Book of the Day/ Latin American Studies

Vital Decomposition

Soil Practitioners and Life Politics

Kristina M. Lyons

Hosted by Alejandro De Leon
In Colombia, decades of social and armed conflict and the US-led war on drugs have created a seemingly untenable situation for scientists and rural communities as they attempt to care for forests and grow non-illicit crops. In her new book Vital Decomposition: Soil Practitioners and Life Politics (Duke University Press, 2020), Kristina M. Lyons presents an ethnography of human-soil relations. By following the practical engagements of soil scientists and peasants …
European Studies

The Invention of Papal History

Onofrio Panvinio between Renaissance and Catholic Reform

Stefan Bauer

Hosted by Crawford Gribben
Stefan Bauer has written an outstanding study of one of the most important Catholic historians in early modern Europe. Bauer, who has just taken up a new position teaching history …
American Studies

Patriots of Two Nations

Why Trump Was Inevitable and What Happens Next

Spencer Critchley

Hosted by Kirk Meighoo
America is in a Cold Civil War, between people who see each other as threats to the country — but themselves as patriots. How can that be? They are patriots …
European Studies

Heidegger’s Fascist Affinities

A Politics of Silence

Adam Knowles

Hosted by Stephen Dozeman
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s influence over the last several decades of philosophy is undeniable, but his place in the canon has been called into question in recent years in …
African American Studies

Jezebel Unhinged

Loosing the Black Female Body in Religion and Culture

Tamura Lomax

Hosted by Kristian Petersen
One of the central threads in the public discourse on Black womanhood is the idea of the “Jezebel.” This trope deems Black women and girls as dishonorable and sexually deviant …
Eastern European Studies

Decentralization, Regional Diversity, and Conflict

The Case of Ukraine

Hanna Shelest and Maryna Rabinovych

Hosted by Nataliya Shpylova
The articles presented in Decentralization, Regional Diversity, and Conflict: The Case of Ukraine (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) aim to explore the current political and administrative challenges that Ukraine is facing. The …
American Studies

The Sex Obsession

Perversity and Possibility in American Politics

Janet Jakobsen

Hosted by Lindsey Jackson
Why are Americans, and American politicians more specifically, obsessed with sex? Why, in the words of Janet Jakobsen, are gender and sexuality such riveting public policy concerns the United States …
Literary Studies

Cultures of Memory in the Nineteenth Century

Consuming Commemoration

Katherine Grenier and Amanda Mushal

Hosted by Nataliya Shpylova
Cultures of Memory in the Nineteenth Century: Consuming Commemoration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) explores commemorative practices as they developed in the nineteenth century. The editors of the volume, Katherine Grenier and …

Stone Motel

Memoirs of a Cajun Boy

Morris Ardoin

Hosted by John Marszalek III
In the summers of the early 1970s, Morris Ardoin and his siblings helped run their family's roadside motel in a hot, buggy, bayou town in Cajun Louisiana. The stifling, sticky …
Indian Ocean World

The Making of an Indian Ocean World-Economy, 1250–1650

Princes, Paddy fields, and Bazaars

Ravi Palat

Hosted by Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi
Ravi Palat’s The Making of an Indian Ocean World-Economy, 1250–1650: Princes, Paddy fields, and Bazaars (Palgrave, 2015) counters eurocentric notions of long-term historical change by drawing upon the histories of …
Book of the Day/ Southeast Asian Studies

The Constitution of Myanmar

A Contextual Analysis

Melissa Crouch

Hosted by Nick Cheesman
The tail end of the twentieth century was a good time for constitutional lawyers. Leapfrogging around the globe, they offered advice on how to amend, write or rewrite one state constitution after the next following the collapse of the Soviet Union and with it, the communist bloc. Largely overlooked in the flurry of constitution drafting in this period, officials in Myanmar worked away on a new constitution without any experts …

