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What does the Miss Tibet beauty pageant tell us about what it means to be Tibetan in a globalized world? And what understandings of Tibetan culture does it convey? In this episode, Kenneth Bo Nielsen talks to Pema Choedon about representations of Tibet and Tibetan culture on the global stage from the vantage point of the Miss Tibet beauty pageant. …
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Rachel Greenlaw's debut young adult romantasy, Compass and Blade (Inkyard Press, 2024) is filled with sirens and mysterious magic, swoony romance and cutthroat betrayal. This world of sea and storm runs deep with bargains and blood. On the remote isle of Rosevear, Mira, like her mother before her, is a wrecker, one of the seven on the rope who swim…
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Archival Film Curatorship: Early and Silent Cinema from Analog to Digital (Amsterdam UP, 2023) is the first book-length study that investigates film archives at the intersection of institutional histories, early and silent film historiography, and archival curatorship. It examines three institutions at the forefront of experimentation with film exh…
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The Irish and the Jews are two of the classic outliers of modern Europe. Both struggled with their lack of formal political sovereignty in the nineteenth-century. Simultaneously European and not European, both endured a bifurcated status, perceived as racially inferior and yet also seen as a natural part of the European landscape. Both sought to de…
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In this deep and incisive study, General David Petraeus, who commanded the US-led coalitions in both Iraq, during the Surge, and Afghanistan and former CIA director, and the prize-winning historian Andrew Roberts, explore over 70 years of conflict, drawing significant lessons and insights from their fresh analysis of the past. Drawing on their diff…
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In the summer of 1976, an earthquake swallows up the city of Tangshan, China. Among the hundreds of thousands of people scrambling for survival is a mother who makes an agonising decision that irrevocably changes her life and the lives of her children. In that devastating split second, her seven-year-old daughter, Xiaodeng, is separated from her br…
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Brynn Quick speaks with Dr Elizabeth Peterson about language ideologies and what we think when we hear different varieties of English. The conversation centers around Dr Peterson’s 2020 book Making Sense of 'Bad English': An Introduction to Language Attitudes and Ideologies (Routledge, 2019). The book discusses how the notions of “good” versus “bad…
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A candid conversation with renowned Sanskritist and online teacher Antonia Ruppel on her love of the language, teaching philosophy, views on academia, and online programs, here and here. Antonia Ruppel is a researcher on the project Uncovering Sanskrit Syntax. She did her PhD in Classics at the University of Cambridge and was subsequently the Towns…
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This book analyses the way that changes in the comics industry, book trade and webcomics distribution have shaped the publication of long-form comics. The US Graphic Novel (Edinburgh UP, 2022) pays particular attention to how the concept of the graphic novel developed through the twentieth century. Art historians, journalists, and reviewers debated…
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What does living “precariously” mean in Casablanca? In 2014 it meant being labeled tcharmil (seeming to endanger public order) and swept up by the police, if you were an unemployed young man sporting a banda haircut and gathering with your mates on a street corner. Cristiana Strava witnessed this and other neglected aspects of urban vulnerability w…
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The Middle East remains one of the world’s most complicated, thorny—and, uncharitably, unstable—parts of the world, as countless headlines make clear. Internal strife, regional competition and external interventions have been the region’s history for the past several decades. Robert Kaplan—author, foreign policy thinker, longtime writer on internat…
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Today’s book is: 100 Years of Radio in South Africa, Volume 1: South African Radio Stations and Broadcasters Then & Now (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023), edited by Dr. Sisanda Nkoala (with Gilbert Motsaathebe). The book focuses on South African radio stations and broadcasters in the past and present. It brings together media scholars and practitioners to…
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Seamus O’Malley is an associate professor at Yeshiva University. His first book was Making History New: Modernism and Historical Narrative (Oxford University Press, 2015). He has co-edited three volumes, one of essays on Ford Madox Ford and America (Rodopi, 2010), a research companion to Ford (Routledge, 2018) and a volume of essays on the cartooni…
