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The Princeton African American Studies Department is known as a convener of conversations about the political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our understanding of race and racial groups. We invite you to listen as faculty “read” how race and culture are produced globally, look past outcomes to origins, question dominant discourses, and consider evidence instead of myth.
 
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In Domestic Contradictions: Race and Gendered Citizenship from Reconstruction to Welfare Reform (Duke UP, 2021), Priya Kandaswamy analyzes how race, class, gender, and sexuality shaped welfare practices in the United States alongside the conflicting demands that this system imposed upon Black women. She turns to an often-neglected moment in welfare…
 
The local community around the Nat Turner rebellion The 1831 Southampton Rebellion led by Nat Turner involved an entire community. Vanessa M. Holden rediscovers the women and children, free and enslaved, who lived in Southampton County before, during, and after the revolt. Mapping the region's multilayered human geography, Holden draws a fuller pic…
 
Princeton AAS Podcast S2 E04 University Reckonings Over the past decade, historians have probed the relationship between higher education and slavery through innovative public-facing projects that raise important questions. What role have academic institutions played in perpetuating racial inequality? How are scholars and students today working to …
 
Washington, DC is known as the birthplace of hardcore punk. The raw, innovative, new sound coming out of the nation’s capital in the late 1970s is examined in Shayna Maskell’s Politics as Sound: The Washington, DC, Hardcore Scene, 1978-1983 (U Illinois Press, 2021). Maskell examines the DC hardcore scene between 1978 and 1983, focusing on the bands…
 
Wonder how America's individual inventors persisted alongside corporate R&D labs as an important source of inventions beginning at the turn of the early twentieth century? American Independent Inventors in an Era of Corporate R&D (MIT Press, 2021) by Eric S. Hintz presents a candid look into the history behind the phenomenon. During the nineteenth …
 
Listen to this interview of Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of History of Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and author of The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America (Johns Hopkins UP, 2020). We talk about yesterday today. Jonathan Zimmerman : "Look, I don't think anyone questions that some of the…
 
What is your conscience? Is it, as Peter Cajka asks in this provocative book, “A small, still voice? A cricket perched on your shoulder? An angel and devil who compete for your attention?” Going back at least to the thirteenth century, Catholics viewed their personal conscience as a powerful and meaningful guide to align their conduct with worldly …
 
The local community around the Nat Turner rebellion The 1831 Southampton Rebellion led by Nat Turner involved an entire community. Vanessa M. Holden rediscovers the women and children, free and enslaved, who lived in Southampton County before, during, and after the revolt. Mapping the region's multilayered human geography, Holden draws a fuller pic…
 
The new collection, Perspectives on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Nuanced Postnetwork Television (Syracuse University Press, 2021) by Amanda Konkle and Charles Burnetts explores the hit series with an off-putting title and a decidedly retrograde premise. The CW dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a surprising choice for critical analysis. But, loyal viewers quic…
 
At the Precipice: New Mexico's Changing Climate (U New Mexico Press, 2020) explores the question many of us have asked ourselves: What kind of world are we leaving to our children? The realities of climate change consume the media and keep us up at night worrying about the future. But in New Mexico and the larger Southwest, climate change has been …
 
Political Mourning: Identity and Responsibility in the Wake of Tragedy (Temple UP, 2021) moves us, as readers, beyond the stages of grief to consider the effects of mourning. While grief consists of the internal thoughts, feelings, and ideas surrounding a loss, the process of mourning transforms grief into an external expression of those interior e…
 
Albeit inspired by a progressive vision of a working environment without walls or hierarchies, the open plan office has come to be associated with some of the most dehumanizing and alienating aspects of the modern office. Jennifer Kaufman-Buhler's fascinating new book Open Plan: A Design History of the American Office (Bloomsbury, 2021) examines th…
 
Actuarial thinking is everywhere in contemporary America, an often unnoticed byproduct of the postwar insurance industry’s political and economic influence. Calculations of risk permeate our institutions, influencing how we understand and manage crime, education, medicine, finance, and other social issues. In Insurance Era: Risk, Governance, and th…
 
Robinson Woodward-Burns is the author of Hidden Laws: How the State Constitutions Stabilize American Politics, published by Yale University Press in 2021. Hidden Laws explores the relationship between both state and national constitutional development, debates, and reform. A sprawling study of American constitutional history, Woodward-Burns’s book …
 
Historian Kevin Starr described Carey McWilliams as "the finest nonfiction writer on California—ever" and "the state's most astute political observer." But as Peter Richardson argues in American Prophet: The Life and Work of Carey McWilliams (University of California Press, 2019), McWilliams was also one of the nation's most versatile and productiv…
 
Minna Salami's book Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2021) is a collection of thought provoking essays that explore questions central to how we see ourselves, our history, and our world. -What does it mean to be oppressed? -What does it mean to be liberated? -Why do women choose to follow authority …
 