Leave It Raw

Shakira Croce

Hosted by Athena Dixon
Like a storm waiting to break over a plain, Shakira Croce pulls at tensions and heartstrings in a debut collection filled with longing, wit, and intelligence. Through masterful imagery, Croce …
European Studies

The Habsburgs

To Rule the World

Martyn Rady

Hosted by Charles Coutinho
In The Habsburgs: To Rule the World (Basic Books, 2020), Martyn Rady, Masaryk Professor of Central European History at University College London, tells the epic story of a dynasty and …
British Studies

Permanent Revolution

The Reformation and the Illiberal Roots of Liberalism

James Simpson

Hosted by Jonathan Megerian
The Protestant Reformation looms large in our cultural imagination. In the standard telling, it’s the moment the world went modern. Casting off the shackles and superstitions of medieval Catholicism, reformers …
American Studies

A Foreign Policy for the Left

Michael Walzer

Hosted by Keith Krueger
In my old age, I try to argue more quietly, though I still believe that sharp disagreement is a sign of political seriousness. What engaged citizens think and say matters …
Performing Arts

Exporting Jim Crow

Blackface Minstrelsy in South Africa and Beyond

Chinua Thelwell

Hosted by Amanda Joyce Hall
Exporting Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in South Africa and Beyond (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020) by Dr. Chinua Thelwell is a rich, well-researched, and sobering investigation of blackface minstrelsy as …
Critical Theory

Universal Emancipation

Race Beyond Badiou

Elisabeth Paquette

Hosted by Sarah Tyson
What is Badiou’s theory of emancipation? For whom is this emancipation possible? Does emancipation entail an indifference to difference? In Universal Emancipation: Race Beyond Badiou (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) …

The Films of Martin Scorsese

Gangsters, Greed, and Guilt

Eric San Juan

Hosted by Joel Tscherne
Few mainstream filmmakers have as pronounced a disregard for the supposed rules of filmmaking as Martin Scorsese. His inventiveness displays a reaction against the “right” way to make a movie …
American Studies

Into the Extreme

U.S. Environmental Systems and Politics Beyond Earth

Valerie Olson

Hosted by John Traphagan
What if outer space is not outside the human environment but, rather, defines it? This is the unusual starting point of Valerie Olson’s Into the Extreme: U.S. Environmental Systems and …
Eastern European Studies

The Things of Life

Materiality in Late Soviet Russia

Alexey Golubev

Hosted by Steven Seegel
The Things of Life: Materiality in Late Soviet Russia (Cornell UP, 2020) is a social and cultural history of material objects and spaces during the late socialist era. It traces …
Literary Studies

A History of Taiwan Literature

Christopher Lupke (trans.)

Hosted by Steven Wills
Ye Shitao was a Taiwanese public intellectual who rose to prominence in the second half of the twentieth century. His encyclopedic A History of Taiwan Literature was published in 1987 …

Theory of the Gimmick

Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form

Sianne Ngai

Hosted by Michael Eby
In Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form (Harvard University Press, 2020), Sianne Ngai continues her theoretical work of demystifying the vernacular aesthetic categories encountered in late capitalist …
Book of the Day/ British Studies

The Digital Lives of Black Women in Britain

Francesca Sobande

Hosted by Dave O'Brien
What are the possibilities and what are the inequalities of the digital world? In The Digital Lives of Black Women in Britain (Palgrave, 2020), Francesca Sobande, a lecturer in Digital Media Studies at Cardiff University explores the experiences of Black women as producers and as consumers of digital media. The book offers a rich combination of archival and interview material, along with a theoretical framework crossing boundaries of digital, media …

Once I Was You

A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America

Maria Hinojosa

Hosted by David-James Gonzales
Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist who, for nearly thirty years, has reported on stories and communities in America that often go ignored by the mainstream media—from tales of hope …
Digital Humanities

Furnace &amp

A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s “Atalanta fugiens” (1618) with Scholarly Commentary

Donna Bilak and Tara Nummedal

Hosted by Molly Taylor-Poleskey
In 1618, on the eve of the Thirty Years’ War, the German alchemist and physician Michael Maier published Atalanta fugiens, an intriguing and complex musical alchemical emblem book designed to …

Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

Heather Lende

Hosted by Christina Gessler
Heather Lende was one of the thousands of women inspired to take a more active role in politics during the past few years. Though her entire campaign for assembly member …
Literary Studies

Against Demagogues

What Aristophanes Can Teach Us about the Perils of Populism and the Fate of Democracy

Robert Bartlett

Hosted by Andy Boyd
With Against Demagogues: What Aristophanes Can Teach Us about the Perils of Populism and the Fate of Democracy (University of California Press, 2020) Robert Bartlett provides a stirring argument for …
East Asian Studies

Trade Wars Are Class Wars

How Rising Inequality Distorts the Global Economy and Threatens International Peace

Michael Pettis and Matthew C. Klein

Hosted by Nicholas Gordon
Trade imbalances have long been a sticking point in international economics, most recently between the United States and China. The conversation about persistent trade imbalances tends to take on a …
Literary Studies

Black Land

Imperial Ethiopianism and African America

Nadia Nurhussein

Hosted by Sharika Crawford
In Black Land: Imperial Ethiopianism and African America (Princeton University Press, 2019), Nadia Nurhussein explores late nineteenth and twentieth century African American cultural engagement with and literary depictions of imperial …
World Affairs

The New Twenty Years' Crisis

A Critique of International Relations, 1999-2019

Philip Cunliffe

Hosted by Mark Klobas
At the end of the 20th century, the liberal international order appeared unassailable after its triumph over the authoritarian challenges of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Twenty years later, however …
African American Studies

To Make the Wounded Whole

The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS

Dan Royles

Hosted by Claire Clark
In the decades since it was identified in 1981, HIV/AIDS has devastated African American communities. Members of those communities mobilized to fight the epidemic and its consequences from the beginning …
American Studies

Election Meltdown

Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy

Richard L. Hasen

Hosted by Arya Hariharan
As the 2020 presidential campaign begins to take shape, there is widespread distrust of the fairness and accuracy of American elections. In Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat …
Eastern European Studies

The Rebellion of the Daughters

Jewish Women Runaways in Habsburg Galicia

Rachel Manekin

Hosted by Zalman Newfield
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, over three hundred young Jewish women from Orthodox, mostly Hasidic, homes in Western Galicia (now Poland) fled their communities and sought refuge …
Book of the Day/ East Asian Studies

Japanese War Crimes during World War II

Atrocity and the Psychology of Collective Violence

When you mention Japanese War crimes in World War Two, you’ll often get different responses from different generations. The oldest among us will talk about the Bataan Death March. Younger people, coming of age in the 1990s, will mention the Rape of Nanking or the comfort women forced into service by the Japanese army. Occasionally, someone will mention biological warfare. Frank Jacob has offered a valuable service by surveying Japanese …
Eastern European Studies

Useful Enemies

Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750

Noel Malcolm

Hosted by Vladislav Lilic
Sir Noel Malcolm’s captivating new book, Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750 (Oxford University Press, 2019), tells the story of Western European fascination with …

Seeking Virtue in Finance

Contributing to Society in a Conflicted Industry

JC de Swaan

Hosted by Daniel Peris
JC de Swaan does not shy from a challenge. In his new book, Seeking Virtue in Finance: Contributing to Society in a Conflicted Industry (Cambridge University Press, 2020), de Swaan …
Southeast Asian Studies

Lost Temples of the Jungle

A History of Mrauk-U with Dr. Bob Hudson

Thushara Dibley

Hosted by Thushara Dibley
Deep in the jungles of Myanmar lie the remains of an ancient kingdom, the 15th-century royal city of Mrauk-U. Located in the Bay of Bengal and separated from the rest …


