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Authors join peers, scholars, and friends in conversation. Topics include environment, humanities, race, social justice, cultural studies, art, literature and literary criticism, media studies, sociology, anthropology, grief and loss, mental health, and more.


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Authors join peers, scholars, and friends in conversation. Topics include environment, humanities, race, social justice, cultural studies, art, literature and literary criticism, media studies, sociology, anthropology, grief and loss, mental health, and more.








The New American War Film

Unfolding amid an atmosphere of profound anxiety and disillusionment, the new American war film demonstrates a breakdown of the prevailing cultural narratives that had come to characterize conflict in the previous century. In the wake of 9/11, both the nature of military conflict and the symbolic frameworks that surround it have been dramatically reshaped. The New American War Film charts society’s shifting attitudes toward violent conflict and what is broadly considered to be its acceptable repercussions. Drawing attention to changes in gender dynamics and the focus on war’s lasting psychological effects within films such as The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Eye in the Sky, American Sniper, and others, author Robert Burgoyne analyzes how cinema both reflects and reveals the makeup of the national imaginary. Robert Burgoyne taught film studies for several decades at Wayne State University and at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He is author of seven books including The New American War Film and Film Nation: Hollywood Looks at U.S. History. Kim Nelson is the Director of the Humanities Research Group and an Associate Professor at the University of Windsor in Canada. Her films have been screened internationally at film festivals and by broadcasters in Canada and the US. She is co-editor of The Routledge Companion to History and the Moving Image and author of Making History Move: Five Principles of the Historical Film. FILM REFERENCES: The Hurt Locker (2008) Saving Private Ryan (1998) Spanish–American War films of Thomas Edison’s 1898-99 series Eye in the Sky (2015) Restrepo (2010) American Sniper (2014) Zero Dark Thirty (2012) A Private War (2018) Platoon (1986) Full Metal Jacket (1987) Born on the Fourth of July (1989) Battleship Potemkin (1925) DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES: Restrepo (2010 film) Infidel (2010 photo series) Into the Korengal (2010 photo series) Sleeping Soldiers—single screen (2009 short video, Tim Hetherington) OTHER REFERENCES: Fredric Jameson Homer/The Iliad Thomas Elsaesser on “productive pathology” -Robert Burgoyne's The New American War Film and Film Nation are available from University of Minnesota Press.


Gramsci at Sea

In Gramsci at Sea, author Sharad Chari asks how the environmental crisis of the oceans is linked to legacies of capitalism and imperialism across and within the oceans. Chari reads Antonio Gramsci as a thinker of the oceanic crisis, drawing on the philosopher’s prison notes and questions concerning waves of imperial power in the inter-war oceans of his time. Here, Chari is joined in conversation with Charne Lavery, Melissa Marschke, and Philippe Le Billon. Sharad Chari is associate professor of geography and critical theory at the University of California, Berkeley. He is author of Gramsci at Sea and Fraternal Capital. Charne Lavery is senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She is author of Writing Ocean Worlds. Melissa Marschke is professor at the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. She is author of Life, Fish and Mangroves. Philippe Le Billon is professor in the Department of Geography and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. He is author of Wars of Plunder. Persons and works referenced: -Fernando Coronil -The Many-Headed Hydra by Marcus Rediker and Peter Linebaugh -Meg Samuelson, “Thinking with Sharks,” Australian Humanities Review -Matthew Shutzer -Gavin Capps -Damien Hirst’s shark tanks -Moby Dick by Herman Melville (character of Pip) -Ellen Gallagher -Katherine McKittrick -Drexciya -John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea -Kamau Brathwaite’s “tidalectics” More about the book: Gramsci at Sea is available from University of Minnesota Press. An open-access edition is available to read for free online at


