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The MIT Press Podcast features exclusive interviews and content that draw on the topics, themes, and trends explored in our books and journals. Subject areas that are covered include art and design, technology, science, information and data science, linguistics, neuroscience, business and management, architecture and urban design, ecology and sustainability, science fiction, and more. The podcast also regularly features high level discussions about open access publishing and knowledge.
 
Has the internet created a virtual labour market for new kinds of services? Does connectivity now allow job-seekers from the Global South, young people from low-income countries, to grow rich online? Did this help overcome the borders that have separated rich from poor? If not, might the Metaverse now create this new market space in the cloud? Are online labour platforms becoming immersive labour markets with equal access for all? I discuss these questions in conversations with online worker ...
 
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In 1997, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory found a small leak of radioactive water near their research reactor. Brookhaven was--and is--a world-class, Nobel Prize-winning lab, and its reactor was the cornerstone of US materials science and one of the world's finest research facilities. The leak, harmless to health, came from a storage po…
 
The Political Lives of Information: Information and the Production of Development in India (MIT Press, 2022), written by Janaki Srinivasan and published by MIT Press in October 2022, examines how the definition, production, and leveraging of information are shaped by caste, class, and gender, and the implications of this for development. Informatio…
 
I’ve never read a book like Mathematical Tools for Real-World Applications: A Gentle Introduction for Students and Practitioners (MIT Press, 2022) – it’s a book about how engineers and scientists see math, and I found it fascinating. What intrigued me about this book was not that it just presents and solves a bunch of interesting problems, it shows…
 
In this time of extinctions, the humble snail rarely gets a mention. And yet snails are disappearing faster than any other species. In A World in a Shell: Snail Stories for a Time of Extinctions (MIT Press, 2022), Thom van Dooren offers a collection of snail stories from Hawai'i--once home to more than 750 species of land snails, almost two-thirds …
 
How the FDA was shaped by public health crises and patient advocacy, told against a background of the contentious hearings on the breast cancer drug Avastin. Food and Drug Administration approval for COVID-19 vaccines and the controversial Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm made headlines, but few of us know much about how the agency does its work. Why is th…
 
Today I talked to Chris McMorran about his new book Ryokan: Mobilizing Hospitality in Rural Japan (U Hawaii Press, 2022). Amid the decline of many of Japan’s rural communities, the hot springs village resort of Kurokawa Onsen is a rare, bright spot. Its two dozen traditional inns, or ryokan, draw nearly a million tourists a year eager to admire its…
 
In The Next World: Extraordinary Experiences of the Afterlife (White Crow Books, 2022), historian of religions Gregory Shushan explores the relationships between extraordinary experiences and beliefs in life after death. He first shows how throughout history and around the world, near-death experiences have influenced ideas about the afterlife. Shu…
 
A short guidebook to understanding and discussing privilege among vegans and vegan organizations in the wake of #metoo, including how to establish accountability while honoring dignity and ways to communicate effectively. In The Vegan Matrix: Understanding and Discussing Privilege Among Vegans to Build a More Inclusive and Empowered Movement (Lante…
 
How should humans respond to our ongoing human-made climate catastrophe? To answer that question, Recall this Book turned to prize-winning climate reporter Elizabeth Kolbert, who visited Brandeis this Fall. The topic was Under a White Sky, her recent book that documents the responses to the climate crisis ranging from a form of climate engineering …
 
The Nuclear Club: How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam (Stanford UP, 2022) reveals how a coalition of powerful and developing states embraced global governance in hopes of a bright and peaceful tomorrow. While fears of nuclear war were ever-present, it was the perceived threat to their preeminence that drove Washingt…
 
Vietnam and Russia share a common socialist history dating back to the Cold War. But since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Vietnam’s đổi mới reforms, Russia has also become a destination for Vietnamese labour migrants who dream of making their fortune. Working in markets, garment factories, and as small traders – both legally and illeg…
 
How should humans respond to our ongoing human-made climate catastrophe? To answer that question, Recall this Book turned to prize-winning climate reporter Elizabeth Kolbert, who visited Brandeis this Fall. The topic was Under a White Sky, her recent book that documents the responses to the climate crisis ranging from a form of climate engineering …
 
Today I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Henni Alava, postdoctoral researcher at Tampere University, on her fascinating new book published by Bloomsbury as part of the New Directions in Anthropology of Christianity book series: Christianity, Politics and the Afterlives of War in Uganda: There is Confusion (Bloomsbury, 2022). Alava's work sheds cr…
 
How should humans respond to our ongoing human-made climate catastrophe? To answer that question, Recall this Book turned to prize-winning climate reporter Elizabeth Kolbert, who visited Brandeis this Fall. The topic was Under a White Sky, her recent book that documents the responses to the climate crisis ranging from a form of climate engineering …
 
Digital platforms controlled by Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Tencent and Uber have transformed not only the ways we do business, but also the very nature of people's everyday lives. It is of vital importance that we understand the economic principles governing how these platforms operate. Paul Belleflamme and Martin Peitz's book Th…
 
