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Vox Conversations

Vox Media

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.


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Vox Media


Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.




The death of cool

Vox culture contributor Anne Helen Petersen talks with writer Safy-Hallan Farah about the concept of 'cool.' They discuss different generations' approaches to determining what's cool, how the concept of 'cool' gets tangled up with class, capital, and consumption, and the ineffable process of cultivating taste in a digital world, where nothing's obscure and everything's available. Host: Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen), culture contributor, Vox Guest: Safy-Hallan Farah (@SafyHallanFarah),...


We need to talk about UFOs. Seriously.

Vox's Sean Illing talks with international politics professor and amateur ufologist Alex Wendt about why it's time to start thinking more seriously about the earth-shattering implications of discovering extraterrestrial life. They discuss the taboos against serious scientific inquiry into extraterrestrial existence, the US military's official UFO report and the inexplicable videos released by the Pentagon, and what the possible explanations might be for what's been seen. Host: Sean Illing...


Philadelphia's progressive prosecutor

Vox's Jamil Smith talks with Larry Krasner, the former civil rights attorney who's been district attorney of Philadelphia since 2018. They talk about the bold agenda of criminal justice reform that Krasner's office has been trying to implement, the recent upturn in violent crime across the country, and how to stare down the seemingly unshakable system and make real change happen. Host: Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith), Senior Correspondent, Vox Guest: Larry Krasner (@DA_LarryKrasner), District...


Fareed Zakaria on the fate of democracy

Vox's Sean Illing talks with CNN's Fareed Zakaria about the global trend in democratic decline, and whether we should worry about America. They discuss why the Republican Party has become an existential threat to our constitutional system, whether he thinks Democrats are capable of rising to the challenge, and what reasons we have for optimism. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox Guest: Fareed Zakaria (@FareedZakaria), Host of CNN's GPS, Washington Post columnist...


Jane Goodall on the power of hope

Vox's Sigal Samuel talks with world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall about what six decades of studying chimpanzees has taught her about humans. They discuss the work people can do to protect animals and the environment, and the immense power of hope. Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), Senior Reporter, Vox Guest: Jane Goodall (@JaneGoodallInst), primatologist and author References: Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees (1965) Jane (dir. Brett Morgen; 2018) The Mentality of Apes by...


Why we love drugs

Vox's Sean Illing talks with author Michael Pollan about his new book This Is Your Mind on Plants, why some societies condemn drugs that other societies condone, what will happen as the war on drugs draws to a close, and whether or not taking psychedelic drugs can improve humankind. We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes about five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: vox.com/survey Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews...


The rugged majesty of revision

Vox's Jamil Smith speaks with novelist and author Kiese Laymon in a far-ranging conversation about Laymon's reacquiring the rights to his own books, the struggle of retelling our own stories, and the challenges of articulating American narratives that include all Americans accurately. Host: Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith), Senior Correspondent, Vox Guest: Kiese Laymon (@KieseLaymon), author References: "What we owe and are owed" by Kiese Laymon (Vox; May 17) Long Division by Kiese Laymon...


How to forgive

Vox's Sean Illing talks with Elizabeth Bruenig about how hard it is to forgive, how to balance our desire for justice with our humanity, and about how the age-old moral framework of forgiveness has met new challenges in the modern forum of social media. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox Guest: Elizabeth Bruenig (@ebruenig), staff writer, The Atlantic References: “Not that Innocent” by Elizabeth Bruenig (The Atlantic; June 9) “The Man I Saw Them Kill” by Elizabeth...


What makes a great conversation?

Here's a look ahead at what's to come for Vox Conversations. Vox's Sean Illing welcomes colleague Jamil Smith to the podcast as an additional regular host. They talk about what drew each of them into journalism, their shared craft of interviewing, and about what qualities make for great conversations. Plus, they share some of the ideas and upcoming guests they're looking forward to in the coming weeks. Look for new episodes of Vox Conversations twice a week, starting Monday, July 12th....


Introducing: Now & Then

Now & Then is a new podcast from CAFE hosted by award-winning historians Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman. Every Tuesday, Heather and Joanne use their encyclopedic knowledge of US history to bring the past to life. Together, they make sense of the week in news by discussing the people, ideas, and events that got us here today. Learn more: https://cafe.com/now-and-then/ Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6wDS3Y2t0RyQ3ncCUxiNs6?si=nx7w7exNRZ-AWHLv9T1qZg&dl_branch=1...


