Manhattan's dirty water dogs to shame. This is also a city of great sandwiches. It's a place where capicola gets layered on grilled sausage, where sautéed dandelions traditiona…
 
In Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasures of Fantasy (Duke UP, 2022), Leslie Bow traces the ways in which Asian Americans become objects of anxiety and desire. Conceptualizing these feelings as “racist love,” she explores how race is abstracted and then projected onto Asianized objects. Bow shows how anthropomorphic objects and images suc…
 
In Gadamer’s Hermeneutics: Between Phenomenology and Dialectic (Northwestern University Press, 2022), Robert J. Dostal provides a comprehensive and critical account of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutical philosophy, arguing that Gadamer’s enterprise is rooted in the thesis that “being that can be understood is language.” He defends Gadamer against c…
 
Have too much self-control? You worked hard, followed the rules, and delayed gratification to get where you are in life. You played nice, did what you were told, and were rewarded for it. You have high expectations of yourself and for those around you. You have a strong sense of how the world should be and a consciousness of right and wrong. These …
 
Journalist John Markoff has been writing about Silicon Valley for over forty years. In this interview with Peoples & Things host Lee Vinsel, Markoff talks about his long career, how he became a “tech journalist” long before that term even existed, and how he came to write his new book, Whole Earth: The Many Lives of Stewart Brand. Markoff and Vinse…
 
Are you so busy fulfilling everyone else’s expectations that you’ve lost touch with yourself? Do you find yourself filling up your “free” hours with mundane tasks, soaking up podcasts to improve yourself, and rushing around, never getting it all done? For many women, it’s the same kind of story—we hustle to overachieve at work and at home, all in t…
 
Christopher M. Hood is the Director of the Creative Writing Program at the Dalton School in New York City and lives nearby with his wife and daughter. He received an MFA in Poetry from UC Irvine. The Revivalists (Harper, 2022) is his debut novel. Book Recommendations: Chang-rae Lee, My Year Abroad Jenny Liou, Muscle Memory Chris Holmes is Chair of …
 
In Christopher Hitchens: What He Got Right, How He Went Wrong, and Why He Still Matters (Zero Books, 2022), Ben Burgis reminds readers about what was best in Hitchens's writings and helps us gain a better understanding of how someone whose whole political life was animated by the values of the socialist left could have ended up holding grotesque po…
 
Gaming the Past: Using Video Games to Teach Secondary History (Routledge, 2022) is a complete handbook to help pre-service teachers, current teachers, and teacher educators use historical video games in their classes to develop critical thinking skills. It focuses on practical information and specific examples for integrating critical thinking acti…
 
Museums everywhere have the potential to serve as agents of change—bringing people together, contributing to local communities, and changing people’s lives. So how can we, as individuals, radically expand the work of museums to live up to this potential? How can we more fiercely recognize the meaningful work that museums are doing to enact change a…
 
Meaning is less a secret to discover than an emergent property, a byproduct of engaging with the world. Through experimentation and an orientation of openness, we can weave ourselves into a broader cloth of coherence. Guest: Michael Steger is the Founder and Director of the Center for Meaning and Purpose, and Professor of Psychology at Colorado Sta…
 
Today I talked to Kerri Schlottman about her new novel Tell Me One Thing (Regal House Publishing, 2023). Quinn and a friend are driving from New York City to Pennsylvania when she sees 9-year-old Lulu sitting on a trucker’s lap, smoking a cigarette. At the truck stop for her friend to score drugs, Quinn takes an astounding picture and then leaves, …
 
On the Frontiers of the Indian Ocean World: A History of Lake Tanganyika, c.1830-1890 (Cambridge UP, 2022) is the first interdisciplinary history of Lake Tanganyika and of eastern Africa's relationship with the wider Indian Ocean World during the nineteenth century. Philip Gooding deploys diverse source materials, including oral, climatological, an…
 
Chris Kempshall's The History and Politics of Star Wars: Death Stars and Democracy (Routledge, 2022) provides the first detailed and comprehensive examination of all the materials making up the Star Wars franchise relating to the portrayal and representation of real-world history and politics. Drawing on a variety of sources, including films, publi…
 
Life will always bring us experiences and uncertainty, risks, losses - never planned, never found - emotional upheaval that defines what it means to be vulnerable; to break down to our breakthrough. It is here we find the courage to rise up, become our authentic selves and live our purpose. In this book, twelve women expose their vulnerability, the…
 
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