Digital Activism in Russia: The Communication Tactics of Political Outsiders (Palgrave MacMillan, 2022) examines various forms of Russian online anti-establishment resistance, focusing in particular on the period between 2016 and 2019. Grounded in qualitative content analysis of the YouTube videos and social media activities of opposition activist …
 
Over the past twenty years, DNA ancestry testing has morphed from a niche market into a booming international industry that encourages members of the public to answer difficult questions about their identity by looking to the genome. At a time of intensified interest in issues of race and racism, the burgeoning influence of corporations like Ancest…
 
Over the past twenty years, DNA ancestry testing has morphed from a niche market into a booming international industry that encourages members of the public to answer difficult questions about their identity by looking to the genome. At a time of intensified interest in issues of race and racism, the burgeoning influence of corporations like Ancest…
 
Known as highly mobile cattle nomads, the Wodaabe in Niger are today increasingly engaged in a transformation process towards a more diversified livelihood based primarily on agro-pastoralism and urban work migration. Space, Place and Identity: The Wodaabe of Niger in the 21st Century (Berghahn Books, 2020) by Florian Köhler examines recent transfo…
 
This innovative study engages critically with existing conceptualisations of diaspora, arguing that if diaspora is to have analytical purchase, it should illuminate a specific angle of migration or migrancy. To reveal the much-needed transformative potential of the concept, the book looks specifically at how diasporas undertake translation and deco…
 
Sanctions have become the go-to foreign policy tool for the United States. Coercive economic measures such as trade tariffs, financial penalties, and export controls affect large numbers of companies and states across the globe. Some of these penalties target nonstate actors, such as Colombian drug cartels and Islamist terror groups; others apply t…
 
Michael Bess is the Chancellor's Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. His fifth and most recent book is Planet in Peril: Humanity’s Four Greatest Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them, published by Cambridge University Press in 2022. This study focuses on the existential risks posed by climate change, nuclear weapons, pandemics (natural…
 
In Indexicalism: The Metaphysics of Paradox (Edinburgh UP, 2021), Hilan Bensusan clarifies the logic and structure of an essentially situated and indexical metaphysics that is paradoxical and can also be regarded as a chapter in the critique of metaphysics. Bensusan articulates a metaphysical view of the other – both human and non-human, in what Me…
 
Michael Bess is the Chancellor's Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. His fifth and most recent book is Planet in Peril: Humanity’s Four Greatest Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them, published by Cambridge University Press in 2022. This study focuses on the existential risks posed by climate change, nuclear weapons, pandemics (natural…
 
Contemporary Sweden is a country with a worldwide progressive reputation, despite an undeniable tradition of racism within its borders. In the face of this contradiction of culture and history, Afro-Swedes have emerged as a vibrant demographic presence, from generations of diasporic movement, migration, and homemaking. In Afro-Sweden: Becoming Blac…
 
While the loss of sight—whether in early modern Japan or now—may be understood as a disability, blind people in the Tokugawa period (1600–1868) could thrive because of disability. The blind of the era were prominent across a wide range of professions, and through a strong guild structure were able to exert contractual monopolies over certain trades…
 
Eugenia Roussou's book Orthodox Christianity, New Age Spirituality and Vernacular Religion: The 'Evil Eye' in Greece (Bloomsbury, 2021) thoroughly illustrates the novel synthesis of Christian religion and New Age spirituality in Greece. It challenges the single-faith approach that traditionally ties southern European countries to Christianity and f…
 
In Indexicalism: The Metaphysics of Paradox (Edinburgh UP, 2021), Hilan Bensusan clarifies the logic and structure of an essentially situated and indexical metaphysics that is paradoxical and can also be regarded as a chapter in the critique of metaphysics. Bensusan articulates a metaphysical view of the other – both human and non-human, in what Me…
 
None of us really want to relive our first encounters with COVID-19 and the disruptions to our lives, to say nothing of the anxiety and concern about the life-threatening nature of this virus as it spread around the globe. At the same time, Shana Kushner Gadarian, Sara Wallace Goodman, and Thomas B. Pepinsky ask us to reflect on our experiences and…
 
Haiti is the target of an overwhelming number of internationally funded health projects. While religious institutions sponsor a number of these initiatives, many are implemented within the secular framework of global health. In Where They Need Me: Local Clinicians and the Workings of Global Health in Haiti (Cornell UP, 2022), Pierre Minn illustrate…
 
In The Handbook of Banking Technology (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), Walker and Morris provide a first comprehensive view of the systems that support a bank. During the interview, they bring out the interactions of these components and how the themes they touch on in the book come together. Years of first-hand experience combined with detailed research…
 
Just over half a century since Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the lunar surface, a new space race to the Moon is well underway and rapidly gaining momentum. Laying out a vision for the next fifty years, Back to the Moon: The Next Giant Leap for Humankind (Princeton UP, 2022) is astrophysicist Joseph Silk's persuasive and impassioned case for …
 
Just over half a century since Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the lunar surface, a new space race to the Moon is well underway and rapidly gaining momentum. Laying out a vision for the next fifty years, Back to the Moon: The Next Giant Leap for Humankind (Princeton UP, 2022) is astrophysicist Joseph Silk's persuasive and impassioned case for …
 
Haiti is the target of an overwhelming number of internationally funded health projects. While religious institutions sponsor a number of these initiatives, many are implemented within the secular framework of global health. In Where They Need Me: Local Clinicians and the Workings of Global Health in Haiti (Cornell UP, 2022), Pierre Minn illustrate…
 
Ash Ali discusses the book "The Unfair Advantage" - a 2022 business book of the year award winner. Listen as he describes the real reason investors choose one startup over another and how you already have what it takes to gain advantage over the competition. Ash has advised and invested in hundreds of startups, including Just Eat, the online food-o…
 
Anthropological Witness: Lessons from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (Cornell UP, 2022) tells the story of Alexander Laban Hinton's encounter with an accused architect of genocide and, more broadly, Hinton's attempt to navigate the promises and perils of expert testimony. In March 2016, Hinton served as an expert witness at the Extraordinary Chambers in …
 
Medical science in antebellum America was organized around a paradox: it presumed African Americans to be less than human yet still human enough to be viable as experimental subjects, as cadavers, and for use in the training of medical students. By taking a hard look at the racial ideas of both northern and southern medical schools, Christopher D. …
 
In Threatening Dystopias: The Global Politics of Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh (Cornell UP, 2021), Kasia Paprocki challenges two well-worn assumptions about climate change and its relationship with the political economy of development and agriculture, in Bangladesh, which helps shed light on how climate change becomes a politically contes…
 
During the thirteenth century, the Persian naturalist and judge Zakariyyāʾ Qazwīnī authored what became one of the most influential works of natural history in the world: Wonders and Rarities. Exploring the dazzling movements of the stars above, the strange minutiae of the minerals beneath the earth, and everything in between, Qazwīnī offered a cap…
 
In Cistem Failure: Essays on Blackness and Cisgender (Duke UP, 2022), Marquis Bey meditates on the antagonistic relationship between blackness and cisgender. Bey asks, What does it mean to have a gender that “matches” one’s sex---that is, to be cisgender---when decades of feminist theory have destroyed the belief that there is some natural way to b…
 
Alfred S. Posamentier's The Secret Lives of Numbers: Numerals and Their Peculiarities in Mathematics and Beyond (Prometheus Books, 2022) is the first book I’ve ever seen written by a mathematician that will absolutely, definitely, certainly appeal to people who love numbers and who don’t love mathematics. I would urge all listeners to tell everyone…
 
Western culture has endlessly represented the ways in which love miraculously erupts in people's lives, the mythical moment in which one knows someone is destined for us; the feverish waiting for a phone call or an email, the thrill that runs down our spine at the mere thought of him or her. Yet, a culture that has so much to say about love is virt…
 
In When Race Meets Class: African Americans Coming of Age in a Small City (Routledge, 2019), Rhonda Levine provides a 15-year ethnography that follows the lives of individual, low-income African American youth from the beginning of high school into their early adult years. Levine shows how their interaction and experience with multiple institutions…
 
Alfred S. Posamentier's The Secret Lives of Numbers: Numerals and Their Peculiarities in Mathematics and Beyond (Prometheus Books, 2022) is the first book I’ve ever seen written by a mathematician that will absolutely, definitely, certainly appeal to people who love numbers and who don’t love mathematics. I would urge all listeners to tell everyone…
 
Corporate concentration has breached the stratosphere, as have corporate profits. An ever-expanding constellation of industries are now monopolies (where sellers have excessive power over buyers) or monopsonies (where buyers hold the whip hand over sellers)—or both. In Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Mark…
 
On August 6, 2020, the Trump Administration issued a ban on TikTok in the United States, requiring that the owner, Beijing-based Bytedance, sell the company to American investors or shut it down. Legions of TikTokers were devastated at the possible loss of their beloved platform, and for what: a political grudge with China? American suitors like Wa…
 
Why is it so difficult to adopt a more sustainable way of life, even when convinced of the urgency of the environmental crisis? If adopting new behaviors beneficial for the environment is so challenging at the individual level, no wonder it is even harder at the community or governmental levels. Seeing individual and collective behaviors not changi…
 
In this episode of High Theory, Justin Joque talks with Júlia Irion Martins about Probability. This conversation is part of our High Theory in STEM series, which tackles topics in science, technology, engineering, and medicine from a highly theoretical perspective. If you want to learn more about the philosophical, technical, and economic implicati…
 
We will all be patients sooner or later. And when we go to the doctor, when we're hurting, we tend to think in terms of cause and condemnation. We often look for relief not only from physical symptoms but also from our self-blame. We want from our doctors kindness under any of its many names: empathy, caring, compassion, humanity. We look for safet…
 
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