How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

Robert Plomin

Hosted by Renee Garfinkel
Have you ever felt, “Oh my God, I’m turning into my mother (or father)!” ? Robert Plomin explains why that happens in Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are …

The Kindness of Strangers

How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code

Michael E. McCullough

Hosted by Dan Hill
Why Give a Damn About Strangers? In his book The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code (Basic Books, 2020), Michael E. McCullough explains. McCullough …
American Studies

The 'Silent Majority' Speech

Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War, and the Origins of the New Right

Scott Laderman

Hosted by Michael Vann
On November 3, 1969 Richard M. Nixon addressed the nation in what would come to be known as “The Silent Majority Speech”. In 32 minutes, the president promoted his plan …
Chinese Studies

Anxious China

Inner Revolution and Politics of Psychotherapy

Li Zhang

Hosted by suvi rautio
The breathless pace of China’s economic reform has brought about deep ruptures in socioeconomic structures and people’s inner landscape. Faced with increasing market-driven competition and profound social changes, more and …
Southeast Asian Studies

Miracles and Material Life

Rice, Ore, Traps and Guns in Islamic Malaya

Teren Sevea

Hosted by Kelvin Ng
In Miracles and Material Life: Rice, Ore, Traps and Guns in Islamic Malaya (Cambridge University Press), Teren Sevea reveals the economic, environmental and religious significance of Islamic miracle workers (pawangs) …
Book of the Day/ American Studies

The Angel in the Marketplace

Adwoman Jean Wade Rindlaub and the Selling of America

Ellen Wayland-Smith

Hosted by Lilian Calles-Barger
Ellen Wayland-Smith is an associate professor of writing at University of Southern California. Her book The Angel in the Marketplace: Adwoman Jean Wade Rindlaub and the Selling of America (University of Chicago Press, 2020) follows the career of adwoman Jean Wade Rindlaub who in the mid-twentieth century created the advertising campaigns selling consumer products to the average American housewife. More than products, Rindlaub sold a dream of domesticity and prosperity …
South Asian Studies

Brewing Resistance

Indian Coffee House and the Emergency in Postcolonial India

Kristin Plys

Hosted by Sneha Annavarapu
In 1947, decolonization promised a better life for India's peasants, workers, students, Dalits, and religious minorities. By the 1970s, however, this promise had not yet been realized. Various groups fought …

Underground, Monroe, and the Mamalogues

Three Plays

Lisa B. Thompson

Hosted by Andy Boyd
Lisa B. Thompson is equally renowned as a scholar of African and African-American studies and as a playwright. Her latest book Underground, Monroe, and the Mamalogues: Three Plays (Northwestern University …
American Studies

Stars with Stripes

The Essential Partnership between the European Union and the United States

Anthony L. Gardner

Hosted by Tim Jones
If the US is – in the words of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright – the "indispensible nation" then the economic, democratic and institutional alliance between the US and …
American Studies

Love in the Drug War

Selling Sex and Finding Jesus on the Mexico-US Border

Sara Luna

Hosted by Alize Arican
Sex, drugs, religion, and love are potent combinations in la zona, a regulated prostitution zone in the city of Reynosa, across the border from Hidalgo, Texas. During the years 200 …
Literary Studies

Getting it Published

A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books (3rd Edition)

William Germano

Hosted by Daniel Shea
When I put down Getting it Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books (University of Chicago Press, 2016), I looked up and began to wonder …
East Asian Studies

Elusive Belonging

Marriage Immigrants and 'Multiculturalism' in Rural South Korea

Minjeong Kim

Hosted by Ann Choi
Studies on marriage migration often portray marriage migrants as victims of globalization and patriarchy. Although there are intersecting oppressions among female migrant workers, the tendency to conflate marriage migration with …
Chinese Studies

