Episodes
In today’s episode, we speak with Ayesha Chaudhry about her new book, The Colour of God (Oneworld Publications, 2021). The book describes Chaudhry’s personal, spiritual, and professional journey as she navigates her life as a South Asian immigrant Muslim girl raised in Canada. Rich in its analysis of its major themes – such as patriarchy, religion, colonialism, Islamophobia, the family, grief – it pushes us to think more deeply about the choices we make in response to various traumas, such as...
Published 05/14/21
Before Winston Churchill made history, he made news. To a great extent, the news made him too. If it was his own efforts that made him a hero, it was the media that made him a celebrity - and it has been considerably responsible for perpetuating his memory and shaping his reputation in the years since his death. Discussing this topic and much more besides in Professor of History at the University of Exeter, Richard Toye, in his wonderful new book Winston Churchill: A Life in the News (Oxford...
Published 05/14/21
In her new book From Rabbit Ears to the Rabbit Hole: A Life with Television (University of Mississippi Press, 2021) TV scholar and fan Kathleen Collins reflects on how her life as a consumer of television has intersected with the cultural and technological evolution of the medium itself. In a narrative bridging television studies, memoir, and comic, literary nonfiction, Collins takes readers alongside her from the 1960s through to the present, reminiscing and commiserating about some of what...
Published 05/13/21
Today I talked to Dave Seminara about his book Footsteps of Federer: A Fan’s Pilgrimage Across 7 Swiss Cantons in 10 Acts (Post Hill Press, 2021) Dave Seminara is a writer, former diplomat, and passionate tennis fan. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other publications. His two previous books are Bed, Breakfast & Drunken Threats: Dispatches from the Margins of Europe and Breakfast with Polygamists: Dispatches from the Margins of The...
Published 05/13/21
In The Jean-Michel Basquiat Reader (University of California Press, 2021), Jordana Moore Saggese provides the first comprehensive sourcebook on the artist, closing gaps that have until now limited the sustained study and definitive archiving of his work and its impact. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) burst onto the art scene in the summer of 1980 as one of approximately one hundred artists exhibiting at the 1980 Times Square Show in New York City. By 1982, at the age of twenty-one, Basquiat...
Published 05/12/21
In her rich book, Mary Magdalene Revealed: The First Apostle, The Feminist Gospel, and the Christianity We Haven’t Tried Yet (Hay House, 2019), Meggan Watterson takes us deep into the heart of Mary Magdalene and her recently uncovered gospel. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene reveals a very different love story from the one we've come to refer to as Christianity. Harvard-trained theologian Meggan Watterson leads us verse by verse through Mary's gospel to illuminate the powerful teachings it...
Published 05/11/21
Mira Sucharov’s new book, Borders and Belonging: A Memoir (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020), is a work that takes seriously the feminist adage that the “personal is political,” and vice versa. Through an intimate telling of her life, Sucharov uses the work to trace her shifting relationship to Israel, and the Israeli-Plaestinitan conflict, the meaning of diaspora Jewish identity, and what writing about International Relation can look like. The memoir covers topics such as the divorce of her parents,...
Published 05/11/21
Exhale: Hope, Healing, and a Life in Transplant (Post Hill Press, 2021) is the riveting memoir of a top transplant doctor who rode the emotional rollercoaster of saving and losing lives—until it was time to step back and reassess his own life. A young father with a rare form of lung cancer who has been turned down for a transplant by several hospitals. A kid who was considered not “smart enough” to be worthy of a transplant. A young mother dying on the waiting list in front of her two small...
Published 05/11/21
Dr. Alison M. Parker’s new book Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell (University of North Carolina Press, 2020) explores the life of civil rights activist and feminist, Mary Church Terrell. Born into slavery at the end of the Civil War, Terrell (1863-1954) became one of the most prominent activists of her time -- working at the intersection of rights for women and African Americans, anti-colonialism, criminal justice reform, and beyond. Her career stretched from the late...
Published 05/10/21
"… I am an axe; And my son a handle, soon; To be shaping again, model; And tool, craft of culture; How we go on." - Gary Snyder, Axe Handles (1983) "… wisdom comes to those who understand the student is more important than the teacher in the lineage of knowledge." - Wade Davis, New Books Network (2021) Of the three major influences on Wade Davis’ life and work one of the most important is the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gary Snyder, and in this interview the professor shares how foundational...
Published 05/05/21
Quiet Spiders of the Hidden Soul: Mykola (Nik) Bazhan’s Early Experimental Poetry (Academic Studies Press, 2020) presents a collection of early works by Mykola Bazhan, one of the most enigmatic figures in Ukrainian literature of the twentieth century. The volume was prepared and edited by Oksana Rosenblum, Lev Fridman, and Anzhelika Khyzhnia. The name of Mykola Bazhan is probably quite new to English-language readers.  Quiet Spiders of the Hidden Soul is an excellent introduction into both...
Published 05/05/21
The 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche stands among the canon’s most-cited figures, with aphorisms dotting texts on a variety of topics, and his name evokes strong responses from almost anyone who has ever heard of him. His aphoristic and poetic writing style have made it difficult at times to understand what he meant, although the wealth of commentaries pulling him in a variety of different directions points to the fact that he did mean something. On the political right he...
