Seasonal Specials

From Thanksgiving to Comic-Con, throughout the year we bring you podcasts to mark holidays and special events. Here you can find all of our seasonal episodes. Enjoy!

Images Flickr: H.L.I.T.Telping

October 26, 2016

"Do You Like Scary Movies?" Horror Films & Things That Make Us Scream

Halloween 2016

Horror movies have been drawing audiences since the earliest days of film. But why are we drawn to fictional portrayals of events that we'd do anything to avoid in real life? And are we frightened by the same things we were 20 years ago? John Powers walks us through the history of the horror film. From the Frankenstein and Nosferatu to Freddy Krueger and Bruce Campbell, we break down what makes us scream.


October 13, 2016

The Hidden History of Trumpism

Election 2016

In a recent article in the Guardian, postdoctoral fellow Tim Shenk argues that Donald Trump's rise within the Republican Party has historical - and often overlooked - roots. From an obscure online journal to a best-selling book from 1941 and beyond, Shenk traces the hidden and surprising intellectual path of what we now call Trumpism. Understanding this history, Shenk believes, helps illuminate Trump's popularity, his reliance on Twitter, his clashes with fellow Republicans, and more.


October 5, 2016

A Laboratory for the Social Sciences: The American Panel Survey

Election 2016

What does the average American voter really think about the 2016 presidential candidates? How much do those beliefs depend on things like income, education level, or even personality? With the American Panel Survey (or TAPS), social scientists have a powerful tool to explore questions about human attitudes and behaviors over time. This year, researchers are using TAPS to learn about why voters choose certain candidates over others, and when and why they sometimes change their minds. Steven Smith, the director of TAPS, explains how the survey works and why it's such an important asset for social scientists. 


September 28, 2016

How to Forecast an Election


How to Forecast an Election
It's about six weeks until the 2016 US presidential election, and everyone wants to know: Who will win? Hillary Clinton? Or Donald Trump? To attempt to answer this question, political scientists like Jacob Montgomery build complex forecasting models. Montgomery shares his own unique approach to forecasting, and describes both the limitations and the value of these efforts to predict the future. 

April 6, 2016

"The Quality of Mercy": A Shakespearean Theme

Shakespeare 400

Four hundred years after the death of William Shakespeare, theater enthusiasts around the world are celebrating the famous playwright's legacy. To learn more about Shakespeare, his works, and the times in which he lived, we invite you to tune in to our 2015 series Summer with the Bard. In the following episode from that series,  Robert Wiltenburg takes us through Shakespeare's comedies, tragedies, and romances to reveal how a quintessential Shakespearean theme - mercy - evolves in each genre, highlighting great triumphs and disasters along the way. 

March 30, 2016

Religion and Comic Books: A Tangled Web

Comic Con 2016

Most people don't normally associate comic books and superheroes with religion. However, Roshan Abraham, a comics studies scholar and assistant professor of religious studies and classics, reveals how religion is actually in the DNA of comics. He traces the many ways religion influences, shapes, and appears in comics, and how scholars in both religious and comics studies face very similar problems. 

February 10, 2016

The New Anthropology of Love

Valentine's Day 2016

Love and desire are deeply personal, right? And when we fall in love with someone, it's because there's something unique and innate in them that matches with something unique and innate in us, right? Actually, neither of these things are as true as you think, according to Dredge Byung'chu Kang, a cultural anthropologist and a post-doctoral fellow in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He discusses some national and global relationship trends, including data from online dating sites, that reveal how society and political economy shape what we consider intimate. He also shares one case in Thailand where love breaks the rule.

January 26, 2016

Violence and Memory

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016

How should we remember historical moments of violence and loss? What are the links between terrible events like the Holocaust, the mass casualties of World War I, the Armenian Genocide, and crises around the world today? What challenges do historians face as they examine and interpret death and war?

Anika Walke and Jay Winter both face such questions and issues in their research. Here, the two historians candidly discuss the process of seeking meaning in history, as well as the personal motivations behind their work. Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, has published numerous books on World War I. His public history efforts include serving as co-producer and lead historian of the Emmy-winning PBS series “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century." Walke, an assistant professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis, is author of Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia.

January 20, 2016

How to Control Your Emotions

New Year 2016

Are you a "think on the bright side" person, who always has a positive outlook? Or do you sometimes find it hard to control what you feel and how you express those feelings? Tammy English, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences and director of the Emotion and Relationships Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis, studies emotion regulation. Here she discusses some common successful strategies for managing emotions and working toward long-term happiness.