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President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) led the Ecuadoran Citizens’ Revolution that claimed to challenge the tenets of neoliberalism and the legacies of colonialism. The Correa administration promised to advance Indigenous and Afro-descendant rights and redistribute resources to the most vulnerable. In many cases, these promises proved to be hollow. Us…
 
Singing the Goddess Into Place: Locality, Myth, and Social Change in Chamundi of the Hill, a Kannada Folk Ballad (SUNY Press, 2022) demonstrates how folk narratives reflect local context while also actively working to upend social inequities based on caste and ritual/devotional practices. By delving into this world, the book helps us understand how…
 
Foreign military intervention has had a profound impact on post-colonial African history and politics. Interventions have destabilized borderlands, overthrown governments, and taken a devastating toll on populations. In African Interventions: State Militaries, Foreign Powers, and Rebel Forces (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Dr. Emizet F. Kisang…
 
Ever since T. B. Macaulay leveled the accusation in 1835 that 'a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India,' South Asian literature has served as the imagined battleground between local linguistic multiplicity and a rapidly globalizing English. In response to this endless polemic, Indian and Pakistani wr…
 
Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about: How both of today’s guests became involved in higher education in prison. Why this work is personal to them. Funding and representation issues in higher education in prison. The complexities of supporting students who are incarcerated without supporting the carceral system. And a disc…
 
From ancient myth to contemporary art and literature, a beguiling look at the many incarnations of the mischievous—and culturally immortal—god Pan. Pan—he of the cloven hoof and lustful grin, beckoning through the trees. From classical myth to modern literature, film, and music, the god Pan has long fascinated and terrified the western imagination.…
 
Compared to rival ideologies, liberalism has fared rather poorly in modern Iran. This is all the more remarkable given the essentially liberal substance of various social and political struggles - for liberal legality, individual rights and freedoms, and pluralism - in the century-long period since the demise of the Qajar dynasty and the subsequent…
 
Of all the concepts that form the constellation of modern political thought, surely “solidarity” is a strong candidate for the most challenging. At once influential and undertheorized, the concept of solidarity appears to function across a startling range of discourses. – Max Pensky, The Ends of Solidarity (2008) This book is intended to serve as a…
 
Where are the success stories for people of color in opera? In Access, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Cultural Organizations: Insights from the Careers of Executive Opera Managers of Color in the U.S. (Routledge, 2021), Antonio Cuyler, Director of the MA Program & Associate Professor of Arts Administration at Florida State University (FSU), an…
 
Bengt Sundkler wrote his 1940 book Bantu Prophets in South Africa for a white, European audience. He had no idea that his ethnographic study would play a critical role in keeping African independent churches active during the repressive apartheid regime. In this episode, Stanford professor Joel Cabrita discusses the book’s path from academia to act…
 
Today we are joined by Andrew Guest, Professor of Psychology and Sociology at the University of Portland, where he also serves as Director of the Core Curriculum. He is also the author of Soccer in Mind: A Thinking Fan’s Guide to the Global Game (Rutgers University Press, 2022). In our conversation we discussed the possibilities of thinking fandom,…
 
In R. F. Kuang’s Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution (Harper Voyager in 2022), we meet Robin Swift. Orphaned by Cholera in Canton in 1828, he is brought to London by a mysterious Professor Lovell, who trains him in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, to prepare him for enrollment in Oxford Uni…
 
Expo 1967 was the centrepiece of Canada’s 100th birthday. Amid the crowds and the pageantry, one building stood out: The Indians of Canada Pavilion. This was more than a tall glass tipi. It revealed (at least partly) Canada's sordid colonial history, and it challenged the myth of Canada being a peace-loving and tolerant society. We tell the surpris…
 
In this episode, Tiffany speaks with Professor Cynthia Orozco about her new book, Pioneer of Mexican-American Civil Rights: Alonso S. Perales, published with Arte Público Press in 2020. Alonso S. Perales is a leading Latino lawyer of the twentieth century. Though he has remained overlooked in the historical record until now. In Orozco’s newest publ…
 
