Storytelling

Scene on Radio

Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

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Scene on Radio asks, How’s it going out there? And leaves the studio to find out. It tells stories that explore human experience and American society. Produced and hosted by John Biewen, Scene on Radio comes from the Center for Documentary Studies at...Show More
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Turning the Lens (Seeing White, Part 1)

16:30 | Feb 15th, 2017

Events of the past few years have turned a challenging spotlight on White people, and Whiteness, in the United States. An introduction to our series exploring what it means to be White. By John Biewen, with special guest Chenjerai Kumanyika.
Warriors (MEN, Part 6)

42:11 | Sep 19th, 2018

Do nations fight wars because men are naturally violent? Or do societies condition men to embrace violence so they’ll fight the nation’s wars? Along with co-hosts John Biewen and Celeste Headlee, this episode features reporting by Barry Lam of the H...Show More
Transformation (Seeing White, Part 14)

44:10 | Aug 24th, 2017

The concluding episode in our series, Seeing White. An exploration of solutions and responses to America’s deep history of white supremacy by host John Biewen, with Chenjerai Kumanyika, Robin DiAngelo, and Wiliam “Sandy” Darity, Jr.
White Affirmative Action (Seeing White, Part 13)

47:58 | Aug 9th, 2017

When it comes to U.S. government programs and support earmarked for the benefit of particular racial groups, history is clear. White folks have received most of the goodies. By John Biewen, with Deena Hayes-Greene of the Racial Equity Institute and ...Show More
My White Friends (Seeing White, Part 12)

40:16 | Jul 12th, 2017

For years, Myra Greene had explored blackness through her photography, often in self-portraits. She wondered, what would it mean to take pictures of whiteness? For her friends, what was it like to be photographed because you’re white? With another co...Show More
Danger (Seeing White, Part 11)

45:52 | Jun 28th, 2017

For hundreds of years, the white-dominated American culture has raised the specter of the dangerous, violent black man. Host John Biewen tells the story of a confrontation with an African American teenager. Then he and recurring guest Chenjerai Kuman...Show More
Citizen Thind (Seeing White, Part 10)

38:25 | Jun 14th, 2017

The story of Bhagat Singh Thind, and also of Takao Ozawa – Asian immigrants who, in the 1920s, sought to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that they were white in order to gain American citizenship. Thind’s “bargain with white supremacy,” and the deepl...Show More
A Racial Cleansing in America (Seeing White Part 9)

29:14 | May 31st, 2017

In 1919, a white mob forced the entire black population of Corbin, Kentucky, to leave, at gunpoint. It was one of many racial expulsions in the United States. What happened, and how such racial cleansings became “America’s family secret.” The histor...Show More
Skulls and Skin (Seeing White, Part 8)

45:56 | May 17th, 2017

Scientists weren’t the first to divide humanity along racial – and and racist – lines. But for hundreds of years, racial scientists claimed to provide proof for those racist hierarchies – and some still do.   Resources for this episode: Fatal Inve...Show More
Chenjerai’s Challenge (Seeing White, Part 7)

14:26 | May 5th, 2017

“How attached are you to the idea of being white?” Chenjerai Kumanyika puts that question to host John Biewen, as they revisit an unfinished conversation from a previous episode. Part 7 of our series, Seeing White.
That's Not Us, So We're Clean (Seeing White, Part 6)

40:05 | Apr 26th, 2017

When it comes to America’s racial sins, past and present, a lot of us see people in one region of the country as guiltier than the rest. Host John Biewen spoke with some white Southern friends about that tendency. Part Six of our ongoing series, Seei...Show More
Little War on the Prairie (Seeing White, Part 5)

1:02:57 | Apr 12th, 2017

Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, John Biewen heard next to nothing about the town’s most important historical event. In 1862, Mankato was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history – the hanging of 38 Dakota warriors – following one of t...Show More
On Crazy We Built a Nation (Seeing White, Part 4)

36:30 | Mar 30th, 2017

“All men are created equal.” Those words, from the Declaration of Independence, are central to the story that Americans tell about ourselves and our history. But what did those words mean to the man who actually wrote them? By John Biewen, with guest...Show More
Made in America (Seeing White, Part 3)