The Chinese Deathscape

Grave Reform in Modern China

Thomas S. Mullaney

Hosted by Luca Scholz
In the past decade alone, more than ten million corpses have been exhumed and reburied across the Chinese landscape. The campaign has transformed China's graveyards into sites of acute personal …
Southeast Asian Studies

A Dog Pissing at the Edge of a Path

Animal Metaphors in an Eastern Indonesian Society

Gregory Forth

Hosted by Akash Ondaatje
Gregory Forth, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Alberta and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, has studied the Nage people of the eastern Indonesian island of …
Book of the Day/ Literary Studies

Sex, Love, and Letters

Writing Simone de Beauvoir

Judith G. Coffin

Hosted by Julia Gossard
When Judith G. Coffin discovered a virtually unexplored treasure trove of letters to Simone de Beauvoir from Beauvoir's international readers, it inspired Coffin to explore the intimate bond between the famed author and her reading public. This correspondence, at the heart of Sex, Love, and Letters: Writing Simone de Beauvoir (Cornell UP, 2020), immerses us in the tumultuous decades from the late 1940s to the 1970s—from the painful aftermath of …
African Studies

The Swahili World

Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Adria LaViolette

Hosted by Jenny Peruski
The Swahili World (Routledge, 2017) presents the fascinating story of a major world civilization, exploring the archaeology, history, linguistics, and anthropology of the eastern coast of Africa. It covers a …
Eastern European Studies

Bowling for Communism

Urban Ingenuity at the End of East Germany

Andrew Demshuk

Hosted by Steven Seegel
Bowling for Communism: Urban Ingenuity at the End of East Germany (Cornell University Press, 2020) illuminates how civic life functioned in Leipzig, East Germany's second-largest city, on the eve of …
Literary Studies

Transmedia Adaptation in the Nineteenth Century

Lissette Lopez Szwydky

Hosted by Miranda Corcoran
In this episode of New Books in Literary Studies we speak with Lissette Lopez Szwydky, author of the new book Transmedia Adaptation in the Nineteenth Century (Ohio State UP, 2020) …

Augusta Browne

Composer and Woman of Letters in Nineteenth-Century America

Bonny H. Miller

Hosted by Kristen Turner
Born around 1820, Augusta Browne was a pianist, organist, composer, music pedagogue, entrepreneur, music critic, and writer. In Augusta Browne: Composer and Woman of Letters in Nineteenth-Century America (University of …
South Asian Studies

The Authority of Female Speech in Indian Goddess Traditions

Anway Mukhopadhyay

Hosted by Raj Balkaran
Contemporary debates on “mansplaining” foreground the authority enjoyed by male speech, and highlight the way it projects listening as the responsibility of the dominated, and speech as the privilege of …

To Live and Defy in LA

How Gangsta Rap Changed America

Felicia Angeja Viator

Hosted by Stephen Hausmann
In 1985, Greg Mack, a DJ working for Los Angeles radio station KDAY, played a song that sounded like nothing else on West Coast airwaves: Toddy Tee’s “The Batteram,” a …
Performing Arts

Radical Ritual

How Burning Man Changed the World

Neil Shister

Hosted by Emily Ruth Allen
Written from Neil Shister’s perspective as a journalist, student of American culture, and six-time participant in Burning Man, Radical Ritual: How Burning Man Changed the World (Counterpoint, 2019) presents the …

The Medicalization of Marijuana

Legitimacy, Stigma, and the Patient Experience

Michelle Newhart and William Dolphin

Hosted by Lucas Richert
Medical marijuana laws have spread across the U.S. to all but a handful of states. Yet, eighty years of social stigma and federal prohibition creates dilemmas for patients who participate …
Spiritual Practice and Mindfulness

Growing Young

How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100

Marta Zaraska

Hosted by Eric LeMay
Today I interview Marta Zaraska about her book Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100 (Appetite/Random House, 2020). Now you may be thinking to …