21 episodes

Historians discussing controversial historical topics

Arguing History Marshall Poe

    • Society & Culture
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Historians discussing controversial historical topics

    Brian Greene, "Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe" (Random House, 2020)

    Brian Greene, "Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe" (Random House, 2020)

    Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020)
    Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanations, and we discuss these episodes further in the interview. Greene also reiterates his arguments for embedding a form of spiritual reverie within the multiple naturalistic descriptions of reality that different areas of human knowledge have so far produced.
    John Weston is a University Teacher of English in the Language Centre at Aalto University, Finland. His research focuses on academic communication. He can be reached at john.weston@aalto.fi and @johnwphd.
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    • 2 hr
    Leslie M. Harris, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

    Leslie M. Harris, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

    Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together contributions from scholars, activists, and administrators, the volume combines two broad bodies of work: (1) historically based interdisciplinary research on the presence of slavery at higher education institutions in terms of the development of proslavery and antislavery thought and the use of slave labor; and (2) analysis on the ways in which the legacies of slavery in institutions of higher education continued in the post–Civil War era to the present day.
    The collection features broadly themed essays on issues of religion, economy, and the regional slave trade of the Caribbean. It also includes case studies of slavery’s influence on specific institutions, such as Princeton University, Harvard University, Oberlin College, Emory University, and the University of Alabama. Though the roots of Slavery and the University stem from a 2011 conference at Emory University, the collection extends outward to incorporate recent findings. As such, it offers a roadmap to one of the most exciting developments in the field of U.S. slavery studies and to ways of thinking about racial diversity in the history and current practices of higher education.
    Today I spoke with Leslie Harris about the book. Dr. Harris is a professor of history at Northwestern University. She is the coeditor, with Ira Berlin, of Slavery in New York and the coeditor, with Daina Ramey Berry, of Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (Georgia).
    Adam McNeil is a History PhD student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
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    • 59 min
    Why did the Allies win World War II?

    Why did the Allies win World War II?

    Why did the Allies win World War II?
    In the this podcast of Arguing History, Professor of History Emeritus at Exeter University, Jeremy Black and Dr. Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society, discuss the the respective roles of military resources vs. fighting quality in the Second World War. One view has it that while the Germans were tactically and operationally superior to the Allies, they simply could not overcome the Allies' superiority in terms of men and materiel. But what role did improvements in Allied military training and tactics during the course of the war prove an equally important variable?
    Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.
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    • 36 min
    Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

    Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

    Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020), Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts―and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction.
    The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its different sizes, and discover mathematical impossibilities inherent in elections. They will tackle conundrums in probability, induction, geometry, and game theory; perform “supertasks”; build apparent perpetual motion machines; meet twins living in different millennia; explore the strange quantum world―and much more.
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    • 54 min
    The Origins of World War One

    The Origins of World War One

    Who or what originated and/or caused the Great War from breaking out in July 1914? Was it Serbia with its expansionist and aggressive designs on Austria-Hungary? Was it Austria-Hungary itself, unnecessarily plunging itself and the rest of Europe in a futile effort to keep together its tottering Monarchy? Was it Tsarist Russia? Attempting to both expand its influence in the Balkans at the expense of both Austria and Germany and at the very same time, seeking to bolster its own tottering monarchy by showing its aggrieved public that Mother Russia was backing the cause of its down-trodden, Slavic brothers. Was it Kaiserreich Germany? Aiming in the famous thesis of 20th-century German historian Fritz Fischer, to launch a Great War to establish itself as the hegemonic power on the European continent? A war which its military leaders stated repeatedly, Germany could only win if war occurred in the next few years. Was it France? Aiming in conjunction with its Russian ally to start a war with the aim of regaining the two lost provinces of Alsace-Lorraine. Was it Liberal England? Hoping for the final success of the policy of ‘encirclement’ of Germany, commenced by Edward VII?
    The origins of the Great War is one of the most fascinating and enthralling subjects in modern History. Which oceans of ink, almost (but not quite) matching the oceans of blood spilled during the war itself, have been devoted to the subject. From the immediate outbreak of the war to the centenary anniversary in 2014, master historians have researched and written on it. Now to bring the topic to the audience of New Books Network, are Jeremy Black, Emeritus Professor of History at Exeter University, without a doubt, the most prolific historian writing in the Anglophone world and Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society. Please listen to this most interesting of podcast.
    Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.
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    • 1 hr 7 min
    Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

    How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis of how critics confront the different types of uncertainty associated with their practice. The book explores how reviewers get matched to books, the ethics and etiquette of negative reviews and ‘punching up’, along with professional identities and the future of criticism. The book is packed with interview material, coupled with accessible and easy to follow theoretical interventions, creating a text that will be of interest to social sciences, humanities, and general readers alike.
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    • 42 min

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