On Nietzsche and posthumanist philosophy

Focusing on Friedrich Nietzsche’s reception of the life sciences of his day (including concerns with insects and the emergent social properties they exhibit) and his reflections on technology—research areas as central to Nietzsche’s work as they are to posthumanism—Edgar Landgraf provides fresh readings of Nietzsche and a critique of posthumanist and transhumanist philosophies in his new book, Nietzsche’s Posthumanism. Here, Landgraf is joined in conversation with Christian Emden and Stefan Herbrechter. Edgar Landgraf is distinguished research professor of German at Bowling Green State University. He is author of Nietzsche’s Posthumanism and Improvisation as Art, and coeditor of Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism and Play in the Age of Goethe. Christian Emden is Frances Moody Newman Professor at Rice University where he teaches German intellectual history and political thought. He is author of several books on Nietzsche, including Nietzsche’s Naturalism and Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body. Stefan Herbrechter is former Reader in Cultural Theory at Coventry University and former professor of English and cultural studies at Heidelberg University in Germany. He is an independent scholar of critical posthumanism and author of several books including Before Humanity and Posthumanism. Episode references: Friedrich Nietzsche Cary Wolfe Baruch Spinoza Jane Bennett Alfred Espinas Bernard Stiegler Ernst Kapp Charles Darwin Rosi Braidotti Francesca Ferrando Patricia MacCormack Tamar Sharon Reading list: Vibrant Matter / Jane Bennett On Animal Societies / Alfred Espinas Nietzsche’s Animal Philosophy / Vanessa Lemm Meeting the Universe Halfway / Karen Barad Nietzsche’s Naturalism / Christian J. Emden Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body / Christian J. Emden How We Became Posthuman / N. Katherine Hayles Staying with the Trouble / Donna Haraway Posthumanism / Stefan Herbrechter The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism / Arthur Kroker Insect Media / Jussi Parikka Before the Law / Cary Wolfe Keywords: Nietzsche, posthumanism, transhumanism, critical posthumanism, swarm theory, insects, history of technology, human agency, posthumanist ethics, posthumanist politics


Ark thinking: Climate change and the Great Flood

In Noah’s Arkive, Jeffrey J. Cohen and Julian Yates examine the long history of imagining endurance against climate change catastrophe—as well as alternative ways of creating refuge. Arguing that the biblical ark may well be the worst possible exemplar of human behavior, this book uncovers the startling afterlife of the Genesis narrative and surveys the long history of dwelling with the consequences of choosing only a few to survive in order to start the world over. Here, Cohen and Yates are interviewed by Steven Swarbrick. Jeffrey J. Cohen is Dean of Humanities at Arizona State University. He is author or editor of several books, including Noah’s Arkive, Stone, Veer Ecology, and Elemental Ecocriticism. Julian Yates is H. Fletcher Brown Professor of English and Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware. He is author or editor of several books, including Noah’s Arkive; Of Sheep, Oranges, and Yeast; and Error, Misuse, Failure. Steven Swarbrick is assistant professor of English at Baruch College, City University of New York. He is author of The Environmental Unconscious. Episode references: Bible (Genesis) Athanasius Kircher (Arca Noe) N. K. Jemisin (Emergency Skin) Jeanette Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit) Rebecca Solnit (A Paradise Built in Hell, “disaster utopias”) Donna Haraway (A Cyborg Manifesto, The Companion Species Manifesto) Anna Tsing Silo (Apple TV+ show) (with speculation spoiler alert) William de Brailes (The Flood of Noah) (image appearing in color in the book) Arks visited in this book include: Ark Encounter, Williamstown, Kentucky Biosphere 2, Pinal County, Arizona The Ark of Safety, Frostburg, Maryland Keywords: environmental humanities, climate change, Genesis, catastrophe, disaster utopias, artificial intelligence, ark thinking, medieval studies, monsters, giants, groundless reading, tension, contradiction, hope “The worst thing you can do, we have learned, is to imagine that you are no longer on an ark.” (from Noah’s Arkive, page 3)


Have we ever been civilian? On war’s expansion beyond the battlefield.

As military and other forms of political violence become the planetary norm, On Posthuman War traces the expansion of war as manifest within humanity’s individual, sociocultural, and biological existence. Author Mike Hill identifies three human-focused disciplines newly turned against humanity (demography, anthropology, and neuroscience) and questions the very notion of society. This episode brings Hill into conversation with Robyn Marasco and Warren Montag. Mike Hill is professor of English at SUNY Albany. He is coauthor (with Warren Montag) of The Other Adam Smith and author of After Whiteness and On Posthuman War. Robyn Marasco teaches political theory at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. Marasco is author of The Highway of Despair. Warren Montag is professor of English at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Montag is author of several books including Althusser and His Contemporaries. Episode references: Immanuel Kant Claus von Clausewitz (On War) Counterinsurgency Field Manual (FM 3–24) of 2006 The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual (from University of Chicago Press) The Gates Doctrine National Security Strategy American Sniper (opening of the film) Alain Badiou Topics: US war strategy (specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan) Gender politics in the US Crisis in the humanities Climate change Terms/keywords: Civilianized De-civilianized Identity infiltration Computation “Moving through the three fields of study identified in what follows as war disciplines (demography, anthropology, and neuroscience), computational technology is key … because, like war, it is both ubiquitous and largely invisible.” (from the Preface, page xxi)


