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The Princeton African American Studies Department is known as a convener of conversations about the political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our understanding of race and racial groups. We invite you to listen as faculty “read” how race and culture are produced globally, look past outcomes to origins, question dominant discourses, and consider evidence instead of myth.
 
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show series
 
Two events in 1921—more than a thousand miles apart—had a profound impact on African American history: the production of the all-Black musical Shuffle Along and the Tulsa race massacre. A century on, an online workshop held at Princeton, Reactivating Memory, sought to explore the relationship between these seemingly disparate events and consider th…
 
After One Hundred Winters: In Search of Reconciliation on America's Stolen Lands (Princeton UP, 2021) confronts the harsh truth that the United States was founded on the violent dispossession of Indigenous people and asks what reconciliation might mean in light of this haunted history. In this timely and urgent book, settler historian Margaret Jaco…
 
“The Europeans raise all the cattle, but the Chinese get all the milk.” This joke, told in colonial Singapore, was indicative of the importance of the Chinese diaspora throughout Southeast Asia. Chinese migrants were miners, laborers, merchants and traders: the foundation of many colonial cities throughout Asia--while also making sure that their ow…
 
Did the sexual revolution create identity politics? Why are young men and women so unhappy? Mary Eberstadt, Panula Chair in Christian Culture at the Catholic Information Center and Senior Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute, joins the show to answer these questions and others and discuss her new book, "Primal Screams: How the Sexual R…
 
When Americans conjure the image of the signing of the Constitution of the United States, they often think about the various paintings that depict the Founders looking to George Washington on the dais at the convention. It is this snapshot of history that embodies Americans’ perceptions of the Founders and their conviction in the creation of the gr…
 
Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? In this landmark book, Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the…
 
How are hiring and admissions decisions made in the hard sciences if not by merit? What are the risks of allowing science to be politicized? Professors Dorian Abbot (University of Chicago), Anna Krylov (University of Southern California), David Romps (University of California, Berkeley), and Bernhardt Trout (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), …
 
When Americans talk about guns, they often use terms like “gun rights” or “gun control.” They also tend to separate gun politics and the politics of the police. In Policing and the Second Amendment: Guns, Law Enforcement, and the Politics of Race (Princeton University Press, 2021), Jennifer Carlson identifies the inaccuracies of both. She provides …
 
Firepower: How the NRA Turned Gun Owners into a Political Force (Princeton, 2021) explores the scope and power of one of America’s most influential interest groups. Despite widespread public support for stricter gun control laws, the National Rifle Association has consistently managed to defeat or weaken proposed regulations. Firepower provides an …
 
Whether we realize it or not, we carry in our mouths the legacy of our evolution. Our teeth are like living fossils that can be studied and compared to those of our ancestors to teach us how we became human. In Evolution's Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins (Princeton UP, 2018), noted paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar brings together for…
 
There is an epidemic of bad thinking in the world today. An alarming number of people are embracing crazy, even dangerous ideas. They believe that vaccinations cause autism. They reject the scientific consensus on climate change as a “hoax.” And they blame the spread of COVID-19 on the 5G network or a Chinese cabal. Worse, bad thinking drives bad a…
 
Why doesn't Socrates get drunk? Is love finding your "other half"? What's the relationship between comedy and tragedy, love and immortality? Marcus Gibson, Director of the Princeton Initiative in Catholic Thought, returns to Madison's Notes to continue our journey through the Platonic dialogues with a discussion of Plato's Symposium.…
 
The 1830s to the 1930s saw the rise of large-scale industrial mining in the British imperial world. Elizabeth Carolyn Miller examines how literature of this era reckoned with a new vision of civilization where humans are dependent on finite, nonrenewable stores of earthly resources, and traces how the threatening horizon of resource exhaustion work…
 
A century ago, it was a given that a woman with a college degree had to choose between having a career and a family. Today, there are more female college graduates than ever before, and more women want to have a career and family, yet challenges persist at work and at home. This book traces how generations of women have responded to the problem of …
 
The image of the Ottoman Turks and their interaction with the Christian West, has undergone many changes in the past: from William Gladstone's famous comment that: “[The Turks] one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.” To the more recent revisionist views of the 'cultural exchange' s…
 
In the 1960s, the radical youth of Western Europe’s New Left rebelled against the democratic welfare state and their parents’ antiquated politics of reform. It was not the first time an upstart leftist movement was built on the ruins of the old. New Lefts: The Making of a Radical Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2021) traces the history of ne…
 
