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Interviews with Scholars of Science, Technology, and Society about their New Books

Interviews with Scholars of Science, Technology, and Society about their New Books
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United States

Description:

Interviews with Scholars of Science, Technology, and Society about their New Books

Language:

English


Episodes

Valerie Olson, "Into the Extreme: U.S. Environmental Systems and Politics Beyond Earth" (U Minnesota Press, 2019)

10/18/2019
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Valerie Olson talks about why the idea of outer space as a “frontier” is giving way to one that frames it as a cosmic ecosystem. Olson is an associate professor of anthropology at University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Into the Extreme: U.S. Environmental Systems and Politics Beyond Earth (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). What if outer space is not outside the human environment but, rather, defines it? This is the unusual starting point of Valerie Olson’s Into the...

Duration:00:34:42

David Lindsay Roberts, "Republic of Numbers: Unexpected Stories of Mathematical Americans through History" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2019)

10/17/2019
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The institutional history of mathematics in the United States comprises several entangled traditions—military, civil, academic, industrial—each of which merits its own treatment. David Lindsay Roberts, adjunct professor of mathematics at Prince George's Community College, takes a very different approach. His unique book, Republic of Numbers: Unexpected Stories of Mathematical Americans through History(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), anchors 20 biographical chapters to a decadal series...

Duration:01:12:08

Theodore Dalrymple, "False Positive: A Year of Error, Omission, and Political Correctness in the New England Journal of Medicine" (Encounter Books, 2019)

10/17/2019
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Theodore Dalrymple is a retired physician in Great Britain, who has written an account of his year’s-worth of reading the New England Journal of Medicine. In his new book False Positive: A Year of Error, Omission, and Political Correctness in the New England Journal of Medicine (Encounter Books, 2019), he recounts each week’s new edition of the Journal with an eye toward analytical errors and a culture of political correctness in regard to the handling of medical and public health issues....

Duration:00:44:23

David D. Vail, "Chemical Lands: Pesticides, Aerial Spraying, and Health in North America’s Grasslands since 1945" (U Alabama Press, 2019)

10/15/2019
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Over fifty years ago, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) scolded the agricultural industry for its profligate spread of “poison” and pesticides “indiscriminately from the skies.” Now, in Chemical Lands: Pesticides, Aerial Spraying, and Health in North America’s Grasslands since 1945 (University of Alabama Press, 2018), David D. Vail re-examines aerial spraying in the North American Grasslands and the political and environmental controversies it provoked. He reveals how aircraft sprayers...

Duration:00:38:09

Elizabeth DeLoughrey, "Allegories of the Anthropocene" (Duke UP, 2019)

10/15/2019
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While the mainstream discourses on global warming characterize it as an unprecedented catastrophe that unites the globe in a common challenge, Elizabeth DeLoughrey argues that this apparently cosmopolitan position is in truth a provincial one limited to privileged circles in the Global North. In Allegories of the Anthropocene (Duke University Press, 2019), she instead elucidates how among post-colonial peoples of the Pacific and Caribbean, who are among the first to suffer the uncompromising...

Duration:00:35:38

Thomas Hager, "Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine" (Abrams Press, 2019)

10/14/2019
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Behind every landmark drug is a story. It could be a researcher’s genius insight, a catalyzing moment in geopolitical history, a new breakthrough technology, or an unexpected but welcome side effect discovered during clinical trials. In his new book, Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine (Harry N. Abrams, 2019), Thomas Hager traces the “mini-biographies” of ten drugs and drug treatments that have shaped the course of human history, showing how...

Duration:01:01:17

Oren Harman, "Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World" (FSG, 2018)

10/14/2019
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“There are only two ways to live your life,” said Albert Einstein, “One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is a miracle.” Oren Harman clearly agrees with Einstein’s sentiments. In Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018), Harman takes scientific facts, as we know them today, and weaves them into narratives that have the tone, grace and drama of myth. Harman recognizes that despite the astounding achievements of...

Duration:01:05:40

Lucas Richert, “Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs” (McGill-Queens UP, 2018)

10/11/2019
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Strange Trips isn’t only the title of Dr. Lucas Richert’s new book; it’s also a good description of the journey substances take from the black market to the doctor’s black bag—and, sometimes, back to the black market again. In Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs (McGill-Queens UP, 2019), Richert investigates the myths, meanings, and boundaries of recreational drugs, palliative care drugs, and pharmaceuticals, as well as struggles over product innovation, consumer...

Duration:00:50:58

Michitake Aso, "Rubber and the Making of Vietnam: An Ecological History, 1897-1975" (UNC Press, 2018)

10/11/2019
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How can the history of rubber be used as a way to understand the history of 20th-century Vietnam? In this episode of New Books in History, Michael G. Vann talks about Rubber and the Making of Vietnam: An Ecological History, 1897-1975 (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), with Michitake Aso, an Associate Professor of history at SUNY Albany. This extremely well-researched study of Vietnamese rubber plantations from the colonial origins to their near destruction during the American war...

Duration:01:22:20

Jennifer L. Derr, "The Lived Nile: Environment, Disease, and Material Colonial Economy in Egypt" (Stanford UP, 2019)

10/10/2019
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In October 1902, the reservoir of the first Aswan Dam filled, and Egypt's relationship with the Nile River forever changed. Flooding villages of historical northern Nubia and filling the irrigation canals that flowed from the river, the perennial Nile not only reshaped agriculture and the environment, but also Egypt's colonial economy and forms of subjectivity. Jennifer L. Derr follows the engineers, capitalists, political authorities, and laborers who built a new Nile River through the...