The Rise of Economic and Racial Justice Coalitions in Cities

In the 2010s cities and counties across the US witnessed long-overdue change as they engaged more with questions of social, economic, and racial justice. After decades of urban economic restructuring that intensified class divides and institutional and systemic racism, dozens of local governments countered the conventional wisdom that cities couldn’t address inequality—enacting progressive labor market policies, from $15 minimum wages to paid sick leave. In their book Justice at Work: The Rise of Economic and Racial Justice Coalitions in Cities, Marc Doussard and Greg Schrock visit case studies in cities including Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Seattle, and New Orleans, and show that the contemporary wave of successful progressive organizing efforts is likely to endure—but their success hinges on a few factors including sustaining power at the grassroots. Here, Marc Doussard is in conversation with David B. Reynolds. Marc Doussard is professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is coauthor of Justice at Work: The Rise of Economic and Racial Justice Coalitions in Cities and author of Degraded Work: The Struggle at the Bottom of the Labor Market. David B. Reynolds was director of the Center for Labor and Community Studies at University of Michigan. Reynolds has been a labor educator for 20 years and is coauthor of A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement and coeditor of Igniting Justice and Progressive Power: The Partnership for Working Families Cities. Books and published works referenced: -Justice at Work: The Rise of Economic and Racial Justice Coalitions in Cities by Marc Doussard and Greg Schrock -Degraded Work: The Struggle at the Bottom of the Labor Market by Marc Doussard -A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement by Amy B. Dean and David B. Reynolds -Igniting Justice and Progressive Power: The Partnership for Working Families Cities by David B. Reynolds and Louise Simmons -Partnering for Change: Unions and Community Groups Build Coalitions for Economic Justice, edited by David B. Reynolds (with essay by Reynolds and Jen Kern: Labor and the Living Wage Movement) -”Living Wage Campaigns: An activist’s guide to building the movement for economic justice.” David Reynolds and Jen Kern. (Labor Studies Center, Wayne State University and Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, 2000.) -Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies by John Kingdon -The City Is the Factory, edited by Miriam Greenberg and Penny Lewis Other references: -Fight for 15 -ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) -PowerSwitch Action: -American Rescue Plan (also known as the American Rescue Plan Act or ARPA) -The Green New Deal Cities mentioned: Seattle Detroit Denver Chicago San Jose San Diego Silicon Valley Ann Arbor


The Lichen Museum with A. Laurie Palmer (Art after Nature 4)

Lichens are composite organisms made of a fungus and an alga or cyanobacteria thriving in a mutually beneficial relationship. The Lichen Museum looks to these complex organisms, remarkable for their symbiosis, diversity, longevity, and adaptability, as models for relations rooted in collaboration and nonhierarchical structures. Author A. Laurie Palmer channels the personal, the scientific, the philosophical, and the poetic to imagine a radical new approach to human interconnection. Palmer is joined in conversation with Art after Nature series editors Giovanni Aloi and Caroline Picard. A. Laurie Palmer is an artist and professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Giovanni Aloi is an author, educator, and curator specializing in the representation of nature and the environment in art. Aloi is editor-in-chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. Caroline Picard is a writer, cartoonist, curator, and executive director of Green Lantern Press. Praise for The Lichen Museum: "A deeply engaging, provocative, humorous, and moving account of why we should pay more attention to lichens. As lichens can be found anywhere, the entire surface of the earth becomes the lichen museum." —Heather Davis, author of Plastic Matter "Meditative and inquisitive." —Foreword "Reading this work feels like taking a series of walks with a particularly curious and sensitive companion, consistently attentive to otherwise neglected facets of the actual environment." —e-flux Learn more about The Lichen Museum at the University of Minnesota Press website.


