532 episodes

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing and his colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

Vox Conversations Vox

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.4 • 679 Ratings

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing and his colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

    Why we're still postmodern (whatever that means)

    Why we're still postmodern (whatever that means)

    Sean Illing talks with Stuart Jeffries, journalist and author of Everything, All the Time, Everywhere, about why postmodernism is so hard to define, and why — as Jeffries argues — it's still a very active presence in our culture and politics today. They discuss whether our desire should be understood as subversive or as a tool of capitalism, how postmodernism is inextricably linked with neoliberalism, and how to navigate our current culture of ubiquitous consumption and entertainment. What should we watch on TV: Boris Johnson's resignation speech, or the reality show Love Is Blind?
    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox
    Guest: Stuart Jeffries, author; feature writer, The Guardian
    References: 


    Everything, All the Time, Everywhere: How We Became Postmodern by Stuart Jeffries (Verso; 2021)


    "The post-truth prophets" by Sean Illing (Vox; Nov. 16, 2019)


    The Postmodern Condition by Jean-François Lyotard (Univ. of Minnesota Press; 1979, tr. 1984)


    Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard (Univ. of Michigan Press; 1981, tr. 1983)


    Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970–1990 (exhibition catalog, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; Sept. 24, 2011 – Jan. 15, 2012)


    "Postmodernism: from the cutting edge to the museum" by Hari Kunzru (The Guardian; Sept. 15, 2011)


    "You're sayin' a foot massage don't mean nothin', and I'm sayin' it does" by James Wood (Guardian Supplement; Nov. 19, 1994)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
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    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Patrick Boyd


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 58 min
    Even Better: Activism when you don't know where to start

    Even Better: Activism when you don't know where to start

    Every Thursday in August, you'll hear Even Better on Vox Conversations, a special series focused on helping people live better lives individually and collectively.
    In this first episode, host Julia Furlan talks with activist, writer, and organizer Brea Baker. Brea's career has included student activism at Yale University, national organizing for the Women's March, and continues today through action-oriented work on behalf of progressive causes. Brea talks about how her work is informed by radical love, how she confronts obstacles in the movement on both personal and organizational scales, and how we can push back against despair and dread, and come into our power — no matter where we're at.
    Host: Julia Furlan (@juliastmi)
    Guests: Brea Baker (@Brea_Baker), activist; writer; Chief Equity Officer, Inspire Justice
    References: 


    "bell hooks Taught Us To Both Practice and Preach Radical Love" by Brea Baker (Elle; Dec. 20, 2021)


    The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (New Press; 2010)


    "Yale Announces a New Center for Race Studies. A Yale Senior Asks, Now What?" by Brea Baker (Elle; Feb. 23, 2016)


    "Why I Became an Abolitionist" by Brea Baker (Harper's Bazaar; Dec. 10, 2020)


    We Do This 'Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice by Mariame Kaba (Haymarket; 2021)


    Even Better is here to offer deeply sourced, actionable advice for helping you live a better life. Follow Even Better at vox.com/even-better.
    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Patrick Boyd


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 48 min
    The Supreme Court's power grab

    The Supreme Court's power grab

    Sean Illing talks with Harvard Law professor Nikolas Bowie about the U.S. Supreme Court's recently-concluded term, which produced landmark opinions restricting the power of the EPA, expanding gun rights, and overturning Roe v. Wade. They discuss how the conservative court's arguments are structured and why they are in fact quite radical, what "legal liberalism" is and whether it has just been decisively repudiated, and whether there are any reforms that could stop the conservative majority from reshaping American jurisprudence.
    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox
    Guest: Nikolas Bowie (@nikobowie), Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
    References: 


    Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court, Public Meeting, Panel 1 (C-SPAN; June 30)


    "How the Supreme Court dominates our democracy" by Niko Bowie (Washington Post; July 16, 2021)

    A Twitter thread on the repudiation of legal liberalism, by @nikobowie



    Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health (SCOTUS; June 24)


    42 U.S. Code §1983 - Civil action for deprivation of rights


    14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1868)


    New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen (SCOTUS; June 23)


    Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (SCOTUS; June 29, 1992)


    Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It) by Elizabeth Anderson (Princeton; 2017)


    "A new Supreme Court case is the biggest threat to US democracy since January 6" by Ian Millhiser (Vox; June 30)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Patrick Boyd


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 1 hr 5 min
    How middlemen took over the economy