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Anne Enright, writer, critic, Booker winner, kindly makes time for Irish literature maven Paige Reynolds and ND host John Plotz. She reads from The Wren, The Wren (Norton, 2023) and discusses the “etherized” state of our inner lives as they circulate on social media. Anne says we don't yet know if the web has become a space of exposure or of author…
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David and Modya know that beauty is more than skin deep. In this episode, they look at the parsha of tazria (Leviticus 12:1–13:59) through the lens of righteousness to see what we can learn about skin outbreaks, life and death and communal responsibility to the individual and the community. Modya Silver is an author and psychotherapist based in Tor…
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Stephanie Bastek has been with The American Scholar for 10 years, where she is now senior editor. She hosts and produces the magazine’s Smarty Pants podcast, with has just returned with a new miniseries called “Exploding the Canon” about the student protests at her alma mater, Reed College, over the mandatory freshmen humanities course eight years …
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Bringing into dialogue the fields of social history, Andean ethnography, and postcolonial theory, The Lettered Indian: Race, Nation, and Indigenous Education in Twentieth-Century Bolivia (Duke University Press, 2024) by Dr. Brooke Larson maps the moral dilemmas and political stakes involved in the protracted struggle over Indian literacy and school…
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In A Blackqueer Sexual Ethics: Embodiment, Possibility, and Living Archive (T&T Clark, 2024), Elyse Ambrose looks to an archive of blackqueerness as an authoritative source for religious ethical reflection. This approach counters the disintegrative norms of anti-black and anti-body traditionalism in Christian sexual ethics, even those that strive t…
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Dani Rodrik (Harvard Kennedy School Economics Professor) joins the podcast to discuss his career, the best case for industrial policy, the labor market effects of globalization, and his vision of an ideal economic policy paradigm. Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Gover…
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Never before have comics seemed so popular or diversified, proliferating across a broad spectrum of genres, experimenting with a variety of techniques, and gaining recognition as a legitimate, rich form of art. Openness of Comics: Generating Meaning within Flexible Structures (UP of Mississippi, 2016) examines this trend by taking up philosopher Um…
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Consisting of about 25,000 verses in Valmiki's Rāmāyaṇa, the story of Rāma was summarized in 704 verses in eighteen chapters in the Rāmopākhyāna, which comprises chapters 258--275 of the Aranyaka Parvan of the great epic Mahābhārata. Peter Scharf's Ramopakhyana - the Story of Rama in the Mahabharata (Routledge, 2023) is suitable for students who ha…
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There have been Christians in the Holy Land for two thousand years; “we are the first church,” says Father Firas Abedrabbo who is from Bethlehem and works in Ramallah. He studied law in France and speaks excellent English and spoke with me about his experience as a priest in Palestine (the West Bank) during the Gaza War. We talk politics and histor…
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A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, who eventually taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements—the first and most famous of his books—was made into a bestseller when Pre…
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Enlightenment philosopher David Hume enjoyed a tremendous influence on intellectual history. What did Hume believe, why was it so controversial at the time, and why to many does it seem so common-sensical now? What can Humian thought explain, and where does it fall short? To discuss, Aaron Zubia, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida's H…
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In The Virus Touch: Theorizing Epidemic Media (Duke UP. 2023), Bishnupriya Ghosh argues that media are central to understanding emergent relations between viruses, humans, and nonhuman life. Writing in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 global pandemics, Ghosh theorizes "epidemic media" to show how epidemics are mediated in images, numbers, an…
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Today I talked to Traian Sandu about his book Ceausescu: Le dictateur ambigu (Perrin, 2023). Born in January 1918, Nicolae Ceauşescu began his apprenticeship in Bucharest and discovered the social struggle and its repression at the age of fifteen within the Romanian Communist Party. In 1948, the Stalinist Gheorghiu-Dej, his mentor, having taken pow…
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