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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

Michael E. Mann, "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars : Dispatches from the Front Lines" (2012)

11/11/2019
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We talk with Michael E. Mann, a Nobel Prize winner and Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, about his journey through the climate wars over the past two decades and the role that experts have to play in moving out of the lab and into the spotlight to defend the scientific process. Doing so is more important now than ever, he says, as corporation-funded think tanks continue to churn out information that deliberately sows skepticism among the public about our role in...

Duration:00:38:48

Cara New Daggett, "Birth of Energy: Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics, and the Politics of Work" (Duke UP, 2019)

11/4/2019
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In Birth of Energy: Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics, and the Politics of Work (Duke UP, 2019), Cara New Daggett suggests that reassessing our relationships with fossil fuels in the face of climate change also requires that we rethink the concept of energy itself. Although a seemingly self-evident and natural scientific object, the idea of energy that informed the development of fossil fueled capitalism is a surprisingly modern invention. In the 19th century, as tinkerers sought to explain...

Duration:00:42:10

Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing

11/3/2019
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As you may know, university presses publish a lot of good books. In fact, they publish thousands of them every year. They are different from most trade books in that most of them are what you might called "fundamental research." Their authors--dedicated researchers one and all--provide the scholarly stuff upon which many non-fiction trade books are based. So when you are reading, say, a popular history, you are often reading UP books at one remove. Of course, some UP books are also...

Duration:00:40:01

Russell Potter, "Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-year Search" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2016)

11/1/2019
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In 1845, two British naval ships left England with 129 men in search of the Northwest Passage. They were never heard from again. The disappearance of the Franklin Expedition shocked the world. Dozens of expeditions set sail into the Arctic looking for the missing explorers. Russell Potter talks about the Expedition and the reasons why it continues to fascinate people around the world. Potter is professor of English and Media studies at Rhode Island College. He is the author of Finding...

Duration:00:42:36

Jamie L. Pietruska, "Looking Forward: Prediction and Uncertainty in Modern America" (U Chicago Press, 2017)

10/30/2019
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A fortune teller, cotton prophet, and a weather forecaster walk into a bar—probably a more common occurrence than you might think in the Gilded Age United States! Jamie Pietruska’s Looking Forward: Prediction and Uncertainty in Modern America (University of Chicago Press, 2017) assesses how different varieties of forecasting created an often-contradictory “culture of prediction” during the rise of modern bureaucracies. Looking to the countryside, her book engages histories of capitalism to...

Duration:00:36:56

Jeremy Black, "Maps of War: Mapping Conflict through the Centuries" (Conway, 2016)

10/29/2019
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There is little documented mapping of conflict prior to the Renaissance period, but, from the 17th century onward, military commanders and strategists began to document the wars in which they were involved and, later, to use mapping to actually plan the progress of a conflict. Using contemporary maps, Jeremy Black's Maps of War: Mapping Conflict through the Centuries (Conway, 2016) covers the history of the mapping of land wars, and shows the way in which maps provide a guide to the history...

Duration:01:01:59

Andreas Bernard, "Theory of the Hashtag" (Polity, 2019)

10/25/2019
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In his short book, Theory of the Hashtag (Polity, 2019), Andreas Bernard traces the origins and career of the hashtag. Following the history of the # sign through its origins in the Middle Ages and how it became a common symbol through its placement on American typewriters and touch tone phones. He examines the hashtag’s role in changing how we define and discuss keywords. Focusing on the use of the # on Twitter and Instagram, Bernard looks at how the sign is used in activism and marketing,...

Duration:00:39:13

Amy Carney, "Marriage and Fatherhood in the Nazi SS" (Toronto UP, 2018)

10/25/2019
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From 1931 to 1945, leaders of the SS sought to transform their organization into a racially-elite family community that would serve as the Third Reich’s new aristocracy. They utilized the science of eugenics to convince SS men to marry suitable wives and have many children. In her new book entitled Marriage and Fatherhood in the Nazi SS (University of Toronto Press, 2018), Amy Carney assesses the role of SS men as husbands and fathers during the Third Reich. The family community, and the...

Duration:00:39:48

Ann Elias, "Coral Empire: Underwater Oceans, Colonial Tropics, Visual Modernity" (Duke UP, 2019)

10/24/2019
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With the threats of sea water warming and ocean acidification, coral reefs have become both a fire alarm and a barometer for the dangers of human induced climate change. We now face the possibility of a world without coral. In this cogent and timely work, Ann Elias interrogates how we came to know coral reefs in the way we do and the complicity of this knowing with the forms of modernity that now threaten to destroy them. Coral Empire: Underwater Oceans, Colonial Tropics, Visual Modernity...

Duration:00:44:54

J. Neuhaus, "Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers" (West Virginia UP, 2019)

10/24/2019
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The things that make people academics -- as deep fascination with some arcane subject, often bordering on obsession, and a comfort with the solitude that developing expertise requires -- do not necessarily make us good teachers. Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers (West Virginia University Press, 2019) helps us to identify and embrace that geekiness in us and then offers practical, step-by-step guidelines for...

Duration:00:30:59

Binyamin Appelbaum, "The Economists' Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society" (Little Brown, 2019)

10/22/2019
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Think economics is the "dismal science" with abstract formulas that have no impact on life as it is actually lived? Think again. In The Economists' Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society (Little Brown, 2019), Binyamin Appelbaum--former correspondent and now an editorial board member of the New York Times--brings to life how academic economists rose "from the basement" of banks and universities in the post-war period to have a direct impact on almost every aspect of...

Duration:00:38:54

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