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Anthony Grafton is the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton, where he has taught since 1975. He is an historian of early modern Europe, and the author and co-author of over a dozen books, including The Footnote: A Curious History (Harvard University Press, 1997), and Inky Fingers: The Making of Books in Early Modern Europe (Har…
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Women across the Caribbean have been writing, reading, and exchanging cookbooks since at least the turn of the nineteenth century. These cookbooks are about much more than cooking. Through cookbooks, Caribbean women, and a few men, have shaped, embedded, and contested colonial and domestic orders, delineated the contours of independent national cul…
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In early modern Japan, upper status groups coveted pills and powders made of exotic foreign ingredients such as mummy and rhinoceros horn. By the early twentieth century, over-the-counter-patent medicines, and, more alarmingly, morphine, had become mass commodities, fueling debates over opiates in Japan's expanding imperial territories. The fall of…
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Marxism and psychoanalysis have a rich and complicated relationship to one another, with countless figures and books written on the possible intersection of the two. Our guest today, Adrian Johnston, returns to NBN to discuss his own latest entry into the genre, Infinite Greed: The Inhuman Selfishness of Capital (Columbia UP, 2024). While the book …
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Germany and China: How Entanglement Undermines Freedom, Prosperity and Security (Bloomsbury, 2024) is a groundbreaking book, of which the findings have significant implications both for German-China relations and also in understanding the rising influence of autocratic China on liberal democracies globally. In today's interview, Associate Professor…
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From the 1960s through the 1990s, the most common job for women in the United States was clerical work. Even as college-educated women obtained greater opportunities for career advancement, occupational segregation by gender remained entrenched. How did feminism in corporate America come to represent the individual success of the executive woman an…
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Mae Mallory, the Monroe Defense Committee, and World Revolutions: African American Women Radical Activists (U Georgia Press, 2024) explores the significant contributions of African American women radical activists from 1955 to 1995. It examines the 1961 case of African American working-class self-defense advocate Mae Mallory, who traveled from New …
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How can the novel be a way to understand the development of nation-state borders? An important work in the intersections of law, literature, history, and migration, Stephanie DeGooyer's Before Borders: A Legal and Literary History of Naturalization (Johns Hopkins UP, 2022) offers fascinating insight into understanding naturalization. Tracing the id…
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Today I talked to Emma Copley Eisenberg's novel Housemates (Hogarth, 2024). After Bernie’s former photography professor, the renowned yet tarnished Daniel Dunn, dies and leaves her a complicated inheritance, Leah volunteers to accompany Bernie to his home in rural Pennsylvania, turning the jaunt into a road trip with an ambitious mission: to docume…
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In The Soviet Union and the Construction of the Global Market. Energy and the Ascent of Finance in Cold War Europe, 1964–1971 (Cambridge University Press, 2023), Oscar Sanchez-Sibony reveals the origins of our current era in the dissolution of the institutions that governed the architecture of energy and finance during the Bretton Woods era. He sho…
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Plato is a philosophical writer of unusual and ingenious versatility. His works engage in argument but are also full of allegory, imagery, myth, paradox and intertextuality. He astutely characterises the participants whom he portrays in conversation. Sometimes he composes fictive dialogues in dramatic form while at other times he does so as narrati…
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How is Buddhism seen and practiced in Taiwan? And how do neighbouring countries influence Taiwanese Buddhism? In this episode we explore the religious landscape of Taiwan in conversation with Dr. Yushuang Yao, a leading expert on religion in contemporary Taiwan. Yushuang Yao is an Associate Professor at Fo Guang University, Taiwan, specializing in …
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In Holding Their Breath: How the Allies Confronted the Threat of Chemical Warfare in World War II (Cornell UP, 2023), M. Girard Dorsey uncovers just how close Britain, the United States, and Canada came to crossing the red line that restrained poison gas during World War II. Unlike in World War I, belligerents did not release poison gas regularly d…
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Even in adversity, Catholics exercised considerable agency in post-Reformation Utrecht. Through the political practices of repression and toleration, Utrecht’s magistrates, under constant pressure from the Reformed Church, attempted to exclude Catholics from the urban public sphere. However, by mobilising their social status and networks, Catholic …
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While many live-action films portray disability as a spectacle, "crip animation" (a genre of animated films that celebrates disabled people's lived experiences) uses a variety of techniques like clay animation, puppets, pixilation, and computer-generated animation to represent the inner worlds of people with disabilities. Crip animation has the pot…