Inside the Spiral: The Passions of Robert Smithson

The first biography of Robert Smithson, Inside the Spiral deepens understanding of his art by addressing the potent forces in his life that were shrouded by his success, including his suppressed early history as a painter; his affiliation with Christianity, astrology, and alchemy; and his sexual fluidity. Author Suzaan Boettger uncovers Smithson’s story with great sensitivity to the experiences of loss and existential strife that defined his distinct artistic language. This biographical analysis offers unprecedented insight into the hidden impulses of one of modern art’s most enigmatic figures. Here, Suzaan Boettger is joined in conversation with Greg Lindquist. Suzaan Boettger is a scholar, arts journalist, and critic based in New York City. She is author of Inside the Spiral: The Passions of Robert Smithson and Earthworks: Art and the Landscape of the Sixties. Greg Lindquist is an artist, writer, and professor who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. References/artworks of Robert Smithson: Spiral Jetty Buried Angel Plunge The Flayed Angels Vile Flower Dark Sister East Coast/West Coast. Artwork by Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (Emmen, Netherlands) Amarillo Ramp References/published works: -A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey (Robert Smithson, article in Artforum) -The Writings of Robert Smithson / edited by Nancy Holt; 1979. -"Living extinction: Robert Smithson’s Dinosaurs," by Suzaan Boettger (Burlington Contemporary) -Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings / Jack Flam, editor -Robert Smithson. MOCA catalogue, 2004. Connie Butler, Thomas Crow, Eugenie Tsai -The Shape of Time / George Kubler. -”Jackson Pollock/Robert Smithson: The Myth/The Mythologist.” Howard Junker. Arts Magazine, May 1978. -”The Art Establishment,” Harold Rosenberg. Esquire, January 1, 1965. References/people: Virginia Dwan (gallery owner) Doug Chrismas (gallery owner) Isenheim Altarpiece Ruth Kligman Jackson Pollock Jasper Johns Louise Nevelson More about the book:


Making breathable worlds through citizen engagement

Modern environments are awash with pollutants. The book Citizens of Worlds is the first thorough study of the increasingly widespread use of digital technologies to monitor and respond to air pollution. Drawing on data from the Citizen Sense research group, which worked with communities in the US and the UK to develop digital-sensor toolkits, author Jennifer Gabrys argues that citizen sensing promises positive change—and also collides with entrenched power structures. What are worlds? Who can do environmental monitoring? How might different means of computation tell a more complete story about pollution and its effects? In this episode, Jennifer talks with Helen Pritchard about Citizen Sense’s collaborative research in northeastern Pennsylvania and southeast and central London. Jennifer Gabrys is chair in Media, Culture, and Environment in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She leads the Planetary Praxis group, and Citizen Sense and AirKit projects. Her books include Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle; How to Do Things with Sensors; and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet. Her work can be found at and Helen Pritchard is professor and head of research at IXDM (Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures) at the HGK in Basel. Helen is an artist-designer, member of Citizen Sense, co-organizer of The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest, and a contributor to Critical Media Lab. More info: Citizen Sense is a research initiative funded by the European Research Council that investigates the relationship between technologies and practices of environmental sensing and citizen engagement. More info: The book Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle is an open-access title, available to read for free at: Episode citations and references include: Alfred North Whitehead on breathing, subjects and worlds Frantz Fanon on combat breathing Open Air Alexis Pauline Gumbs Lauren Berlant Heather Love / Feeling Backward


Cruisy, Sleepy, Melancholy: On filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang

A critical figure in queer Sinophone cinema, Tsai Ming-liang is a major force in Taiwan cinema and global moving image art. A new book by Nicholas de Villiers, CRUISY, SLEEPY, MELANCHOLY, offers a fascinating, systematic method for analyzing the queerness of Tsai’s films and reveals striking connections between sexuality, space, and cinema. Here, the author is joined in conversation with Beth Tsai. Nicholas de Villiers is professor of English and film at the University of North Florida. Beth Tsai is visiting assistant professor of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. REFERENCES: Books by Nicholas de Villiers (all with University of Minnesota Press): -Cruisy, Sleepy, Melancholy: Sexual DIsorientation in the Films of Tsai Ming-liang -Sexography: Sex Work in Documentary -Opacity and the Closet: Queer Tactics in Foucault, Barthes, and Warhol Book by Beth Tsai: -Taiwan New Cinema at Film Festivals (Edinburgh University Press) Tsai Ming-liang films: -No No Sleep -Stray Dogs -Goodbye, Dragon Inn -Vive L’Amour -I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone -Rebels of the Neon God -The Wayward Cloud -It’s a Dream -The Hole -Face (Visage) -What TIme Is It There? -Days Other films: -Saw Tiong Guan / Past Present (documentary) -Fred Barney Taylor / The Polymath -Elizabeth Purchell / Ask Any Buddy (podcast: -Hou Hsiao-hsien / Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge -Hou Hsiao-hsien / Café Lumière -Albert Lamorisse / Le Ballon Rouge -Wong Kar-wai / Chungking Express -Jon M. Chu / Crazy Rich Asians -Peter Wang / A Great Wall -Edward Yang / The Terrorizers Research, persons, publications: -Song Hwee Lim / Tsai Mingliang and the Cinema of Slowness -François Truffaut -Elena Pollacchi -Samuel Delany / Times Square Red, Times Square Blue -José Esteban Muñoz / Cruising Utopia -John Paul Ricco / The Logic of the Lure -Alex Espinoza / Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pasttime -Roland Barthes -Elena Gorfinkel’s public lecture: Cinema, the Soporific: Between Exhaustion and Eros -Jean Ma / At the Edges of Sleep -Marcel Proust / Swann’s Way -Jean Ma / Melancholy Drift -Jonathan Flatley’s work on melancholia and modernism -Judith Butler -Douglas Crimp -Anne Cvetkovich / Depression: A Public Feeling -David Eng -Anne Anlin Cheng -Shi-Yan Chao / Queer Representations in Chinese-language Film and the Cultural Landscape -Sianne Ngai -Christopher Lupke / The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien -Zhu Tianwen -Emilie Yueh-Yu Yeh and Darrell Williams Davis / Thirty-Two New Takes on Taiwan Cinema -David Lynch -Sara Ahmed / Queer Phenomenology -Michel de Certeau -Fran Martin -The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Camp: Notes on Fashion -Susan Sontag on camp -Esther Newton / Mother Camp -Jonathan Te-hsuan Yeh -Emilie Yueh-Yu Yeh and Darrell William Davis, “Camping Out with Tsai Ming-liang” -Stray Dogs at the Museum: Tsai Ming-liang Solo Exhibition -Fran Martin, “Introduction: Tsai Ming-liang’s intimate public worlds,” Journal of Chinese Cinemas Vol. 1 No. 2. -Eve Sedgwick’s idea of camp as a form of reparative reading -Tom Roach / Friendship as a Way of Life -Rey Chow / Writing Diaspora -Michelle Bloom -Fran Martin, “The European Undead: Tsai Ming-liang’s Temporal Dysphoria,” Senses of Cinema (


Hear, hear! Talking English idioms that really take the cake with Anatoly Liberman.

Are you feeling merry as a grig? Or merry as a pismire? Pert as a pearmonger? Fit as a fiddle? Where do these idioms come from? Do they make life more fun? If you’ve ever wanted to be in a room full of expert etymologists, this is your ticket. Anatoly Liberman, author of TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: A Dictionary of English Idioms, is joined in conversation by Ari Hoptman and J. Lawrence (Larry) Mitchell. After listening, you will be informed, you will be enthralled, and most importantly, you will never sign off on another letter or e-mail with “All best” again. We are not talking through our hats here. That’s the cheese! Episode references: Notes & Queries, a long-running quarterly scholarly journal est. 1849 James H. Murray, primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary Theodore Francis (T. F.) Powys Virginia Woolf God’s Acre (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) Walter W. Skeat (the author of still the most authoritative English etymological dictionary)


