The Podcast for Social Research (general)

In this shortcast edition of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, BISR’s Rebecca Ariel Porte, Paige Sweet, and special guest Sonia Werner take an in-depth look back at Jamie Babbit’s 1999 queer cult classic But I’m a Cheerleader—a campy send-up of gay conversion therapy and compulsory heterosexuality. What are the “roots” of sexual desire? Rebecca, Paige, and Sonia parse the film’s playful mockery of the very notion—spoiler alert!—that sexuality (of any stripe) has anything so neatly grounded about it. Topics touched on include: sexuality’s intersubjective structure, plastic flowers and monochrome palettes, Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, comedy as coping mechanism, femme queerness, butch visibility, camp as a celebration of surfaces, Foucault, discipline, straight pedagogy, and more! 

You can download the episode by right-clicking here and selecting “save as.” Or, look us up on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

The Podcast for Social Research is produced by Elliot Yokum. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon Page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of the podcast.

Direct download: but_im_a_cheerleader_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:09pm EDT

Episode 70 of the Podcast for Social Research is a live recording of the concluding panel of BISR’s July symposium Frankfurt School and the Now: Critical Theory in the 21st Century. To what extent, 100 years later, can critical theory help us make sense of the particular conditions, crises, and prospective futures of the contemporary twenty first-century moment? Panelists Isi Litke, Barnaby Raine, Samantha Hill, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Moira Weigel, and Jodi Dean consider big data and social media, György Lukács, Black Marxism, climate and class struggle, hyper-individualism, optimism versus pessimism, and the objectification of everything. Is interactive media a democratic alternative to a top-down culture industry, or does it actually exacerbate authoritarian dynamics? How can we think about politics and political subjects under conditions of climate change? In what ways does the twenty-first century echo the twentieth? How do we think with critical theory without fetishizing it? What are the political uses of failure? Is there an imperative to hope?

Direct download: goethe_event_podcast_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:09pm EDT

In episode 69 of the Podcast for Social Research, live-recorded (like episodes 67 and 68) at BISR’s recent symposium Frankfurt School and the Now, BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Isi Litke, and Nathan Shields and guests Adam Shatz and Kate Wagner ask about the uses of critical theory for thinking about contemporary culture and cultural production, from Twitter to architecture to media mega-conglomerates like Disney. How does social media structure and even produce certain kinds of discourse (for example, YIMBY vs. NIMBY)? How can Theodor Adorno help us navigate the poles of poptimism and elitism? Why do we feel driven to “stick up” for major movie studios and franchises, and why does doing so feel and code as “progressive”? How can we think about and conduct cultural criticism today? Why are culture and cultural analysis vital to the formation of political consciousness? Can we imagine a culture that’s expressive and productive of freedom, rather than domination?

Direct download: The_Frankfurt_School_and_Contemporary_Culture.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:18pm EDT

In episode 68 of the Podcast for Social Research, live-recorded at BISR’s recent symposium The Frankfurt School and the Now, panelists William Paris, Nathan Duford, Eduardo Mendieta, and Paul North tackle the question: What use does Frankfurt School critical theory, a thought movement composed largely of mid-20th-century white men, have for contemporary thinking about race, sex and gender? The conversation touches on, among other things, the Frankfurt School’s amalgam of Marx and Freud; the patriarch as racketeer (the threatening figure who protects the woman from himself); the pitfalls of moralism and the fetishization of suffering; Walter Benjamin’s paradoxical understanding of the “tradition of the oppressed”; and Frantz Fanon’s notion of race as a pathology of time (that is, the denial of our capacity to live, in the future, in a different sort of world). How can we understand the seemingly inextricable relationship between gender panic and normativity and authoritarianism? What will race come to mean in the context of a warming planet (which most threatens black and brown people in the global south)? Who are the thinkers who have taken up Frankfurt School critical theory and pushed it in feminist directions?

Direct download: Critical_Theory_from_Below.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:43pm EDT

In episode 67 of the Podcast for Social Research, a live recording of the opening panel of two-day symposium Frankfurt School and the Now, BISR’s Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Rebecca Ariel Porte and guests Seyla Benhabib and Aaron Benanav answer the perennial question, What is Critical Theory? As they trace a line from Kant to Marx to the classic and latter-day Frankfurt School critical theorists, they grapple with a wide range of attending questions: How can we understand the concept of critique itself? How does philosophy relate to social theory? What are we to make of critical theory's fraught history as a practice of negativity (the source of many of its most piercing insights and also of its perceived troubles for praxis)? Must criticism provide a solution? Or is the critique of “progress” as urgent as ever? In the 21st century, what remains of critical theory—and what doesn’t?

Direct download: What_is_Critical_Theory.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm EDT

After a brief hiatus, Ajay and Isi are back with another episode of (Pop) Cultural Marxism! In episode 7, they sojourn amidst the splendid ruins of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the much celebrated 2023 game from Nintendo’s EPD development group, directed and produced by Hidemaro Fujibayashi and Eiji Aonuma. Before delving into the series’ past and present iterations, the two spend some time catching up on what’s new at the movies—including the expected summer blockbusters, relative degrees of quackery, and other matters. Then it’s on to Nintendo and its quasi-mercantilist business model, the awe-inspiring complexity of the latest entry in the Zelda franchise, leading to excurses on Situationist psychogeography, flânerie, combinatorial aesthetics, architectural reasoning and silent film techniques. Taking up Tears of the Kingdom as a kind of Trauerspiel in the Benjaminian sense, they explore the dialectical tension between humor and mourning, diegetic and critical knowledge formation, comparative religion, and the beauty of works that are incomparably more than the sum (or multiplication) of their parts. Stay tuned for answers to burning listener questions on the game’s environmental (or extractivist) dimensions—with reference to Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke—and the (fairly incomprehensible) class structure of Hyrule.

Direct download: pcm_zelda_fdraft_230721.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm EDT

In episode 66 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, Daniel M. Lavery, erstwhile “Prudence” of Slate’s popular advice column, dropped by to discuss his latest book—a collection of “greatest hits” from his tenure as “Prudie,” interspersed with reflections on the uses and affordances of the advice column, the role and persona of the advice-giver, and the varieties of human experience, from the sacred to the profane, that the advice column offers up to view. Danny sat down with BISR’s Kali Handelman, Abby Kluchin, and Rebecca Ariel Porte for a truly wide-ranging discussion of the history, ethics, and gnarly practicalities of advice-giving—from Greek oracles to the micro-targeting of micro-identities in the internet age, from Aristotelian “practical wisdom” to the psychoanalytic scene of transference, from “agony aunties” to Miss Lonelyhearts. What is it we're actually asking for, or about, when we ask for advice? Stay tuned as the podcast wraps with the panel providing extemporaneous advice in real time to thorny questions from the audience!

Direct download: dear_prudence_event_final_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:50pm EDT

In episode 65 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, songwriter, improviser, and ecumenical instrumentalist Wendy Eisenberg took to the “stage” for an intimate solo performance of new acoustic work. They then sat down with BISR faculty Jude Webre for a wide-ranging discussion of their musical formation, theoretical inspirations, and promiscuous reading habits. Topics touched on include being the “type of guy” who’s inspired by Tom Verlaine; implicating others in your own embarrassments; the jazz training to noise pipeline (“codified at Bard”); “hardcore” as a blurry signifier; the brilliance of Brazilian music; Astrud Gilberto, voice leading, and musical power from below; the 4-track as time machine; how to change a line without touching it (as per William Gaddis); and sexy books for summer reading when all the trees are plump.

Direct download: wendy_eisenberg_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm EDT

In episode five of Faculty Spotlight, Lauren and Mark sit down with Joseph Earl Thomas, BISR faculty and author the acclaimed memoir Sink. The three discuss: memoir-writing and the art of "un-knowing" writing; literary realism in the 21st century; having, or faking, a "world picture"; how, with Sylvia Wynter, we can think trans-culturally; Gayl Jones and the art of literary maximalism (and why it's not just for "white boys"); why "resignification" can't change the material world; and what it's like to live, work, and think in Philadelphia.

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_Joseph_Earl_Thomas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

Episode 64 of the Podcast for Social Research is a live-recording of mezzo-soprano Lucy Dhegrae's sound lecture, Music and Trauma, recently delivered at BISR Central. Between performances of selections from her acclaimed Processing Series, including the frenetic "Dithyramb" and the ethereal "No," Dhegrae talks to BISR faculty Paige Sweet and Danielle Drori about the interrelationship—the push-pull—between trauma, body, psyche, and sound—particularly in the wake of traumatic experience. What does it mean to sublimate trauma, and how is it "felt" and processed in the body? How, moreover, is trauma expressible (and what does Julia Kristeva have to say about it)? How can we understand the difference between language and music, words and sounds? And how can we think about the interrelationship of the voice and the body, of "vibration against bone"?

