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New Books in Intellectual History

Marshall Poe

Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books
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1:06:51 | Sep 19th

Putting premodern theology and poetry in dialogue with contemporary theory and politics, Queer Faith: Reading Promiscuity and Race in the Secular Love Tradition (NYU Press, 2019) reassess the commonplace view that a modern veneration of sexual monoga...Show More

1:06:51 | Sep 19th

In this installment of New Books in History, Jana Byars talks with Melissa E. Sanchez, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature about her newest book, Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking and the Politics of Freedom(University of Chic...Show More
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51:04 | Sep 17th

The story of the creation of the Book of Mormon has been told many times, and often ridiculed. A Documentary History of the Book of Mormon (Oxford University Press, 2019), by Larry E. Morris, presents and examines the primary sources surrounding the ...Show More

1:00:54 | Sep 13th

“Free enterprise” is an everyday phrase that connotes an American common sense. It appears everywhere from political speeches to pop culture. And it is so central to the idea of the United States that some even labeled Christopher Columbus and the Pi...Show More

1:06:54 | Sep 11th

In this episode, Dr. Alexandra Minna Stern and I discuss her latest book, Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination (Beacon Press, 2019). Our conversation examines the intersections of gender and sexua...Show More

55:21 | Sep 10th

Kate Kirkpatrick a lecturer in Religion, Philosophy and Culture at King’s College London and author of Becoming Beauvoir: A Life (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019). Kirkpatrick has given us a biography that addresses the puzzle and contradictions of the lif...Show More

1:06:15 | Sep 10th

At the start of the 19th century, the field we now call psychology was still the branch of philosophy that studied the soul. How did psychology come to define itself as a separate area of inquiry, and how did it come to be a science? In Wundt, Avenar...Show More

1:03:22 | Sep 5th

Today I talked to Matthew Crow about his book Thomas Jefferson, Legal History, and the Art of Recollection, published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.  Crow studies how Jefferson’s association with legal history was born out of America’s long h...Show More

50:55 | Sep 5th

The New Deal left a host of political, institutional, and economic legacies. Among them was the restructuring of the government into an administrative state with a powerful executive leader and a large class of unelected officials. This "leviathan" s...Show More

1:02:42 | Sep 4th

American anthropologists consider Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, and Margaret Mead to be foundational figures, but outside the academy few people know the details of their ideas. In this new volume, Charles King provides a carefully-researched and beauti...Show More

59:23 | Sep 4th

The "Arab Spring" shook the world in 2011, revealing profound dissatisfaction throughout the Middle East and North Africa, as people throughout the region took to the streets demanding dramatic political change. The uprisings have been analyzed by sc...Show More

1:11:36 | Sep 2nd

Bianca Premo’s award-winning book The Enlightenment on Trial: Ordinary Litigants and Colonialism in the Spanish Empire, published by Oxford University Press in 2017, makes a powerful yet seemingly simple claim: during the eighteenth century, illitera...Show More

1:00:36 | Aug 28th

From 1667 to 1676, a pivotal controversy played out among several mathematical luminaries of the time, partly in the proceedings of the Royal Society but partly in private correspondence. The controversy concerned whether an infamous problem of Ancie...Show More

59:38 | Aug 23rd

During the American Revolution, printed material, including newspapers, pamphlets, almanacs, and broadsides, played a crucial role as a forum for public debate. In Revolutionary Networks: The Business and Politics of Printing the News, 1763-1789 (Joh...Show More

1:01:31 | Aug 19th

Did the early Christians believe their myths? Like most ancient—and modern—people, early Christians made efforts to present their myths in the most believable ways.In How the Gospels Became History: Jesus and Mediterranean Myths (Yale University Pres...Show More

1:01:53 | Aug 16th

Emma Kuby’s new book, Political Survivors: The Resistance, the Cold War, and the Fight against Concentration Camps After 1945 (Cornell UP, 2019) traces the fascinating history of the International Commission Against the Concentration Camp Regime (CIC...Show More

53:04 | Aug 15th

May ’68 marked a watershed moment in French society, culture, and political life. The feminist movement was no exception. Women took to the streets and meeting halls around the country, challenging outdated sexual standards, fighting for reproductive...Show More

31:20 | Aug 14th

There are few better guides to the “long eighteenth century” that J. C. D. Clark, emeritus professor of history at the University of Kansas, whose sequence of ground-breaking books have contested prevailing assumptions about religion, politics and ea...Show More

48:22 | Aug 9th

In a new podcast of the series ‘Arguing History’, Professor Jeremy Black, the most prolific historian writing in the Anglophone world, if not on the entire planet, and renowned Ecclesiastical Historian Professor William Gibson discuss the question: ‘...Show More

51:53 | Aug 8th

The great writer Jorge Luis Borges said, “Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” Time is ...Show More

1:00:42 | Aug 7th

With the Ta-Nehisi Coates–authored Black Panther comic book series (2016),  recent films Django Unchained (2012), The Birth of a Nation (2016), Nate Parker’s cinematic imagining of the Nat Turner rebellion, and screen adaptations of Marvel’s Luke Cag...Show More

