237 episodes

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. A podcast from The American Scholar magazine. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
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Smarty Pants The American Scholar

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.3 • 104 Ratings

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. A podcast from The American Scholar magazine. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    #237: Free, Legal, On Demand

    #237: Free, Legal, On Demand

    Last week’s Supreme Court ruling immediately prohibited abortion in seven states, with 23 more either moving to make it illegal or likely to. At the heart of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in overturning Roe v. Wade is the notion that abortion is not “deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition.” Since Roe was based on the 14th Amendment, Alito contends that we must consider the context in which the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868. This week, to provide the context that Alito misrepresented, we are rerunning our interview with Tamara Dean about abortion in the 19th century, when it was common, and largely unprohibited. In the leather-bound death records of the county where Dean lives, only two abortions are mentioned, which she writes about in her essay “Safer than Childbirth.” The more common cause of death, Dean found, was giving birth. At the time, abortion was widely accepted as a means of avoiding the risks of pregnancy and childbirth. Even the Catholic Church didn’t oppose ending pregnancy before “quickening,” usually around the fourth month, because no one believed that human life existed before a woman could feel the fetus move. Tamara Dean joins the podcast to talk about what gets forgotten in the contemporary battle over abortion.
    Go beyond the episode:
    Read Tamara Dean’s “Safer than Childbirth”Watch Cecily Strong’s Saturday Night Live skit that captures the struggle to talk about abortion openlyListen to our interview with Scott Stern about the decades-long U.S. government plan to imprison “promiscuous” women
    Resources for those seeking an abortion, now or in future:
    Before accessing any of these links, read the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s guide to digital privacy and securityFind out how to safely terminate a pregnancy at an abortion clinic at abortionfinder.orgFind an abortion fund that can provide financial support at abortionfunds.orgMedication to safely end a pregnancy can be mailed to you through plancpills.orgGet a prescription, in advance, for abortion medication in the mail through aidaccess.orgFor guidance and support in taking this medication at home, call or text the Reprocare Healthline at 833-226-7821, and for confidential legal advice regarding abortion, contact the Repro Legal Helpline
    Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!


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    • 24 min
    #236: Split City, U.S.A.

    #236: Split City, U.S.A.

    In 19th-century America, unhappily married couples faced divorce laws that varied wildly by state. Some states only allowed suits for “divorce of room and board”—but not the end of a marriage. In New York, divorce was permitted only in cases of proven adultery; South Carolina banned it entirely. But in South Dakota, things were different, and by the 1890s, people were flocking to Sioux Falls to take advantage of the laxest divorce laws in the country. In particular, the women seeking separation caught the most attention, as historian and senior Atlas Obscura editor April White writes in her new book, The Divorce Colony. These women—usually wealthy, almost always white, and trailing newspaper reporters—dared to challenge the status quo barely a generation after married women had won the right to own property, and well before they achieved the vote.
    Go beyond the episode:
    April White’s The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American FrontierRead the Atavist article that started it allMeet the women profiled in the book
    Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
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    • 25 min
    #235: The Joyce of Cooking

    #235: The Joyce of Cooking

    Today is June 16, Bloomsday, the day in 1904 on which James Joyce’s novel Ulysses takes place. But this year also marks the 100th anniversary of its publication, and to celebrate the occasion, The American Scholar asked five writers for their thoughts on Joyce’s modern masterpiece. One of them, Flicka Small, wrote about the food in the novel, from the inner organs of beasts and fowls that Leopold Bloom eats with relish to the Gorgonzola on his sandwich—not to mention Molly Bloom’s sensuous seed cake, Blazes Boylans’s suggestive peaches, and everything that Stephen Dedalus can’t afford to eat. Flicka Small came to her lectureship at University College Cork by way of her earlier career as a chef, giving her a singular perspective on the wild array of foods that appear on that famous day in Dublin, Ireland.
    Go beyond the episode:
    Read Flicka Small’s contribution to our Joyce centennial, “Know Me Come Eat With Me”Read the other four essays: Robert J. Seidman on why Ulysses is as vital as ever; Keri Walsh’s celebration of the novel’s first publisher, Sylvia Beach; Donal Ryan on the three times he’s read it; and Amit Chaudhuri on just having fun with the flowBloomsday 2022 is on in Ireland and around the worldWhip up some pan-fried kidneys, a Gorgonzola sandwich, or some sugarsticky sweetsWe borrowed the title of this episode from Alison Armstrong’s excellent 1986 cookbook, The Joyce of Cooking, which you can find in used bookstores
    Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
    Subscribe: iTunes • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast
    Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!