Dorian Abbot is an Associate Professor of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had invited Abbot to deliver their prestigious Carlson Lecture, but rescinded the invitation after receiving complaints about an article Abbot had written for Newsweek, titled "The Diversity Problem on Campus.…
 
When Google announced that it planned to digitize books to make the world's knowledge accessible to all, questions were raised about the roles and responsibilities of libraries, the rights of authors and publishers, and whether a powerful corporation should be the conveyor of such a fundamental public good. Along Came Google: A History of Library D…
 
Histories of the Vietnam War are not in short supply. In U.S. history, it ranks alongside the Civil War and World War Two in terms of author coverage. The aftermath of the war has received a similar amount of attention, with historians noting the effect that the end of the war had on domestic politics and U.S. foreign policy. But what about shifts …
 
Do we really need universities and colleges anymore? Have they become too politicized? Many conservatives have started to write off American academia. They contend that it is so irremediably, irretrievably woke that the best that those on the right can hope for is to try to advance their ideas and live according to their principles outside it. Othe…
 
Kyle Harper's book Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History (Princeton UP, 2021) is a monumental history of humans and their germs. Weaving together a grand narrative of global history with insights from cutting-edge genetics, Kyle Harper explains why humanity’s uniquely dangerous disease pool is rooted deep in our evolutiona…
 
At the heart of human intelligence rests a fundamental puzzle: How are we incredibly smart and stupid at the same time? No existing machine can match the power and flexibility of human perception, language, and reasoning. Yet, we routinely commit errors that reveal the failures of our thought processes. What Makes Us Smart: The Computational Logic …
 
Jack Phillips is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. In 2012, Jack Phillips declined to create a custom wedding cake celebrating a so-called same-sex marriage. The men who requested the cake filed a charge with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, beginning a legal battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Jack Phillips join…
 
Computational models of urbanism—smart cities that use data-driven planning and algorithmic administration—promise to deliver new urban efficiencies and conveniences. Yet these models limit our understanding of what we can know about a city. A City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences (Princeton UP, 2021) reveals how cities encompass myriad…
 
Nature, it has been said, invites us to eat by appetite and rewards by flavor. But what exactly are flavors? Why are some so pleasing while others are not? Delicious is a supremely entertaining foray into the heart of such questions. With generous helpings of warmth and wit, Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez offer bold new perspectives on why food is enj…
 
When we think of the forces driving cancer, we don’t necessarily think of evolution. But evolution and cancer are closely linked because the historical processes that created life also created cancer. The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer (Princeton UP, 2020) delves into this extraordinary relationship, and shows tha…
 
Today I talked to Robert Kirk, the publisher of Princeton University Press's "Pedia" book series. Encyclopedic in nature and miniature in form, these books explore the wonders of the natural world, from A to Z. These brief compendiums cover wide ground in thoughtful, witty, and endlessly fascinating entries on the science, natural history, and cult…
 
Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, first published in 1792, is a work of enduring relevance in women’s rights advocacy. However, as Sylvana Tomaselli shows, a full understanding of Wollstonecraft’s thought is possible only through a more comprehensive appreciation of Wollstonecraft herself, as a philosopher and moralist who…
 
What went wrong in Afghanistan, and who is to blame? Is America safer today than on September 10, 2001? What lessons should the leaders of America's foreign policy draw from the war in Afghanistan? Ambassador Nathan Sales is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, the former U.S. State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and f…
 
Princeton AAS Podcast S2 E04 University Reckonings Over the past decade, historians have probed the relationship between higher education and slavery through innovative public-facing projects that raise important questions. What role have academic institutions played in perpetuating racial inequality? How are scholars and students today working to …
 
Over the past 15 years, journalism has experienced a rapid proliferation of data about online reader behavior in the form of web metrics. These newsroom metrics influence which stories are written, how news is promoted, and which journalists get hired and fired. Some argue that metrics help journalists better serve their audiences. Others worry tha…
 
Child sponsorship, originally a project of nineteenth-century Protestant missionaries, has become one of today’s most profitable private fund-raising tools for global organizations, including World Vision, Compassion International, and ChildFund. Christian Globalism at Home: Child Sponsorship in the United States (Princeton UP, 2020) is an investig…
 
The Berlin Ethnological Museum is one of the world's largest and most important anthropological museums, housing more than a half million objects collected from around the globe. In Humboldt's Shadow tells the story of the German scientists and adventurers who, inspired by Alexander von Humboldt's inclusive vision of the world, traveled the earth i…
 