1:14:08 | Aug 6th

In this segment of New Books in History, Jana Byars talks with Elizabeth “Libby” Otto, Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Studies and Executive Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Buffalo about her forthcoming work, H...Show More

1:01:00 | Aug 6th

Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz's Reciting the Goddess: Narratives of Place and the Making of Hinduism in Nepal (Oxford University, 2018) represents the very first study of a fascinating Hindu phenomenon: the Svasthanivratakatha (SVK), a sixteenth-centur...Show More

56:12 | Aug 2nd

After the discoveries of dinosaur fossils in the American West in the late nineteenth century, the United States became world renown for vertebrate paleontology. In his new book Assembling the Dinosaur: Fossil Hunters, Tycoons, and the Making of a Sp...Show More

1:13:41 | Aug 1st

It is hard to overestimate the influence of John Rawls on political philosophy and theory over the last half-century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and he is one of the few philosophers whose work is known in the corridors of powe...Show More

1:04:22 | Jul 31st

Violet Moller has written a narrative history of the transmission of books from the ancient world to the modern. In The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found (Doubleday, 2019), Moller traces the historie...Show More

1:21:45 | Jul 26th

In her new book, The Genocidal Gaze: From German Southwest Africa to the Third Reich (Wayne State University Press, 2017), Elizabeth R. Baer, professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College examines the threads of shared ideology in the Herero and ...Show More

41:15 | Jul 24th

Jamie Aroosi has written an important book that brings together the theoretical work of Karl Marx and Soren Kierkegaard in a kind of intellectual encounter. Noting the common historical context for both authors, and how they both came to their philos...Show More

58:48 | Jul 23rd

In The Politics of Religion and the Rise of Social Catholicism in Peru (1884-1935): Faith, Workers, and Race Before Liberation Theology (Brill, 2018), Ricardo Cubas Ramacciotti, Associate Professor of Latin American History at the Universidad de los ...Show More

1:08:20 | Jul 22nd

Can science be seductive? According to Tita Chico, the answer is a resounding yes. In her new book, The Experimental Imagination: Literary Knowledge and Science in the British Enlightenment(Stanford University Press, 2018), Dr. Chico’s new book upend...Show More

1:01:18 | Jul 19th

Elizabeth Danto and Alexandra Steiner-Strauss’ edited book, Freud/Tiffany: Anna Freud, Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham and The Best Possible School (Routledge, 2018), stands to alter what has become practically an idee fixe about Anna Freud.  Whereas she ...Show More

57:49 | Jul 17th

In The Politics of Annihilation: A Genealogy of Genocide (University of Minnesota Press, 2019),Benjamin Meiches takes a novel approach to the study of genocide by analyzing the ways in which ideas, concepts, and understandings about what genocide is ...Show More

1:00:09 | Jul 15th

Lacan published his Écrits in 1966, a compilation of his written work up to that middle period in his teaching. Notoriously difficult to read, the editors of the book we’re discussing today describe the Écrits as “an unwieldy, conglomerate ‘urtext’ …...Show More

1:06:19 | Jul 12th

Allison Davis (1902-1983) was a pioneering anthropologist who did ground-breaking fieldwork in the Jim Crow south,  challenged the racial bias of IQ tests, and became the first African American to be tenured at the University of Chicago. And yet desp...Show More

1:02:38 | Jul 11th

Early American libraries stood at the nexus of two transatlantic branches of commerce—the book trade and the slave trade. Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries: British Literature, Political Thought, and the Transatlantic Book Trade, 173...Show More

1:02:54 | Jul 10th

In his book, The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era (Harvard University Press, 2018), Jonathan Gienapp revisits the Founding Era to retell the story of America’s favorite document. Looking at the Constitution’s crea...Show More

1:02:25 | Jul 10th

Robert Louis Wilken, the William R. Kenan Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia, has written an intellectual history of the ideas surrounding freedom of religion.  Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian ...Show More

1:02:36 | Jul 10th

The metaphor “object lesson” is a familiar one, still in everyday use. But what exactly does the metaphor refer to?In her book Object Lessons: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Learned to Make Sense of the Material World (Oxford University Press, 2018...Show More

1:20:50 | Jul 9th

Sergei Zhuk’s Soviet Americana: The Cultural History of Russian and Ukrainian Americanists (Tauris, 2018) offers an insightful investigation of the development of American studies in the Soviet Union, with a specific emphasis on Soviet Russia and Sov...Show More

1:06:59 | Jul 8th

In Hundred Days’ Literature, Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910 (Brill, 2019), Lorenzo Andolfatto explores the landscape of early modern Chinese fiction through the lens of the utopian novel, casting new light on some of its most...Show More

49:21 | Jul 8th

The practice of Partition understood as the physical division of territory along ethno-religious lines into separate nation-states is often regarded as a successful political "solution" to ethnic conflict. In their edited volume Partitions: A Transna...Show More

53:07 | Jul 4th

A pivotal development in the history of psychology was the invention of family systems theory by psychiatrist Murray Bowen. He was among the first to observe families in a naturalistic setting, and his observations informed his ideas about families a...Show More

1:20:00 | Jul 4th

In The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), Greta LaFleur invites readers to consider a different body. The book effectively historicizes categories that are often take for granted (sex, race, vice, ha...Show More

