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In this episode we meet Dr. Sangeeta Sahi, who during her medical training found that “scientifically unexplainable healing instances” lead her to formulate a framework called Integrative Medicine. Sangeeta shares how she arrived at the intersection of modern medicine and Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga to formulate alternative and holistic healing m…
 
From Frederick Douglass to Angela Davis, “natural hair” has been associated with the Black freedom struggle. In New Growth: The Art and Texture of Black Hair (Duke UP, 2022), Jasmine Nichole Cobb traces the history of Afro-textured coiffure, exploring it as a visual material through which to reimagine the sensual experience of Blackness. Through cl…
 
In Judaism Straight Up: Why Real Religion Endures (Maggid, 2020), Moshe Koppel explores the central differences between traditional societies - including traditional Judaism - and contemporary cosmopolitan ones. He explains the subtleties of Jewish morality, tradition, and belief, and how these have unfolded to beat cosmopolitanism at its own game:…
 
Throughout its history, the U.S. military has worked in close connection to market-based institutions and structures. It has run systems of free and unfree labor, taken over private sector firms, and both spurred and snuffed out economic development. It has created new markets―for consumer products, for sex work, and for new technologies. It has op…
 
What is the best way to achieve societal harmony in a place in which groups of people with different identities are living together. Should minority groups be given exemptions from general policies and laws or is it better to say majority privilege should be removed by finding solutions in which the law applies equally to the minority and the major…
 
In popular thought, Christianity is often figured as being opposed to dance. Conventional scholarship traces this controversy back to the Middle Ages. Historical sources, however, suggest that medieval dance was a complex and ambivalent phenomenon. During the High and Late Middle Ages, Western theologians, liturgists, and mystics not only tolerated…
 
While it might ordinarily be assumed that judges who sit on constitutional courts will be local citizens, in the islands of the Pacific, more than three-quarters of judges are foreign. This is book about that unique phenomenon, but a phenomenon that has global implications. Foreign Judges in the Pacific (Hart, 2021) is a comprehensive study which b…
 
In this interview, we speak with Dr. amina wadud about her latest book Once in a Lifetime (Kantara Press, 2022), a book that started out as a blog for her hajj journey back in 2012. Dr. amina wadud is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned her PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Mi…
 
A sweeping and heartbreaking Hollywood biography about the passionate, turbulent marriage of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. In 1934, a friend brought fledgling actress Vivien Leigh to see Theatre Royal, where she would first lay eyes on Laurence Olivier in his brilliant performance as Anthony Cavendish. That night, she confided to a friend, he …
 
In Under Fire: Black Britain in Wartime 1939-45 (The History Press, 2020), Stephen Bourne tells the whole story of Britain's black community during World War II. On the home front, civilians came under fire from the Blitz in cities such as Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, London, and Manchester. Meanwhile, black servicemen and women, many of them volun…
 
The Think Pieces continue. This month, it is a look back at a piece on being Buddhist and identity. The text version can be found below. Themes picked up on in this episode include: Identity in an age of identity politics Playing identity politics, or not The discomfort of committing to the Buddhist identity True me versus contextual me The therape…
 
The life of Betsey Stockton (ca. 1798–1865) is a remarkable story of a Black woman’s journey from slavery to emancipation, from antebellum New Jersey to the Hawai‘ian Islands, and from her own self-education to a lifetime of teaching others—all told against the backdrop of the early United States’ pervasive racism. It’s a compelling chronicle of a …
 
By the time we reach middle age, our lives have taken certain paths. Sometimes these paths are close to what we imagined in our youth. But more often, they’re dramatically different. We come to realize that there are larger, invisible forces that tend to have just as much a say, or more, in how our lives go as we do. In her 1871 novel Middlemarch, …
 
Born in New Orleans in 1875 to a mother who was formerly enslaved and a father of questionable identity, Alice Dunbar-Nelson was a pioneering activist, writer, suffragist, and educator. Until now, Dunbar-Nelson has largely been viewed only in relation to her abusive ex-husband, the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Love, Activism, and the Respectable Life…
 
"An important distinction exists between the politics of rules at which the EU is quite adept and the politics driven by events - which requires improvisation, risk-taking and alertness to opportunities". In Governing the EU in an Age of Division (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022), Dalibor Roháč explains how a union built to reflect and export steadin…
 
