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How do ideas manifest outside of their place of origin, and how do they change once they do? The Emergence of Global Maoism: China’s Red Evangelism and the Cambodian Communist Movement, 1949–1979 (Cornell University Press, 2022) by Matthew Galway examines how ideological systems become localized, both in the indigenization of Marxism-Leninism by Ma…
 
In this episode of High Theory, Jack Jen Gieseking tells us about queer space. Queer geographies matter alongside queer temporalities. And it turns out that lesbian life in the 1950s cannot be generalized from the specific history of Buffalo, New York. In the episode they reference a number of scholarly books including J. Jack Halberstam, In a Quee…
 
Historian John Jeffries Martin traces narratives of the Apocalypse over the last 500 years in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions in his new book, A Beautiful Ending. This discussion about the culture of Apocalypse follows (and is the second part of) an interview we began on the New Books in History Podcast which was a historical discussio…
 
What kind of country is America? Zachary Shore tackles this polarizing question by spotlighting some of the most morally muddled matters of WWII. Should Japanese Americans be moved from the west coast to prevent sabotage? Should the German people be made to starve as punishment for launching the war? Should America drop atomic bombs to break Japan'…
 
In Water the Willow Tree: Memoirs of a Bethlehem Boyhood (Gorgias Press, 2022), George A. Kiraz tells the story of a young Palestinian boy growing up in Bethlehem, fascinated with understanding his Syriac roots even as he drew steadily nearer to the day when he would inevitably be transplanted to the United States. George first traces his ancestors…
 
Though we rarely see them at work, building inspectors have the power to significantly shape our lives through their discretionary decisions. The building inspectors of Chicago are at the heart of sociologist Robin Bartram’s analysis of how individuals impact—or attempt to impact—housing inequality. In Stacked Decks: Building Inspectors and the Rep…
 
Persecution of Christians in the Middle East has been a recurring theme since the middle of the nineteenth century. The topic has experienced a resurgence in the last few years, especially during the Trump era. Middle Eastern Christians are often portrayed as a homogeneous, helpless group ever at the mercy of their Muslim enemies, a situation that …
 
Patrick McCray, Professor of History at University of California, Santa Barbara, talks about his book, Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture, with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. The book shows how artists eagerly collaborated with engineers and scientists to explore new technologies and create visuall…
 
As I slowly settle into 2023 — reflecting on the blur that was 2022 — I can’t help but think about the complex problems (aka big messes!) we face at every turn: from increasingly devastating manifestations of the climate emergency, to the ubiquitous homelessness crisis, to the perplexing challenge of accessing a family physician in prosperous regio…
 
Art has a long history of engaging with conflict and violence. From the antiquities, through Goya, to Guernica, our museums are filled with depictions of battles, pogroms, uprisings, and their suppression. Not all of these stories are told from the perspective of the victors. Many contemporary creatives have continued this tradition. While the posi…
 
In Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine (Wesleyan UP, 2019), Maria Sonevytsky tracks vernacular Ukrainian discourses of “wildness” as they manifested in popular music during a volatile decade of Ukrainian political history bracketed by two revolutions. From the Eurovision Song Contest to reality TV, from Indigenous radio to the revolution s…
 
Linking morality and science can conjure up disturbing histories around social Darwinism, eugenics, and genetically engineered humans. But scientists today are making discoveries that moral agents shouldn’t ignore: how to overcome aggression and tribalism, and how to sustain cooperation in a modern pluralist world. Guests: Diane Paul, professor eme…
 
Irish vegan studies are poised for increasing relevance as climate change threatens the legitimacy and longevity of animal agriculture and widespread health problems related to animal product consumption disrupt long held nutritional ideologies. Already a top producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union, Ireland has committed to expan…
 
Microchips are both important and in short supply. So how important? And what can be done to make them more plentiful? Also, what are the geopolitical implications of having the production of microchips concentrated in relatively few hands. Owen Bennett Jones talks microchips with Julian Kamasa of the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich. Owen Ben…
 
Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States: A History (Catholic University of America Press, 2022) provides a comprehensive history of Jesuit higher education in the United States, weaving together the stories of the fifty-four colleges and universities that the Jesuits have operated (successfully and unsuccessfully) since 1789. It empha…
 
The Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews and Roma Under the Antonescu Regime, 1940-1944 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022), Radu Ioanid explores in great detail the physical destruction of Romania's Jewish and Roma communities, including the pogroms of Bucharest and Iaşi as well as the deportations and the massacres from Bessarabia, Bukovina, an…
 
In Soundworks: Race, Sound, and Poetry in Production (Duke UP, 2020), Anthony Reed argues that studying sound requires conceiving it as process and as work. Since the long Black Arts era (ca. 1958–1974), intellectuals, poets, and musicians have defined black sound as radical aesthetic practice. Through their recorded collaborations as well as the a…
 
Maimonideanism, the intellectual culture inspired by Maimonides’ writings, has received much recent attention. Yet a central aspect of Maimonideanism has been overlooked: the formal reception of the Guide of the Perplexed through commentary. In Rewriting Maimonides: Early Commentaries on the Guide of the Perplexed (de Gruyter, 2018), Igor H. De Sou…
 
In Opening Kailasanatha: The Temple in Kanchipuram Revealed in Time and Space (U Washington Press, 2020), Padma Kaimal deciphers the intentions of the monument’s makers, reaching back across centuries to illuminate worldviews of the ancient Indic south. By focusing on the material form of the complex—the architecture, inscriptions, and sculptures, …
 
For almost a year now, we have been absorbing news and information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There are a variety of different, or competing, narratives to explain and define what we understand about the origins of this conflict and the ongoing military successes and failures on the ground in Ukraine and in Russia. I had the chance to inte…
 
Feeling down about museums? We have so many reasons to, but Chris Newell, Tribal Community Member-in-Residence at UConn and Director of Education at the Akomawt Educational Initiative, gives a dose of optimism about the future of museums. Learn more about the Seeing Truth exhibition at our website. Follow us on Twitter @WhyArguePod and on Instagram…
 
Jewish Flavours of Italy: A Family Cookbook (Green Bean Books, 2022) is a culinary journey through Italy and a deep dive into family culinary heritage. With more than 100 kosher recipes, Silvia offers readers a unique collection of authentic and traditional Italian-Jewish dishes, combined with stunning photography, practical tips, and clear explana…
 
Tibetan nomads have developed a way of life that is dependent in multiple ways on their animals and shaped by the phenomenological experience of mobility. These pastoralists have adapted to many changes in their social, political and environmental contexts over time. From the earliest historically recorded systems of segmentary lineage to the incor…
 
Harm takes shape in and through what is suppressed, left out, or taken for granted. Unsaid: Unsaid: Analyzing Harmful Silences (U California Press, 2022) is a guide to understanding and uncovering what is left unsaid—whether concealed or silenced, presupposed or excluded. Drawing on a variety of real-world examples, narrative criminologist Lois Pre…
 
Claudia Garcia crossed the border because her toddler, Natalia, could not hear. Leaving behind everything she knew in Mexico, Claudia recounts the terror of migrating alone with her toddler and the incredible challenges she faced advocating for her daughter's health in the United States. When she arrived in Texas, Claudia discovered that being undo…
 
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