The ice sheets and glaciers that cover one-tenth of Earth’s land surface are in grave peril. High in the Alps, Andes, and Himalaya, once-indomitable glaciers are retreating, even dying. Meanwhile, in Antarctica, thinning glaciers may be unlocking vast quantities of methane stored for millions of years beneath the ice. In Ice Rivers: A Story of Glac…
 
Why is Jordan Peterson so popular? In what ways is Jordan Peterson's approach to Scripture unique? What can Christians learn from Peterson about the Bible? Christopher Kaczor, Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, joins Madison's Notes to answer these questions and discuss his new book, "Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity: The…
 
From the Taliban to Hezbollah, armed nonstate actors and civil warfare have dominated the US national security debate for much of the last 20 years. Yet, most analysis shares a critical underlying assumption: that non-state actors fight very differently than states do. In Nonstate Warfare: The Military Methods of Guerillas, Warlords and Militias (P…
 
Upward mobility through the path of higher education has been an article of faith for generations of working-class, low-income, and immigrant college students. While we know this path usually entails financial sacrifices and hard work, very little attention has been paid to the deep personal compromises such students have to make as they enter worl…
 
What does the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs do? How can a liberal arts education help you personally and professionally? Roger Carstens, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, joins Madison's Notes to answer these questions and more.저자 The James Madison Program
 
Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, has written an intriguing new book on our understanding of American demographic data, and how we, as citizens, see each other as part of the fabric of the United States. The Great Demographic Illusion: Majority, Minority, and the Expanding Americ…
 
Welcome to The Academic Life. You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island and neither are we. So we reached across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DM us your suggestion on Twitter: The Academic Li…
 
Is there an ideal portfolio of investment assets, one that perfectly balances risk and reward? In Pursuit of the Perfect Portfolio (Princeton UP, 2021) examines this question by profiling and interviewing ten of the most prominent figures in the finance world—Jack Bogle, Charley Ellis, Gene Fama, Marty Leibowitz, Harry Markowitz, Bob Merton, Myron …
 
What is academic freedom for? What are the greatest threats to academic freedom today? Should Critical Race Theory be taught on college campuses? What about in K-12 classrooms? Keith Whittington, Chairman of the Academic Freedom Alliance's Academic Committee and the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University, joins the sh…
 
On January 10th, 1795, a very tired caravan arrives in Beijing. The travelers have journeyed from Canton on an accelerated schedule through harsh terrain in order to make it to the capital in time for the Qianlong Emperor’s sixtieth anniversary of his reign. The group is led by two Dutchmen: Isaac Titsingh and Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest…
 
Are Books VIII and IX the climax of the Republic? Is 21st century America a democratic or oligarchic society? Are democratic societies destined for tyranny? Marcus Gibson, Director of the Princeton Initiative in Catholic Thought, returns to Madison's Notes to continue our series on the Platonic dialogues with a discussion of Books VIII and IX of th…
 
The First World War poet and composer Ivor Gurney (1890–1937) spent the last fifteen years of his life confined in a Kent mental hospital before dying prematurely of tuberculosis. How good was Gurney's war poetry, and has his music stood the test of time? Why did try to re-write Shakespeare's plays? How far do recently uncovered archives transform …
 
English has borrowed more words from French than from any other modern foreign language. French words and phrases—such as à la mode, ennui, naïveté and caprice—lend English a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that would otherwise elude the language. Richard Scholar examines the continuing history of untranslated French words in English and asks what these wo…
 
Putin is not the unconstrained, all-powerful boogeyman he is made out to be in the popular Western media. So says Timothy Frye, Professor of Political Science at Columbia University in his new book, Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia (Princeton UP, 2021). Drawing on more than three decades of research, and reams of data from with…
 
Painting by Numbers: Data-Driven Histories of Nineteenth-Century Art (Princeton UP, 2021) presents a groundbreaking blend of art historical and social scientific methods to chart, for the first time, the sheer scale of nineteenth-century artistic production. With new quantitative evidence for more than five hundred thousand works of art, Diana Seav…
 
In this wide-ranging and authoritative book, the first of its kind in English, Christopher Wood tracks the evolution of the historical study of art from the late middle ages through the rise of the modern scholarly discipline of art history. Synthesizing and assessing a vast array of writings, episodes, and personalities, this original account of t…
 
The first historical study of the development of statistics in Mao-era China, Making It Count: Statistics and Statecraft in the Early People’s Republic of China (Princeton University Press, 2020) explores how Chinese statisticians attempted to know their new nation through numbers. Exploring the different kinds of statistics available and adopted b…
 
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