From Plato to quantum physics, Walter Benjamin to experimental poetry, Frantz Fanon to the history of political radicalism, The Podcast for Social Research is a crucial part of our mission to forge new, organic paths for intellectual work in the twenty-first century: an ongoing, interdisciplinary series featuring members of the Institute, and occasional guests, conversing about a wide variety of intellectual issues, some perennial, some newly pressing. Each episode centers on a different topic and is accompanied by a bibliography of annotations and citations that encourages further curiosity and underscores the conversation’s place in a larger web of cultural conversations.
Practical Criticism No. 41—One Big Country Song
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.
Practical Criticism No. 11—Claude Debussy
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.
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 47: Who Needs A World View? Raymond Geuss in Conversation
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.
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 46: At Year's End with the Angel of History--2020 in Review
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.
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 45: Empire and Capital
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 imperialism—specifically, 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.
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This episode of the podcast was edited by Cora Walters. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 44: The Overdetermined Election
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?