46:05 | Jul 3rd

Bhakti Shringarpure has written a fascinating, multidimensional analysis of the Cold War and decolonization and the often-under-explored connections between these events. In her book, Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital (Routledge, 2019),...Show More

1:04:04 | Jul 2nd

Paul J. Croce, professor of history at Stetson University. Young William James Thinking (John Hopkins University Press, 2018) offers a developmental biography of the famous pragmatist. James’s mature thinking as a radical empiricist was formed throug...Show More

59:49 | Jul 2nd

Joan Wallach Scott’s contributions to the history of women and gender, and to feminist theory, will be familiar to listeners across multiple disciplines. Her latest book, Sex and Secularism (Princeton University Press, 2017) is a compelling analysis ...Show More

59:05 | Jun 25th

Over the past four decades, the volumes published in the landmark History of Cartography series have both chronicled and encouraged scholarship about maps and mapping practices across time and space. As the current director of the project that has pr...Show More

1:01:50 | Jun 25th

Popular conceptions of Catholic censorship, symbolized above all by the Index of Forbidden Books, figure prominently in secular definitions of freedom. To be intellectually free is to enjoy access to knowledge unimpeded by any religious authority. Bu...Show More

34:49 | Jun 21st

David Karol’s new book, Red, Green, and Blue: The Partisan Divide on Environmental Issues (Cambridge University Press, 2019), examines the history of environmental policy within American political parties. He ably integrates the early conservation mo...Show More

1:07:46 | Jun 21st

On this episode, Dr. Lee Pierce (she/they)--Asst. Prof. of Rhetoric and Communication at the State University of New York at Geneseo--Dr. Anne Cheng (she/hers)--Professor of English and Director of the Program in American Studies at Princeton Univers...Show More

57:15 | Jun 20th

People value loyalty. We prize it in our dogs. We loyally carry loyalty cards to claim discounts at our favourite stores and coffee shops. We follow sports teams, even when they lose. Loyalty is also deeply political. It is signified in oaths of offi...Show More

52:48 | Jun 20th

Leading New Testament scholar Dr. Craig Keener is widely respected for his thorough research, sound judgments, and knowledge of ancient sources. This commentary on Paul's Letter to the Galatians features Keener's meticulous and comprehensive research...Show More

38:05 | Jun 19th

Carolyn J. Dean’s The Moral Witness: Trials and Testimony after Genocide (Cornell University Press, 2019) examines the cultural history of the idea of the “witness to genocide” in Western Europe and the United States.  She portrays the witness in non...Show More

1:14:46 | Jun 18th

There are countless ways to study the history of U.S. foreign policy. David Milne, however, makes the case that it is “often best understood” as “intellectual history.” In his innovative book, Worldmaking: The Art and Science of American Diplomacy (F...Show More

47:32 | Jun 17th

We often credit the Transcendentalists with introducing a revolutionary new appreciation for nature into American spirituality when they claimed that God could be found in the forests, mountains, and fields. In Church in the Wild: Evangelicals in Ant...Show More

53:56 | Jun 17th

We often think of scientific racism as a pseudo-science of a bygone age, yet in both academic population genetics and popular ancestry testing, the specter of race continues to inflect our senses of biology and being.  In Divine Variations: How Chris...Show More

30:38 | Jun 17th

When President Trump talked of Africa as a continent of “shithole countries” where people lived in huts, he was drawing on a set of ideas made popular in the 19th century. “Darkest Africa” became a favorite trope of explorers like Henry Morton Stanle...Show More

2:21:19 | Jun 14th

In the vaunted annals of America’s founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary “city upon a hill” and the “cradle of liberty” for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center from these misleading, tired clichés, The Cit...Show More

54:30 | Jun 14th

Katherine M. Marino is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Feminism for the Americas: The Making of an International Human Rights Movement (University of North Carolina Press, 2019) follows the many Latin A...Show More

36:15 | Jun 13th

Vahram Ter-Matevosyan new book Turkey, Kemalism and the Soviet Union: Problems of Modernization, Ideology and Interpretation (Palgrave Macmillan,  examines the Kemalist ideology of Turkey from two perspectives. It discusses major problems in the exis...Show More

1:02:33 | Jun 12th

Feelings have a history and nostalgia has its own. In What Nostalgia Was: War, Empire, and the Time of a Deadly Emotion(University of Chicago Press, 2018) Thomas Dodman explores the history of nostalgia from the late seventeenth to the late nineteent...Show More

48:29 | Jun 10th

Though commonly used today to identify a polity that lasted for over a millennium, the label “Byzantine empire” is an anachronism imposed by more recent generations. As Anthony Kaldellis explains in Romanland: Ethnicity and Empire in Byzantium (Harva...Show More

1:01:41 | Jun 7th

In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews an...Show More

38:38 | Jun 6th

John Dryden is often regarded as one of the most conservative writers in later seventeenth-century England, a time-serving “trimmer” who abandoned his early commitments to the English Republic to become the poet laureate and historiographer royal of ...Show More

46:57 | Jun 4th

As they explored and struggled to establish settlements in what they called ‘new found lands’, the encounter with the peoples of those lands deeply affected how the British saw themselves. From the onset of colonisation, exotic visitors appeared in L...Show More

52:41 | Jun 3rd

Demetra Kasimis’s new book, The Perpetual Immigrant and the Limits of Athenian Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2018) interrogates the role and unstable place of the metics (metoikoi) in Athenian society.  The book focuses on three different pr...Show More

1:08:26 | May 31st

No, not the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Perhaps even more important than that Illinois contest of 1858 was the Webster-Hayne debate of 1830.Confused? Drawing a blank? Not really your fault. Would you be even more surprised to hear that these were debate...Show More

53:55 | May 31st

How do peripheral places assert the centrality of their identity? Why are fanciful events, like dreams and myths, useful narrative elements for identity construction and arguments about authority, legitimacy, and rhetoric? In Authority and Identity i...Show More

36:27 | May 30th

What options for resistance are left to the author of fiction in a nation structured by totalizing political and economic violence? This is the question at the heart of Niall Geraghty’s eloquent and engaging book, The Polyphonic Machine: Capitalism, ...Show More

56:42 | May 29th

Today I talked with historian Erika Dyck about Aldous Huxley, Humphry Osmond and their correspondence over a ten year period. Psychedelic Prophets: The Letters of Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018) is a collectio...Show More

48:12 | May 29th

To our eyes, eighteenth-century Britain can look like a world of opposites. On one hand everything was new: political parties and a ‘prime’ minister emerged in parliament; their sometime unruly debates were recorded by an expanding political press, w...Show More

44:24 | May 28th

In his book Can Democracy Work? A Short History of a Radical Idea from Ancient Athens to Our World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018), James Miller encapsulates 2500 years of democracy history into about 250 pages — making the case that “people power”...Show More

42:33 | May 23rd

Influential sexologist and activist Magnus Hirschfeld founded Berlin's Institute of Sexual Sciences in 1919 as a home and workplace to study homosexual rights activism and support transgender people. It was destroyed by the Nazis in 1933. This episod...Show More

36:12 | May 21st

Guy Beiner, who is professor of modern history at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, has written one of the longest and certainly one of the most extraordinary recent contributions to the historiography of Ireland and of memory studies. His new book...Show More

39:23 | May 20th

John Owen is one of the most significant seventeenth-century Protestant theologians. He is often discussed by historians of politics and religion in terms of his contributions to the national church settlement of the British Republic (1649-60) or to ...Show More

46:11 | May 17th

The first wealth is health, according to Emerson. Among health’s riches is its political potential. Few know this better than environmentalists. In her debut book, The Wild and the Toxic: American Environmentalism and the Politics of Health (UNC Pres...Show More

56:09 | May 16th

When we think of the history of the British empire we tend to think big: oceans were crossed; colonies grew from small settlements to territories many times larger than England; entire Continents, each with substantial indigenous populations, were br...Show More

59:30 | May 15th

Peter Josephson and Ward Holder collaborated on their second book on theologian and political theorist Reinhold Niebuhr in producing this new book, specifically focusing on the questions of “why Niebuhr?” and “why Niebuhr now?” Josephson and Holder n...Show More

33:53 | May 15th

Harold J. Cook talks about the travels and trials of the young Descartes, a man who spent as much time traveling and fighting as he did studying philosophy. Cook is John F. Nickoll Professor of History at Brown University. He is the author of The You...Show More

58:19 | May 10th

The book I’m bringing you today, The Bloomsbury Handbook of 21st-Century Feminist Theory (Bloomsbury, 2019) is the most comprehensive available survey of the state of the art of contemporary feminist thought. This is a collection of thirty-four chapt...Show More

54:17 | May 9th

Karin Rosemblatt’s new book, The Science and Politics of Race in Mexico and the United States, 1910–1950 (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), traces how U.S.- and Mexican-trained intellectuals, social and human scientists, and anthropologists ...Show More

1:05:36 | May 8th

In The Image of Christ in Russian Literature: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Pasternak (Northern Illinois University Press, 2018), Dr. John Givens of the University of Rochester discusses classics of Russian literature such as The Brothers Karamazov ...Show More

42:30 | May 6th

Ryan Hackenbracht, who is an associate professor of English at Texas Tech University, has just published one of the most innovative and stimulating discussions of the interplay between literature and religion in early modern England. National Reckoni...Show More

47:54 | May 2nd

John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) is widely recognised as the greatest epic poem in the English language – and it is buried in the commentary of thousands of other texts. William Poole, who is John Galsworthy Fellow and Tutor in English at New Colle...Show More

1:22:19 | May 2nd

With and Without Galton: Vasilii Florinskii and the Fate of Eugenics in Russia (Open Book Publishers, 2018), Professor Nikolai Krementsov’s recent history of Russian eugenics, reflects on a broad problem: How to acknowledge what eugenics movements wo...Show More

57:53 | May 1st

Alan Watts (1915-1973) was one of the first to interpret Eastern wisdom for a Western audience. Joan Watts, Alan's eldest daughter, is the co-editor (along with her sister, Anne) of the new volume, The Collected letters of Alan Watts, out now in hard...Show More

1:06:48 | Apr 30th

The U.S. Constitution is often depicted in popular films, teaching lessons about what this founding document means and what it requires. The United States Constitution in Film: Part of Our National Culture (Lexington Books, 2018) examines several dif...Show More

