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Mahakavi Subramania Bharati was a multi-faceted genius, an innovative poet who initiated a new era in Tamil literature. He was the first writer to have introduced to the Tamil literary world a new genre called ‘novella’ by his composition of Ñānaratam (‘The Wisdom-chariot’) written in elegant Tamil prose. In Soaring with Bharati in the Wisdom-Chari…
 
Formal mathematical models have provided tremendous insights into politics in recent decades. Formal Models of Domestic Politics (Cambridge UP, 2021) is the leading graduate textbook covering the crucial models that underpin current theoretical and empirical research on politics by both economists and political scientists. This textbook was recentl…
 
In the Pulitzer Prize finalist book Home, Land, Security: Deradicalisation and the Journey Back from Extremism (One World, 2021), Carla Power explores: what are the roots of radicalism? Journalist Carla Power came to this question well before the January 6, 2021, attack in Washington, D.C., that turned the US’ attention to the problem of domestic r…
 
Dr. Brett Malcolm Grainger is a scholar of American religion and an award-winning journalist. He is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University and the author of Church In The Wild: Evangelicals In Antebellum American and In The World but Not of It: One Family's Militant Faith and the History of Fundamentalism in A…
 
This podcast is a recorded panel discussion on “War and Peace: America's Humane War and the Crisis in Ukraine.” The panel was part of the Annual Conference of the Connecticut/Baden-Württemberg Human Rights Research Consortium (HRRC) held on May 12, 2022 at the University of Connecticut in Hartford. The discussion considers the recent book Humane: H…
 
Stories of world-ending catastrophe have featured prominently in film and television lately. Zombie apocalypses, climate disasters, alien invasions, global pandemics, and dystopian world orders fill our screens—typically with a singular figure or tenacious group tasked with saving or salvaging the world. In her new book, Apocalypse and Heroism in P…
 
Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination is a must-read for anyone interested in American literature and in the formation of American identity in general. In her short, incisive book, Nobel-prize winner Morrison explores the ways in which canonical authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Willa C…
 
Here I talk to Rosemary Mosco about her career and brand new book, Flowers are Pretty . . . Weird (Tundra, 2022). Rosemary makes books, articles, cartoons and graphics that connect people with the natural world. Her nature comics were the subject of an award-winning museum exhibit and are collected in a book that was a 2019 ALA Great Graphic Novel …
 
Hannah Zeavin talks about teletherapy, from Freud’s letters to suicide hotlines to therapy apps. If therapy is always mediated, teletherapy is any form of therapy in which that mediation is more clearly legible. This mediated practice is the topic of her new book The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy (MIT Press, 2021). Hannah is a Lecturer in…
 
Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about: Ellen Synder-Grenier’s career as a curator and public historian How Henry Street helped its neighbors survive the 1918 pandemic A discussion of the book The House on Henry Street Today’s book is: The House on Henry Street: The Enduring Life of a Lower East Side Settlement, which chron…
 
In Brecht and the Bible: A Study of Religious Nihilism and Human Weakness in Brecht's Drama of Morality and the City (UNC Press, 2020), Father G. Ronald Murphy argues that Brecht, atheist and Marxist though he was, was also a sensitive reader and interpreter of the Bible. Murphy persuasively shows that Brecht's use of Biblical texts was not only sa…
 
James Stafford teaches at Columbia University, where he specializes in the political and intellectual history of Ireland, Britain and Western Europe since 1750, with a particular interest in questions of political economy and international order. In this interview he discusses his new book The Case of Ireland: Commerce, Empire and the European Orde…
 
King Rao–one of the protagonists from Vauhini Vara’s novel The Immortal King Rao (W. W. Norton & Company: 2022)—is like many of the tech founders we idolize today. King comes from humble beginnings—born into a Dalit family in a coconut grove in India–moves to the U.S., and launches a company that ends up dominating the world. But Vauhini’s novel is…
 
In Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle (Duke UP, 2022), Shannen Dee Williams provides the first full history of Black Catholic nuns in the United States, hailing them as the forgotten prophets of Catholicism and democracy. Drawing on oral histories and previously sealed Church records, Williams demon…
 