Direct download: Lucy_Dhegrae_Music_and_Trauma.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:21pm EDT

In episode 63 of the Podcast for Social Research, a live-recording of our Wednesday, May 3rd event Cop City: Police, Protest, and Social Control, BISR faculty Nara Roberta Silva, Patrick Blanchfield, Geo Maher, and guests Natasha Lennard and Kamau Franklin examine and contextualize the planned construction of "Cop City"the Atlantan “state-of-the-art public safety training academy” that features classrooms, firing ranges, and a “mock city” in which police trainees can practice the methods of tactical urban warfare. Who and what is driving the creation of Cop Cityand why is it a phenomenon of national significance?  How can we understand the "boomerang" effect that has brought imperial counterinsurgency "back," as it were, to U.S. shores? What is the nature of the opposition to Cop City? How, here and elsewhere, have authorities wielded statutory law to intimidate protesters and effectively prohibit protest? What are the politics on the ground, in Atlanta, a majority black city with a majority black political leadership? Finally, for a society unwilling to address extreme racial and material stratification, is Cop City its inevitable future? 

Direct download: What_is_Cop_City.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:13pm EDT

In this shortcast of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live before a screening of Fellini Satyricon as part of our Occasional Evenings series, BISR classicist Bruce King and fellow faculty Isi Litke take up the ancient past and its (cinematic) reconstruction in the present. How did ancient Romans imagine, and then parody, a “good” death—or the staging of one? How do we come to grips with the fragmentary nature of our knowledge of antiquity? What imaginaries emerge (including 20th century fascist ones) in the fissures between what remains and what’s been lost? What do out-of-sync dubbing, nonsense language, dream logics, and incongruous gestures have to do with the postmodern dismantling of grand narratives of the ancient past and its putative “simplicity and grandeur”?

Direct download: fellini_satyricon_live_intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07pm EDT

In this episode of the podcast, recorded live at BISR Central as part of our Occasional Evenings series, writer and critic Lucy Ives joins BISR’s Rebecca Ariel Porte, Lauren K. Wolfe, and special guest Sonia Werner for a reading and discussion of Lucy’s latest novel Life Is Everywhere (Graywolf Press, 2022)—an enormously capacious and, perhaps counterintuitively, characteristically “weak” novel. Starting with the question, implicit in Life Is Everywhere, as to what the novel can possibly contain (bodies and feelings? institutions and systems? historical events? speculative counterfactuals? emails and utility bills?), their conversation touches on genre—is it an organizing principle or an awkward limit?—how certain failures in writing are inadvertent strengths, the pleasures of “difficult” novels, unpromising premises, “strong” versus “weak” theory, thinking versus feeling protagonists, the disruptive power of affect, the kinds of knowledge that novels produce, the strangeness of the nearest things, Mrs. Dalloway, Henri Lefebvre, time travel, Aristotle’s poetics as high comedy, and much more.

Direct download: occasional_evenings_lucy_ives_draft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT

In episode six of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Isi and Ajay consider the cultural imperative du jour, "Let People Enjoy Things"—and offer an alternative: not letting people enjoy things. What underlies the collective impulse to not criticize? What is the purpose of criticism? And how does the injunction to not criticize misunderstand the relationship between the self and representation? Are critics cheerless? Why are we anxious for our art (are blockbuster movies so fragile)? Why, in this moment, are we seemingly so driven to seek out cultural experiences that console? Isn't critical engagement in itself a pleasure? As Isi and Ajay explore the anti-critical impulse (with a detour into the present and future of the Oscars), they take up objects ranging from Best Picture winner Everything Everywhere All at Once (and therather ardentdiscourse surrounding it) to Florian Sigl's The Magic Flute, Kate Wagner's Baffler essay "Don't Let People Enjoy Things," Franz Kafka's retranslated diaries, the video game Like a Dragon: Ishin!, A.O. Scott's New York Times exit interview, aesthetic debates reaching back to Adorno, Benjamin, and Lukács, and much else besides.

Direct download: Pop_Cultural_Marxism_Ep_6.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:37pm EDT

In episode four of Faculty Spotlight, hosts Mark and Lauren interview Andy Battle, BISR faculty and urban historian. The three discuss: why cities are so radicalizing--and alienating; the deep connection between capitalism and urbanization; how "private welfare states" drive up the cost up the cost (sometimes prohibitively) of building infrastructure; what Henri Lefebvre means by the "Right to the City"; Eric Adams (and his parallels with Trump); dance culture (and "dis-alienation"); and Cop City, the "outside agitator," and why "policing is what's left when you can't or won't...address the problems" that fundamentally beset us.

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_Andy_Battle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52am EDT

In this shortcast, recorded live before a screening of Chantal Akerman's "love film for my mother," BISR's William Clark, Paige Sweet, and Isi Litke offer a sweeping overview of the film’s technical innovations, thematic stakes, and its film-historical context. Their talk touches on Akerman’s deft hybrid of experimental and narrative traditions, formal techniques as narrative strategies, the domestic terrain of diminished sovereignty, the uncanny activation of everyday objects, ten static minutes of making meatloaf, haunted houses, whether unleashed aggression might result in repose, and what sort of genre conventions this endurance test of a film may be partaking in after all. 

Direct download: jeanne_dielman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:07pm EDT

In episode 61 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, BISR faculty Joseph Earl Thomas and Paige Sweet sit down for an intimate conversation about the peculiar and often unsparing perceptions children have of adult worlds and the writerly innovations at play in the endeavor of representing their experience of it. Their wide-ranging talk touches on everything from strategies of self-narration to means of soliciting a reader’s agency, how to tell a life-story out of order, whether animals can understand us, flat versus hyperbolic language (and their differential effects when narrating Black life in particular), comprehending things in bits (as opposed to the epiphanic moment), whether the norms to which adults acquiescence are in fact inevitable, plus an extremely capacious (materially and emotionally) kitchen sink. Before the discussion, Joseph reads an excerpt from his aptly and provocatively titled coming-of-age memoir Sink, a much-lauded and vividly told story of need, desire, imagination, and the manifold objects of adolescent attachment. 

Direct download: Sinkevent.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:23pm EDT

In episode 5 of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Isi and Ajay dive deep into the spectacle of James Cameron’s latest blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water, touching on questions of cinematic language, the ironic celebration of nature through its destructions, papyrus fonts, visual and narrative incoherence, Final Fantasy (and being unfair to it), Ridley Scott, Moby Dick, Heidegger’s question concerning technology, Prehistoric Planet, windmills, colonialism, György Lukács, Eiji Otsuka, Sontag's “Fascinating Fascism,” dubs vs. subs, 64-bit water, underwater motion capture, the shock doctrine, the movie's mildly eugenic obsession with sexualized (yet sexless) bodily perfection, James Cameron's legacy in crafting so much of the style of contemporary "cinematic universe" form, even the bizarre Manhattan mall where Isi and Ajay watched the movie. And, of course, lots and lots of water. 

Direct download: PCM_AVATAR_corrected.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12pm EDT

In episode 60 of the podcast, recorded live at Goethe-Institut New York, BISR's Ajay Singh Chaudhary joins translator Tess Lewis, political theorist Corey Robin, and novelist Jessi Jezewska Stevens for a wide-ranging discussion of Ernst Jünger’s 1939 novel On the Marble Cliffs, now out from NYRB in a new translation by Lewis. Prompted by the question, “Why read Jünger today?,” their talk explores the various “tangled” scenes of Jünger reception—from his contemporaries (excoriated by Thomas Mann and Walter Benjamin) to his apologists (defended for his denunciation of the Nazis—if only for their vulgarity) to patent aesthetic and thematic parallels in contemporary anime and manga. Is it possible, or worthwhile, to read Jünger in the context of the contemporary right and its concern with its own worldview losing traction in a changing world? Is Jünger literary aristocracy—or, rather, a kind of literary adolescent? And, what is it like to translate something that you feel at odds with? 


Direct download: JungerEventGoethe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

In episode 59 of the podcast, on the occasion of Valentine's Day, we are celebrating the many friendships that BISR has fostered over the years. You’ll hear the stories of four friendships – and one marriage – all of which began at a BISR class or event. First, Paige Sweet and Joseph Earl Thomas, fellow faculty who met at a student meetup, share their intellectual and creative affinities. After that, student Sasha Kruger and faculty Amrita Ghosh describe the after-class chat that sparked an enduring, transcontinental friendship. Next, faculty members Rebecca Ariel Porte and Danya Glabau will discuss an intellectual friendship that dates back to BISR’s early days. Faculty Lygia Sabbag Fares and student Susie Hoeller follow, talking about friendship even in the midst of political non-alignment. And lastly, faculty Audrey Nicolaides and the brains behind BISR’s website Josh Johnson (both former students) tell the story of their first encounter at an early BISR course back in 2012, the several inauspicious dates that followed, and, eventually, their wedding, officiated by BISR's executive director, Ajay Singh Chaudhary.

Direct download: BISR_Buddies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:07am EDT

In episode 58 of the Podcast for Social Research, award-winning translator Ross Benjamin sits down with BISR’s Christine Smallwood, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, and Lauren K. Wolfe to discuss—on the occasion of his new translation of the fully reconstructed, uncensored diaries—Kafka’s long, often fraught, sometimes tendentious publication and reception history. Loosely organized along three axes—Kafka and literature, Kafka and translation, Kafka and Theory—their talk touches on Kafka’s creatures, proliferating anxiety, his vexed relationship with tradition (and how to carve out a space for protest), the fantasy of a translator’s omniscience (and disabusing oneself of the same), Benjamin’s “Task of the Translator,” Kafka as stimulus to prodigious theoretical invention, the call center as the surreal bureaucracy of this century, how to read and write with unfinished texts, and much else besides.
Direct download: The_Kafka_Diaries.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EDT

In episode three of Faculty Spotlight, Lauren K. Wolfe and Mark DeLucas interview BISR classicist Bruce King. The three discuss: what brought Bruce to the classics; the charisma of his teachers (and the poverty of their ideas); queering the canon; the trouble with the Odyssey; coming to love Latin (and why he's keeping Horace to himself); learning Sanskrit with friends; BISR's new Language Learning and Critique program; and Bruce's favorite non-ancient things—from Henry James to Claude Lévi-Strauss to La Monte Young's "Pythagorean" Dream House.

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_Bruce_King.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:44pm EDT

In episode four of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Ajay, Isi, and Joseph review the year 2022 in pop culture via the prism of five topics and trends: "open world" (and cinematic universe) fatigue (for example, Assassin's Creed: Vahalla, Sonic Frontiers, Legend of Zelda); the plague of remakes and cultural nostalgia (Top Gun Maverick, Wednesday, Interview with the Vampire); cultural paranoia (true crime TV and paraphernalia, including the "In Case I Go Missing Binder," Nextdoor, Tár); liberal fan fiction (Handmaid's TaleBridgerton); and the substitution of moralism and forensic analysis for actual aesthetic judgment (explainers, the backlash to critique, and "explains it all" prequels like Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power). Do open worlds lend gravitas to video games—or do they just create sameness? What are the pastoral impulses behind farming games? Is the mania for remakes confirmation of Francis Fukuyama's "End of History"? Is Tár a product of cancel cultural panic? What is "plastic representation"; and how does representational fantasy like Bridgerton erase the very historical knowledge that makes social critique possible? And finally, what explains the urge to explain it all? How does ambiguity provide potency to art? The podcast closes with a discussion of Ajay's, Isi's, and Joseph's favorite 2022 things (whether actually released in 2022 or just personally discovered): Elden RingYellowjacketsHadesAzor, The Banshees of Inisherin, Station 11, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

Direct download: Pop_Cultural_Marxism_2022_Year_in_Review.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:31pm EDT

In episode 57 of the Podcast for Social Research, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Danielle Drori, Mark DeLucas, Lauren K. Wolfe, and Michael Stevenson look back at their 2022 in cultural experiences, from high-brow to middle- to low-: visiting NYC landmarks (for the first time), the New York Philharmonic (and David Geffen Hall's questionable acoustics), the Upanishads, diary-keeping (and destroying), Sybille Bedford (vs. Henry James), Lucy Ives's Life is Everywhere, the Xenoblade Chronicles (an allegory for communism?), Pink Floyd, "low-powered" cultural objects, Station 11, Bernadette Mayer, Stockholm's Vasa Museum (a museum dedicated to failure), Chester the dog,  Annie Ernaux, and autofictionagain, and again, and again. 

Direct download: At_Years_End_with_the_Angel_of_History_2022_Year_in_Review.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:16am EDT

In episode three of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Ajay and Isi welcome fellow faculty and videogame connoisseur Joseph Earl Thomas to talk about Elden Ring, the acclaimed 2022 RPG videogame, directed and created by Hidetaka Miyazaki and Japan's FromSoftware studio (alongside some "worldbuilding" by Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin.) After a few preliminaries (a revisit to Andor and discussions of the recent Sight and Sound "best movies" poll, Pokemon, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 as communist allegory, and more), the talk turns to Elden Ring's "endless purgatorio," its "nihilistic" setting, its "open-world" structure (just how "open" are open worlds?), the meaning and limits of agency in videogame play, taking pleasure in difficulty, "affective difficulty," why videogame playing might be like dancing (with reference to BISR's late Jeffrey Escoffier), affect theory (and feeling bad about killing), gender, playing dress-up, and much more besides.

Direct download: PCM3_Elden_Ring.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:32pm EDT

In episode 65 of the Podcast for Social Research's "Practical Criticism" series, the game has changed. For a special live recording of the final episode of 2022, everyone knew in advance that the sonic object would be Pink Floyd's landmark concept album—and favorite laser light show accompaniment—Dark Side of the Moon. A gathering of dedicated listeners joined Rebecca and Ajay "in studio" for an immersive collective listening experience to this classic of prog rock on vintage vinyl. And the surprises spun out from there, beginning with a musicological breakdown of borrowed sounds, followed by a detour through Franz Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle (with insights from Adorno on poetry and escape), thoughts about the concepts at work in concept albums, plagal cadences and passacaglia, receptiveness to the sounds of ordinary life, the reverb of history, the history of lasers, and much more. 

This podcast includes the whole of the approximately 45-minute album, so if you’re short on time, hop off at minute 5:56 and tune back in for the conversation that picks up again at minute 49:05. If you’re in it for the complete experience, this is one to listen to with headphones on!

Direct download: Practical_Criticism_No._65_-_Dark_Side_of_the_Moon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:55pm EDT

For the second installment of Faculty Spotlight, hosts Mark DeLucas and Lauren K. Wolfe sit down with faculty Paige Sweet—writer, writing consultant, literary theorist, and practicing psychoanalyst—for a wide-ranging conversation about the many eclectic aspects of her work, including the unconventional classroom and how it transforms pedagogical practice; what constitutes literary “theft” (from Kathy Acker’s Don Quixote to everyone’s Emily Dickinson); the self in autotheory and what it means to theorize “from the skin”; the risky business of writing; how politics enter the psychoanalytic clinic; and thinking with queer-of-color performance theorist José Muñoz. If you enjoyed the podcast, keep an eye out for Paige’s upcoming BISR course on Autofiction in February.

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_Paige_Sweet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20pm EDT

In the second episode of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Isi and Ajay take up the latest addition to the Star Wars universe, Tony Gilroy’s television series Andor. Their talk touches on topics large and small, from animatronic garbage droids, ordinary social life in the Star Wars universe, and the petty middle managerialism of empire, to labor militancy, Wagner’s Ring Cycle, early Hollywood genre conventions, and more.


  • Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, scored by Philip Glass
  • Kyle McCarthy for Lux Magazine, on ballet and feminism
  • Bayonetta 3 controversy
  • Judith Butler, Gender Trouble
  • Susan Sontag, Notes on Camp
  • Mark Fisher's blog post on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • Franz Neumann, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944
  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth
  • Arash Abizadeh on Hobbes' state of nature
  • John Locke, Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina
  • Films mentioned: Brian de Palma, Carrie; Ridley Scott, Alien; John Carpenter, The Thing; Bernardo Bertolucci, The Conformist; Jennie Livingston, Paris is Burning; Robert J. Flaherty, Nanook of the North; Jacques Tati, Playtime; Terry Gilliam, Brazil; Jean-Pierre Melville, Army of Shadows; Jean-Pierre Melville, Le Samouraï
Direct download: PCM_ep_2_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:12pm EDT

In episode 56 of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR faculty Joseph Osmundson joins Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Nafis Hasan for a discussion of his new, highly acclaimed book Virology. Issues at hand include: the structure and mechanics of viruses; how they're perceived, and differentiated, socially and politically; and their power to affect not only individual health, but also our economy, society, and the very ways we speak and think. Joe, Ajay, and Nafis also survey our apparently ever-lasting Pandemic Times, asking: what's happened, why, and where do we go from here? 

Direct download: Episode_56_Osmundson_VIrology.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:12pm EDT

In the inaugural episode of Faculty Spotlight, hosts Lauren K. Wolfe and Mark DeLucas sit down with faculty Türkan Pilavci, art historian and field archaeologist, for a wide-ranging conversation about her work, including her archaeological field work in Turkey, the problems with art museums, the meaning and periodization of "Ancient Egypt"; how modern states draw onand discard—ancient history (for example, the mummy parade!); archaeology in pop culture (Indiana Jones: archaeologistor adventurer?), and what it's like to be a woman at the dig. If you enjoyed the podcast, please check out Türkan's upcoming BISR course: Ancient Egypt: Art, Archaeology, and Empire.

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_Turkan_Pilavci.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:22pm EDT

Introducing Episode 1 of the new Podcast for Social Research subseries (Pop) Cultural Marxism, in which Ajay and Isi (and special guests!) will be exploring the "fantastic form" of pop-cultural commodities—from film and television to toys and games to objects of every conceivable consumer variety. In the premier episode, they turn their attention to the genre of fantasy, and in particular to the recent prequels to The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Listen in as they discuss, among other things, Amazon aesthetics, "the liberal imagination," beautiful failures, faux and real political realism, gif-able moments, Tolkien for neofascists, mimetic regression, billion-dollar budgets, and potential affinities between fantasy and socialist thought.

Direct download: pop_cultural_marxism_episode_1_elves_and_dragons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:14pm EDT

In this Podcast for Social Research Shortcast, BISR's Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Isabella Likte consider the genre of teen comedy—or, in this case, a macabre critique of the genre. Sitting down for a short discussion in advance of our People's Choice Back-to-School screening of Michael Lehmann's 1989 film Heathers at BISR Central, Ajay and Isi probe (late) Gen-X social utopias and the dark side of Reagan's "morning in America." This Shortcast is a sneak preview of Ajay and Isi's new podcast subseries Pop-Cultural Marxism, which debuts next week, so stay tuned!

Direct download: HeathersTalk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33am EDT

In episode 26 of the Podcast for Social Research’s “Practical Criticism” series, Ajay Singh Chaudhary surprises Rebecca Ariel Porte with György Ligeti. They talk the newness of New Music, sparkling dissonance, champagne dissonance, weak shock, the poetry of Monk and Evans, generosity and difficulty, Adorno, modernism, working pluralism, theory and praxis.

Direct download: Practical_Criticism_Episode_26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm EDT

In episode 55 of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Rebecca Ariel Porte, and Isabella Katrina Litke sit down after our Occasional Evening screening of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 masterpiece The Last Emperor to discuss the film’s making, themes, and fascinating approach to the grand sweep of 20th-century Chinese history. What can The Last Emperor, in its depiction of the Pu Yi’s fall from emperor to re-educated common gardener, teach us about the interplay of aesthetics, politics, and history? How does the film manage, where so many period pieces fail, to aestheticize history while also eschewing nostalgia? And what does it mean, cinematically, to democratize the past?

Direct download: TheLastEmperor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:22pm EDT

Episode 54 of the Podcast for Social Research, a companion piece to Episode 53, is a live recording of Suzanne Schneider’s 11pm lecture at the 2022 Night of Ideas. In answer to the evening’s prompt “Where are We Going?” Schneider delves into the realm of risk, which has come to structure ever-increasing portions of individual, social and political life. And as risk has become “privatized,” its management has become a site for profit-making, with industries ranging from health care to firearms selling “safety” products pitched to privileged, middle- and upper-middle class subjects. How can we distinguish risk, fear, and paranoia? In what sense is risk a commercial concept? And what are the effects—individual and societal—of assuming an actuarial mindset when navigating social and political interactions? Does the culture of constant vigilance, of security hoarding as a lifestyle, in fact make us less safe?

Direct download: suzy_nop_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:28pm EDT

Episode 53 of the Podcast for Social Research is part one of two episodes recorded live at the 2022 Night of Ideas at the Brooklyn Public Library, co-sponsored by Villa Albertine. The theme of the evening was "Where are We Going?" Ajay Singh Chaudhary's response, "Against Resilience: Exhaustion, Ecology, and Emancipation" traces the genealogies and uses of the concept of resilience and its limitation in social and political theory. The foundation for "left-wing climate realism," Ajay argues, are to be found in rejecting the atomizing and internalizing imperatives of "resilience" in favor of the externalization of "exhaustion" into a real politics of power and conflict, citing anti-colonial and even Civil War precedents. Why is the ubiquitous concept of resilience so vague and yet so deleterious? How should we understand ecological and social exhaustion today? And what are the discomfiting implications of a political theory entirely structured by this ecological moment?

Direct download: against_resilience_night_of_ideas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:55pm EDT

In episode 52 of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR faculty Nara Roberta Silva, Sophie Lewis, Jenny Logan, Abby Kluchin, and Alyssa Battistoni discuss Samuel Alito's Dobbs draft opinion, recently leaked, and the impending overturning of Roe v. Wade. Questions considered include: Alito’s reasoning, its implications for other rights, the validity of the “rights-based” approach itself (grounded in what’s implicitly a masculine (while also dis-embodied) liberal subject), abortion discourse (and the tendency to euphemize), the violence of enforced gestation, political strategy, the need for a truly mass feminism—and beyond.

Direct download: abortion_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:16pm EDT

In episode 60 of the Podcast for Social Research's Practical Criticism Series, Ajay Singh Chaudhary plays Lingua Ignota for Rebecca Ariel Porte, who, as usual doesn't know what the object of the week will be. They discuss commitment, committing to the bit, metal and its iconographies, ritual, decadence, Hildegard von Bingen, Audre Lorde, catharsis, exorcism, and choosing an enemy.

Direct download: PC_60.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:04pm EDT

In episode 51 of the Podcast for Social Research, Rebecca Ariel Porte welcomes the poet Yanyi for a discussion of his newly published collection Dream of the Divided Field. The episode kicks off with readings from Yanyi's work, before turning to a discussion, both playful and serious, of the genesis of Dreams, the role of dreams in the writing process, the power of the poetic line, and how writing can move one from a place of loss to new self-understandings.
Direct download: Yanyi_edit_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:22pm EDT

In Episode 63 of the Podcast for Social Research's "Practical Criticism Series," Ajay Singh Chaudhary plays "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," as covered by The Pogues, for Rebecca Ariel Porte, who, as usual, doesn't know what the sonic object of the week will be. Their conversations covers resonances between World War I and our own historical moment, uses and abuses of nationalism, internationalism, periphery and metropole, proxy wars, balladry, pastiche, trauma, missed opportunities, disillusionment, and propaganda.

Direct download: pc_63.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:04pm EDT

In episode 58 of the Podcast for Social Research’s “Practical Criticism” series, Ajay Singh Chaudhary plays Pavement’s “Stereo” for Rebecca Ariel Porte, who, as usual, doesn’t know what the object of the week will be. Over the course of the discussion, they explore the strange aesthetic, social, and economic category of “indie”, the potential virtues and vices of non-virtuoso performance and “de-skilling”, musical absurdism, the Benjaminian physiognomy (and anxiety) of the slacker, the surprising genius of doggerel lyrics, the vaudevillian, the dark undercurrents of comfortable emptiness in a tired nation, and music with its corners chipped.
Direct download: pc_58.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06pm EDT

In episode 59 of the Podcast for Social Research, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Lygia Sabbag Fares, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Suzy Schneider, and Michael Stevenson look back at their 2021 in cultural experiences: painting of the Italian Renaissance, language lessons, television, film, poetry, theater, translations, music, games, high-brow, the low-brow, and the middle-. Common threads include exhaustion, recycling (for better and worse), recuperation, the kitsch of "art experiences," and making a liveable life right now, wherever we happen to find ourselves.

Direct download: end_of_year_2021.1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43pm EDT

In episode 57 of the Podcast for Social Research's "Practical Criticism" series, the first of a new season, Rebecca Ariel Porte plays Nala Sinephro and Pharoah Sanders and Floating Points for Ajay Singh Chaudhary, who, as usual, doesn't know what the object of the week will be. Their conversation ranges over promises, promissory structures, broken promises, avant-jazz and minimalism, Coltrane's "sheets of sound," phasing, convalescence, composition and the medicinal, conversations and echoes, and the sound of nothing to prove.

Direct download: PC_57_New_-_10_13_21_12.44.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:20pm EDT

In episode 47 of the Podcast for Social Research’s “Practical Criticism” series, Ajay Singh Chaudhary plays Nirvana for Rebecca Ariel Porte. They talk pop avant-gardes, Kurt Cobain’s voice, exhausted croons, experiments in sound, experiments in masculinity, depression and melancholy, Burton’s anatomy of melancholy, developing variation, word play, disillusion and disaffection, and Nirvana's Gen X musical legacy in the sonic avant-garde and depressive realism of the (largely feminine and queer) singer-songer writers of today. Songs include: "Smells Like Teen Spirit"; "The Priest They Called Him" by Kurt Cobian and William S. Burroughs; "Pennyroyal Tea"; "All Apologies" and Mitski's "Your Best American Girl."

P.S. Our (Millennial) editor Cora would like to note that Mitski is indeed a proper Millennial, not Gen Z as indicated in the episode.
PPS.  Omitted further thoughts on the class nature of Nirvana hopefully forthcoming. You can read Ajay on generational and class politics in "OK, OK, Boomer: The Critical Theory of Contemporary Angst."

Direct download: pc_47_jailbreak_-_8_27_21_12.57_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EDT

In episode 48 of the Podcast for Social Research's "Practical Criticism" series, Rebecca Ariel Porte plays Björk for Ajay Singh Chaudhary. They converse about pop avant-gardes, Bruegel's *Land of Cockaigne,* utopian fantasies of Iceland, islands and the insular, the state of emergency, music designed to be remixed, protean pop personae, female friendship, nascent solidarities, music as muse, and why Björk is more like Taylor Swift than you'd think.

Direct download: PC_48_-_free_release_with_music.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:21pm EDT

In the 48th episode of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR faculty (and co-founder) Christine Smallwood joins Abby Kluchin, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Michael Stevenson, and Suzanne Schneider for a wide-ranging discussion of her acclaimed debut novel The Life of the Mind. In a two-part conversation, Christine sits down first with Abby to discuss the novel's characters, themes, and influences (George Eliot, Thomas Mann, Melanie Klein, and, perhaps unconsciously, Antonio Gramsci and Walter Benjamin), before joining Rebecca, Ajay, Michael, and Suzy to ponder what it means today, with the academy in crisis, to live a "life of the mind." Questions considered include: What is depressive realism? How does the central character Dorothy relate to both professional and bodily failure? Why, in a book titled The Life of the Mind, does much of the writing concern the body? What distinguishes “overthinking” from critique? Can reading and thinking make us better people? And if not, how can we understand the “necessary luxury” of living, at least partly, a life of the mind?

Direct download: Smallwood_podcast_-_5_13_21_11.54_AM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:19pm EDT

In episode 41 of the Podcast for Social Research's "Practical Criticism" series, Ajay Singh Chaudhary plays Locash for Rebecca Ariel Porte, who has no idea what the object of the week will be. They discuss pop country, meta-country, bro country, bubblegum country, crossover appeal, national imaginaries, projections of unity and masculinity, David Allan Coe, Lady A, the culture industry, Nashville songwriting, clean and dirty production, cliché, and dorito engineering.

Direct download: PC_41_-_2_22_21_18.22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:39pm EDT

In this episode of the Podcast for Social Research’s “Practical Criticism” series, Ajay plays Debussy’s “Jardins sous la pluie” for Rebecca, to whom the object of the week is, as usual, a surprise. Their conversation ranges over virtuosity, empty and full, tone painting, modern music, play, omission, peopling the world of your solitude, Shakespeare’s Richard II, Adorno, and Proust.

n.b. This episode indirectly cites the excellent pandemic playlist that Jacob Gordon is in the process of compiling. 

Direct download: PracCrit11_-_4_27_20_20.15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:49pm EDT

Who needs a world view? Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Michael Stevenson, and Rebecca Ariel Porte welcome world-renowned philosopher Raymond Geuss for a wide-ranging discussion of Geuss’s most recent book. They explore Geuss’s understanding of what a world view is; the history and habit of the worldview in Western philosophical, political, and aesthetic thought, the problems and pathologies of certain kinds of systemic thinking; and alternative conceptions for thinking and philosophizing. Conversation also ranges over Geuss's engagement with Critical Theory, and the thought and legacy of the late philosopher Sydney Morgenbesser, teacher to Geuss and spiritual godfather, of a sort, to BISR.

Direct download: Geuss_podcast_-_3_4_21_16.51.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:47pm EDT

Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Lygia Sabbag Fares, Michael Stevenson, Rebecca Ariel Porte, and Suzanne Schneider look back on 2020 in cultural objects: what artifacts from the catastrophe of history lingered with them and which will they be salvaging for the coming year? Discussion ranges over children's media,  experimental performances of Beethoven, sourdough, samba-canção, Sianne Ngai, Spiritfarer and Deathstranding, Robert Walser's fairy tales, and critical theory, always. The conversation coalesces, unexpectedly, around questions of storytelling-- how we narrate the present and how we narrate the immediate past--and why pessimism does not necessarily mean fatalism. 

Direct download: 2020_YE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:38pm EDT

On Thursday and Friday, October 22nd and 23rd, BISR, along with numerous partners, conducted a two-day teach-in and symposium, Empire in Crisis, dedicated to exploring the scope, function, and possible futures of U.S. imperialism. The 45th episode of the Podcast for Social Research is a recording of Friday's introductory teach-in session: "Empire and Capital: Policing Global Production." Drawing on works by Rosa Luxemburg, Herman Mark Schwartz, Michael Kalecki, and Ellen Meiksins Wood, among others, BISR's Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Lygia Sabbag Fares examine the close, perhaps necessary, connection between capitalism and imperialismspecifically, U.S. imperialism. Does capitalism require imperialism, whether to open new markets, to maintain existing markets, or, even, to generate domestic demand? As forms of capitalism change, do forms of imperialism change, too? What does capitalism have to do with "endless war"? What is "imperialism of the dollar"? Does empire pay? Please note, the readings for “Empire and Capital", as well as every other teach-in session, can be accessed here.

You can download here by right-clicking here and “save as,” or look us up on iTunes.

This episode of the podcast was edited by Cora Walters. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.

Direct download: EmpireInCrisis_Day2_TeachIn1_-_11_13_20_15.39.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:20pm EDT

The 2020 U.S. presidential election is often called “the most important” of our lifetime. It may also be the most overdetermined. In episode forty-four of the podcast, BISR’s Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Asma Abbas, Nara Roberta Silva, Alyssa Battistoni and Cora Walters discuss the 2020 presidential election and place it in historical, global, political, economic and ecological context.    What forces, trends, and contradictions have brought us to our present moment? Are we at a crossroads? Will the crisis persist regardless of the outcome? Where do we go from here?  
Direct download: OverdeterminedElectionPodcast_-_10_30_20_12.24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:46pm EDT

On June 25th and 26th, 2020, in response to the protests convulsing the nation in the wake of the racist killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, among countless others, BISR conducted a two-day teach-in, free and open to the public, in which faculty explored issues and concepts that contextualize the crisis of American racism, criminal justice, and dispossession. This episode is a recording of the session called “A Short Course in Neoliberalism.” With special reference to Philip Mirowski's Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste BISR's Raphaële Chappe, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, and Cora Walters explore the economic, political, and ideological frameworks of neoliberalism. How should we understand neoliberalism's policy implications, broadly writ, when it comes to capitalism, legal systems, the state, work, individual experience, and collective activity? What does neoliberalism have to do with policing and the carceral system? Please note, the readings for “A Short Course in Neoliberalism”, as well as every other teach-in session, can be accessed here.

You can download here by right-clicking here and “save as,” or look us up on iTunes.

This episode of the podcast was edited by Cora Walters. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.

Direct download: Neoliberalism_TeachIn_-_9_21_20_15.28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:13pm EDT

In response to the protests convulsing the nation in the wake of the racist killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, among countless others, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research organized a two-day teach-in, free and open to the public, to explore issues and concepts that contextualize the crisis of American racism, criminal justice, and dispossession. Episode 43 of the Podcast for Social Research is the recording of the events of that day. 

Direct download: Nara_TeachIn_-_8_17_20_17.27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:09pm EDT

Episode 42 of the Podcast for Social Research features core faculty member Rebecca Ariel Porte's talk from the French Embassy and the Brooklyn Public Library’s Night of Philosophy and Ideas (2020). Philosophy for the dawn, this talk treats an impossible question: "what is life?" via a meditation in the form of a dialogue. These notes and queries on a badly arranged world travel over the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy, a florilegium of verse, a selection of old materialisms including Marx and Spinoza, Bosch's *Garden of Earthly Delights,* Raphael and Cy Twombly, and a brief history of life on earth. An introductory conversation between Rebecca and Ajay Singh Chaudhary precedes the audio. 
This episode of the podcast was edited by Nechama Winston.   
Direct download: Rebeccas_NoP_2020_lecture-BISR_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am EDT

In episode 41 of the Podcast for Social Research, Raphaële Chappe, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Michael Stevenson, and Cora Walters contemplate the character, varieties, and uses of escapism right now. Among the case studies are Xavier de Maistre, Animal Crossing, classic Hollywood, sourdough baking, mixology, cooking, walking, The Voice, Elizabeth Bishop, serial television, species of quarantine, and what it means to travel while staying in your room.     

This episode of the Podcast for Social Research was edited by Cora Walters. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.

Direct download: Escapism_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:44pm EDT

This episode of the Podcast for Social Research features core faculty member Suzanne Schneider's talk from the French Embassy and the Brooklyn Public Library's Night of Philosophy and Ideas (2020). Her lecture theorizes a culture of "constant vigilance" that pervades different forms of American life--and American death--in the context of guns and terror. A brief introductory conversation between Suzy and Ajay Singh Chaudhary precedes the audio.

This episode of the Podcast for Social Research was edited by Nechama Winston. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.

Direct download: NoP_2020_Suzy_audio_only_BISR_podcast_V1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

In this episode of "Practical Criticism," Ajay Singh Chaudhary plays the finale of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera for Rebecca Ariel Porte, who, as usual, doesn't know what the object of the week will be. They discuss true happy endings and false ones, operetta, satire, Brecht and Weill's avant-garde experiments, and Walter Benjamin's famous declaration that there is no document of civilization that is not also a document of barbarism. 
This episode of the Podcast for Social Research was edited by Nechama Winston. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.
Direct download: PracCrit6_GeneralRelease.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

his episode of the podcast features Ajay Singh Chaudhary's midnight lecture from Night of Philosophy and Ideas 2020: "We Are Not All in This Together: Climate, Politics, and Conflict." One of the most familiar ways  in which people talk about climate change and its politics is as a universal, positioning anthropogenic climate change as an abstract, "common enemy." In this talk, Ajay tells a different story. From remarkably similar understandings of "the facts" of climate change arise sharply divergent interests, political formations, and conflicts. After a brief introduction in which Ajay and Rebecca Ariel Porte talk about the talk's larger project, audio from the event begins. Night of Philosophy and Ideas is co-sponsored by Brooklyn Public Library and the French Embassy.

You can download here by right-clicking here and “save as,” or look us up on iTunes.

This episode of the Podcast for Social Research was edited by Nechama Winston. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.

In this episode of the Podcast for Social Research, the last of the year, Raphaële Chappe, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Mark DeLucas, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Michael Stevenson, and Cora Walters contemplate their most intriguing cultural experiences from 2019: art objects and films, music, dance, games, gardens, literature, television and national forests, the high-brow, the low-brow, and the middle-. Common threads include the rediscovery of older forms and genres, problems of nostalgia and novelty, time and scale, exhaustion and renovation, and what it means to stumble into an artwork and find familiar places, people, and things suddenly made strange.    

You can download here by right-clicking here and “save as,” or look us up on iTunes.

This episode of the Podcast for Social Research was edited by Nechama Winston. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.

Direct download: 2019_BISR_Year_in_Review_podcast_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46am EDT

What’s a difficult pleasure? In this episode of the Podcast for Social Research, a sequel to our episode on guilty pleasures, Raphaële Chappe, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Mark DeLucas, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Michael Stevenson, and Cora Walters continue to work on the tangled problem of what to do with art objects you find aesthetically compelling but politically or morally conflicted. Case studies range from Wagner to Shakespeare, Céline, Bertolucci, Morrissey, Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, and Lana del Rey.

You can download by right-clicking here and clicking “save as,” or look us up on iTunes.

This episode of the Podcast for Social Research was edited by Nechama Winston. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.

Direct download: Difficult_Pleasures_podcast_FINAL_version_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:15pm EDT

American capitalism is frequently contrasted with its European other—namely, the social democratic model that seems, to American eyes, more equitable and less crisis-prone. Yet, according to sociologist Oliver Nachtwey, all is not well in social-democratic Germany, Europe’s largest economy, where stagnant social mobility has led to social fragmentation and a revived nationalist right-wing. In the 35th episode of the Podcast for Social Research, Nachtwey joins BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary for an extended discussion of contemporary capitalism, social democracy, the neoliberal turn, the rise of the right, and alternatives to the status quo. What, if anything, differentiates Western European capitalism from its American variant—and why, if it was once in some sense more equitable, are Western European societies and institutions currently in crisis? How did neoliberalism make itself felt in Germany? What remains of the social democratic compact? Can Western Europe be re-stabilized—and under what conditions?

Direct download: Capitalisms_Hidden_Crises_Ep35.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08am EDT

In this episode of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR Core Faculty members Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Suzanne Schneider, and Rebecca Ariel Porte mull the case of the guilty pleasure: what does this phrase mean? What kinds of pleasures (if any) qualify as guilty? What are alternative models for thinking about our conflicted pleasures in cultural objects? How to rule on the defendant pleasure: guilty, not guilty, or a plea of no contest? Case studies range from country music to games, teen dramas, science fiction, and Romantic poetry. 

Direct download: On_Not_Guilty_Pleasures_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:29am EDT

What is the price of fracking? In the 33rd episode of the Podcast for Social Research, Eliza Griswold, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America, joins BISR's Ajay Singh Chaudhary for a wide-ranging conversation about fracking (what it is and what it does), energy politics, rural economies, corporate and regulatory collusion, resistance, and the economics of ecological sustainability. Is increased natural-gas extraction economically necessary—or even desirable? What role do governmental agencies play? In rural communities, why do landowners sign fracking leases, and who ultimately benefits? Can an energy-based economy be both productive and ecologically sustainable—or is some alternative necessary to mitigate the very worst effects of climate change?

Direct download: ElizaGriswold.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:26am EDT

In this thirty-second episode of the Podcast for Social Research Core Faculty Member Rebecca Ariel Porte delivers an address for the two-hundredth anniversary of Keats's Odes of 1819, originally recorded as a live broadcast for Montez Press Radio. This lecture considers how to read and what it means to be reading these strange poetic artifacts now--and, too, what it means to be on, to, with, for, and against the Romantic forms of poetry that go under the name of "ode." What is an ode and why write or read one? What are the effects of an ode, its tremors in time, its odicy? What are the odd reverberations of Keats's odicies and their objects--psyche, indolence, melancholy, nightingale, urn, autumn--after two centuries of wear and tear?

Direct download: FINAL2_RebeccaArielPorte_AnotherOdicy_46Canal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

In the thirty-first episode of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at the 2019 Night of Philosophy and Ideas (February 2nd - February 3rd, 7 p.m. - 7 a.m.), an all-night marathon of intellectual life co-sponsored by Brooklyn Public Library and the French Embassy, BISR faculty Suzanne Schneider, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, and Rebecca Ariel Porte deliver a series of talks on the theme of the evening, "Facing the Present. Suzy explores the linkages between the contemporary right wing and Islamic jihad; Ajay theorizes  “The Long Now” of life during climate change; Rebecca contemplates the puzzle of naming and envisioning possible worlds like and yet unlike our own. What senses of past, present, and future animate acts of terror or a nihilist orientation to the world? How, as political subjects, do we register the devastations of the anthropocene, already so powerfully present to so many? Why do we attach to distant, radiant, indifferent objects and what does their allure have to do with the difficult arrangements of the given world? 

Direct download: Ep_31_Podcast_for_Social_Research_Night_of_Philosophy_and_Ideas_2019.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33pm EDT

Ajay, Raphaële, and Rebecca look back on 2018 in cultural objects: what artifacts from the catastrophe of history lingered with them and which will they be salvaging for the coming year? Conversation ranges from poetry and theory to music, film, games, and other sensory pleasures, broadly conceived.

Direct download: ep30endofyearcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:56am EDT

In this shortcast, Ajay, Audrey, Mark, Raphaële, and Rebecca talk about the feel of the winter holiday season, sweet and sour, bitter and bright, ritual and revulsion.

Direct download: shortcastholidays.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

The 2008 financial crisis shook to the core not only the global economy, but also prevailing myths about the efficiency of markets, the possibility of endless profits and growth, and the inviolability of capitalism. In The Fall that Wasn’t: a Decade Since the Financial Crisis, documentarian Astra Taylor and journalist Sarah Jaffe join BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Rebecca Ariel Porte, and Raphaële Chappe for a wide-ranging panel discussion of the causes and contexts of the crash, as well as its lasting, overwhelming consequences for policy, politics, and culture. In addition to retracing the blow-by-blow of events, panelists discuss neoliberalism and capitalism, austerity, accountability, political and aesthetic repercussions, and the nature of crisis itself. 

(Apologies for drops in audio at 47 minutes and 1:24 minutes. Please see the embedded video of the Verso event on the BISR site, which partially addresses the gaps)

Direct download: ep29thefallthatwasnt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:39am EDT

Direct download: ep28theoryontheradio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08am EDT

In the twenty-seventh episode of the Podcast for Social Research,BISR faculty Adriana Garriga-Lopez, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, and Alyssa Battistoni attempt to untangle the interlocking forces that rendered Puerto Rico fatally vulnerable to the double punch of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. One year later, Puerto Rico remains a site of social and ecological catastrophe, an “unnatural” disaster of infrastructural decay, economic austerity, and political subjugation. What, in theory and practice, is Puerto Rico’s relation to the United States? What impact has colonization, neoliberalization, and financialization had on Puerto Rico’s social, economic, and political condition? What is the state of the island 11 months after landfall? How do ordinary Puerto Ricans cope, and what can be done?

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode__27__Unnatural_Disaster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:59pm EDT

In our second Podcast for Social Research Shortcast, BISR's Suzanne Schneider, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Raphaele Chappe, Mark DeLucas, and Michael Stevenson discuss the odd appeal, and internal contradictions, of HGTV. What sort of ideal does HGTV project, and why, today, is it attractive? Why are domestic spaces now seen as sites of potential perfectibility, of entrepreneurial derring-do? What distinguishes HGTV from "This Old House"? Why, in shows about settling down, do the participants seem as if they come from, and end up in, no place?

Direct download: ep26.5shortcastHGTV.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:51pm EDT

The twenty-sixth episode of the podcast for social research is a live recording of a discussion on Suzanne Schneider’s new book Mandatory Separation: Religion, Education, and Mass Politics in Palestine, hosted by New York Society Library. BISR’s Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Anthony Alessandrini, and Suzanne Schneider discuss whether religion is source of political stability, social continuity or an agent of radical change and how should we understand religion and secularism when we talk about political and historical matters such as partition and nationalism? Suzanne talks about her book that takes mandate period Palestine as a case study under the British administration to study the relationship of religion, education, state and politics. Panelists ask how in light of these considerations should we attempt to create a clear boundary between religious and political.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode_26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:39pm EDT

In our first Podcast for Social Research Shortcast, BISR's Rebecca Ariel Porte, Raphaele Chappe, Mark DeLucas, Suzanne Schneider, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary watch the trailer for the movie Mary Shelley and consider the life of Mary Shelley, the Romantic intellectual milieu, and filmic representations of genius. Are intellectual bio-pics always undone by self-seriousness? Is campiness the key to representing genius and creativity?

Direct download: ep255shortcast1shelley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

The twenty-fifth episode of the Podcast for Social Research is a live recording of "Borders, Migration, and Crisis," a critical and wide-ranging conversation on migration and the present-day immigration crisis: its roots, form, and legal and physical structure, the political, legal, economic, and geographical contexts for migration,  and alternatives to the status quo. The event, which took place on July 8th, 2018, featured Nestor Rodriguez (UT Austin, Department of Sociology), Sarah Lopez (UT Austin, School of Architecture, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice), Eduardo Canales (Executive Director of the South Texas Human Rights Center), Ana Vidina Hernández (UT Austin, Social Work), and BISR’s Ajay Singh Chaudhary, took place on Friday, July 6th at the Black Star Co-op in Austin and was made possible by BISR in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin, Jolt Texas, and Union Communications Services, and in solidarity with Jolt’s "Art Caravan for Children to Brownsville."