Oklahoma's Black towns aren't just places of the past - they maintain an enduring allure, and look toward the future, argues Karla Slocum in her new book, Black Towns, Black Futures: The Enduring Allure of a Black Place in the American West (UNC Press, 2019). Dr. Slocum, the Thomas Willis Lambeth Chair of Public Policy and a professor of Anthropolo…
 
Underlying every great city is a rich and vibrant culture that shapes the texture of life within. In The Speculative City: Art, Real Estate, and the Making of Global Los Angeles (U Minnesota Press, 2021), Susanna Phillips Newbury teases out how art and Los Angeles shaped one another’s evolution. She compellingly articulates how together they transf…
 
Why are white evangelicals the most skeptical major religious group in America regarding climate change? Previous scholarship has pointed to cognitive factors such as conservative politics, anti-science attitudes, aversion to big government, and theology. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, Robin Veldman's book The Gospel of Climate Skepticism: Why E…
 
Tracing Mead’s career as an ethnographer, as the early voice of public anthropology, and as a public figure, this elegantly written biography links the professional and personal sides of her career. Paul Shankman's Margaret Mead (Berghahn Books, 2021) looks at Mead’s early career through the end of World War II, when she produced her most important…
 
Oklahoma's Black towns aren't just places of the past - they maintain an enduring allure, and look toward the future, argues Karla Slocum in her new book, Black Towns, Black Futures: The Enduring Allure of a Black Place in the American West (UNC Press, 2019). Dr. Slocum, the Thomas Willis Lambeth Chair of Public Policy and a professor of Anthropolo…
 
In July 1947, not even three months after Jackie Robinson debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers, snapping the color line that had segregated Major League Baseball, Larry Doby would follow in his footsteps on the Cleveland Indians. Though Doby, as the second Black player in the majors, would struggle during his first summer in Cleveland, his subsequent tu…
 
In July 1947, not even three months after Jackie Robinson debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers, snapping the color line that had segregated Major League Baseball, Larry Doby would follow in his footsteps on the Cleveland Indians. Though Doby, as the second Black player in the majors, would struggle during his first summer in Cleveland, his subsequent tu…
 
Hamilton: An American Musical made its record-breaking Broadway debut in 2015—but the musical has reached far beyond typical Broadway audiences to pave a path into political discourse, pop culture, classroom curriculums, and the broader conversation about contemporary American politics. What led to this chain reaction of popularity, and how does it…
 
All regions and places are unique in their own way, but the Ozarks have an enduring place in American culture. Studying the Ozarks offers the ability to explore American life through the lens of one of the last remaining cultural frontiers in American society. Perhaps because the Ozarks were relatively isolated from mainstream American society, or …
 
From Double Indemnity to The Godfather, the stories behind some of the greatest films ever made pale beside the story of the studio that made them. In the golden age of Hollywood, Paramount was one of the Big Five studios. Gulf + Western's 1966 takeover of the studio signaled the end of one era and heralded the arrival of a new way of doing busines…
 
The Watergate scandal was a horror show. What better way to satirize it than with a horror movie? The Texas Chain Saw Massacre written by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel premiered in October 1974, mere weeks after the resignation and pardon of Richard Nixon brought an uncertain end to the most corrupt and criminal presidency in American history. The fil…
 
Between 1942 and 1945, the United States government forcibly removed approximately 120,000 people "of Japanese ancestry" from their homes and into self-proclaimed concentration camps across the American West and South. At every step in the way, social workers played integral roles in the intricate machinery of racism and bureaucracy that allowed th…
 
What's it like to cover Donald Trump? In this episode, veteran American journalist Allen Salkin explains. For over three decades, Salkin has written about many things for many high-profile publications, including The New York Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic and others. He is also the author of a number of well-received…
 
Gene Slater's book Free to Discriminate: How the Nation's Realtors Created Housing Segregation and the Conservative Vision of American Freedom (Hayday Books, 2021) uncovers realtors' definitive role in segregating America and shaping modern conservative thought. Gene Slater follows this story from inside the realtor profession, drawing on many indu…
 
The Picky Eagle: How Democracy and Xenophobia Limited U. S. Territorial Expansion (Cornell UP, 2020) explains why the United States stopped annexing territory by focusing on annexation's domestic consequences, both political and normative. It describes how the U.S. rejection of further annexations, despite its rising power, set the stage for twenti…
 
Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb is the author of Race Unequals: Overseer Contracts, White Masculinities, and the Formation of Managerial Identity in the Plantation Economy, published by Lexington Books in 2021. Race Unequals takes a look at the complex relationship between enslavers and overseers in order to explore the ways in which the “white South” was n…
 
Every day Chicagoans rely on the loop of elevated train tracks to get to their jobs, classrooms, or homes in the city’s downtown. But how much do they know about the single most important structure in the history of the Windy City? In engagingly brisk prose, Patrick T. Reardon unfolds the fascinating story about how Chicago’s elevated Loop was buil…
 
