- Category: Cultural Studies
Peter N. Stearns, Provost and University Professor, George Mason University; Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Social History
Host: David Inge
In the affluent, industrial societies of the world today, life is good. Most people live long lives, without fear of plague, famine or war. So why is there depression, anxiety, unfulfilled longing? In short, why has abundance not led to greater happiness? That’s the question we’ll take up with our guest, historian Peter Stearns. We’ll talk about some of the ideas in his book "Satisfaction Not Guaranteed." The book looks at the ways people in the past thought about progress, and asks whether we can be truly happy in the modern world.
Florence Williams, contributing editor at Outside Magazine and a freelance writer for New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Slate, Mother Jones, High Country News, O-Oprah, W., Bicycling and numerous other publications
Host: David Inge
Science writer Florence Williams says that to have breasts is to be human. We are the only animals who have breasts continuously from puberty on. And, she says, they are in need of protection. Because they store fat, they also store toxic, fat-loving chemicals. She says they are indicators for the changing health of people. We’ll explore the origins and meaning of this distinctly human feature as we talk with Florence Williams about her new book "Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History."
Most of Africa’s farmers are so poor they can’t grow enough to feed their families year round. In January of 2011 a group of Kenyan farmers decided to take a chance--joining the One Acre Fund, a social enterprise set up to help some of Africa’s most neglected people. The hope was that they could feed their families for the year, and have a bit left over to sell. Roger Thurow brings us the story of a farm community on the brink of change, the subject of his book "The Last Hunger Season."
Last week, people in Egypt went to the polls to cast votes in the country’s first free presidential elections. Of the 13 candidates competing in the first round, two will contend in a runoff next month. One is the candidate of the Muslim brotherhood; the other served as Prime Minister under the old regime of Hosni Mubarak. We welcome back Ken Cuno, associate professor of History at the University of Illinois for another conversation about Egyptian politics. We’ll talk about the recent elections and try to get a better understanding of those competing for power.
The Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most powerful symbols, yet when it arrived in crates, no one could have imagined just how powerful it would become. We’ll get the story of the small group of French intellectuals who decided to offer a tribute to American liberty and of the uphill fight for American support. Our guest will be historian Edward Berenson, author of the new book "The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story."
Two hundred thousand black soldiers were sent to Europe to fight in World War I. Historian Adriane Lentz-Smith says that experience gave many black people their first taste of life outside of the American racial system. She says it led them to imagine a different world, one that they worked to make real when they returned home. In a program from the archives, we’ll look at the ways that World War I shaped the civil rights movement in the United States. That’s the subject of Adriane Lentz-Smith’s book "Freedom Struggles."
This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, January 14, 2010, 10 am
When the British left America after the Revolution it was cause for celebration, but not all Americans were pleased to see the redcoats sail away. Fearing for their safety, some 60,000 Americans who had remained loyal to the crown decided to leave and make new lives elsewhere in the British Empire. In a program from the archives, Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff talks about her book "Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World." It explores the many ways that the loyalist diaspora helped Britain overcome a stinging defeat and go on to become a world power.
This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, March 31, 2011, 11 am
Tina Rosenberg has made a specialty of writing about seemingly intractable problems. The typical approach to problems like drug use or sexually transmitted disease concentrates on giving people information or motivating them through fear. In a program from the archives, she tells stories about people who have used a different approach, one based on changing behavior by exploiting a basic human need--the need to belong. That’s the central theme of her book "Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World."
This is a repeat broadcast from Monday, April 04, 2011, 10 am
With Aaron Bobrow-Strain, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Politics, Whitman College)
With James R. Barrett, Ph.D. (Professor of History; Professor of African American History, History Department, University of Illinois)
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