Queer Silence with J. Logan Smilges, Travis Chi Wing Lau, and Margaret Price

In queer culture, silence has been equated with voicelessness, complicity, and even death. Queer Silence insists, however, that silence can be a generative and empowering mode of survival. Triangulating insights from queer studies, disability studies, and rhetorical studies, J. Logan Smilges explores what silence can mean for people whose bodyminds signify more powerfully than their words. Smilges is here in conversation with Travis Chi Wing Lau and Margaret Price. J. Logan Smilges (they/them) is author of Queer Silence: On Disability and Rhetorical Absence and Crip Negativity and assistant professor of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia. Led by commitments to transfeminism and disability justice, their scholarship and teaching lie at the nexus of disability studies, trans studies, queer studies, and rhetoric. Their other writing can be found in Disability Studies Quarterly, College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Review, and elsewhere. Travis Chi Wing Lau (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor of English at Kenyon College. His research and teaching focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. Alongside his scholarship, Lau frequently writes for venues of public scholarship like Synapsis: A Journal of Health Humanities, Public Books, Lapham’s Quarterly, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. His poetry has appeared in Wordgathering, Glass, South Carolina Review, Foglifter, and Hypertext, as well as in three chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press, 2019), Paring (Finishing Line Press, 2020), and Vagaries (Fork Tine Press, 2022). [] Margaret Price (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor of English (Rhetoric & Composition) at The Ohio State University, where she also serves as Director of the Disability Studies Program, as well as co-founder and lead PI of the Transformative Access Project. Her award-winning research focuses on sharing concrete strategies and starting necessary dialogues about creating a culture of care and a sense of shared accountability in academic spaces. During Spring 2022, she was in residence at the University of Gothenberg, Sweden, on a Fulbright Grant to study universal design and collective access. Margaret’s book Crip Spacetime is forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2024. []. References: How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind by La Marr Jurelle Bruce Mia Mingus Jennifer Nash M. Remi Yergeau Jasbir Puar Crip Negativity by J. Logan Smilges A transcript of this episode is available:


Arte Programmata: An important antecedent to the digital age.

In postwar Italy, a group of visionary artists used emergent computer technologies to experiment with art and technology and subvert conceptions of freedom and control. ARTE PROGRAMMATA is a book that describes how Italy’s distinctive political climate fueled the group’s engagement with computers, cybernetics, and information theory, creating a broad range of immersive environments, kinetic sculptures, and other multimedia art and design works. Here, author Lindsay Caplan is joined in conversation with Tina Rivers Ryan and Jacopo Galimberti. Lindsay Caplan is assistant professor in the History of Art and Architecture Department at Brown University. Tina Rivers Ryan is an art historian focused on art and technology. Ryan is curator at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum in Buffalo, New York, and a critic who writes most frequently for Artforum. Jacopo Galimberti is an art historian and assistant professor at IUAV (Venice). REFERENCES: -The New Museum / Ghosts in the Machine Show (2012) -Jackson Pollock -New Tendencies (Armin Medosch) -Antonio Negri -Michael Hardt -From Counterculture to Cyberculture (Fred Turner) -Christiane Paul (Whitney Museum of American Art) -Edward A. Shanken -Pier Paolo Pasolini -Spazio elastico (Elastic Space, 1967), Gianni Colombo -Guy Debord -Enzo Mari TOPICS: gestalt art, abstraction, politics, information theory, freedom, technology, operaismo (or: “workerism”)


Pooches. Planes. Pandemic. Margret Grebowicz and Christopher Schaberg on mass phenomena transformed by Covid.

A lot of societal structures have been permanently upended by the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re here to talk about two: air travel and dog ownership. Margret Grebowicz, author of Rescue Me, talks about the abundance of pet adoptions during the pandemic and the existential and social implications of this trend. Christopher Schaberg, author of Grounded, discusses contemporary air travel and the broad cultural landscape of empty airports and grounded planes in the early months of the virus’s spread. Both are concerned with philosophical and critical inquiries into their subjects; how to think about things, how to frame phenomena and change, and how the future will continue to reshape these experiences. Rescue Me and Grounded are in the Forerunners: Ideas First series from University of Minnesota Press. Margret Grebowicz is associate professor at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. She is author of several books, including Rescue Me: On Dogs and Their Humans; Mountains and Desire: Climbing vs. the End of the World; The National Park to Come; and Whale Song. Christopher Schaberg is Dorothy Harrell Brown Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University and author of several books, including Grounded: Perpetual Flight . . . and Then the Pandemic; The End of Airports; and The Work of Literature in an Age of Post-Truth. REFERENCES: -Rescue Me (Margret Grebowicz) -Grounded (Christopher Schaberg) -The End of Airports (Christopher Schaberg) -The Dodo Videos (Facebook videos) -cat videos, Tik Tok -The Ministry for the Future (Kim Stanley Robinson) -Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel; book, TV series) -Tripoli Canceled (film) -Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99 (docuseries)


