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Today I chatted with Charvann Bailey, assistant professor of biology at Grinnell College. We discussed her route to a Ph.D. in biology, the struggles of post-docing and bench science, and her decision to teach at a liberal arts college. And we talked about her work trying to find new therapies to treat lung cancer. Marshall Poe is the founder and e…
 
The Unfinished History of the Iran-Iraq War: Faith, Firepower, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Cambridge UP, 2021) represents a fascinating and carefully documented intellectual history of how Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps document, remember, and contest the Iran-Iraq War and of its ramifications for the religious, cultural, and politi…
 
Imagine knowing years in advance whether you are likely to get cancer or having a personalized understanding of your individual genes, organs, and cells. Imagine being able to monitor your body's well-being, or have a diet tailored to your microbiome. The Secret Body reveals how these and other stunning breakthroughs and technologies are transformi…
 
Why should we view the anti-China protests that began in Hong Kong in 2019 through a comparative lens? How do earlier episodes in Hong Kong’s history help us make sense of what has happened? How far can we make useful parallels with other protest movements in places like Thailand and Myanmar? And is a distinct field of ‘Hong Kong studies’ now begin…
 
Labour has taken an about-turn. From Adam Smith’s proposal for specialisation which saw the factory line reorganised so that each worker needed to understand only a small aspect of the production process, many industries now rely on access to specialised skills and resources that are commanded at-hoc in discrete, time- and output-bound chunks. This…
 
In Institutional Sexual Abuse in the #metoo Era (Southern Illinois UP, 2021), editors Jason D. Spraitz and Kendra N. Bowen bring together the work of contributors in the fields of criminal justice and criminology, sociology, journalism, and communications. These chapters show #MeToo is not only a support network of victims’ voices and testimonies b…
 
A critical look at how the US military is weaponizing technology and data for new kinds of warfare—and why we must resist. War Virtually: The Quest to Automate Conflict, Militarize Data, and Predict the Future (University of California Press, 2022) is the story of how scientists, programmers, and engineers are racing to develop data-driven technolo…
 
In Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment (UNC Press, 2022), Cristina Ramos tells us the story of Mexico city’s oldest public institution for the insane, the Hospital de San Hipólito. This institution, founded in 1567, was the first mental hospital in the New World. Remarkable as this fact may be, this book is not s…
 
In 1940, Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey built two bikes, packed what they could, and fled wartime Paris. Among the possessions they escaped with was a manuscript that would later become one of the most celebrated books in children’s literature—Curious George. Since his debut in 1941, the mischievous icon has only grown in popularity. After being …
 
According to many standard philosophical accounts, beliefs are a kind of stance one takes toward a proposition. To believe that Nashville is in Tennessee is to adopt a certain attitude towards the proposition ‘Nashville is in Tennessee’. One advantage of this view is that it seems to make clear how beliefs can be right or wrong: to believe a propos…
 
The Hygienic Apparatus: Weimar Cinema and Environmental Disorder (Northwestern UP, 2022) traces how the environmental effects of industrialization reverberated through the cinema of Germany’s Weimar Republic. In the early twentieth century, hygiene encompassed the myriad attempts to create healthy spaces for life and work amid the pollution, diseas…
 
In Black to Nature: Pastoral Return and African American Culture (University Press of Mississippi, 2021), author Stefanie K. Dunning considers both popular and literary texts that range from Beyoncé’s Lemonade to Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones. These key works restage Black women in relation to nature. Dunning argues that depictions of protagonist…
 
Farah Bakaari talks about Trace, a core concept in deconstruction, that denotes an absent presence, a mark of something that is no longer there. She talks about how in her own work she has used the concept of trace to write about legacies of colonialism and slave trade in the Atlantic and Indian oceans, for which there is no archive that is convent…
 
Daniel Silva’s Embodying Modernity: Global Fitness Culture and Building the Brazilian Body (U Pittsburgh Press, 2022) examines the current boom of fitness culture in Brazil in the context of the white patriarchal notions of race, gender, and sexuality through which fitness practice, commodities, and cultural products traffic. The book traces the im…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and the US-China trade dispute have heightened interest in the geopolitics and security of modern ports. Ports are where contemporary societal dilemmas converge: the (de)regulation of international flows; the (in)visible impact of globalization; the perennial tension between trade and security; and the thin line betwee…
 
With I Am Jugoslovenka!: Feminist Performance Politics During and After Yugoslav Socialism (Manchester UP, 2022), Jasmina Tumbas examines forms of feminist political and artistic engagement in Yugoslavia and its successor nations. By bringing together a wide range of materials—from performance and conceptual art, video works, film and pop music, le…
 
Vanessa Walker's Principles in Power: Latin America and the Politics of U. S. Human Rights Diplomacy (Cornell University Press, 2020) explores the relationship between policy makers and nongovernment advocates in Latin America and the United States government in order to explain the rise of anti-interventionist human rights policies uniquely critic…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 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…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 …
 
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…
 
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…
 
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