Episodes
Before the nineteenth century, travelers who left Britain for the Americas, West Africa, India and elsewhere encountered a medical conundrum: why did they fall ill when they arrived, and why - if they recovered - did they never become so ill again? The widely accepted answer was that the newcomers needed to become 'seasoned to the climate'.  In his book Difference and Disease: Medicine, Race, and the Eighteenth-Century British Empire (Cambridge UP, 2020), Suman Seth explores forms of...
Published 05/13/22
Pandemic Re-Awakenings: The Forgotten and Unforgotten 'Spanish' Flu Of 1918-1919 (Oxford UP, 2021), edited by Guy Beiner, offers a multi-level and multi-faceted exploration of a century of remembering, forgetting, and rediscovering the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, arguably the greatest catastrophe in human history. Twenty-three researchers present original perspectives by critically investigating the hitherto unexplored vicissitudes of memory in the interrelated spheres of personal,...
Published 05/12/22
Prisons operate according to the clockwork logic of our criminal justice system: we punish people by making them “serve” time. The Cage of Days: Time and Temporal Experience in Prison (Columbia UP, 2022) combines the perspectives of K. C. Carceral, a formerly incarcerated convict criminologist, and Michael G. Flaherty, a sociologist who studies temporal experience. Drawing from Carceral’s field notes, his interviews with fellow inmates, and convict memoirs, this book reveals what time does to...
Published 05/12/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to John Tregoning, Imperial College respiratory infections researcher and author of the acclaimed book Infectious: Pathogens and How We Fight Them. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic Perspectives: A filmmaker's journey in 10 essays) and a series of 24 detailed podcasts with many of...
Published 05/11/22
In 2014 Barbados introduced a vaccine to prevent certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and reduce the risk of cervical cancer in young women. Despite the disproportionate burden of cervical cancer in the Caribbean, many Afro-Barbadians chose not to immunize their daughters. In Suspicion: Vaccines, Hesitancy, and  the Affective Politics of Protection in Barbados (Duke University Press, 2022), Nicole Charles reframes Afro-Barbadian vaccine refusal from a question of hesitancy to one...
Published 05/10/22
When Mark Henick was a teenager in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, he was overwhelmed by depression and anxiety that led to a series of increasingly dangerous suicide attempts. One night, he climbed onto a bridge over an overpass and stood in the wind, clinging to a girder. Someone shouted, "Jump, you coward!" Another man, a stranger in a brown coat, talked to him quietly, calmly and with deep empathy. Just as Henick's feet touched open air, the man in the brown coat encircled his chest and pulled...
Published 05/09/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to bestselling author and University of Oxford law professor Charles Foster on how the coronavirus pandemic reveals how so many of us—including so many scientists—have replaced rigorous scientific skepticism with an alarming cult of "scientism." Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic...
Published 05/04/22
Mid-century America had a problem talking about sex. Dr. Mary Calderone first diagnosed this condition and, in 1964, led the uphill battle to de-stigmatize sex education. Supporters hailed her as the “grandmother of modern sex education” while her detractors painted her as an “aging libertine,” but both could agree that she was quickly shaping the way sex was discussed in the classroom. Part biography, part social history, The Transformation of American Sex Education: Mary Calderone and the...
Published 04/29/22
In this interdisciplinary study, Anthony Cerulli probes late- and postcolonial reforms in ayurvedic education, the development of the ayurvedic college, and the impacts of the college curriculum on ways that ayurvedic physicians understand and use the Sanskrit classics in their professional work today. By interrogating the politics surrounding the place of the Sanskrit classics in ayurvedic curricula, The Practice of Texts: Education and Healing in South India (U California Press, 2022)...
Published 04/28/22
It’s no secret that the United States has the most expansive prison system of any nation in the world. And the US carceral system overwhelmingly and unjustly impacts Black and Brown individuals and communities. With postwar efforts to dismantle Jim Crow policies, our era of mass incarceration reproduced the old logics of white supremacism that uphold racist capitalism in this new setting. These are the things we know. But in his book, Silent Cells: The Secret Drugging of Captive America (U...
Published 04/28/22
Medicine and slavery went hand-in-hand. But what was the nature of this vile partnership? In Medicalizing Blackness: Making Racial Difference in the Atlantic World, 1780-1840 (UNC Press, 2017), Rana Hogarth shows that familiar histories, though excellent, fail to explain how and why medicine and slavery became fused in the first place. No doubt, defenders of slavery used medicine to justify the corrupt practice once it was under threat. But Hogarth shows how science and medicine grafted...
Published 04/28/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to renowned UC San Diego neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland about the importance of communicating science, the wonders of the biological world and the dangers of wishful thinking. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic Perspectives: A filmmaker's journey in 10 essays) and a series of 24...
