The Podcast for Social Research (general)

In episode nine of Faculty Spotlight, hosts Lauren K. Wolfe and Mark DeLucas sit down with Jenny Logan, Associate faculty (legal studies) and plaintiff's attorney, at the District Court level, in the case of Johnson v. Grant's Pass, on which the Supreme Court recently ruled. Speaking from London, Jenny discusses the origins of the casein which a class of unhoused people sued the city of Grants Pass, Oregon, for imposing criminal penalties on people sleeping in public parks—and explains the reasoning behind the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling upholding the constitutionality of Grants Pass's anti-homeless statutes. What were the stakes of Johnson v. Grant's Pass; and why, as critics argue, does the Court's ruling effectively enable the criminalization of homelessness? Why have cities responded to homelessness with largely punitive measures? And how can the case of Grant's Pass, whose only shelter is a religious mission, be situated within the wider history of the evangelical-neoliberal alliance to undermine the New Deal social contract and welfare state? What is the future of "poverty governance" in the United States? 

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_Jenny_Logan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34am EDT

In this shortcast edition of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, BISR’s Rebecca Ariel Porte and Isi Litke discuss Stephen Frears's 1985 classic of queer cinema, My Beautiful Laundrette. Conversation ranges over the film's Thatcherite backdrop; its depiction of queer, and cross-racial, love; and its inimitable mix of gritty social realism and dreamlike sensuality. What's unique, in the queer cinematic canon, about a film made just before the AIDS crisis emerged in British public consciousness—that is, just prior to the inceasing identification of queerness with disease? How does it weave elements of the fairy tale into its story of cross-class, cross-racial love? And how does the film, with its "qualified utopian hope," contrast with later, more pessimistic classics of the New Queer Cinema? Why, in a film set in a laundromat, is it a source of optimism that some things don't stay clean? 

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_My_Beautiful_Laundrette.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:38pm EDT

Practical Criticism is back with its first episode of 2024—on Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter. In it, Rebecca Ariel Porte plays the opening track of the album, “American Requiem,” for Ajay Singh Chaudhary, who, as usual, doesn’t know what the object will be. Their conversation then commences with a question: Beyoncé is far from the first to undertake the ambitious task of deconstructing country music’s many musical debts—but does she actually succeed in doing so? Along the way, they discuss the history of Black country music (and listen to Linda Martell), the convergence of aesthetic and commodity forms (is the album so slick as to slide over into parody?), conflictual aspirations to iconicity and iconoclasm, and the courage of conviction it takes to betray an older version of one’s own aesthetic commitments.

 

Direct download: Practical_Criticism_Beyonce_06.14.24_V2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:51pm EDT

In episode 11 of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Ajay and Isi examine Alex Garland’s Civil War (2024). Kicking off with a handful of pop culture news items—including the Met Gala, the death of Steve Albini, A24’s Stop Making Sense tribute album, and Apple's alarming iPad Pro commercial—the conversation turns to Garland’s provocative and uneven drama about a group of photojournalists traveling through a war-torn United States. Ajay and Isi discuss the perils of directors commenting on their own works, the film’s inadvertent critique of combat photographers, “Portland Maoists,” Garland’s allusions to significant 20th century photojournalists (Robert Capa, Lee Miller, Gerda Taro, the Bang Bang Club), reactionary aesthetics, and the vernacular of American violence. Central to the conversation are perennial questions about the mediation of war through film and photography; the circulation and reception of images of violence; and how to make a film about war that neither glamorizes nor sentimentalizes it.

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

Have 21st century technologies—from smartphones to medical devices to the commonplace use of artificial intelligence—made cyborgs of us all? In this episode of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, BISR faculty Rebecca Ariel Porte sits down with fellow faculty Danya Glabau and co-author Laura Forlano to parse what the latter, in their recent book Cyborg (MIT Press), have termed “critical cyborg literacy”: a lens through which to critically examine the constitutive role technology plays in the ways we think, behave, know, and interact. Glabau and Forlano begin with a synthetic overview of the history and affordances of thinking with the figure of the cyborg, after which the three discuss, among other things, the hidden human labor behind apparently automated systems, failure and the glitch, feminist scholarship as collaborative process, and the cyborg as, beyond its technicity, a social, political, and aesthetic project.

