Podcasts

July 26, 2017

How to Sit on the Iron Throne: Power and Violence in "Game of Thrones" and History

Summer 2017

Rival families fight for the throne by racking up the body count through political maneuvers, murders, battles, and betrayals. This summation is true as much for the hit HBO series Game of Thrones as it is for history, specifically the Atlantic world of early modern era. Historian Alex Dubé examines how our understandings of power and violence have fundamentally changed over time, and what modern day shows like Game of Thrones tell us about the present. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? Tune in.

April 26, 2017

Charter School Myths

Do charter schools perform better than traditional public schools? Does competition between schools really help students? Ebony Duncan Shippy, a sociologist of education, breaks down some common myths about charter schools and offers her advice for newly appointed education secretary Betsy DeVos.

 

 

April 20, 2017

High-School Students Should Study Earth Science. Here's Why.

Earth Day 2017

Ever wonder why some subjects are taught in high school while others are not, or why students spend so much time memorizing facts? According to geophysicist Michael Wysession, science curricula in the US are based on standards that are more than 120 years old, and being stuck in the past has had serious consequences. This Earth Day, learn why Wysession believes in a new approach to science education.

This episode was first released in 2015 as part of our Into the Earth series.

April 6, 2017

Making Sense of Klansville

During the civil rights era, North Carolina was home to more dues-paying Klan members than the rest of the South combined. When conducting research on this chapter of history for his acclaimed book Klansville, USAsociologist David Cunningham encountered the work of a journalist named Pete Young, who in the 1960s attempted to understand what was happening in North Carolina. Cunningham shares some of this history and describes how Young's insights could hold lessons for today. 

 

March 8, 2017

Right to Work? Unions & Income Inequality

Over the past three decades in the United States, the wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else has reached new extremes. At the same time, labor union membership has drastically decreased. In his book What Unions No Longer Do, sociologist Jake Rosenfeld argues that you can't understand one trend without the other. Rosenfeld shares ideas from his book and considers what so-called "Right to Work" legislation may mean for the future of organized labor. 

February 22, 2017

Inequality at Work

In her book No More Invisible Man: Race and Gender in Men’s Work, sociologist Adia Harvey Wingfield documents the pervasive and often subtle ways that successful black men – people like doctors, lawyers, and engineers – continue to face inequality in the workplace. Here she shares some of these men’s stories and discusses the causes of professional inequality. In addition to teaching sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, Wingfield is a regular contributor to The Atlantic.

February 16, 2017

The Legal Mind of Thomas Jefferson

Presidents' Day 2017

Before becoming the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was a successful lawyer in Virginia. His legal training influenced the way he thought about government and politics, yet this earlier part of his career has largely been ignored by historians. David Konig, professor of history and law, has spent years analyzing the complex legal notes and papers that tell the story of Jefferson's time as an attorney. For Presidents Day, Konig sheds light on this fascinating and neglected aspect of Jefferson's life and mind.

This episode was first released in 2015. 

February 1, 2017

Good Gaucho Gone Bad: The Creole Drama

In the 1880s, a new kind of performance became the craze in Argentina and Uruguay. These wild "Creole dramas" glorified country life and the occasionally violent exploits of gauchos, or Argentinian cowboys. In addition to being hugely fun to watch, the stories appealed to audiences experiencing rapid modernization and waves of immigration. William Acree, associate professor of Spanish, helps us envision these plays and understand their lasting significance. 

Staging the Blues: The Ma Rainey Story

Before film or even audio recordings, audiences across the south flocked to traveling tent shows for entertainment. Under these tents, female performers like Gertrude "Ma" Rainey helped invent and popularize a new type of music: the blues. Paige McGinley, author of Staging the Blues: From Tent Shows to Tourism, brings these elaborate performances to life and explains why they are so often forgotten.