How feelings about race are normalized by media culture

Amid fervent conversations about antiracism and police violence, Media and the Affective Life of Slavery delivers vital new ideas, analyzing how media culture instructs viewers to act and feel in accordance with new racial norms created for an era supposedly defined by an end to legal racism. Author Allison Page examines U.S. media from the 1960s to today and argues that visual culture works through emotion, a powerful lever for shaping and managing racialized subjectivity. On this episode, Page joins collaborator and friend Brittany Farr in conversation. Allison Page is assistant professor of media studies with a joint appointment in the Institute for the Humanities and the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts at Old Dominion University. Page is the author of Media and the Affective Live of Slavery. Brittany Farr is an assistant professor of law at New York University School of Law. Farr’s areas of research include civil rights, contract law, legal history, property, and race. REFERENCES: -Saidiya Hartman -Represent and Destroy (Jodi Melamed) -Slavery Footprint (website; -Ask a Slave (Azie Mira Dungey, YouTube web series; -A Subtlety (Kara Walker, public project) -Lorraine Hansberry, playwright -Roots (television miniseries) -Dark Matters (Simone Browne) -Alex Haley, writer -Stephanie Smallwood -Christina Sharpe -On Agency (Walter Johnson) -Black Feminism Reimagined (Jennifer Nash)


Allotment Stories: Sarah Biscarra Dilley and Joseph M. Pierce

“White people passed laws specifically in order to take away this land from our people. And then we did these other things in order to try to survive.” ALLOTMENT STORIES is a volume that collects more than two dozen chronicles of white imperialism and Indigenous resistance, highlighting how Indigenous peoples have consistently engaged creativity to sustain collective ties, kinship relations, and cultural commitments in the face of land privatization. Two contributors to this volume, Sarah Biscarra Dilley and Joseph M. Pierce, are here to share their pieces of this history. Sarah Biscarra Dilley (yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini) is an artist, educator, and PhD candidate in Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis, nitspu tititʸu tsʔitɨnɨ patwin, in the unceded homeland of the Patwin-speaking people (unratified Treaty “J” region). Joseph M. Pierce (Cherokee Nation) is associate professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature at Stony Brook University. He is the author of Argentine Intimacies: Queer Kinship in an Age of Splendor, 1890–1910 and, with S.J Norman (Koori, Wiradjuri descent), cocurator of the Indigenous-led performance series Knowledge of Wounds. ALLOTMENT STORIES: Indigenous Land Relations under Settler Siege is a collection of essays edited by Daniel Heath Justice and Jeani O’Brien. More info:


Dorion Sagan and Joshua DiCaglio on the cosmic challenge of scale.

How is it possible that you are—simultaneously—cells, atoms, a body, quarks, a component in an ecological network, a moment in the thermodynamic dispersal of the sun, and an element in the gravitational whirl of galaxies? Joshua DiCaglio’s SCALE THEORY provides a foundational theory of scale that explains how scale works, the parameters of scalar thinking, and how scale reconfigures objects, subjects, relationships—while teaching us to think in terms of scale, no matter where our interests may lie. DiCaglio is joined here by author Dorion Sagan in a dazzling conversation about how a theory of scale might challenge perspectives on space and time, philosophy, innerness, psychedelics—with careful attention to scientific thinking as well as fascination and mysticism, much attuned to the way scale transforms both reality and ourselves. Joshua DiCaglio is assistant professor of English at Texas A&M University. Dorion Sagan is an award-winning writer, editor, and theorist. He is the son of the astronomer Carl Sagan and the biologist Lynn Margulis. References and citations: -Scale Theory (Joshua DiCaglio) -Cosmic Apprentice (Dorion Sagan) -Dazzle Gradually (Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan) -Cosmos (Carl Sagan) -Powers of Ten video ( -Inner Life of a Cell video ( -Jakob von Uexküll -Microcosmos (Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan) -Symbiotic Planet (Lynn Margulis) -Simon Levin -Samuel Butler -Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet (Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Heather Anne Swanson, Elaine Gan, and Nils Bubandt, editors); Sagan has a contribution in this volume. -The Philosophy of Science Fiction: Henri Bergson and the Fabulations of Philip K. Dick (James Edward Burton) -Darwin’s Pharmacy (Richard Doyle) -Friedrich Nietzsche -Luigi Fantappiè -Molecular Capture (Adam Nocek)