 

Direct download: Cyborg_BISR_05.02.24_MusicAdded.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:22pm EDT

In episode 78 of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR's Jude Webre (who also teaches at Columbia University and NYU), Sami Al-Daghistani (Columbia and the Norwegian School of Theology, Religion, and Society), and Robyn Marasco and Anthony Alessandrini (CUNY) offer faculty perspectives on the Gaza Solidarity Encampments that have arisen on college campuses nationwide and globally. What happened and what is happening on the ground in NYC and internationally? How do faculty understand their position relative to protesting students, on the one hand, and mega-institutions like Columbia University and City University of New York, on the other? What are the discussions that are happening among faculty—including faculty with different levels of employment precarity and security? How can we understand the Gaza Solidarity Encampments and the faculty response within the context of the wider crisis in academia? Can the student protests inaugurate, in turn, a new movement for faculty empowerment? What is the meaning of solidarity?

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Student_Protest-Faculty_Solidarity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53pm EDT

In episode eight of Faculty Spotlight, hosts Mark DeLucas and Lauren K. Wolfe sit down with Danielle Drori, Associate faculty member (in literature and Judaic studies), Director of Development, and psychoanalyst-in-training. Recently returned from a long-delayed trip to her native Tel-Aviv, Drori discusses the state of Israeli society in the shadow of the war in Gaza, her own vexed relation to her country of birth (including, how it shaped her scholarly interests), and the unexpected resonances of Erich Auerbach's Mimesis in a time of mass destruction. What's humane in Auerbach's historicist method? Is Auerbach's documentation of "civilization" also a lamentation? What sorts of perspectives are afforded by exile?

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_Danielle_Drori.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm EDT

What does it mean to claim translation as an artform unto itself? In episode 76 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central while a wicked Nor’easter raged outside, BISR welcomed Ugly Duckling Presse, Barricade journal, and the Leipzig/Vienna-based collective TRANSLETTING for an evening of presentations and panel discussion addressed to the ethics, politics, and embodied practice of literary translation in the 21st century.

With Walter Benjamin’s “Task of the Translator” (1923) and Sawako Nakayasu’s Say Translation Is Art (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2020) as historical and theoretical bookends, the cast—including BISR’s Lauren K. Wolfe, Ugly Duckling Presse Manager Marine Cornuet, and the TRANSLETTING collective (check out their bios below)—talked its way through Nakayasu’s playful politico-poetical wager (say translation is unfaithful, is performance, repetition, failure, process, collaboration, feminism, polyphony, conversation, deviance, decolonial, punk, and improvisation) and, from there, explored the word as a contingent unit of meaning and value by way of Ilse Aichinger's Bad Words, in a translation by poets Uljana Wolf and Christian Hawkey.

The ensuing conversation touched upon all manner of things—from good words to wrong ones; the pleasures of infidelity; how power is borne in the space between an original and its translations; the meaning-bearing unit of language (a word, a comma, a syllable, syntax, a poem, a book, alternative structures of literature?); markets and reading publics; a translator’s responsibility—to whom? to what?; identity and its vicissitudes; and much else besides.

The TRANSLETTING collective includes: Konstantin Schmidtbauer, writer and translator; Mücahit Türk, writer; Jonë Zhitia, writer, translator, and editor; Nadja Etinski, writer, historian, and editor; Leonie Pürmayr, writer and editor; and Anile Tmava, writer, editor, and anthropologist.

Direct download: TranslationIsArt_04.03.24_BISR_EditsMusic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:03am EDT

In this edition of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live before of a screening of Michael Haneke’s 2001 The Piano Teacher, BISR faculty Lauren K. Wolfe, Rebecca Ariel Porte, and Paige Sweet take up impinging mothers, absent fathers, and the variable affordances of literary and cinematic media, as they compare and interpret Haneke’s film and the eponymous novel by Elfriede Jelinek from which it was adapted. Topics touched on include: the reactionary milieu of 1980s Austria; ways of reading psychological depth from cinematic surface; recognition and misrecognition (by way of Aristotle and Lauren Berlant); pedagogy and its incidental lessons; musical Romanticism and sexual pathology; dissonance and the (dashed hope for) a return to tonic; Freud and polymorphous perversity; Schubert’s Winterreise, Schubert as seduction strategy, Adorno on Schubert, and much else besides.

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

What does culture look like in a “sustainable” world? In episode of 10 of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Ajay, Isi, and guest Rebecca Ariel Porte examine the problems with “green” technology and consumption—which, it turns out, do little, nothing, or less than nothing to sustain the environment—and talk about the kinds of cultural forms, from literature to architecture to games, that are not only sustainable in terms of ecology and society but also aesthetically compelling and beautiful. How does genuine ecological sustainability depend on social sustainability for artists and engineers and other creative workers, and promote far richer aesthetic expressions? Why is so much “Green”-branded work—in everything from the built world to fine art—anything but? What forms of aesthetic creation not usually thought of as ecological, are actually sustainable in every dimension? How does our current unsustainable social and ecological society constrict imagination and creative effloresce? And how would even a modestly more sustainable world, actually enable and support such creative flourishing? Looking to both current and historical examples, Isi, Rebecca, and Ajay review art installations like Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room and the MOMA’s Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism; architecture from the “PR-architecture” of projects like “Oceanix” to the actual sustainability found in works like Võ Tr?ng Ngh?a’s “Farming Kindergarten”; unexhausted forms in music (from Bach to Stravinsky, pop music to the vast world of jazz) and in verse, such as the ghazals of poet Anthony Madrid; film, tv, and even videogames, whether low-powered and low-tech (as with recent critical and commercial successes like Hades (Supergiant) or Stardew Valley (Concerned Ape)) or high-powered and high-tech (and highly popular), like ZeldaElden Ring, and more. How is production—from emissions to mineral inputs, exploitative assembly and “crunch”—key to understanding aesthetic exhaustions? How does unsustainable ecological design and an ever accelerating model of production stifle creativity and promote ever narrower, more costly, and less interesting work? How does a model like streaming—and other modes of supposedly “dematerialized” distribution—actually obscure ecological damage while simultaneously making aesthetic production more difficult for artists and aesthetic consumption less compelling for everyone? What is the “trickle up misery” of “defensive architecture”? In the face of a capitalist ethos that always insists on creativity as bound to a logic of “bigger, faster, better, more,” the conversation explores the ways in which working, creating, designing, and engineering within limits has produced some of the most exciting aesthetic forms and experiences, and how the necessity of ecological and social limits can act as the “enabling constraints” of a far more compelling aesthetic life than the all-too-real dystopia of today.

Direct download: Pop_Cultural_Marxism_Episode_10_Green_Capitalism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31am EDT

In episode 74 of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary sits down with writer and artist Molly Crabapple to discuss his new book, The Exhausted of the Earth: Politics in a Burning World (Repeater). Live-recorded at P&T Knitwear in New York City, the conversation encompasses, among other things: the ubiquity of exhaustion (and how feelings of exhaustion might form the basis for new international solidarities); right-wing approaches to climate mitigation (and why, in the realm of climate policy, the Right has a "leg up"); "growth," "degrowth," and how the status quo actually thwarts abundance; the limits (or, illusions) of climate technocracy (and the kinds of climate technologies that can work); and international social movement responses climate catastrophe—and the lessons they might provide for U.S. activists.

Direct download: Podcast_for_Social_Research_Ep_73_Exhausted_of_the_Earth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

In episode 73 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live following a screening of Daniel Goldhaber’s cinematic adaptation of Andreas Malm’s polemic against pacifism How to Blow Up a Pipeline, BISR faculty Isi Litke, RH Lossin, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary explore the aesthetic, historical, and thorny practical terrain of violence as activist strategy and political tool in the face of climate crisis. With Goldhaber’s film as a jumping off point, they ask—and answer—questions like: how can cinema represent the complex harms wrought by climate devastation, in all their manifold temporalities, from freak accidents to slow disease to historical expropriations? How are solidarities built across ideological divides? What unites anti-colonial movements across the Global South with the struggles of subaltern groups in the Global North? And what underpins the belief in non-violence as the righteous mechanism for political change—and why is this wrong? Along the way, they touch on everything from the heist film (wherein the question is not whether one ought but whether one can pull it off), how comrades are not friends, workplace violence, radical flanks, Fanon’s “stretched Marxism,” and much else besides. Plus a sneak preview from Ajay’s new book, The Exhausted of the Earth: Politics in a Burning World, out this February from Repeater Books!