33:39 | Mar 16th, 2017

Chattel slavery in the United States, with its distinctive – and strikingly cruel – laws and structures, took shape over many decades in colonial America. The innovations that built American slavery are inseparable from the construction of Whiteness ...Show More
How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)

28:35 | Mar 1st, 2017

For much of human history, people viewed themselves as members of tribes or nations but had no notion of “race.” Today, science deems race biologically meaningless. Who invented race as we know it, and why? By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai Kumany...Show More
White Affirmative Action (Seeing White, Part 13) Rebroadcast

48:36 | Jul 3rd

When it comes to U.S. government programs and support earmarked for the benefit of particular racial groups, history is clear. White folks have received most of the goodies. By John Biewen, with Deena Hayes-Greene of the Racial Equity Institute and ...Show More
My White Friends (Seeing White, Part 12) Rebroadcast

40:54 | Jun 19th

For years, Myra Greene had explored blackness through her photography, often in self-portraits. She wondered, what would it mean to take pictures of whiteness? For her friends, what was it like to be photographedbecause you’re white? With another con...Show More
Danger (Seeing White, Part 11) Rebroadcast

46:46 | Jun 5th

For hundreds of years, the white-dominated American culture has raised the specter of the dangerous, violent black man. Host John Biewen tells the story of a confrontation with an African American teenager. Then he and recurring guest Chenjerai Kuman...Show More
Citizen Thind (Seeing White, Part 10) Rebroadcast

38:08 | May 22nd

The story of Bhagat Singh Thind, and also of Takao Ozawa – Asian immigrants who, in the 1920s, sought to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that they were white in order to gain American citizenship. Thind’s “bargain with white supremacy,” and the deepl...Show More
A Racial Cleansing in America (Seeing White Part 9) Rebroadcast

29:52 | May 8th

In 1919, a white mob forced the entire black population of Corbin, Kentucky, to leave, at gunpoint. It was one of many racial expulsions in the United States. What happened, and how such racial cleansings became “America’s family secret.”
Skulls and Skin (Seeing White, Part 8) Rebroadcast

46:34 | Apr 24th

Scientists weren’t the first to divide humanity along racial – and racist – lines. But for hundreds of years, racial scientists claimed to provide proof for those racist hierarchies – and some still do.
Chenjerai's Challenge (Seeing White, Part 7) Rebroadcast

15:04 | Apr 10th

“How attached are you to the idea of being white?” Chenjerai Kumanyika puts that question to host John Biewen, as they revisit an unfinished conversation from a previous episode. Part 7 of our series, Seeing White.
That's Not Us, So We're Clean (Seeing White, Part 6) Rebroadcast

40:26 | Mar 27th

When it comes to America’s racial sins, past and present, a lot of us see people in one region of the country as guiltier than the rest. Host John Biewen spoke with some white Southern friends about that tendency. Part Six of our ongoing series, Seei...Show More
Little War on the Prairie (Seeing White, Part 5) Rebroadcast

1:03:32 | Mar 13th

Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, John Biewen heard next to nothing about the town’s most important historical event. In 1862, Mankato was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history – the hanging of 38 Dakota warriors – following one of t...Show More
On Crazy We Built a Nation (Seeing White, Part 4) Rebroadcast

37:06 | Feb 27th

“All men are created equal.” Those words, from the Declaration of Independence, are central to the story that Americans tell about ourselves and our history. But what did those words mean to the man who actually wrote them? By John Biewen, with guest...Show More
Made in America (Seeing White, Part 3) Rebroadcast

34:17 | Feb 13th

Chattel slavery in the United States, with its distinctive – and strikingly cruel – laws and structures, took shape over many decades in colonial America. The innovations that built American slavery are inseparable from the construction of Whiteness ...Show More
How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2) Rebroadcast

29:13 | Jan 30th

For much of human history, people viewed themselves as members of tribes or nations but had no notion of “race.” Today, science deems race biologically meaningless. Who invented race as we know it, and why? By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai Kumany...Show More
Turning the Lens (Seeing White, Part 1) Rebroadcast

17:10 | Jan 16th

During Scene On Radio's hiatus between seasons—as we get to work on Season Four—we’re re-posting our Season Two series from 2017, Seeing White. If you’ve already listened, you can always listen again, or just tell several friends about it. As always,...Show More
The End of Male Supremacy? (MEN, Part 12)

31:03 | Dec 12th, 2018

In our Season Three finale, co-hosts Celeste Headlee and John Biewen talk about where American culture goes from here, sexism-wise. And we hear from scholar Melvin Konner, who argues that we are in fact witnessing—and bringing about—“the end of male ...Show More
Domination (MEN, Part 11)

37:43 | Nov 28th, 2018

Host John Biewen dips into the world of sports talk radio, where guys talk not just about sports but also about how to be a man in twenty-first-century America. What John finds is more complicated than he expected, with revelations both encouraging a...Show More
The Juggernaut (MEN, Part 10)

54:53 | Nov 14th, 2018

Writer Ben James and his wife Oona are raising their sons in a progressive and “queer-friendly” New England town. They actively encourage the boys to be themselves, never mind those traditional gender norms around “masculinity” and “femininity.” All ...Show More
Be Like You (MEN, Part 9)

38:00 | Oct 31st, 2018

Lewis Wallace, female-assigned at birth, wanted to transition in the direction of maleness—in some ways. He shifted his pronouns, had surgery, starting taking testosterone. None of that meant he wanted to embrace everything that our culture associate...Show More
American Made (MEN, Part 8)

44:47 | Oct 17th, 2018

American history—law, economics, culture—has built different notions of masculinity (and femininity) for people of varying races and ethnicities.  A trip through a century of pop culture and the stereotyped images that white supremacy has manufacture...Show More
Himpathy (MEN, Part 7)

51:00 | Oct 3rd, 2018

Several years after Janey was sexually assaulted by her former boyfriend, Mathew, she told some of her closest friends, and her mother, what Mathew had done. Janey was so troubled by her loved ones’ responses, or lack thereof, that she went back to t...Show More
More Than Paper Cuts (MEN, Part 5)

53:24 | Sep 5th, 2018

The #MeToo Movement has shed a harsh light on sexual harassment in the workplace. Just how bad, and how pervasive, is sexism on the job in the U.S., from day-to-day expressions of disrespect all the way to rape? Spoiler: It’s bad. Reported by Ibby ...Show More
Feminism in Black and White (MEN, Part 4)

46:56 | Aug 22nd, 2018

The struggles against sexism and racism come together in the bodies, and the lives, of black women. Co-hosts Celeste Headlee and John Biewen look at the intersections between male dominance and white supremacy in the United States, and the movements ...Show More
Skeleton War (MEN, Part 3)

34:18 | Aug 8th, 2018

A few hundred years ago, the great thinkers of the Enlightenment began to declare that “all men are created equal.” Some of them said that notion should include women, too. Why did those feminists—most of them men, by the way—lose the fight? How did ...Show More
Ain't No Amoeba (MEN, Part 2)

32:39 | Jul 25th, 2018

For millennia, Western culture (and most other cultures) declared that men and women were different sorts of humans—and, by the way, men were better. Is that claim not only wrong but straight-up backwards? Co-hosts Celeste Headlee and John Biewen e...Show More
Dick Move (MEN, Part 1)

37:45 | Jul 11th, 2018

Launching our Season 3 series, co-hosts John Biewen and Celeste Headlee look at the problems of male supremacy. And we visit Deep Time to explore the latest scholarship on how, when, and why men invented patriarchy. Featuring Meg Conkey of UC-Berkel...Show More
Scene on Radio Season 3: MEN Trailer

05:10 | Jun 27th, 2018

Scene on Radio opens its Season 3 series, MEN, with this preview. Host John Biewen introduces the series with series co-host Celeste Headlee. Music Evgueni and Sacha Galperine. Theme music by Alex Weston. Music and production help from Joe Augustin...Show More
I Know It's You (Rebroadcast)

16:58 | Dec 13th, 2017

A father turns on a recorder while tucking in his 7-year-old, having no idea he’s about to capture a poignant growing-up moment in his son’s life. (Advisory: This episode is not suitable for some young children.)
Losing Ground

50:58 | Jul 26th, 2017

For Eddie Wise, owning a hog farm was a lifelong dream. In middle age, he and his wife, Dorothy, finally got a farm of their own. But they say that over the next twenty-five years, the U.S. government discriminated against them because of their race,...Show More
Movement Time

45:10 | Jan 25th, 2017

Facts can be ignored by the powers that be and still ignite a movement. An interview with Tim Tyson, author of the new book, The Blood of Emmett Till. Tyson was the first historian or journalist to interview the former Carolyn Bryant, the woman in wh...Show More
Emmett and Trayvon (Rebroadcast)

18:54 | Jan 11th, 2017

There’s a long and painful history in the U.S. of white men killing black men and boys without punishment. In this episode, we listen in on “Dar He,” the one-man play by Mike Wiley that brings to life the story of Emmett Till.
I Found No Strangers (Travels With Mic, Part 3)

23:37 | Dec 14th, 2016

The last in our series exploring the spirit of America in the footsteps of one of its greatest writers, John Steinbeck. At key spots on Steinbeck’s 1960 journey across the country, we team up with artists to explore how things have changed, or not, a...Show More
Reality is Not the Stronger (Travels With Mic, Part 2)

20:50 | Nov 30th, 2016

The second in a three-part series, journeying into the soul of America through the eyes of artists, while following in the footsteps of Nobel Prize-winning writer John Steinbeck who drove across the country in 1960 for his iconic book, Travels with C...Show More
Monster America (Travels With Mic, Part 1)

22:17 | Nov 16th, 2016

First in a three-part journey into the soul of America, through the eyes of working people who happen to be artists. In this episode, David Slater in Sag Harbor, New York, and Kalamu ya Salaam in New Orleans. Retracing the 1960 journey by writer John...Show More
El Nuevo South

38:34 | Nov 2nd, 2016

Siler City, North Carolina used to be a typical Southern town. Everybody was white or black. Now the town’s population is half Latino. One community’s journey through the “five stages of grief” – all the way to acceptance? By John Biewen and Tennesse...Show More
Prince and Philando and Futures Untold

20:33 | Oct 19th, 2016

How to grieve when the deaths come so quickly? How, as an African American mother, to protect your child’s innocence and hope? An audio essay by Stacia Brown.
Scene on Radio Season 2 Preview

03:25 | Oct 7th, 2016

Scene on Radio is a podcast that asks, How’s it going out there? And leaves the studio to find out, capturing the sounds of life happening and telling stories that explore human experience and American society.
None of Us Could be Thrown Away (Storymakers, Part 4)

26:58 | Jul 27th, 2016

The last installment in our Storymakers series. Four pieces by citizen storytellers on living together, and apart, in Durham, North Carolina. By Vimala Rajendran, Chip and Teddy Denton, Courtney Reid-Eaton, and Nia Wilson.
That Old Optimism (Storymakers, Part 3)

32:02 | Jul 13th, 2016

More from our team of citizen storytellers in Durham, NC. Stories by Courtney Smith, Katt Ryce, and Kimani Hall, exploring the things that unite and divide people in Durham and in America. Part of Storymakers: Durham, a project of the national Localo...Show More
The Way It Is (Storymakers, Part 2)

34:42 | Jun 30th, 2016

Three stories conceived and made by citizen storytellers Jamila Davenport, Roberto Nava, and Debby Bussel explore race, class, and gentrification in Durham, North Carolina.  Part of Storymakers: Durham, a project of the national Localore: #FindingAm...Show More
Finding America in Durham, N.C. (Storymakers, Part 1)

20:36 | Jun 15th, 2016

Can stories help to bring a community together?  How about radio stories, conceived and made by citizen storytellers? Introducing Storymakers: Durham, a project of the national Localore: #FindingAmerica initiative.
Hearing Hiroshima

33:28 | May 26th, 2016

The word “Hiroshima” may bring to mind a black-and-white image of a mushroom cloud. It’s easy to forget that it’s an actual city with a million people and a popular baseball team. How did the cataclysm of 1945 reverberate in the place where it happen...Show More
My Dad and Me, in Three Songs

18:35 | May 18th, 2016

It can take a lifetime to make sense of a parent, or to get over him. Or, just maybe, to come to terms. By Ruxandra Guidi.
Close Relations

16:48 | May 4th, 2016

The people we love have power—the power to upend our lives, or at least to make things interesting. Two stories of surprises, curveballs thrown by family members. Pieces by Qathi Hart and John Rash.
Selected ShortDocs: Memory

18:10 | Apr 20th, 2016

A quartet of very short works exploring memory – most inspired by Third Coast Audio Festival ShortDoc Challenges. Pieces by Ligaiya Romero, Madeline Miller, Nan Pincus, and John Biewen.
Rogue Chickens and Ratty-ass Radishes

19:51 | Apr 6th, 2016

A punk farmer. A tale of rogue chickens on the loose in the city. A pair of refreshing takes on the whole Food thing, in and around Durham, NC. Pieces by Emily Hilliard and Joseph Decosimo.
Things I'm Afraid to Say

20:55 | Mar 23rd, 2016

A refugee from Bosnia. An NYC-born survivor who grew up poor, black, Muslim, and gay. And how one, and her music, saved the other.
Groundwork

24:05 | Mar 9th, 2016

People in two communities – one in Alaska, one in New York State – wrestle with questions about energy and the environment. We listen in on democracy close to home. Stories by John Biewen and Jon Miller, edited by Deb George.
Straight, No Chaser

20:42 | Feb 24th, 2016

A South Sudanese refugee and the music that cuts his heart to pieces. Thelonious Monk’s North Carolina roots. Music and home. Pieces by Nusaibah Kofar-Naisa and John Biewen.
Losing Yourself

31:51 | Feb 10th, 2016

It happens. A happy, healthy young person suddenly gets a grave diagnosis. What does not usually happen: The patient rolls tape. By Ibby Caputo.
The Dead Can't Do You Nothing

22:38 | Jan 27th, 2016

It waits for us all. A lot of people want to think about death as little as possible. Others want to dive right in and explore the mystery. Two short docs on the Big D.
The Right Note

17:07 | Jan 13th, 2016

Music can be a powerful gift – if you get the song right, or the right song. Two stories from North Carolina.
Emmett and Trayvon

15:32 | Dec 30th, 2015

There’s a long and painful history in the U.S. of white men killing black men and boys without punishment. In this episode, we listen in on “Dar He,” the one-man play by Mike Wiley that brings to life the story of Emmett Till.
No Santa

14:15 | Dec 16th, 2015

A father turns on a recorder while tucking in his 7-year-old, having no idea he’s about to capture a poignant growing-up moment in his son’s life. (Advisory: This episode is not suitable for some young children.)
Hijabis

17:37 | Dec 2nd, 2015

The surest way for a woman to declare herself a Muslim is to wear the head scarf — the hijab. In these two short pieces, young Muslim women explore the often unwelcome questions and perceptions that come with the scarf, and the deeply personal decisi...Show More
What Men Talk About When They Talk About Sports

20:26 | Nov 18th, 2015

Tens of millions of Americans, most of them men, tune in to sports talk radio. Is sports talk a haven for old-school guy talk, including misogyny and gay-bashing? For the final episode in our series on sports and society, “Contested,” host John Biewe...Show More
A Level Playing Field?

26:32 | Nov 4th, 2015

Two families, both making big investments of time and money to involve their kids in sports. But the investments they’re able to make are very different. In Part 5 of “Contested,” our series on sports, society and culture: Sports and the American Dre...Show More
An Athlete Inside and Out

22:09 | Oct 21st, 2015

Tal Ben-Artzi didn’t worry about being an out bisexual athlete at Penn State. Maybe she would have if she’d known the school’s history. How much have times changed? In Part 4 of “Contested,” our series on sports, society and culture: stories of LGBTQ...Show More
The (High School) Mascot Wars

24:50 | Oct 7th, 2015

Two small towns, one in Idaho, the other in Upstate New York, try to decide whether to change the nickname of their high school sports teams: The Redskins.
Friends and Basketball

26:25 | Sep 23rd, 2015

More from suburban St. Louis, post-Ferguson, on the popular notion that sports unites communities. Can the camaraderie of a team sport make race and class status “disappear” for the kids involved or their parents? Scene on Radio host and producer Joh...Show More
Sports, the Great Uniter?

13:01 | Sep 1st, 2015

Can a winning baseball team bring St. Louis together post-Ferguson? John Biewen explores the question in the inaugural episode of Scene On Radio, a new podcast of audio stories from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.