Money does strange things to people, as Annah Lake Zhu notes in her latest book Rosewood: Endangered Species Conservation and the Rise of Global China (Harvard University Press: 2022) In Madagascar, loggers, flush with cash from the rosewood trade, don’t quite know how to react to their newfound largesse, sometimes demanding less money for their wa…
 
In nearly 50 years of filmmaking, British director Mike Leigh has ranged from comic portrayals of ordinary life amid the social breakdowns of Thatcher’s Britain (Life is Sweet, High Hopes) to gritty renditions of working-class constraint and bourgeois hypocrisy (Meantime, Abigail’s Party, Hard Labour) to period films that reveal the “profoundly tri…
 
I recently caught up with the very busy David Erlichman, co-founder and coordinator of the Converge network (www.converge.net), about his fantastic book Impact Networks: Creating Connection, Sparking Collaboration, and Catalyzing Systemic Change (Berrett-Koehler, 2021). Solving complex problems like climate change or homelessness demands intense co…
 
Linda Connolly is a professor of sociology at Maynooth University, with research focusing on gender, Irish society, family studies, migration, and Irish studies. Dr Tina O'Toole is a literary scholar with research expertise in Irish and diasporic writing, gender studies, and the history of sexualities; she is a senior lecturer at the University of …
 
In Weeds and the Carolingians: Empire, Culture, and Nature in Frankish Europe, AD 750–900 (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Dr. Paolo Squatriti asks: Why did weeds matter in the Carolingian empire? What was their special significance for writers in eighth- and ninth-century Europe and how was this connected with the growth of real weeds? In early…
 
Concentrated market power and the weakened sway of corporate stakeholders over management have emerged as leading concerns of American political economy. In his book Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: Power, Profits, and Productivity in Modern America (Yale UP, 2021), economic historian Samuel Milner provides a context for contemporary efforts to resolve t…
 
Lawrence of Arabia has become one of the most well known films in the world. It inspired Steven Spielberg to become a filmmaker and President Barack Obama considers it one of his favorite films. But few people know the book behind the movie. In this episode, host Zachary Davis speaks with Professor Charles Stang about Seven Pillars of Wisdom; the a…
 
Set against the backdrop of the rise of right-wing Christian nationalism in Eastern Europe, this book declares that Catholic theologians ought to be understood and studied as intellectuals: socially and historically situated creators of national cultural traditions. While the Romanian government funds thriving schools for the country’s Hungarian mi…
 
From Octavian's victory at Actium (31 B.C.) to its traditional endpoint in the West (476), the Roman Empire lasted a solid 500 years -- an impressive number by any standard, and fully one-fifth of all recorded history. In fact, the decline and final collapse of the Roman Empire took longer than most other empires even existed. Any historian trying …
 
Canada’s intellectual culture is now like a barren soil that struggles to give life to even the simplest flora. They’re just not that smart. We make too many right wing cranks, self-help charlatans, blood-thirsty reactionaries, insipid centrists, and third-rate Hayekians. But which are our worst? In this episode, originally broadcast in November 20…
 
Offering a fresh perspective on the influence of the American southwest—and particularly West Texas—on the New York art world of the 1950s, Three Women Artists: Expanding Abstract Expressionism in the American West (Texas A&M UP, 2022) aims to establish the significance of itinerant teaching and western travel as a strategic choice for women artist…
 
Sokoto was the largest and longest lasting of West Africa's nineteenth-century Muslim empires. Its intellectual and political elite left behind a vast written record, including over 300 Arabic texts authored by the jihad's leaders: Usman dan Fodio, his brother Abdullahi and his son, Muhammad Bello (known collectively as the Fodiawa). Sokoto's early…
 
In this 2011 episode from The Vault, Hilton Als reads from, and discusses, His Sister, Her Monologue, a novella he published in Mcsweeney's #35. Als is a staff writer at the New Yorker, and his theater criticism was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2017. He is the author of two books. The Women, published in 1996., and White Girls, which came out in 201…
 
In Molecular Capture: The Animation of Biology (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), Adam Nocek, Assistant Professor in the Philosophy of Technology and Science and Technology Studies at Arizona State University, investigates the collusion between entertainment and scientific visualization in the case of molecular animation. “The very same tools t…
 
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