 

Direct download: Pipeline_event.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:03pm EDT

In episode 72 of the Podcast for Social Research, Nara Roberta Silva, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Lauren K. Wolfe, Mark DeLucas, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary look back at their 2023 in cultural objects, or their 2023 experiences of objects washed up on present shores from other times, observing as they do how year-end compendia reveal surprising throughlines. A tally, in brief, of their preoccupations include: the itinerant dance party Laylit celebrating Arab/SWANA music, Argentina, 1985 (and why historical contingency is such a problem for theory), paper architecture, Isabella Hammad’s Enter Ghost and global Shakespeares, Naomi Klein’s Doppelgänger and demonic doubles, Ruth Beckermann’s Mutzenbacher (and cis-male hetero-sexuality as at once the most and least visible), Anita Brookner’s novels of mid-life resignation (a revival for aging millennials?), the origins of Fauvism, actually interesting YouTube trends, vinyl records and deliberate listening, and what there is to look forward to in 2024.

Direct download: EOY_full_cast_pod_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:42pm EDT

In the final episode for 2023, Isi, Ajay, and Joseph address the vexing nature of End-of-Year lists—and then go through the vexing process of assembling our own! Isi leads us through our year in cinema; Ajay, the year in games; and Joseph, the year in television, culminating in three top picks (and some honorable mentions) for the year in each category. Discussions range from the surprising success of cinematic restorations to films which shape, subvert, and show the optical unconscious; games of visceral pleasure, systemic fascination, and astonishing simplicity; and the politics (and possibilities) in contemporary anime and the anxious and wonderfully character-driven year in television. Proceeding in part through negative examples (Oppenheimer and Final Fantasy XVI receive perhaps the harshest treatments), the cast ultimately records in the world of film: 1. Stop Making Sense (2023, remaster); 2. Killers of the Flower Moon (2023); and 3. May December (2023), with honorable mentions for How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2023) and The Boy and the Heron (2023). In the world of games: 1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (2023); 2. Armored Core 6 (2023); 3. Super Mario Brothers Wonder (2023) / Pikmin 4 (2023), with honorable mentions for Star Ocean: The Second Story R and a whole slate of tiny games for Panic's "Playdate" lo-fi handheld: Questy Chess, Omaze, Zipper, Casual Birder, among others. In the world of television: 1. Rap Shit (2023); 2. Beef (2023); 3. Attack on Titan (2013-2023), with honorable mentions for the live-action adaptation of One Piece (2023) and our collective 2022 hangover shows: Peaky Blinders (2013-2022) and Ozark (2017-2022). Stay tuned in for talk of the unbearable “Barbenheimer” phenomenon, what makes old action movies so good, unsustainable labor practices in the world of commercial game production, and making a “Breaking Bad” that is actually good. Wishing you all a critically reflective holiday season from PCM!

Direct download: pop_cultural_marxism_231211_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT

In episode 67 of Practical Criticism, Rebecca and Ajay surprise each other with songs and compositions drawn exclusively from their respective algorithmically-generated Spotify "Wrapped" playlists! Pieces include Erza Furman's "Can I Sleep in Your Brain"; Linked Horizon's "Guren No Yumiya" (from the Attack on Titan soundtrack); Lucy Dacus's "Night Shift"; The Smashing Pumpkins's "Mayonaise"; Monteverdi's "Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria"; Phish's "Cavern" (from Atlantic City, 10/30/2010); CeeLo Green's cover of "No One's Gonna Love You" by Band of Horses; and Nirvana's "All Apologies." Along the way, the conversation turns to overcoming the All-Roads-Lead-to-Coldplay-Problem of automatic curation, the subtle and the transformative, time changes and genre conventions, unadorned pop and unromanticized classics, the dialectic of sincerity and absurdity, cute aggression and martial pop, fascist aesthetics, narcissistic injury and pathic projection, epics of the ordinary, the strange proliferation of 2-part pop songs, soft edged vs. soft with edges, unleashed elegance, what the machine wants you to listen to, coolness and anomie, the many modalities of anger, musical artifacts and ur-forms, ariosos vs. arias and the nascent opera of the early 17th century, brilliant failures, and, above all, writing soundtracks. Listen to what rises out to shine from the digital (and other) mucks of 2023.

