Previous Episodes Refresh
Dec 05, 2019
Sarah Handley-Cousins, "Bodies in Blue: Disability in the Civil War North" (U Georgia Press, 2019)December 05, 2019
All wars, in a practical sense, center on the destruction of the human body, and in Bodies in Blue: Disability in the Civil War North (University of Georgia Press, 2019), Sarah Handley-Cousins, a clinical assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, shows how disability was a necessary by-product of the U.S. Civil War. Handley-Cousins argues that disability in the Civil War North extended far past amputations and highlights how wartime disability ranged from the temporary to the chronic,...
Dec 04, 2019
Rosalind Fredericks, "Garbage Citizenship: Vital Infrastructures of Labor in Dakar, Senegal" (Duke UP, 2018)December 04, 2019
They were throwing garbage in the streets. Rosalind Fredericks makes sense of the garbage-scape of Dakar, Senegal in the wake of the 2007 trash “revolts” against the city and country’s uneven and failing garbage infrastructure—and puts into readers’ senses the smelly, sticky, full-sensory politics of waste management in the Global South. Garbage Citizenship: Vital Infrastructures of Labor in Dakar, Senegal (Duke University Press, 2018) brings together studies of infrastructure with...
Dec 03, 2019
Alberto Cairo, "How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information" (Norton, 2019)December 03, 2019
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, and scatter plots (to name a few) can better inform us, revealing patterns and trends hidden behind the numbers we encounter in our lives. In...
Dec 03, 2019
Stephen Le, "100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why It Matters Today" (Picador, 2016)December 03, 2019
There are few areas of modern life that are burdened by as much information and advice, often contradictory, as our diet and health: eat a lot of meat, eat no meat; whole-grains are healthy, whole-grains are a disaster; eat everything in moderation; eat only certain foods--and on and on. In 100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why It Matters Today (Picador, 2016), biological anthropologist Stephen Le explains how cuisines of different cultures are a result of centuries of...
Nov 29, 2019
John P. Davis, "Russia in the Time of Cholera" (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018)November 29, 2019
The idea of “backwardness” often plagues historical writing on Russia. In Russia in the Time of Cholera: Disease under Romanovs and Soviets (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), Dr. John P. Davis counteracts this “backwardness” paradigm, arguing that from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries, Russian medical researchers—along with their counterparts in France and Germany—were at the forefront of the struggle against cholera. Davis’ birds-eye view of this hundred-year period...
Nov 26, 2019
Michael G. Vann, "The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empire, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam" (Oxford UP, 2018)November 26, 2019
A funny thing happened to historian Michael Vann* on the way to his PhD thesis. While he was doing his research on French colonialism and the urbanist project in Hanoi, he came across an intriguing dossier: “Destruction of animals in the city”. The documents he found started him on a research path that led to a section of his dissertation, then an article that gained a wide academic and non-academic readership, and now The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empire, Disease, and Modernity in French...
Nov 15, 2019
Wendy Gonaver, "The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840–1880" (UNC Press, 2019)November 15, 2019
Dr. Wendy Gonaver discusses her book, The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880 (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Virginia, and the roles that race, the institution of slavery, and slave labor played in the development of psychiatric diagnosis and care through the nineteenth century and beyond. Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized institutions...
Nov 13, 2019
Claire Edington, "Beyond the Asylum: Mental Illness in French Colonial Vietnam" (Cornell UP, 2019)November 13, 2019
Both colonies and insane asylums are well known institutions of power. But what of asylums in Europe’s early 20th-century colonial empires? How did they operate? Who was confined in them? Who worked there? What was daily life like in such an institution? How did Western medical experts and the colonized population understand mental illness and its treatment? How did colonial racism impact mental illness? In this episode we chat with Claire Edington, Assistant Professor of History at the...
Nov 03, 2019
Kathryn Conrad on University Press PublishingNovember 03, 2019
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 bestsellers,...
Oct 24, 2019
J. Neuhaus, "Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers" (West Virginia UP, 2019)October 24, 2019
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 how...