Anthropological Witness: Lessons from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (Cornell UP, 2022) tells the story of Alexander Laban Hinton's encounter with an accused architect of genocide and, more broadly, Hinton's attempt to navigate the promises and perils of expert testimony. In March 2016, Hinton served as an expert witness at the Extraordinary Chambers in …
 
The brutal assassination of Prime Minister Abe in July this year shocked Japan and has produced large and unexpected consequences for the nation´s politics. In this episode, we examine the fallout of the assassination on Abe’s legacy, and on Japan: What are the consequences of Abe's association with the Unification Church for the role of religion i…
 
In the twenty-first century, American culture is experiencing a profound shift toward pluralism and secularization. In Fairy Tales in Contemporary American Culture: How We Hate to Love Them (Lexington Books, 2021), Kate Christina Moore Koppy argues that the increasing popularity and presence of fairy tales within American culture is both indicative…
 
During the thirteenth century, the Persian naturalist and judge Zakariyyāʾ Qazwīnī authored what became one of the most influential works of natural history in the world: Wonders and Rarities. Exploring the dazzling movements of the stars above, the strange minutiae of the minerals beneath the earth, and everything in between, Qazwīnī offered a cap…
 
Today I talked to L. M. Weeks about his new book Bottled Lightning (South Fork Publishers, 2022) Top global technology lawyer Tornait "Torn" Sagara knows he shouldn't get involved with his beautiful client, Saya Brooks, whose revolutionary lightning-on-demand invention will solve climate change and render all other energy sources obsolete. But thei…
 
In Cistem Failure: Essays on Blackness and Cisgender (Duke UP, 2022), Marquis Bey meditates on the antagonistic relationship between blackness and cisgender. Bey asks, What does it mean to have a gender that “matches” one’s sex---that is, to be cisgender---when decades of feminist theory have destroyed the belief that there is some natural way to b…
 
In queer culture, silence has been equated with voicelessness, complicity, and even death. Queer Silence: On Disability and Rhetorical Absence (U Minnesota Press, 2022) insists, however, that silence can be a generative and empowering mode of survival. Triangulating insights from queer studies, disability studies, and rhetorical studies, J. Logan S…
 
“There’s a basic insecurity with Black guys my size,” Scott writes. “We can’t hide and everybody turns to stare when we walk down the street. … Whites believe that their culture is superior to African-American culture. ... We don’t accept many of [their] answers, but we have to live with them.” Ray Scott was part of the early wave of Black NBA play…
 
Aidan Enright holds a PhD in History from Queen’s University Belfast and is an Associate Researcher and Part-Time Lecturer in History at Leeds Beckett University, where he teaches Modern British History and he is also a Teacher of Social Sciences at University of Bradford International College. In this interview, he discusses his first book, Charle…
 
The director and cowriter of some of the world's most iconic films―including Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment―Billy Wilder earned acclaim as American cinema's greatest social satirist. Though an influential fixture in Hollywood, Wilder always saw himself as an outsider. His worldview was shaped by his background i…
 
“All men must die”: or “Valar Morghulis,” as the traditional Essos greeting is rendered in High Valyrian. And die they do – in prodigious numbers; in imaginatively varied and gruesome ways; and often in terror within the viciously unpredictable world that is HBO's sensational evocation of Game of Thrones. As acclaimed medievalist Professor Carolyne…
 
Medical science in antebellum America was organized around a paradox: it presumed African Americans to be less than human yet still human enough to be viable as experimental subjects, as cadavers, and for use in the training of medical students. By taking a hard look at the racial ideas of both northern and southern medical schools, Christopher D. …
 
Once upon a time, it was said that Russia was isolated and ignorant until Peter the Great opened Russia to the West and ushered in modernization. While Tsar Peter I surely did look to the West in his quest to modernize Russia, these processes were underway well before Peter ever launched his first sailboat. Thousands of Europeans who lived in Mosco…
 
“History has not been kind to Himalaya,” writes historian and travel writer John Keay in his latest book Himalaya: Exploring the Roof of the World (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022). The region, nestled between India, China and Central Asia, has long been subject to political and imperial intrigue–and at times violent invasion. But the region also provi…
 
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