Published 05/05/21
In the political ferment of early twentieth century New York City, when socialists and reformers battled sweatshops, and writers and artists thought a new world was being born, an immigrant Jewish woman from Russia appeared in the Yiddish press, in Carnegie Hall, and at rallies. Her name was Rose Pastor Stokes, and she fought for socialism, contraception and workers’ rights. What set her apart was not just the strength of her speeches or the passion of her commitments, but her marriage to...
Published 05/04/21
A sadist. A madman. A sociopath seduced by the terrible allure of nuclear weapons. These are but a few of the pejoratives commonly used to describe United States Air Force General Thomas S. Power, Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Air Command (SAC) from 1957 to 1964. Power’s remit as CinCSAC was twofold: deter the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear first strike on the United States and plan to unleash Armageddon if they did. Neither was easily achieved. Effective deterrence hinged upon the...
Published 04/27/21
One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. In Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir (Little a, 2021), Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are...
Published 04/27/21
Welcome to New Books in African American Studies, a channel on the New Books Network. I am your host, Adam McNeil. On today’s podcast, I am interviewing Dr. Jarvis R. Givens, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Suzanne Young Murray Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Dr. Givens joins us to discuss Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, published by our friends at Harvard...
Published 04/26/21
On October 2nd, 1977, Glenn Burke, outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, made history without even swinging a bat. When his teammate Dusty Baker hit a historic home run, Glenn enthusiastically congratulated him with the first ever high five. But Glenn also made history in another way--he was the first openly gay MLB player. While he did not come out publicly until after his playing days were over, Glenn's sexuality was known to his teammates, family, and friends. His MLB career would be cut...
Published 04/23/21
Carrie Noland's Merce Cunningham: After the Arbitrary (University of Chicago Press, 2020) goes past conventional understandings of Cunningham that insist that randomness was his central goal as a choreographer, instead providing a portrait of a choreographer interested in story, connection, and affect. For Noland, chance is a starting point in understanding Cunningham, not a final destination. His chance operations were always shaped and modified by a keen choreographic and theatrical eye....
Published 04/22/21
In Vinyl Ventures: My Fifty Years at Rounder Records (Equinox, 2021), founder Bill Nowlin combines memoir with a history of the founding and evolution of Rounder as he talks about his experiences as one of the labels three founders. Rounder Records was born in 1970, a "hobby that got out of control," a fledgling record company more or less conceived while the Sixties were still in flower, which began on just over $1,000. Founded by three friends just out of college, the Boston-area company...
Published 04/20/21
In 1916, hundreds of local female household workers attempted to establish a union in Denver. The organizer behind the effort was Jane Street, a remarkable 29-year-old woman who, as Jane Little Botkin describes in The Girl Who Dared to Defy: Jane Street and the Rebel Maids of Denver (University of Oklahoma Press, 2021), brought a remarkable set of skills to what seemed an impossible task. Raised in Arkansas, young Jane went west with her sister after a failed marriage to a bigamist and sexual...
Published 04/20/21
The western travel narrative genre has a history long tied to voyeurism and conquest. A way to see the world—and its many unique people and places—through the eyes of mostly white and male travelers. In an increasingly globalized world, many writers are beginning to raise questions about the ethics of travel writing and its tropes, especially the way western travelers tend to characterize cultures that are unfamiliar to them. These new books challenge the conventional approach, instead asking...
Published 04/16/21
Political Theorist and activist Dana Mill’s latest new book, Rosa Luxemburg (Reaktion Books, 2020), is part of an extensive series of books published by Reaktion Books, Ltd, which focuses both on the ideas or creations and the lives of many leading cultural figures of the modern period. These volumes are not long, but they are thorough, and they help the reader to understand the historical context in which these thinkers, artists, writers, etc. lived, created, and worked. Mill’s contribution...
Published 04/15/21
Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is one of the most popular philosophical works by sales to the public, while in academic philosophy he is considered somewhat of a philosophical lightweight. In Marcus Aurelius (Routledge, 2020), John Sellars argues that this academic perception mistakes the Meditations as a failed work of theoretical argument, when instead it is a series of spiritual training exercises to condition the Roman emperor’s character in accordance with the Stoic doctrines he learned as...
Published 04/09/21
In My Private Lennon: Explorations From a Fan Who Never Screamed (Mad Creek Press, 2020), Sibbie O'Sullivan offers a new point of view from which to consider the Beatles’ impact on society and on the individual. In a series of linked autobiographical essays that explore the musical, cultural, and personal aspects of intense music fandom, Sibbie O’Sullivan dismantles the grand narrative of the fifteen-year-old hysterical female Beatles fan and replaces it with an introspective and often...
Published 04/09/21
Don Isaac Abravanel (1437–1508) was an important forerunner of Jewish modernity. A merchant, banker, and court financier; a scholar versed in both Jewish and Christian writings; a preacher and exegete; and a prominent political actor in royal entourages and Jewish communities; Abravanel was one of the greatest leaders and thinkers of Iberian Jewry in the aftermath of the expulsion of 1492. Cedric Cohen-Skalli’s Don Isaac Abravanel: An Intellectual Biography (Brandeis University Press, 2020)...
Published 04/09/21