Published 04/27/22
Recent global events have unmasked inequitable healthcare systems that disproportionately affect poor Latinx populations along the U.S-Mexico border. Professor Jennifer K. Seman’s recent publication offers a brief insight into these inequities by approaching borderlands modes of care from a historical perspective to reveal how two vital practitioners of curanderismo – “An earth-based healing practice that blends elements of Indigenous medicine with folk Catholicism” (1) – served their...
Published 04/25/22
When China’s War of Resistance against Japan began in July 1937, it sparked an immediate health crisis throughout China. In the end, China not only survived the war but emerged from the trauma with a more cohesive population. Nicole Elizabeth Barnes’s book, Intimate Communities: Wartime Healthcare and the Birth of Modern China, 1937-1945 (University of California Press, 2018), argues that women who worked as military and civilian nurses, doctors, and midwives during this turbulent period...
Published 04/21/22
When Dr. Rod Tanchanco, a busy internist and clinical researcher, began digging into old journals looking for a deeper history of renowned medical innovations, he wasn’t planning to write a book; he just liked writing, and the process of digging into “treasure troves” of overlooked or unknown medical lore. Most of all, he liked finding the human stories behind trumpeted technical or pharmaceutical advances. Out of this pleasurable – if time-and-energy-consuming – pursuit came First Patients:...
Published 04/20/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to Portuguese Member of Parliament and internationally renowned biologist Alexandre Quintanilha about the many valuable lessons Portugal's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic could teach all of us, if only we'd take the time to pay attention. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic...
Published 04/20/22
In 2020, COVID-19, the Australia bushfires, and other global threats served as vivid reminders that human and nonhuman fates are increasingly linked. Human use of nonhuman animals contributes to pandemics, climate change, and other global threats which, in turn, contribute to biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and nonhuman suffering. Jeff Sebo argues that humans have a moral responsibility to include animals in global health and environmental policy. In particular, we should reduce our...
Published 04/18/22
Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction (Hachette Go, 2021) tells a long-running, but largely unknown, story of how a few people and groups – propelled at first by the AIDS pandemic -- swam against one of the most powerful policy tides in America – our nation’s 50-year war on drugs. Maia Szalavitz’s book is a personal and political history of the idea of harm reduction, which is a philosophy, a set of health practices, and a call to action. Harm reduction...
Published 04/15/22
Robert Jacob’s book Nuclear Bodies: The Global Hibakusha (Yale UP, 2022) re‑envisions the history of the Cold War as a slow nuclear war, fought on remote battlegrounds against populations powerless to prevent the contamination of their lands and bodies. Jacobs’s book put these “nuclear bodies” and the legacy of our eighty years history of nuclear weapon and power use at the center of his inquiry. The contaminated bodies of the hibakusha and the contaminated grounds on which they live (or in...
Published 04/13/22
In 2015, Professor Angus Deaton of Princeton University and his wife Professor Anne Case published a paper highlighting the rising mortality rate among middle-aged white non-Hispanic Americans. They described "deaths of despair" which were often related to drug and alcohol poisoning and suicide. They followed up with a widely read book: Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism (Princeton UP, 2020). In this podcast Owen Bennett-Jones discusses the issue of life expectancy and asks what...
Published 04/12/22
The human brain undergoes massive changes during its development, from early childhood and the teenage years to adulthood and old age. Across a wide range of species, from C. elegans and fruit flies to mice, monkeys, and humans, information about brain connectivity (connectomes) at different stages is now becoming available. New approaches in network neuroscience can be used to analyze the topological, spatial, and dynamical organization of such connectomes. In Changing Connectomes:...
Published 04/08/22
The accusation “you’re deluded” is often used as something of a cheap shot intended to silence an opponent in debate. But what is the nature of a delusion and how can we assess rationality and irrationality? In this podcast, Owen Bennett-Jones talks to Professor Lisa Bortolotti who studies the philosophy of psychology and psychiatry at Birmingham University and is the author of among many other things, Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs (Oxford UP, 2010) and most recently edited Delusions...
Published 04/05/22
Our ability to act on some of the most pressing issues of our time, from pandemics and climate change to artificial intelligence and nuclear weapons, depends on knowledge provided by scientists and other experts. Meanwhile, contemporary political life is increasingly characterized by problematic responses to expertise, with denials of science on the one hand and complaints about the ignorance of the citizenry on the other. Politics and Expertise: How to Use Science in a Democratic...
Published 04/05/22
A camera obscura reflects the world back but dimmer and inverted. Similarly, science has long viewed woman through a warped lens, one focused narrowly on her capacity for reproduction. As a result, there exists a vast knowledge gap when it comes to what we know about half of the bodies on the planet. That is finally changing. Today, a new generation of researchers is turning its gaze to the organs traditionally bound up in baby-making—the uterus, ovaries, and vagina—and illuminating them as...
Published 03/30/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to Lorraine Daston, director emerita of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin about a number of hugely relevant issues at the intriguing overlap between science and societal values. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic Perspectives: A filmmaker's journey in 10...
Published 03/30/22