Battling Protestants is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and intellectual historian David Hollinger, UC Berkeley, and examines the unique role that different strands of religion have played in 20th-century American culture. The conversation examines intriguing aspects of the distinction between Ecumenical and Evangelic…
 
Gene Slater's book Free to Discriminate: How the Nation's Realtors Created Housing Segregation and the Conservative Vision of American Freedom (Hayday Books, 2021) uncovers realtors' definitive role in segregating America and shaping modern conservative thought. Gene Slater follows this story from inside the realtor profession, drawing on many indu…
 
Before Farah Jasmine Griffin’s father died, he wrote to her a note ending with a line “read until you understand.” He would die years later when she was nine, and that line has guided her literary curiosity. In Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature (Norton, 2021), Griffin shares the indispensable lessons of Bla…
 
Before Farah Jasmine Griffin’s father died, he wrote to her a note ending with a line “read until you understand.” He would die years later when she was nine, and that line has guided her literary curiosity. In Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature (Norton, 2021), Griffin shares the indispensable lessons of Bla…
 
When terrorists struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 a small fleet of boats on a rescue mission converged on lower Manhattan. In one of the less told stories of 9/11, on those vessels—which ranged from ferries to tug boats to boats that host dinner cruises—mariners carried to safety almost half a million people. Saved at the Seawall:…
 
Today’s Postscript (a special series that allows scholars to comment on pressing contemporary issues) engages the latest chapter in American abortion politics as the United States Supreme Court has just allowed a Texas statute banning abortions after 6 weeks to go into effect. Lilly Goren and Susan Liebell have assembled a panel of experts in polit…
 
In Child Sexual Abuse Inquiries and the Catholic Church: Reassessing the Evidence (Firenze UP, 2021), Dr Miller analyses empirical findings, methodologies and conclusions of the three main national inquiries (Irish, US, Australian) into child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and Church responses. Contrasts are drawn with overall media reporting…
 
Public disenchantment with and distrust of American government is at an all-time high and who can blame them? In the face of widespread challenges--everything from record levels of personal and national debt and the sky high cost of education, to gun violence, racial discrimination, an immigration crisis, overpriced pharmaceuticals, and much more--…
 
In The Life and Times of Louis Lomax: The Art of Deliberate Disunity (Duke University Press, 2021), Thomas Aiello traces the complicated and fascinating life of a pioneering Black journalist and media personality. A witness to some of the most iconic moments of the 1960s, Lomax remains an important yet overlooked civil rights figure, who emerged as…
 
Women performers played a vital role in the development of American and transatlantic entertainment, celebrity culture, and gender ideology. In Starring Women: Celebrity, Patriarchy, and American Theater, 1790-1851 (U Illinois Press, 2020), Sara E. Lampert examines the lives, careers, and fame of overlooked figures from Europe and the United States…
 
In The Life and Times of Louis Lomax: The Art of Deliberate Disunity (Duke University Press, 2021), Thomas Aiello traces the complicated and fascinating life of a pioneering Black journalist and media personality. A witness to some of the most iconic moments of the 1960s, Lomax remains an important yet overlooked civil rights figure, who emerged as…
 
Political Scientist Ursula Hackett’s new book, America's Voucher Politics: How Elites Learned to Hide the State (Cambridge UP, 2020), is the winner of the APSA 2021 Education Policy and Politics Section Best Book Award. America’s Voucher Politics examines the way that the approach to vouchers, as a policy design and as a point of advocacy, has evol…
 
Today's guests are Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman and Dr. Daniel Peach. Dr. Kuhlman is a former White house physician. From 2007 to 2011, he served as Chief of the White House Medical Unit, designating him as the personal physician to President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Quality and Safety…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing how we think about care. Care work has long been devalued – the daily labors of sustaining the well-being of individuals and community members were seen as natural duties belonging to women, and did not receive recognition as labor. However, with the COVID-19 crisis, the popular media is increasingly valorizing car…
 
Our current food system has decimated rural communities and confined the choices of urban consumers. Even while America continues to ramp up farm production to astounding levels, net farm income is now lower than at the onset of the Great Depression, and one out of every eight Americans faces hunger. But a healthier and more equitable food system i…
 
Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that an enormous proportion of medical care worldwide is provided under the auspices of religious organizations, there has been a sustained and systematic campaign to drive out those with religious worldviews from the field of bioethics and indeed, from medicine itself. Obviously, this constitutes blatant di…
 
From the 1880s to the early 1900s, a particularly turbulent period of U.S. race relations, the African American novel provided a powerful counternarrative to dominant and pejorative ideas about blackness. In Afro-Realisms and the Romances of Race: Rethinking Blackness in the African American Novel (LSU Press, 2020), Melissa Daniels-Rauterkus uncove…
 
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