The science of dating

Relationships journalist and podcast host Andrea Silenzi talks with Logan Ury, behavioral scientist-turned-dating coach, and author of How to Not Die Alone. They discuss the decision-making that gets in the way of our dating lives, the case for finding a life partner, and what dating looks like in a post-pandemic, app-driven world. Host: Andrea Silenzi (@andreasilenzi), podcast host Guest: Logan Ury (@loganury), author; director of relationship science, Hinge References: How to Not Die Alone...


Honoring Juneteenth with Ibram X. Kendi

In this special edition of Vox Conversations in honor of the Juneteenth holiday, Vox race reporter Fabiola Cineas spoke with author and podcast host Ibram X. Kendi before a virtual audience about the big ideas around being antiracist. They discussed where we are after a year protesting racism and police brutality, Kendi's approach to defining and fighting racism, and how we all can work to enact change. Host: Fabiola Cineas (@FabiolaCineas), Reporter, Vox Guest: Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram),...


Digital dictatorship

The internet was first conceived as a tool to promote free expression, to foster and enliven debate, and to strengthen democratic ideals. But it didn’t quite work out that way. In this episode, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp talks with Steven Feldstein, author of The Rise of Digital Repression, about how governing regimes use digital technology to repress their citizens; the threats posed by surveillance, disinformation, and censorship; and how democracies can backslide into authoritarianism. Host:...


The man who proposed reparations in the 1860s

Vox’s Dylan Matthews talks with historian Bruce Levine about his book Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary and Fighter for Racial Justice. They discuss how Stevens — a person with anti-racist ideals so far outside the mainstream of his time — managed to be so effective, how he developed those ideals in the first place, and how to continue his fight today. Host: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), Senior Correspondent, Vox Guest: Bruce Levine, Author; Professor (emeritus) of History, University...


What pandemic recovery should look like

Vox's Emily Stewart talks with Janelle Jones, chief economist at the Labor Department, about what's actually going on with the US economy — and who are the workers most dramatically affected by the pandemic. They discuss the tasks ahead in an economic recovery, who should receive the most help, and how to put policies in place that do more than just return to the status quo. Host: Emily Stewart (@EmilyStewartM), Senior Reporter, Vox Guest: Janelle Jones (@janellecj), Chief Economist,...


The gift of getting old

Vox’s Sean Illing talks with Max Linsky, host of the new podcast 70 Over 70, which features intimate conversations with people over 70 years old. They discuss Max’s relationship with his aging father, the sometimes desperate search for wisdom, and the contradictions inherent in embracing life, while accepting the inevitable reality of death. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox Guest: Max Linsky (@maxlinsky), Host, 70 Over 70 podcast; co-founder, Pineapple Street Studios...


Freedom, and what it means to have a body

Vox's Anna North talks with author Olivia Laing about her book Everybody: A Book About Freedom. Through the surprisingly connected lives of artists, activists, psychoanalysts, and sexologists, they discuss the different ways our bodies are persecuted, imprisoned, and policed — and the ways our physical selves can be liberated. Host: Anna North (@annanorthtweets), Senior Reporter, Vox Guest: Olivia Laing, Author References: Everybody: A Book About Freedom (Picador, 2021) The Lonely City...


Why are we so worried about Satan?

Vox's Sean Illing talks with Sarah Marshall, co-host of the You're Wrong About podcast, about the Satanic Panic of the early 1980s. They discuss America's penchant for moral panics, why the country latches onto outlandish stories, and what the Satanic panic and its echoes today say about America's collective psyche. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling) Interviews Writer, Vox Guest: Sarah Marshall (@Remember_Sarah) Author; host of the You're Wrong About podcast References: You’re Wrong About, “The...


How to be wrong less often

Vox's Dylan Matthews talks with Julia Galef, host of the podcast Rationally Speaking, and author of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don't. They discuss how we can overcome the ways our own minds deceive us and change the way we think to make more rational decisions. Host: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), Senior Correspondent, Vox Guest: Julia Galef (@juliagalef), Author; host of Rationally Speaking podcast References: The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things...


The complicated history of wildlife conservation

Vox environmental reporter Benji Jones talks with journalist and author Michelle Nijhuis about her book Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction. They talk about the history of the conservation movement and its many characters, the standout successes and ugly truths, and why, even with millions of species under threat, there's still reason to hope. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices