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Best Basic Brown Nerds podcasts we could find (updated February 2020)
Best Basic Brown Nerds podcasts we could find
Updated February 2020
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How did de-colonialization impact the United Kingdom itself? That is a topic that Professor of Imperial & Commonwealth History at King’s College, London, Sarah Stockwell aims to tackle in her latest book: The British End of the British Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Looking at the process of de-colonialization and its domestic impact vi…
 
Notwithstanding the fact that slavery is almost as old if not older than human civilization itself, involving almost every country and continent on the face of the planet, the vast majority of scholarly attention tends to be focused on the North American continent and for less than two-hundred years. In an endeavor to bring a wider and historically…
 
How should we understand humanitarian NGOs? In Above the Fray: The Red Cross and the Making of the Humanitarian NGO Sector (University of Chicago Press, 2020), Shai M. Dromi, a lecturer in sociology at Harvard University, uses insights from cultural sociology to reframe the history of the Red Cross. The book blends a detailed historical analysis wi…
 
Anti-semitism is on the rise in the U.S. and other parts of the world. 6 people died this week in Jersey City, New Jersey, in a shootout at a kosher supermarket. The two gunmen appear to have been motivated by anti-semitism and anger against the police. Britain's Labour Party has been rocked by widespread reports of anti-semitism. Labor's second mo…
 
Sir Walter Ralegh was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth. She showered him with estates and political appointments. He envisioned her becoming empress of a universal empire. She gave him the opportunity to lead the way. In Walter Ralegh: Architect of Empire (Basic Books, 2019), Alan Gallay shows that, while Ralegh may be best known for founding the fail…
 
If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career has basically consisted of higher ed, switching isn’t so easy. PhD holders are mostly trained to…
 
The neoliberal consensus, once thought to be undefeatable, seems to have been broken both in the wake of the fiscal crisis of 2008, as well as a series of surprise movements and elections throughout the world in the last several years. But many scholars argue that it remains alive and well, just in a changed, mutated form. This is the theme that mo…
 
Today we talk to Jeremy Black, professor of history at Exeter University, UK, about two of his most recent book projects, both of which relate to the ways in which we think about empires, and the British empire in particular. Geographies of an Imperial Power: The British World, 1688-1815 (Indiana University Press, 2018) and Imperial legacies: The B…
 
A trade war with China has dangerous implications for the global economy. What began more than a year ago with President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs has become an unpleasant economic reality for many businesses. Recently, the U.S. labeled China a “currency manipulator.” But an even larger long-term threat comes from China’s aggressive espion…
 
Climate change impacts-more heat, drought, extreme rainfall, and stronger storms-have already harmed communities around the globe. Even if the world could cut its carbon emissions to zero tomorrow, further significant global climate change is now inevitable. Although we cannot tell with certainty how much average global temperatures will rise, we d…
 
Every generation returns to the titanic heroes and villains of the 20th century. And every generation produces a new set of biographies--often immense--in an effort to understand the role of that eras main figures. In the past three years, three important new books have reassessed Hitler's life, beliefs and actions. Two of the authors, Volker Ulric…
 
Award winning activist and researcher Raj Patel has teamed up with innovative environmental historian and historical geographer Jason W. Moore to produce an accessible book which provides historical explanations for the world ecological crises and the global crisis in capitalism. Using the framework of "cheapness," A History of the World in Seven C…
 
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump broke not only from the Republican Party consensus but also from the bipartisan consensus on the direction of recent U.S. foreign policy. Calling the Iraq war a terrible mistake and lamenting America's nation building efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Trump has shown little interest in maintaining …
 
The Versailles Treaty of 1919, celebrates its one-hundred anniversary this year. And, yet unlike the more recent centenaries, such as that of the outbreak of the Great War or the Russian Revolution, the Versailles Treaty, notwithstanding its importance as perhaps the most important of the twentieth-century, has not seen the same level of interest? …
 
By choice or not, the catastrophes of global warming and mass extinction task young generations with reorienting human relationships with the earth’s systems, resources, and lifeforms. The extractavist mindset that promised prosperity in the 20th century now spells doom in the 21st and leaves us unprepared to live on a damaged planet. Into this spa…
 
In Benjamin Breen's The Age of Intoxication: Origins of the Global Drug Trade (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), we are transported back to a time when there was no such thing as "recreational" and "medicinal" drugs. People ate Egyptian mummies. Tobacco apparently cured cancer. And the book has many more fascinating stories. Focusing in on t…
 
Every time that I teach any portion of a course dealing with Ronald Reagan and the end of the Cold War, I gird myself for the inevitable myth-busting that I’m going to do. The idea that Reagan won the Cold War by bankrupting the Soviet Union through heavy military expenditures has become a piece of commonly accepted wisdom about the 40th president.…
 
In his notes for a speech to be delivered in the House of Commons in the wake of American Independence, the MP and imperial reformer Edmund Burke observed that ‘Some people are great Lovers of uniformity - They are not satisfied with a rebellion in the West. They must have one in the East: They are not satisfied with losing one Empire - they must l…
 
Growing up as an American, you’re bound to be all-but-suffused with triumphalist histories of the American Revolution. Those histories might have a tough of the Hegelian to them, asserting that the Revolutionary War was part of the inevitable development of freedom worldwide. More academic histories have focused more critically on the war itself an…
 
Anti-Semitic incidents, ranging from vandalism through murder, are on the rise in Great Britain, and across Europe and North America. Julia Neuberger - Senior Rabbi at West London Synagogue, a member of the House of Lords, chair of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, and trustee of Full Fact, an organization dedicated to getting proper information an…
 
Never have so many possessed the means to be so lethal. The diffusion of modern technology (robotics, cyber weapons, 3-D printing, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence) to ordinary people has given them access to weapons of mass violence previously monopolized by the state. In recent years, states have attempted to stem the flow of such …
 
Increasing levels of globalization have led to the proliferation of spaces of international exchange. In her new book, Global Borderlands: Fantasy, Violence, and Empire in Subic Bay, Philippines (Stanford, 2019), sociologist Victoria Reyes looks at one such space, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, in the Philippines, to understand how they are contested…
 
Count Sergey Semyonovich Uvarov, once proclaimed by Aleksandr Herzen as a ‘Prometheus of our day’, has in the past 160 years become something of an also-ran in Russian History. Notwithstanding his manifold contributions to the Russian education system as Minister of Education for more than fifteen years. And of course his invention of the holy trin…
 
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and reason; the flashy visuals are both appealing and persuasive. Pie charts, maps, bar and line graphs, …
 
Waste is one of the planet’s last great resource frontiers. From furniture made from up-cycled wood to gold extracted from computer circuit boards, artisans and multinational corporations alike are finding ways to profit from waste while diverting materials from overcrowded landfills. Yet beyond these benefits, this “new” resource still poses serio…
 
The British Empire at its greatest extent covered approximately twenty-five percent of the surface of the globe with the same percentage of the world so population under its rule, directly or indirectly. And, yet a little over one-hundred years after its apogee, with its fall made absolute by the process of de-colonization, the British Empire is st…
 
Jana Byars talks with Elizabeth Bernstein, Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College about her newest book, Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking and the Politics of Freedom (University of Chicago, 2018). This book provides an overview of feminist discourse on sex trafficking from its earliest incarnations, through its pr…
 
According to one dictionary definition, the term means: “to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles”. Of course when one employs this term in a historical context, it is usually taken to refer to the ‘Appeasement’ by Great Britai…
 
Dissecting and digesting the history of the Soviet "experiment" can be a frustrating exercise for academics and a Sisphyan task for laymen; the endeavor demands scrutiny of the facts — and they are legion — but we must also grapple with the dystopian atmosphere and cruel indifference to human life, which characterizes the period. These challenges m…
 
Do we need another book on the Vietnam War? Pierre Asselin, Dwight E. Stanford Chair in the History of US Foreign Relations at San Diego State University, thinks that we do. While he has already published A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi, and the Making of the Paris Agreement (2002) and Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (2013), he argues …
 
Helen Rozwadowski talks about the history of the oceans and how these oceans have shaped human history in profound ways. Rozwadowski is a professor of history at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point. She is the author of many books including Vast Expanses: A History of the Oceans (Reaktion Books, 2018). Much of human experience can be distill…
 
You hear a lot about "empires," but what are they? Do they still exist? And why does it matter? Today I talked to Jeremy Black about empires, historical and present. Jeremy has thought deeply about empires, and written a lot about them. We discussed them from, if not every angle, at least a good number of them. It turns out (as you might expect) th…
 
Throughout the Age of Exploration, European maritime communities bent on colonial and commercial expansion embraced the complex mechanics of celestial navigation. They developed schools, textbooks, and instruments to teach the new mathematical techniques to sailors. As these experts debated the value of theory and practice, memory and mathematics, …
 
Standards are crucial to the way we live—just look around you. A no. 2 pencil, perhaps? That arrived in an 8x8.5x20 shipping container? Standards allow your computer and smart phone to connect seamlessly with others. While it is clear that standards shape the material world we live in, someone decided that they should be that way. In a word, standa…
 
Why don’t governments do more to prevent genocide? What role does the public have in compelling their governments to take an active stand in the face of genocide? In Reluctant Interveners: America's Failed Responses to Genocide from Bosnia to Darfur (Rutgers University Press, 2019), Eyal Mayroz approaches these questions and more through an interdi…
 
There is perhaps no more iconic symbol of the Cold War than the Berlin Wall, the 96-mile-long barrier erected around West Berlin in 1961 to stem the flow of refugees from Eastern Europe. In Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, The Berlin Wall, and the Most Dangerous Place On Earth (Scribner, 2019), Iain MacGregor draws upon interviews with a wide rang…
 
As Dr. Sara Lorenzini points out in her new book Global Development: A Cold War History (Princeton UP, 2019), the idea of economic development was a relatively novel one even as late as the 1940s. Much of the language of development was still being invented or refined by experts and policymakers. And yet, within a few decades, the idea of foreign a…
 
Following World War II, in the midst of global decolonization and intensifying freedom struggles within its borders, the United States developed a worldwide police assistance program that aimed to crush left radicalism and extend its racial imperium. Although policing had long been part of the US colonial project, this new roving cadre of advisors …
 
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 …
 
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…
 
Revolutionary Thought after the Paris Commune, 1871-1885 (Cambridge University Press, 2019), is the first comprehensive account of French revolutionary thought in the years between the crushing of France's last nineteenth-century revolution and the re-emergence of socialism as a meaningful electoral force, offering new interpretations of the French…
 
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 th…
 
Andrea Pitzer talks about her book One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps (Little, Brown and Company, 2017), one of Smithsonian Magazine’s Ten Best History Books for 2017. While concentration camps may not seem to have much to do with travel and exploration, travel and forced detention are joined in strange and important ways. For …
 
With Al Zambone this week is Rachel Laudan, author of the fascinating Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History (University of California Press, 2015). Once a historian of science and technology, living and teaching in Hawaii made her a historian of food. In her book she describes the development and decline of cuisines throughout world history …
 
In the twenty-five years after 1989, the world enjoyed the deepest peace in history. In The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth (Oxford Univiersity Press, 2019), the eminent foreign policy scholar Michael Mandelbaum examines that remarkable quarter century, describing how and why the peace was established and then fell apart. To be sure, wars took plac…
 
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 (We…
 
In his new book, Transnational Nazism: Ideology and Culture in German Japanese Relations, 1919-1936 (Cambridge University Press, 2019), associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University Ricky W. Law examines the cultural context of Tokyo and Berlin’s political rapprochement in 1936. This study of interwar German-Japanese relations is the…
 
Dag Hammarskjold was such a dynamic secretary-general that for years, the motto about him was simply “Leave it to Dag.” Only the second person to hold that post when he was elected, Hammarskjold did a great deal to shape perceptions of the UN. Consequently, evaluations of his legacy have tended to run the gamut, from extremely positive to bitingly …
 
Larry Diamond joins us this week to talk about the threat China’s model of authoritarian capitalism poses to liberal democracy in the United States and around the world. Economics drives politics, and it’s easy to admire China’s growth while looking past things like increasing surveillance and lack of respect for norms and the rule of law. We’ve wa…
 
Who has the right to have rights? Motivated by Hannah Arendt’s famous reflections on the question of statelessness the book tells a non-linear global story of the emergence and transformations of human rights in the age of nation-states. In his new book A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States (Princeton UP,…
 
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