Direct download: ep25Podcastfsr_Borders.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:35pm EDT

In the twenty-fourth episode of the Podcast for Social Research, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Nathan Shields, and Jude Webre discuss the relationship between music and criticism and the what it means to talk intelligibly about popular genres ranging from jazz to pop to prog rock. Departing from Adorno’s “Perennial Fashion—Jazz” and recent work by the critic Kelefa Sanneh, this roundtable considers the following questions: What does it mean to do music criticism in a world of constantly mutating genres, sounds, forms, and vocabularies? What does it mean to listen to music as a critic, an enthusiast, a performer, or a composer? How does taste really work? And how do conversations about music shape our social worlds?

Direct download: Podcast_Episode24_II.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

Episode twenty-three of the podcast is a live recording hosted by Caveat Space. Just Before Trump delivered his first State of the Union, guests Sarah Jaffe (the Nation Institute) and Kazembe Balagun (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung) and BISR’s Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Patrick Blanchfield, Samantha Hill, and Kali Handelman took to the Caveat stage to discuss the state of the country and our politics as they actually are. What has changed and what hasn’t in the past year? In the era of the 24-hour news cycle, what stands out as significant, exceptional, or exemplary? What is the state of our union? Participants present a picture of the past year and the present moment through the stories, moments, and issues that stand out to them. Q & A follows.

Direct download: ep23pfsdirestates.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

In the twenty-second episode of the Podcast for Social Research, Asma Abbas, Tony Alessandrini, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, and Rebecca Ariel Porte commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution with a conversation about its material legacy in text, music, visual art, film, architecture and technology. Panelists ask what the revolution was, why it happened, how it played out in political theory and in practice. Their conversation considers what the revolution meant in its own moment and what it means today in light of attempts to conceive different and better forms of life. Due to technical difficulties, the first part of the episode recreates a conversation originally recorded live at 61 Local; the second part of the episode, which departs from the question of to what degree we've forgotten the forms and effects of the revolution and to what degree they're still with us, preserves the panel discussion from the original event.

Notations for this episode may be found here. 

Direct download: ThePodcastforSocialResearchEpisode22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

We've been podcasting for six years — from even before the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research's first class. Our podcasts have always covered a range of topics — from philosophy and literature, to science and technology, to politics and society — and is always socially engaged (and always features an interactive bibliography!). In creating a Patreon page, and by releasing episodes here, we invite greater listener involvement: with your generous support, we can achieve a long-standing goal of putting the Podcast for Social Research on a more regularized footing, with improved production values (we'll be able pay for engineering!) and regularly scheduled episodes.

On the right, you'll find the various giving levels. Whether as a mere “Lumpen Disruptor” or a mighty “Venture Capitalist,” you'll play a crucial and much-appreciated role in strengthening the Brooklyn Institute and making the Podcast for Social Research a high-quality public intellectual resource. We’re incredibly proud that the Podcast for Social Research has been featured as a fascinating conversation, pedagogical resource, or crucial reference everywhere from the New York Times to the Barnard Library to 3quarksdaily. Regularly featuring Brooklyn Institute faculty members Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Suzanne Schneider, Danya Glabau, Tony Alessandrini, Raphaele Chappe, and others, the podcast also plays host to occasional guests (past participants include Maria Svart (National Director, Democratic Socialists of America), Bhaskar Sunkara (Editor in Chief, Jacobin), David Albert (Professor of Physics, Columbia University), and Sarah Leonard (Senior Editor, The Nation)). With your help we’ll be able to create more critically informed and socially engaged podcasts, at a higher quality, and on a regular basis!

To celebrate the launch of Podcast for Social Research Patreon, we'd also like to share a collection of some of our favorite episodes. Below you'll find riveting discussions of contemporary American politics, Trumpism and the prospects for socialism, Frantz Fanon and the uses of violence, Donna Haraway and the anthropocene, and the value of philosophy in a scientific age. Remember: with your generous support, we can make The Podcast for Social Research a more regular occurrence, increasing the number of episodes produced and helping strike a blow for a more substantive and intelligent public discourse.

Direct download: minicastfinaldraft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:22pm EDT

Episode 21 of the Podcast for Social Research features a conversation between core faculty members Raphaële Chappe and Danya Glabau on science education in the contemporary moment. What does it mean to be scientifically or mathematically literate and what do these literacies have to do with the styles of critical inquiry at play in the humanities and social sciences? Raphaële and Danya ask what science pedagogy means right now, particularly in the American context, and how the question of education intersects with problems of access, disciplinarity, institutional politics, and the history of ideas.

Direct download: ep21scienceeducast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:28pm EDT

The twentieth episode of the Podcast for Social Research was recorded live June 9-10 at “The People’s Summit” in Chicago, Illinois! BISR executive director and core faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary and program coordinator (and future organizing fellow) Audrey Nicolaides sat down with Maria Svart of the Democratic Socialists of America, Sarah Leonard of The Nation and Dissent, and Lina Khan of New American. We had to change mics at least once (hence the sound fluctuations for the first ten minutes or so of Maria’s conversation), we recorded simultaneously for podcast and live video (hence the constant confusions between "listening" and "viewing" audiences) and Audrey lost her voice almost immediately but we had fascinating and far-reaching conversations with our guests about contemporary American politics, socialism, praxis, political strategy, human emancipation, journalism, epistemology, internationalism, political economy, anti-trust, and some brighter possibilities in dark times.

Direct download: ep20pfsrpeoplessummit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40pm EDT

The nineteenth episode of the Podcast for Social Research features BISR research associate Jeffrey Escoffier, formerly the director of health, media, and marketing for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene under Michael Bloomberg, in conversation with Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Danya Glabau. Jeffrey, Ajay, and Danya talk through Foucault’s conception of the biopolitical, regimes of biopolitics in New York City, the history of public health, the policing of pleasure, health as morality, the strategies and politics of marketing healthy behavior, and coming down with a bad case of Aristotelian akrasia.

Notations for this episode may be found here.


Direct download: Podcast_for-Social_Research_Episode19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:32pm EDT

Public Conversations: Uses of Poetry is the eighteenth episode of the Podcast for Social Research and features poet, scholar, and divagator Maureen N. McLane, author of Mz N: the Serial, among other works of poetry and criticism, along with BISR faculty member Rebecca Ariel Porte. Maureen and Rebecca talk art in a time of crisis, what it means to be contemporary, how poems happen, hybrid forms, the genesis of Mz N, lyric theory, and what, in the first place, poetry is for. Recorded live at Berg’n, this episode was moderated by Christine Smallwood, a founding BISR faculty member, and marks the first event of BISR’s Public Conversations program, a series that puts members of the Institute faculty in dialogue with artists, writers, scientists, and other luminaries.

Notations for this episode may be found here.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

The Podcast for Social Research: Episode 17, "Reading Donna Haraway in the Anthropocene"

The seventeenth episode of the Podcast for Social Research centers on recent work by Donna Haraway, whose newest intervention in the fields of feminist scholarship and science and technology studies is titled Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Danya Glabau and Ajay Singh Chaudhary discuss anthropocene logics, the trajectory of Haraway’s Marxist feminism, anthropocentrism, detachable infrastructure, the politics of dieback fatalism, ethics at the level of the molecule, speculative fabulations, migratory subjectivity, human-butterfly hybrids, Navajo-Churro sheep, and the perennial Adorno on the shoulder.

Notations for this episode may be found here.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02pm EDT

The Podcast for Social Research: Episode 16, "What Rough Beast? Contending with Trumpism"

A sequel to our first, live, election-themed episode of the podcast (Slouching towards Election Day), Episode 16 responds to the urgent need for critical reflection in the wake of the recent, deeply divisive presidential election. Guests Kazembe Balagun (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung) and Bhaskar Sunkara (Jacobin) convene with BISR faculty including Tony Alessandrini, K. Soraya Batmanghelichi, Raphaële Chappe, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Samantha Hill, Audrey Nicolaides, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Suzanne Schneider, and Jude Webre. What went wrong in the lead-up to the election? And what is to be done in its aftermath? How should we define Trumpism and and how can we understand it? In addition to contending with these questions, this panel wrestles with the implications of an increasingly authoritarian executive branch, the problems of political resistance, and the question of how afraid we should really be.

Notations for this episode may be found here.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm EDT

The Podcast for Social Research: Episode 15, "Slouching Towards Election Day"

The first live recording of the Podcast for Social Research, episode fifteen takes up the forms and feelings of American electoral politics in light of the least popular election in recent American history. Audrey, Ajay, Jude, Tony, and Rebecca consider the historical background of presidential politics, the apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding the current election, affect in the American political scene, sleek sharks in tailored suits, mythical civilities of the Enlightenment, and recent arguments advanced by Nancy Fraser, Andrew Arato, Arun Gupta, and Lauren Berlant. This episode, recorded just before a screening of the third and final presidential debate of 2016, also includes a live Q&A session.

Notations for this episode may be found here.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:20pm EDT

The Podcast for Social Research: Episode 14, "Violence and Resistance--Frantz Fanon"

In the fourteenth episode of the Podcast for Social Research, Anjuli, Tony, and Ajay talk through the life, work, and legacy of Frantz Fanon, the Martiniquean psychiatrist and philosopher of decolonization who was also a veteran of World War II and an adherent of the Algerian revolution. This conversation takes up major texts in Fanon’s oeuvre (Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth) as well as profound theoretical controversies that radiate from them—idiocy, the literary dimensions of Fanon’s work, his strangeness of form and methodology, the psychological inflections of his writing, the political structure of states and colonies, the best footnote in all of twentieth-century philosophy, and particularly the nature and meaning of violence as praxis, “perfect mediation,” symbol, and atmosphere—violence as reason to despair—and as reason not to.

Notations for this episode may be found here. 

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:43pm EDT

The Podcast for Social Research: Episode 13, "Poetic Experiments--Coste Lewis and Nelson"

The thirteenth episode of the Podcast for Social Research considers a recent work of poetry by Robin Coste Lewis (Voyage of the Sable Venus) and a recent work of poetic, theoretical memoir by Maggie Nelson (The Argonauts)—both of which deploy the metaphor of travel by ship. Rebecca and Yanyi converse about narrative and fragmentation in contemporary poetry, Coste Lewis’s subversive genealogy of representations of the black female body, theories of voice and self, conceptual writing, and Nelson’s meditations on queer family-making and love.

Notations for this episode may be found here.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:28pm EDT

The Podcast for Social Research: Episode 12, "Radicalism"

The Podcast for Social Research returns with an episode centered on theories of the radical. Departing from Emily Bazelon’s recent New York Times piece, “Who’s Really ‘Radical’?” Suzy, Tony, and Ajay discuss the etymological origins, historical weight, and contemporary political force of the category of radicalism, asking, in the course of the conversation, who and what we call radical and what it means when we do. Case studies range from the Red Decade to political Islam.

Notations for this episode can be found here.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:07pm EDT

This is the eleventh episode of the Podcast for Social Research. (We have a new numbering system!) In this episode, Heather, Raphaele, and I (Ajay), along with special guest Charles Pratt of the NYU Game Center, get together and have a conversation about “gambling” as a concept, its practice and experience, and in its role in social and economic structures. We’re using a slightly different format for our “notations” section this time around since both Heather and Raphaele sent me such fantastic after-show notes that I wanted to include them.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Episode_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:09am EDT

This is the first episode of the second season of our podcast series, "The Podcast for Social Research." We recorded this episode on Friday, October 23 with an eye towards relevance to the upcoming election, and also to return to film criticism to inaugurate our second season, much as we began our first.  As such, this was recorded long before any of us realized that by this weekend, with a mere 4 days till the election, most of our city's attention would be focused on displaced people, power outages, destroyed infrastructure, climate change, and the politics of crisis response. However, there is still an election on Tuesday, and there is still a place for discussion even in a crisis. So whether you are stuck at home because of the subways or heading out to Far Rockaway, Staten Island, Red Hook, or any of the other neighborhoods still in critical need, or anywhere else in the world, we hope you enjoy our discussion of political movements and elections and our friendly critique of Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master." As always, please see our Notations section after the jump for some references, asides, and more. Although we have a bibliography in our customary style, our own time constraints to post this before the election will keep this episode's Notations largely without time stamps. We promise to return to our full, thorough style of Notations for next episode. Until then, share, enjoy, stay safe, and warm.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_1_The_Podcast_for_Social_Research.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:51pm EDT

This is a supplemental episode of our podcast series as well as the final episode of our "first season"! In this episode - actually recorded several months ago - Michael and I (Ajay) engage in a somewhat freewheeling discussion of several issues raised in our previous podcast, particularly questions raised by philosophical naturalism and "scientism." Along the way, we discuss a wide variety of issues and figures in philosophy (some of whom are listed in our abbreviated Notations section below) and find that we agree on a surprisingly large number of issues. As Michael mentions at the end of the podcast, he will be not be in our regular, rotating podcast roster this coming year, but will instead be recording an "On the Road" podcast series interviewing philosophers and others around the country. In addition to Michael's supplemental series, we will return soon with new regular podcasts and more supplemental episodes, as well as new formats, and new people. We really hope you enjoy this episode and have enjoyed the "first season" of the Podcast for Social Research. We'll be back very soon! As with the last episode, there will be a brief Notations section after the jump. Please make use of it to fill in many of our gaps, and please pardon the raucous music that begins playing next door towards the end of this episode. Ahh, New York.

(You can download here by right-clicking and “save as” or look us up on iTunes)


Direct download: Supplemental_Podcast_for_Social_Research_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49am EDT

This is a supplemental episode of our podcast series. In this very different episode of the Podcast for Social Research, Michael, Christine, and I (Ajay) sit down with Professor David Albert to discuss quantum physics, the history of 20th and 21st century physics, the philosophy of science and a host of related issues, including his recent – and sometimes heated – exchange with Lawrence Kraus on Kraus’s recent book. As this episode is so different from our others – and led primarily through Albert’s discussion of quantum physics – the Notations section will be a brief bibliography without time-stamps. We hope you enjoy!*

*- Michael and I will be recording a follow-up discussion of this discussion soon! So look forward to that as well.

Direct download: Supplemental_Podcast_for_Social_Research_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT

This is a supplemental episode of our podcast series, “The Podcast for Social Research.” While preparing for our previous podcast, I (Ajay) came across a piece that Gideon Lewis-Kraus had written critiquing an article by Columbia Professor Hamid Dabashi which, in turn, was a critique of Azar Nafisi's bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran. I was quite taken aback by Gideon's piece both because (full-disclosure) Dabashi is my adviser but, perhaps far more importantly, I agreed so vehemently with Dabashi's original critique. Being the kind of institution we are, where we want to promote transparency and open, critical dialogue, we thought the best thing to do was to record a separate, brief podcast where Gideon and I got to revisit this episode, some six years later. What ensues is, we hope, an interesting discussion about politics, aesthetics, war, imperialism, writing-as-art, writing-as-industry, and a host of other issues. We have an appropriately brief Notations section

Direct download: Supplemental_Podcast_for_Social_Research_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:24pm EDT

This is the fifth episode of our podcast series, "The Podcast for Social Research." We change up formats a bit this time around and begin with Abby interviewing Gideon Lewis-Krauss, author of the forthcoming book, A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful. About a month later, Christine, Michael, Abby and me (Ajay) got together to pick up this topic of "pilgrimage" and discuss without recourse to either neccesarily crafting a definition or turning the question purely into a different question of "what is religion?" We hope you enjoy the conversation that ensues! For more information on the episode please see our show notes.

Direct download: BISR_Podcast_Ep._5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT

This is the fourth episode of our podcast series, “The Podcast for Social Research.” In this episode I (Ajay) fail to get the show edited and annotated in a timely fashion, we fail to come to an agreement on how to proceed in philosophical discourse, and we cannot even come to the terms to begin a conversation about Downton Abbey. We never claimed it wasn’t an experiment. For more information please see our notes

Direct download: BISR_Podcast_Ep._4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:54pm EDT

This is a supplemental episode of our podcast series, “The Podcast for Social Research.” In this episode, we have an informal conversation between one of our fellows, Soraya Batmanghelichi and myself (Ajay) about the situation within Iran after the controversial 2009 re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In this conversation, we discuss the current political situation in Iran, a bit of history, the status of the “Green Movement” and the women’s movement in Iran today, and the role of new (and old) technologies in all of these. There’s even a bit about the strange, contemporary, and co-producing transmission and feedback of discontent between the Green Movement, the Arab Spring, and even Occupy Wall Street. Occasionally, you’ll hear us talk strangely around, under, and sometimes completely edited out concerning certain subjects that were deemed potentially too sensitive. We hope you understand. For more info please see our website

Direct download: Supplemental_Podcast_for_Social_Research.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37pm EDT

This is the third episode of our podcast series, “The Podcast for Social Research.” This week we talk a bit about our first class, a bit more about Kamilia Shamsie's essay "The Storytellers of Empire", and quite a lot about Evgeny Morozov's essay, "The Death of the Cyberflaneur", Walter Benjamin, the Internet, subjectivity and a heck of a lot in between.  For more information on the this episode please see our Introduction and Notations on our wesbite

Direct download: BISR_Podcast_Ep._3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm EDT

This is the second episode of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research's podcast series, "The Podcast for Social Research." This week we talk about the video game Shadow of the Colossus, Plato's beef with poetry in The Republic, and quite a bit in between. For more information please see the Notations for episode 2. As with last time, please see our Notations section after the jump for some references, time stamps and topics. You can download us directly here or subscribe on iTunes. Enjoy!

Direct download: BISR_Podcast_Ep._2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

The Podcast for Social Research, Episode 1

This is the first episode of our podcast series, "The Podcast for Social Research." It is divided into two parts. The first part is an introduction followed by discussion of various goings-on of the faculty of the Brooklyn Institute for the Social Research, ranging from books we've been reading, and concerts we've attended to reflections on current affairs and everything in between. The second part (which begins at around 01:07:00) is a round table discussion of the recently released film, "A Dangerous Method." For more information and extensive notes about the podcast and us in general please visit:

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo Credit:

Direct download: BISR_Podcast_Episode_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:56pm EDT