Today I talked to Greg Hoffman about his new book Emotion By Design: Creative Leadership Lessons from a Life at Nike (Twelve, 2022). For this week’s guest Greg Hoffman, the characteristics of empathy and curiosity are central to everything from finding your place in the world, to connecting with others, and building a brand that exhibits a true sen…
 
Open Hearts, Closed Doors: Immigration Reform and the Waning of Mainline Protestantism (NYU Press, 2021) uncovers the largely overlooked role that liberal Protestants played in fostering cultural diversity in America and pushing for new immigration laws during the forty years following the passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924. These e…
 
Award-winning geographer-designer team James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti transform enormous datasets into rich maps and cutting-edge visualizations. In this triumph of visual storytelling, they uncover truths about our past, reveal who we are today, and highlight what we face in the years ahead. In Atlas of the Invisible: Maps and Graphics That Will…
 
In Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy, and Saintly Affects in Pakistan (Duke UP, 2022), Omar Kasmani theorizes saintly intimacy and the construction of queer social relations at Pakistan's most important site of Sufi pilgrimage. Conjoining queer theory and the anthropology of Islam, Kasmani outlines the felt and enfleshed ways in which sai…
 
An argument that social, political, and economic systems maintain power by discarding certain people, places, and things. Discard studies is an emerging field that looks at waste and wasting broadly construed. Rather than focusing on waste and trash as the primary objects of study, discard studies looks at wider systems of waste and wasting to expl…
 
Stephen Guy-Bray talks about sexuality, a concept that brings together the the use of sexual metaphors in the description of textual production and the erotics that inhere in reading praxes. Among other things, this concept is a critique of the use of popular heteronormative metaphors of reproduction to describe the creation of literature. Stephen …
 
A close look at stories of maternal death in Malawi that considers their implications in the broader arena of medical knowledge. By the early twenty-first century, about one woman in twelve could expect to die of a pregnancy or childbirth complication in Malawi. Specific deaths became object lessons. Explanatory stories circulated through hospitals…
 
The economist and historian Deirdre Nansen McCloskey has been best known recently for her Bourgeois Era trilogy, a vigorous defense, unrivaled in scope, of commercially tested betterment. Its massive volumes, The Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Dignity, and Bourgeois Equality, solve Adam Smith's puzzle of the nature and causes of the wealth of nations…
 
In her eighteenth-century medical recipe manuscript, the Philadelphia healer Elizabeth Coates Paschall asserted her ingenuity and authority with the bold strokes of her pen. Paschall developed an extensive healing practice, consulted medical texts, and conducted experiments based on personal observations. As British North America’s premier city of …
 
Beginning in 1955, West Germany recruited millions of people as guest workers from Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and especially Turkey. This labor force was essential to creating the postwar German economic miracle. Employers fantasized that foreign "guest workers" would provide labor power in their prime productive years without havi…
 
Victor Seow’s Carbon Technocracy: Energy regimes in Modern East Asia (U Chicago Press, 2021) is an account of the modern “world that carbon made” through the case study of the Fushun colliery in Manchuria. “Carbon technocracy” is a system dedicated to the optimal exploitation of fossil fuel resources. It is, as Seow shows, a system of consistent wa…
 
From grasshoppers to grubs, an eye-opening look at insect cuisine around the world. An estimated two billion people worldwide regularly consume insects, yet bugs are rarely eaten in the West. Why are some disgusted at the thought of eating insects while others find them delicious? Edible Insects: A Global History (Reaktion Books, 2021) provides a b…
 
Taking its inspiration from Great Expectations, Furnace Creek (Eyewear Publishing, 2021) teases us with the question of what Pip might have been like had he grown up in the American South of the 1960s and 1970s and faced the explosive social issues--racial injustice, a war abroad, women's and gay rights, class struggle--that galvanized the world in…
 
Krishnamacharya on Kundalini: The Origins and Coherence of His Position (Equinox Publishing, 2022) explores a distinctive teaching of 'the father of modern yoga', T. Krishnamacharya. Whereas most yoga traditions teach that kuṇḍalinī is a serpentine energy that rises, Krishnamacharya defined it differently. To him, kuṇḍalinī is a serpentine blockage…
 
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