Duration:00:53:07

Erika Milam, "Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America" (Princeton UP, 2019)

10/4/2019
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Erika Milam talks about the scientific search for human nature, a project that captured the attention of paleontologists, anthropologists, and primatologists in the years after World War II. Milam is a professor of history at Princeton University. She is the author of Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America (Princeton University Press, 2019). After World War II, the question of how to define a universal human nature took on new urgency. Creatures of Cain charts the...

Duration:00:39:13

David Sinclair, "LifeSpan: Why We Age and Why We Don't Have To" (Simon and Schuster, 2019)

10/4/2019
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Today's guest is David Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Paul Glenn Center Biological Mechanisms of Aging. He is widely considered on the world's foremost experts on longevity research. A co-founder of the journal Aging and several biotech companies, he also hold 35 patents. Dr. Sinclair is a recipient of more than 25 awards and honors, including being knighted in the Order of Australia. His work is featured in five books, two documentary...

Duration:00:58:51

Timothy LeCain, "The Matter of History: How Things Create the Past" (Cambridge UP, 2017)

9/30/2019
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Timothy LeCain is an award-winning environmental historian whose past work has focused on the connections between open-pit copper mines, technology, and the natural world. LeCain's newest book The Matter of History: How Things Create the Past (Cambridge University Press, 2017) presents a path-breaking approach to the study of the environment and history. In it LeCain argues that humans are inseparable from the material world around them. Living and non-living "things" not only deserve their...

Duration:01:05:01

Mark Monmonier, "Connections and Content: Reflections on Networks and the History of Cartography" (ESRI Press, 2019)

9/27/2019
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In Connections and Content: Reflections on Networks and the History of Cartography (ESRI Press, 2019), cartographic cogitator Mark Monmonier shares his insights about the relationships between networks and maps through a collection of essays. Using historical maps, he explores: triangulation networks used to establish the baselines of a map’s scale; astronomical observations, ellipsoids, geodetic arcs, telegraph networks, and GPS constellations that establish latitude and longitude at...

Duration:01:01:11

Nora Jaffary, "Reproduction and its Discontents in Mexico: Childbirth and Contraception from 1750 to 1905" (UNC Press, 2016)

9/26/2019
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Nora Jaffary’s Reproduction and its Discontents in Mexico: Childbirth and Contraception from 1750 to 1905 (University of North Carolina Press. 2016), tracks how medical ideas, practices, and policies surrounding reproduction changed between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries in Mexico. Perhaps the most important change analyzed in the book, and discussed extensively in the interview, is the increased interest of the state in controlling childbirth and contraception. Whereas...

Duration:01:07:54

Joy McCann, "Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean" (U New South Wales Press, 2018)

9/13/2019
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Joy McCann discusses the great circumpolar ocean that surrounds Antarctica. McCann is the author of Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean (University of New South Wales Press, 2018). She is a historian at the Centre for Environmental History at Australian National University. Flowing completely around the Earth and unimpeded by any landmass, the wild and elusive Southern Ocean reaches from the seasonally-shifting icy continent of Antarctica to the southern coastlines and islands of...

Duration:00:34:40

Aaron Hale-Dorrell, "Corn Crusade: Khrushchev’s Farming Revolution in the Post-Stalin Soviet Union" (Oxford UP, 2018)

9/11/2019
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In Corn Crusade: Khrushchev’s Farming Revolution in the Post-Stalin Soviet Union (Oxford University Press, 2018), Aaron Hale-Dorrell re-evaluates Khrushchev’s corn campaign as the cornerstone of his reformation programs. Corn was key to Khrushchev’s promises of providing everyone with the abundance required for achieving communism, which included the introduction of a varied diet rich in meat and dairy (which would be corn fed) following decades of austerity during collectivization and WWII....

Duration:01:16:37

Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer, "Wind and Power in the Anthropocene" (Duke UP, 2019)

9/10/2019
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This is the third of three interviews with Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer about their duo-graph, Wind and Power in the Anthropocene. Also listen to my individual interviews with Howe and Boyer about their separate volumes, Ecologics and Energopolitics. In this interview, I talk to both authors together about their experiences with collaborative research and writing, and about the wider significance of their scholarship. Ecologics and Energopolitics follow the development of wind power in...

Duration:00:38:48

E. H. Ecklund and D. R. Johnson, "Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think of Religion" (Oxford UP, 2019)

9/5/2019
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It is common to see science and religion portrayed as mutually exclusive and warring ways of viewing the world, but is that how actual scientists see it? For that matter, which cultural factors shape the attitudes of scientists toward religion? Could scientists help show us a way to build collaboration between scientific and religious communities, if such collaborations are even possible? The book we’re looking at today, Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think...

Duration:01:33:02

Dominic Boyer, "Energopolitics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene" (Duke UP, 2019)

9/3/2019
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This is the second of three interviews with Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer about their duo-graph, Wind and Power in the Anthropocene. Also listen to my interview with Howe about her volume, Ecologics, as well as my interview with both authors together about collaborative research and the wider implications of their work. Dominic Boyer’s Energopolitics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene (Duke University Press, 2019) and its partner volume, Ecologics, by Cymene Howe, follow the development of...

Duration:00:43:04