45:29 | Apr 30th

Is there evidence to believe the Gospels? The Gospels―Matthew, Mark, Luke, John―are four accounts of Jesus’s life and teachings while on earth. But should we accept them as historically accurate? What evidence is there that the recorded events actual...Show More

37:37 | Apr 29th

One of the most important trends within evangelicalism over the last half-century has been a renewal of Reformed theology. In this important new book, Jeffrey S. McDonald, who is a Presbyterian pastor in Bellevue, Nebraska, and an affiliate professor...Show More

1:08:52 | Apr 25th

Anne Watts is one of the co-editors of the new book, The Collected letters of Alan Watts, released in January 2018 from New World Library. Anne Watts is a facilitator and educator who is committed to creating a world where everyone wins.  She honors ...Show More

1:06:24 | Apr 23rd

With questions over how ideas are translated across borders and between languages as acute as ever today, it is sometimes easy to forget that our efforts to understand each other are mediated through many accreted layers of previous translations. Pu ...Show More

53:52 | Apr 23rd

Why does the narrative motif of ‘dialogue’ pervade Hindu texts?  What role does it serve?  Join me as I speak with Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (Fellow of the British Academy, and distinguished professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy at Lancaster...Show More

1:04:52 | Apr 16th

The Secular Enlightenment by Professor Margaret C. Jacob, has been called a major new history on how the Enlightenment transformed people's everyday lives. It’s a panoramic account of the radical ways that life began to change for ordinary people in ...Show More

35:22 | Apr 15th

What is the relationship between the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern myths? Combining theories of metaphor and narrative, Paul Cho argues that the Hebrew Bible is more deeply mythological than previously recognized. Tune in as we talk with Paul...Show More

53:47 | Apr 15th

Christian Philip Peterson joins us today to talk about The Routledge History of World Peace since 1750 (Routledge, 2018), which he co-edited with William M. Knoblauch and Michael Loadenthal. The collection of essays examines the varied and multifacet...Show More

30:56 | Apr 11th

Eighteenth-century England was a place of both the enlightenment and progress: new ideas abounded in science, politics, transportation, commerce, philosophy, religion, and the arts. But even as England propelled itself into the future, it was preoccu...Show More

43:39 | Apr 1st

In today’s podcast, I speak with German professor and Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Anālayo about his book Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research (Wisdom Publications, 2018). Bhikkhu Anālayo skillfully analyzes the early Buddhist doctrine of rebirth ...Show More

33:48 | Mar 29th

Why did creative writers in early modern England write so forcefully about the relationship between aesthetics and morality? How did they imagine creative work to reflect religious categories and moral expectations? In his new book, Sinister Aestheti...Show More

45:43 | Mar 28th

Ronald J. Schmidt, Jr., in his new book, Reading Politics with Machiavelli(Oxford University Press, 2018), puts himself and the reader into conversation with Machiavelli, exploring Machiavelli’s thinking and how Machiavelli explains his theories. As ...Show More

52:51 | Mar 22nd

Histories of African nationalism and decolonization have often assumed that political ideas such as freedom and democracy were imported into African colonies and helped motivate Africans to seek their independence. Through an insightful reading of Sw...Show More

42:16 | Mar 20th

Mary Magdalene’s story of conversion from sinner to saint is one of Christianity’s most compelling and controversial stories. The identity of this woman, but more likely women, has been disputed since the early days of the Church, but her role as the...Show More

32:15 | Mar 19th

In the information age, knowledge is power. Hence, facilitating the access to knowledge to wider publics empowers citizens and makes societies more democratic. How can publishers and authors contribute to this process? This podcast addresses this iss...Show More

26:54 | Mar 19th

Many have read and debated “How Political Science became Irrelevant” in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The author of that piece is Michael C. Desch and much it comes from his recent book Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Scie...Show More

54:38 | Mar 19th

The history of Indian religions in the centuries leading up to the common era has been characterized in the scholarship by two distinct overarching traditions: the Brahmans (associated with Vedic texts, caste, and Vedic rituals) and the renouncer (śr...Show More

58:42 | Mar 18th

What the United States dubs “freedom” is inherently tied to methods of violence. The United States’s abolitionist movement was not free from this connection. This is in spite of one of the best known white abolitionists, William Lloyd Garrison, being...Show More

47:03 | Mar 18th

Open conflict between religion and science may not be inevitable, but a germ of discord resides in some of the fundamental commitments of both; in this sense, war is always, potentially, just around the corner. In Galileo and the Conflict between Rel...Show More

57:32 | Mar 14th

In his 1924 biography of Mahatma Gandhi, writer Romain Rolland embraced the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence and decried the “dictators of Moscow” and the “idolatrous ideology of the Revolution.”  Seven years later, in a startling reversal, Rollan...Show More

1:00:55 | Mar 13th

The Indian caste system is an ancient, pervasive institution of social organization within the subcontinent – or is it? Join me as I speak with Dr. Prakash Shah (Reader in Culture and Law at the Queen Mary University of London, UK) about his co-edite...Show More

53:18 | Mar 12th

During the first half of the 20th century the American historian Charles Austin Beard enjoyed both professional success and a national prominence that suffered with his outspoken opposition to the direction of foreign policy under Franklin Roosevelt....Show More

36:00 | Mar 11th

The Westminster Assembly (1643-53) was one of the most important ecclesiastical councils in the history of Reformed Protestantism, but until very recently it had received little in the way of scholarly attention. With the rediscovery of the minutes o...Show More

42:52 | Mar 11th

If you are reading this, you have probably run into the "Chicago" model at some point or another, in terms of public policy, orthodox modern finance, macro or micro economics, or any other arena where theoretical abstractions about human behavior (ge...Show More

35:59 | Mar 8th

The 1996 repeal of Aid to Families with Dependent Children -- the New Deal-era relief program for poor women with children -- was a seminal moment in the modern history of the US welfare state. That the charge was led by a Democratic president makes ...Show More

51:54 | Mar 6th

Joyce Antler is the Samuel J. Lane Professor Emerita of American Jewish history and culture at Brandeis University. Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement (New York University Press, 2018) provides richly detailed biogra...Show More

1:06:45 | Mar 6th

Though not as well known today as some of her literary contemporaries, Charlotte Lennox wrote numerous works during the mid-18th century that won her critical acclaim and influenced subsequent generations of authors. In Charlotte Lennox: An Independe...Show More

58:00 | Mar 5th

What accounts for the antagonism between Christianity and Darwinism? For Michael Ruse, a professor of the history and philosophy of science at Florida State University, the answer is simple: Darwinism is not just a robust empirical science, but also ...Show More

1:01:16 | Mar 1st

Chet Van Duzer, an accomplished historian of cartography, trains his sight in this book on one uniquely important map produced in early modern Europe. The 1491 world map by Henricus Martellus has long been deemed “an essentially unstudiable object,” ...Show More

1:04:52 | Feb 28th

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen's The Ideas that Made America: A Brief History (Oxford University Press, 2019) is a sweeping examination of the key ideas that have infused American society. Moving across borders, time, and within American culture the auth...Show More

1:01:24 | Feb 28th

The intersection of religion and politics in the United States is one of the nation's most enduring conversations. Christian: The Politics of a Word in America(Harvard University Press, 2018) by Dr. Matthew Bowman at Henderson State University, was r...Show More

1:01:01 | Feb 26th

In The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press 2018), Geraldine Heng collects a remarkable array of medieval approaches to race that show the breadth and depth of the kinds of racial thinking in medieval society. In ...Show More

37:46 | Feb 26th

Matthew Bingham, who teaches theology and church history at Oak Hill College, London, has written what must be one of the most startling accounts of religion in mid-seventeenth-century England. His new book, Orthodox Radicals: Baptist Identity in the...Show More

1:17:55 | Feb 25th

Columbia University press has just released a new translation of a work by philosopher Alexandre Kojève, simply titled Atheism, translated by Professor Jeff Love. Considered to be one of the twentieth century’s most brilliant and unconventional think...Show More

1:21:55 | Feb 22nd

Joseph Smith, the nineteenth-century American prophet who founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can, at times, be considered an elusive historical figure. There were many forces that drove this man, along with the thousands of indi...Show More

37:47 | Feb 20th

Jonathan Edwards is by now widely recognised as America’s most important early philosopher and theologian. Much of the scholarship that exegetes his work is content to see it as something innovative, and closely linked to the emerging contexts of enl...Show More

1:06:49 | Feb 20th

Skepticism has a long history in the Western tradition, from Pyrrhonian Skepticism in the Hellenistic period to more contemporary forms of skepticism most often used as foils to theories of knowledge. The existence of skepticism in Indian Philosophy,...Show More

1:11:24 | Feb 19th

Studies of Hindu saints tend to focus primarily on the saints themselves—their words, teachings, and practices—rather than tending to the often complex and complicated world of texts and traditions about those saints—which is how we have come to know...Show More

40:00 | Feb 18th

Martin Buber is known as one of the 20th century's greatest Jewish scholars and thinkers, but he is less well known for his political theory and activism. In Martin Buber's Theopolitics (Indiana University Press, 2018), Samuel Hayim Brody demonstrate...Show More

57:41 | Feb 12th

What does it mean to do a “microhistory” of a concept? Stefanos Geroulanos pursues just such a project in the 22 chapters of Transparency in Postwar France: A Critical History of the Present (Stanford University Press, 2017). A rich and complex histo...Show More

41:59 | Feb 6th

The first robot to walk the earth was a bronze giant called Talos. This wondrous machine was created not by the MIT Robotics Lab, but by Hephaestus, the Greek god of invention. More than 2,500 years ago, long before medieval automata, and centuries b...Show More

1:10:22 | Feb 5th

Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition, edited by S. Anand (Verso, 2016) and with an Introduction ‘The Doctor and the Saint’ by Arundhati Roy, is based on a speech by Dr. B.R. Ambedakar who took up the anti-caste struggles for the Unto...Show More

37:16 | Feb 4th

Earlier today I caught up with my colleague at Queen’s University Belfast, Andrew R. Holmes, to discuss his outstanding new book, The Irish Presbyterian Mind: Conservative Theology, Evangelical Experience, and Modern Criticism, 1830-1930 (Oxford UP, ...Show More