    How middlemen took over the economy

    Vox's Emily Stewart talks with Kathryn Judge, professor at Columbia Law School and author of the new book Direct: The Rise of Middleman Economy and the Power of Going to the Source. They discuss how middlemen — which include real estate agents, stock brokers, but also Amazon and Walmart — came to assume such an outsized role in our economy, the pros and cons of middlemen in different market contexts, why Prof. Judge sees a fundamental difference between Etsy and Amazon, and how we consumers can change how we decide what to buy in order to help push the economy in a radically different direction.
    Host: Emily Stewart (@EmilyStewartM), senior correspondent, Vox
    Guests: Kathryn Judge (@ProfKateJudge), Harvey J. Goldschmid Professor of Law, Columbia University; author
    References: 


    Direct: The Rise of the Middleman Economy and the Power of Going to the Source by Kathryn Judge (Harper Business; 2022)


    "So Much for Cutting Out the Middleman" by Kathryn Judge (The Atlantic; June 9)


    "What Is Web3?" by Thomas Stackpole (Harvard Business Review; May 10)


    "The awful American consumer" by Emily Stewart (Vox; Apr. 7)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Patrick Boyd


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 1 hr 6 min
    The necessity — and danger — of free speech

    The necessity — and danger — of free speech

    Sean Illing talks with Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan about his new book The Paradox of Democracy, which he co-authored with media studies professor Zac Gershberg. Sean and Margaret discuss the relationship between free expression and democratic society, talk about whether or not the January 6th hearings are doing anything at all politically, and discuss some potential ways to bolster democratic values in the media ecology of the present.
    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox
    Guest: Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview), media columnist, Washington Post
    References: 


    The Paradox of Democracy: Free Speech, Open Media, and Perilous Persuasion by Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing (Chicago; 2022)


    Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy by Margaret Sullivan (Columbia Global Reports; 2020)


    "Four reasons the Jan. 6 hearings have conquered the news cycle" by Margaret Sullivan (Washington Post; July 22)


    Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan (1964)


    Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman (1985)


    Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life by Margaret Sullivan (St. Martin's; Oct. 2022)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Patrick Boyd


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 56 min
    Hacking coral sex to save the reefs

    Hacking coral sex to save the reefs

    Vox's Benji Jones talks with marine biologist Hanna Koch about her team's efforts to repopulate the planet's coral reefs through cutting-edge scientific intervention. They discuss what makes coral so unique as organisms, how scientists understand their reproductive behavior, and how they are working to respawn corals and repopulate reefs. Hanna explains why this work is so imperative — not just for the diverse array of marine life that coral reefs are home to, but for the sustainability of human communities, as well.
    Host: Benji Jones (@BenjiSJones), Environmental reporter, Vox
    Guest: Hanna Koch (@DrHannaRKoch1), Marine biologist; postdoctoral research fellow, Coral Reef Restoration Program, Mote Marine Laboratory
    References: 


    "How to resurrect a coral reef" by Benji Jones (Vox; Apr. 22)


    "Restored Corals Spawn Hope for Reefs Worldwide" by Hanna R. Koch, Erinn Muller, & Michael P. Crosby (The Scientist; Feb. 1, 2021)


    "Herbivorous Crabs Reverse the Seaweed Dilemma on Coral Reefs" by A. Jason Spadaro & Mark Butler (Current Biology 31 (4); Feb. 22, 2021)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Patrick Boyd


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
679 Ratings

679 Ratings

Wendy from Alberta ,

Good - here’s how to be better

I appreciate the depth and breadth of Vox interviews. Still listen to Ezra Klein’s new podcast too, and like them both.

I just listened to the latest interview about the new podcast “70 over 70”. With parents in this age range, now facing impending end of life due to serious medical issues, it’s been surprising to me how they do seem afraid to talk about it. This despite the fact that they are people of faith, who have practiced it their whole lives. I’ll be checking out the podcast.

One thing that seems like it’s been on the increasing trend is the use of profanity in podcasts that I listen to, particularly American ones like this one and “Political Gabfest”. I guess it’s meant to impart being grounded and down to earth, “keeping it real” so to speak, or perhaps to emphasize emotions or just being more emphatic in what’s being commented on. But I do find it off putting and it does make me less impressed with whomever is using those choices, as in, “Really, your verbal fluency couldn’t have led you to a better word than that? Or is it a maturity issue?”
Maybe it’s me - I’m a 50 year old Canadian healthcare professional, and perhaps my views don’t reflect the majority of listeners on this. But maybe they do...

theatmosphere ,

I’ll bite

Sean Rameswaram is the best host, and I’ll listen to anything he introduces. Hopefully he has a few interviews in the future too!

joshworkman ,

Will continue to listen

Just listened to the first episode since Ezra’s departure, and it’s clear that the quality of conversation, preparation, and depth of exploration is continuing on this feed. Look forward to following what is investigated here.

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