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In Camera Geologica: An Elemental History of Photography (Duke UP, 2024) Siobhan Angus tells the history of photography through the minerals upon which the medium depends. Challenging the emphasis on immateriality in discourses on photography, Angus focuses on the inextricable links between image-making and resource extraction, revealing how the mi…
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How have women resisted sexism in TV? In Producing Feminism: Television Work in the Age of Women’s Liberation (U California Press, 2024), Jennifer S. Clark, an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, explores the people, organisations, TV shows and audiences who all shaped women in and on television during the …
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Tibetan Magic: Past and Present (Bloomsbury, 2024) focuses on the theme of magic in Tibetan contexts, encompassing both pre-modern and modern text-cultures as well as contemporary practices. It offers a new understanding of the identity and role of magical specialists in both historical and contemporary contexts. Combining the theoretical approache…
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One of the most significant sources of suffering comes from our human tendency to avoid difficult emotions. We are not taught how to face these unpleasant, often daily inner experiences (mind-body energies) and so we tend to push them away, ignore them, or become unwittingly overwhelmed by them. Yet how we meet and greet these difficult emotions ha…
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What’s the truth and what’s a lie? What’s a memoir, what’s a novel, and what if both are just a series of “prose blocks”? This conversation between Sarah Manguso and Tess McNulty takes up questions of writing and veracity, trauma and memory. Sarah Manguso is the author of nine books, including three memoirs. Her first novel, Very Cold People, was n…
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Dorcas Oyelade and Kailea Barté, two young women, still teenagers, organized a Christian club in a public at John Swett High School in Crockett, Northern California, where I am a teacher. The students worked with a Protestant NGO, Decision Point, which supported them even as they insisted on their First Amendment rights when there was opposition. T…
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In this sweeping new history, esteemed University of North Carolina historian Kathleen DuVal makes the case for the ongoing, ancient, and dynamic history of Native nationhood as a critical component of global history. In Native Nations: A Millennium in North America (Random House, 2024), DuVal covers a thousand years of continental history, buildin…
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Can capitalism be made ecologically sustainable? Can it be good for women? What theoretical approaches help us to grapple with these questions in ways that offer us strategies for how to proceed? Have we already become lost in some sort of gender essentialism to ask these questions together? In Feminism, Capitalism, and Ecology (Northwestern Univer…
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Politics in Action is an annual forum in which invited experts provided an analysis of the current political situation in Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam, and discussed the broader implications of events in these countries for the region. After the event, each of the six speakers sat for a podcast to chat with Dr Natali Pe…
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Friendships can be the foundation of our earliest memories and most formative moments. But why are they often seen as secondary to romantic, or familial connection, something to age out of and take a back seat to other relationships? BFFs: The Radical Potential of Female Friendship (404 Ink, 2023) by Dr. Anahit Behrooz is an examination of the powe…
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Today, Modya and David welcome Mindy Shapiro, a Philadelphia-based student and teacher of Mussar and an artist*, to discuss parshat B'ha'alotkha (Num. 8:1-12:16) through the lens of Zerizut, or diligence. Central questions explored in conversation: How do we bring the rebellious aspects of our natures into alignment with our higher purpose? How can…
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In the fourth episode of Publish My Book, Avi breaks down the core components of a winning book proposal and identifies key questions you should be able to answer to effectively convey to your publisher why they should consider your manuscript. Avi shares why it is worth your time to introduce yourself to your target acquisitions editor in advance.…
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An increasing number of students worldwide attend graduate school while simultaneously navigating a variety of competing responsibilities in their personal lives. For many students, this includes both parenting and working full-time, while maintaining a rigorous graduate course-load. Because academia overwhelmingly defaults to assuming all graduate…
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In this episode of our occasional series, Postscript, we focus on the Supreme Court’s recently published decisions in two cases, about guns and abortion, but more about how the Executive and Judicial branches of government function in the United States. Constitutional Law scholar (and New Books in Political Science co-host) Susan Liebell takes us t…
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