43:13 | Jan 28th

The story goes: you are walking in the woods and see a wrist-watch on the ground; you don’t know how it got there or why it has come to be abandoned here, but you can surmise that someone somewhere designed and made it due to its complexity. This is ...Show More

1:02:17 | Jan 14th

While William Penn’s name is one familiar to many Americans thanks to his founding of the Pennsylvania colony, this accomplishment can overshadow both his role as a leading 17th-century English Quaker and his pioneering contributions to Western polit...Show More

51:28 | Jan 11th

The field of African American intellectual history is enjoying a kind of renaissance at the moment. The resurgence is due to the work of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) and its terrific blog Black Perspectives. The fruits of...Show More

57:47 | Jan 10th

Robin Marie Averbeck is a writer, activist and teacher at California State University, Chico. Liberalism is not Enough: Race and Poverty in Postwar Political Thought (The University of North Carolina Press, 2018) is a historical examination of postwa...Show More

1:02:25 | Jan 10th

Onur Ulas Ince constructs an important analysis of liberalism, capitalism, and empire in his new book, Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism (Oxford University Press, 2018). This text brings together a number of lenses through which to c...Show More

1:16:58 | Jan 9th

It's often touted that Rumi is one of the best-selling poets in the United States. That may be the case but popular renderings of the writings of this 13th-century Muslim have largely detached him from the Islamic tradition, and specifically Sufi mys...Show More

25:16 | Jan 9th

Is repetition always bad? The Letter to the Hebrews lies at the heart of a tradition that views repetition always negative. But is this the best understanding of Hebrews? Nicholas Moore says, ‘No.’ Tune in as we talk with Nicholas J. Moore about his ...Show More

52:30 | Jan 4th

How is it that “liberalism” is a word so ubiquitous and yet we can hardly seem to agree on its meaning? In her book The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press, 2018), Helena Rosenblatt tr...Show More

50:05 | Jan 4th

Alan Jacobs is a renowned literary critic, with a talent for writing that books that speak to our current predicaments. A professor at Baylor University, his recent work includes a “biography” of the Book of Common Prayer, a discussion of The Pleasur...Show More

1:05:30 | Jan 2nd

Denis Diderot has long been regarded as one of the leading figures of the French Enlightenment, thanks to his editorship of the influential multi-volume EncyclopĂŠdie. As Andrew S. Curran explains in his biography Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freel...Show More

37:55 | Dec 31st, 2018

Victoria Brownlee is the author of an exciting new contribution to discussions of early modern religion and literature. Her new book, Biblical Readings and Literary Writings in Early Modern England, 1558-1625 (Oxford University Press, 2018), offers a...Show More

1:01:43 | Dec 27th, 2018

Audra J. Wolfe, is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor and historian. Her book Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018) examines the post-World War II origins of the relationship betwee...Show More

1:06:30 | Dec 24th, 2018

Having been born into a world in which people knew about anthropogenic global warming, I grew up in the “global environment.” Although the category “global environment” seems normal, if not natural, Perrin Selcer shows just how recent its origins act...Show More

41:13 | Dec 21st, 2018

Apocalypse and Reform from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages (Routledge, 2018) is a rich, comparative study, drawing on the scholarship of eleven authors who discuss topics in medieval cultural, intellectual, and ecclesial history. Matthew Gabriele i...Show More

40:44 | Dec 20th, 2018

I had the opportunity to catch up with Harry O. Maier, professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the Vancouver School of Theology, to discuss his new book, New Testament Christianity in the Roman World(Oxford University Press, 2018) which ...Show More

43:35 | Dec 19th, 2018

Suman Seth's new book Difference and Disease: Medicine, Race, and the Eighteenth-Century British Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2018)provides a new angle on the formation of modern ideas of race through the formation of the British Empire.  Whil...Show More

53:25 | Dec 12th, 2018

As scholars and readers, we often view literary history in rigid, simplistic terms. We imagine that nineteenth-century aesthetic and thematic preoccupations withered away as 1899 became 1900, only to be replaced immediately by a new literature of the...Show More

55:33 | Dec 11th, 2018

The story of Bretton Woods has been told by countless historians. We have a good sense of the wartime context, the negotiations themselves, the roles of many of the main actors (especially Great Britain and the United States), and the conference’s me...Show More

45:53 | Dec 11th, 2018

Most studies on the theme of Passover in the Gospel of Luke have been confined to the story of the Last Supper (Luke 22:1-20). Dany Christopher, on the contrary, seeks to show where, how, and why Luke uses the theme of Passover throughout his two wri...Show More

48:13 | Dec 10th, 2018

The process of colonialism seeks to demean Indigenous intellect and destroy Indigenous literary traditions. Reconstructing those legacies is thus an act of anti-colonial resistance. This is the impetus behind Noenoe K. Silva’s The Power of the Steel-...Show More

1:32:24 | Dec 7th, 2018

In Islamic intellectual history, it is generally assumed that the Ottomans did not contribute much to Islamic thought. With his new book, Caliphate Redefined: The Mystical Turn in Ottoman Political Thought (Princeton University Press, 2018), HĂźseyin ...Show More