Direct download: practical_criticism_231201_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:52am EDT

Is a recipe a text? What happens when it’s translated, via cooking, into food? In episode 71 of the Podcast for Social Research, live-recorded at BISR Central, author Rebecca May Johnson joins BISR faculty Sophie Lewis and Rebecca Ariel Porte and Dilettante Army's Sara Clugage to read from her autotheoretical "epic in the kitchen" Small Fires and discuss the ways cooking relates to language, the body, knowledge, politics, power, and thinking. What's creative about cooking from a recipe? What kinds of bonds and connections do recipes create—between both intimates and strangers? Why is Donald Winnicott wrong about sausages (and, can we ever be recipe-less)? Why cook a recipe 1,000 times? When is cooking labor; and when, if ever, is it not? What would it mean to abolish the kitchen?

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

In this very special crossover episode, the compound cast—Isi, Rebecca, and Ajay—are back together after hiatuses of various lengths to discuss the Talking Heads and A24's recent re-release of Jonathan Demme’s much-celebrated 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense. Kicking off with some reunion talk (to wit: research rabbit holes, early modern gardens, avant-garde architecture, automata, and, naturally, more Zelda), the trio then sets out to explore what it is that makes this film such a brilliant exemplar of the genre—joyful, affirmative, but nevertheless critical in sensibility. Along the way, they discuss: first encounters with the film, soundtrack versus album versions (controversial!), David Byrne’s pas de deux with a lamp, fashion and theatrical influences (kabuki, noh, Brecht), laying bare the device, the more integrated musical scenes of the 1980s, satire, collective composition, Tina Weymouth as secret sauce, and so much more. What kind of story does this film tell about music? How did the restored version come to be? And what does it restore?

 

 

Direct download: pop_cultural_marxism_final_231122.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm EDT

In episode seven of Faculty Spotlight, Mark and Lauren sit down to chat with two BISR faculty whose interests, scholarly and otherwise, dovetail in fascinating ways—Sophie Lewis, writer, critic, and leading scholar of family abolition and the politics of reproduction; and Paige Sweet, writer, practicing psychoanalyst, and founder of the experimental writing project Infinite Text Collective. Following Sophie’s personal reflections on her early experiences of the injustices in-built into middle-class heteropatriarchal institutions like the family and formal schooling (“nothing is apolitical”), the four of them discuss: what previously overlooked insights one might still unearth from so-called second wave feminists like Silvia Federici (is the witch a figure of incipient queerness?); how fecund and fungible was the time of transition from feudalism to capitalism, not least for thinking with gender; the “unruly undertows” of popular and “low” entertainment (Chicken Run as exemplary Marxist-feminist cinema!); autotheory, autofiction, autoanalysis, and the affordances of writing from the self; why children’s liberation is to everyone’s benefit; and the erstwhile pin-up career of Barnacle the cat—with much else in between and besides. 

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_Sophie_Lewis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03am EDT

In episode six of Faculty Spotlight, Mark and Lauren sit down with R.H. Lossin, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Warren Center of Studies in American History and a leading scholar of the theory and practice of sabotage. The three discuss: what led R.H. to the study of sabotage; why sabotage is more ordinary than you think; R.H.’s beef with the “universal library”—i.e., the total digitization of books; how readers have become producers; why Luddites have a bad rap; the meaning of “capitalist sabotage”; and the violent origins of all private property—among other scintillating subjects.

Direct download: Faculty_Spotlight_RH_Lossin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm EDT

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.

Shownotes:

  • 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