Christopher Isherwood’s California lectures: with James J. Berg, Chris Freeman, and Claude Summers

In the 1960s, Christopher Isherwood gave an unprecedented series of lectures at California universities about his life and work. During this time, Isherwood spoke openly for the first time about his craft and spirituality. The release of the updated edition of ISHERWOOD ON WRITING includes the long-lost conclusion to the second lecture, including its discussion of A Single Man and A Meeting by the River. This conversation brings the volume’s editor, James J. Berg, into conversation with fellow Isherwood scholars Chris Freeman and Claude Summers. BIOS: James J. Berg is a writer, editor, and scholar living in New York, and editor of ‘Isherwood on Writing.’ Chris Freeman is professor of English and gender studies at the University of Southern California. The two are coeditors of ‘Isherwood in Transit,’ ‘The American Isherwood,’ ‘Conversations with Christopher Isherwood,’ and ‘The Isherwood Century,’ winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Studies. Claude Summers is William E. Stirton Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and professor emeritus of English at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. A founding member of the Modern Language Association’s gay and lesbian caucus, Summers helped lead the gay studies movement to maturity within the academy. NOTE: This episode includes archival audio of Christopher Isherwood speaking at the Honors Convocation at the University of Southern California, 1974.


What would an education beyond learning look like?

In a time when online classrooms and meetings have become both indispensable and mundane features of the university, STUDIOUS DRIFT asks: What kind of university becomes possible when digital tools are not taken for granted but hacked into and tinkered with in order to set study adrift? In part a meditation on the essence of the studio space, this book looks at ways we can creatively and critically muddle through the rise of e-learning logics to redefine education. Authors Tyson E. Lewis and Peter B. Hyland both teach at the University of North Texas, and are joined here today by colleague and studio artist James Thurman. Tyson E. Lewis is professor of art education in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. Peter B. Hyland is director of the Jo Ann (Jody) and Dr. CHarles O. Onstead Institute for Education in the College fo Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. James Thurman is associate professor of metalsmithing and jewelry in the Department of Studio Art at the University of North Texas. References: Gert Biesta (“learnification”) Alfred Jarry’s pataphysics The Undercommons / Stefano Harney and Fred Moten Links: -Read Studious Drift free online: (also available for purchase: -Watch: Education as Experimentation: -Education as Experimentation: The Studio-D Project (homepage):


Cacaphonies: The Excremental Canon of French Literature

The new book ‘Cacaphonies’ takes fecal matter and its place in literature seriously. In a stark challenge to the tendency to view 20th- and 21st-century French literature through sanitizing abstractions, Annabel L. Kim argues for feces as a figure of radical equality. ‘Cacaphonies’ reveals the aesthetic, political, and ethical potential of shit and its capacity to transform literature and life. Here, Kim is joined in conversation by Merve Emre, Rachele Dini, and Laure Murat. Annabel L. Kim is the Roy G. Clouse associate professor of Romance Literatures and Languages at Harvard University. A specialist in 20th- and 21st-century French literature, Kim is author of ‘Unbecoming Language: Anti-Identitarian French Feminist Fictions’ and ‘Cacaphonies: The Excremental Canon of French Literature.’ Merve Emre is an associate professor of literature at the University of Oxford and a contributing writer at The New Yorker. Rachele Dini is senior lecturer in English and American literature at the University of Roehampton, London. Laure Murat is professor of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA’s Department of European Languages & Transcultural Studies and author of several books. Episode references: Louis-Ferdinand Céline; Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) Caca communism Jean Genet Kristin Ross (Fast Cars, Clean Bodies) Susan Signe Morrison Philip Roth (Patrimony) Anne Garréta Samuel Beckett (Molloy) Rey Chow James Joyce (Ulysses/Leopold Bloom) Alain Resnais (Providence)