1:04:01 | Dec 6th, 2018

McKenzie Wark’s new book offers 21 focused studies of thinkers working in a wide range of fields who are worth your attention. The chapters of General Intellects: Twenty-One Thinkers for the Twenty-First Century (Verso, 2017) introduce readers to imp...Show More

53:17 | Oct 15th, 2018

In Barbaric Culture and Black Critique: Black Antislavery Writers, Religion, and the Slaveholding Atlantic (University of Virginia Press, 2015), Dr. Stefan M. Wheelock analyses a little-discussed episode in the the late Enlightenment, namely, critici...Show More

1:07:23 | Oct 15th, 2018

For most of us, eugenics — the “science of improving the human stock” — is a thing of the past, commonly associated with Nazi Germany and government efforts to promote a pure Aryan race. This view is incorrect: even in California, for example, steril...Show More

1:17:07 | Aug 31st, 2018

If you work in Asian studies as a scholarly field, you should read Fabio Lanza’s new book. The End of Concern: Maoist China, Activism, and Asian Studies (Duke University Press, 2017) takes as its central case study the Committee of Concerned Asian Sc...Show More

52:09 | Aug 3rd, 2018

A sharply observed study of the representations of education found in Anglo-Saxon texts, Irina Dumitrescu’s The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature (Cambridge University Press 2018) invites readers to recognize just how often educationa...Show More

37:57 | Aug 2nd, 2018

What role, if any, do mythological texts play in philosophical discourse?  While modern Hindu Studies scholars are becoming increasingly attuned to the extent to which Indian narratives encode ideology, Sucharita Adluri’s Textual Authority in Classic...Show More

55:25 | Jul 16th, 2018

William Kuby is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. His book, Conjugal Misconduct: Defying Marriage Law in the Twentieth-Century United States (Cambridge University Press, 2018), examines the complicated lega...Show More

54:09 | Jul 16th, 2018

In The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment (Harvard University Press, 2018), Alexander Bevilacqua uncovers a different side of the European Enlightenment, at least with regards to its engagement with Arabic and Islam. Ins...Show More

58:54 | Jul 11th, 2018

The last two decades have seen a surge in global histories, be they global histories of food, of ideas, or social movements.  But why this move away from strictly national and regional histories? Is it because we think of ourselves as an increasingly...Show More

47:40 | Feb 22nd, 2018

In her new book, Being-Time: A Practitioner’s Guide to Dogen’s Shobogenzo Uji (Wisdom Publications, 2018), Shinshu Roberts focuses on the practical study of the inner self and perception of all phenomena through the famously complex work of Dogen Zen...Show More

1:00:01 | Aug 6th, 2017

In contemporary South Asia, the question of Muslim origins emerges in school textbooks, political dialogues, or at tourist or pilgrimage cites. The repeated narrative revolves around the foreign Muslim leader, Muhammad bin Qasim, and his conquest of ...Show More

38:21 | Jul 31st, 2017

The work of Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), one of Judaism’s great philosophers and defenders, has nonetheless defied easy categorization or definitive depiction. While advocating for the granting of full rights to the Jews of Germany, Mendelssohn als...Show More

1:01:15 | Jul 26th, 2017

What does it mean to interpret the Qur’an? What kinds of literary genres have produced and continue to produce such inquiry? Is tafsir only a line-by-line commentary or could it be something broader, blended with genres of law, storytelling, or trans...Show More

33:31 | Jul 24th, 2017

The dominant narrative in the history of the study of the Middle East has claimed that the Cold War was what pushed Middle East studies to develop, as part of a greater trend in area studies. Drawing on his previous work in 2004’s Contending Visions ...Show More

54:40 | Jul 20th, 2017

Bruce Fink joins me once again, this time to discuss his latest book, A Clinical Introduction to Freud: Techniques For Everyday Practice (W. W. Norton & Co., 2017). What prompted Fink, a world-renowned Lacanian analyst, to return to Freud? In the spi...Show More

1:05:22 | Jul 13th, 2017

In A World Not to Come: A History of Latino Writing and Print Culture (Harvard University Press 2013) Dr. Raul Coronado provides an intellectual history of the Spanish America’s decentered from the dominant narrative of Enlightenment, revolution, and...Show More

53:32 | Jul 11th, 2017

The idea that there is some unholy connection between Nazism and occultism has a lengthy history. It long predates 1933, when the National Socialist party took power in Germany. But what’s behind that idea? Some top-ranking members of the party were ...Show More

59:49 | Jul 6th, 2017

A revealing exploration of representative modes of medievalism, Medievalism: A Critical History (Boydell & Brewer; hardcover 2015, paperback 2017), by David Matthews, examines the people, institutions, and moments that have driven societies around th...Show More

49:51 | Jun 19th, 2017

Few events in English history are as familiar to people today as the English Reformation, yet the vast amount of attention it has received can distort our understanding of it. In Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (Yale Univ...Show More

1:07:18 | Aug 25th, 2016

In her new book Laws of Image: Privacy and Publicity in America (Stanford Law Books, 2016), Samantha Barbas provides a history of Americans’ use of law to manage their public image. She approaches this endeavor from the perspective of a legal and cu...Show More