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    • 25 min
    #234: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

    #234: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

    Humorist Sloane Crosley is best known for her witty essay collections, such as I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Look Alive Out There, both finalists for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Her new book is a novel, Cult Classic—a mystery, romantic comedy, and conspiracy thriller rolled into one, with a sprinkling of mind control and A Christmas Carol for good measure. We first meet the novel’s heroine, Lola, as she sneaks out of a dinner with friends in Manhattan’s Chinatown for a cigarette and unexpectedly bumps into an ex-boyfriend. The next day, she runs into another one. Then another. What for many of us would merely seem like a bizarre series of uncomfortable encounters—or a personal nightmare—turns out to be something much stranger for Lola, who discovers that her very weird week has resulted from the machinations of a group that insists it’s not a cult. Sloane Crosley joins us to talk about love, psychology, and her new novel, Cult Classic.
    Go beyond the episode:
    Sloane Crosley’s Cult ClassicExplore her back catalogIn case you seek a novel about love gone wrong ... we have you covered with these 14 bad romances
    Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
    Subscribe: iTunes • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast
    Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!

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    • 23 min
    #233: Once Upon a Time in Manchester

    #233: Once Upon a Time in Manchester

    Most people who dig deep into their family histories tend to uncover the usual: an unexpected great-great-aunt, a familial home halfway around the world, maybe even a secret sibling. Hollywood producer Hopwood DePree found an ancestral English estate bearing his own name. But Hopwood Hall was falling apart, having sat empty since the Second World War and becoming the victim of age and vandalism. A visit to see the 600-year-old manor—and then another—and another—inspired DePree not only to try to save the hall, but also to trade movie scripts for a hard hat and move to Manchester. He describes his—and the house’s—journey in his new book, Downton Shabby.
    Go beyond the episode:
    Hopwood DePree’s Downton Shabby: One American's Ultimate DIY Adventure Restoring His Family's English CastleVisit our episode page for vintage photographs of the Hall in its glory daysExperience a day in the life of the Hopwood Hall restoration efforts on DePree’s YouTube channelListen to our interview with Adrian Tinniswood on why so many English country houses are in ruinsRevisit the famed 1974 Victoria & Albert exhibition “The Destruction of the Country House,” or go visit Agecroft Hall and Gardens in Richmond, Virginia, one of several country homes dismantled and reassembled on this side of the Atlantic. In England? Visit Hopwood Hall itself later this monthRead Sam Knight’s essay about the National Trust’s recent report on colonialism and slavery: “Britain’s Idyllic Country Houses Reveal a Darker History”
    Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
    Subscribe: iTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast
    Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 27 min
    #232: Bird of America

    #232: Bird of America

    Few birds enjoy the stature that the bald eagle has attained in the United States. It adorns our national seal, several denominations of currency, and T-shirts from coast to coast, with bonded pairs nesting everywhere from the National Arboretum to Dollywood. But not even 100 years ago, the bald eagle was hunted to the verge of extinction even while it was celebrated as a majestic symbol of independence. Children were taught that it was a threat to society or, worse, that it might kidnap and devour them. And just when we began to right our wrongs with the passage of the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, we nearly killed off our national symbol again with DDT. Pulitzer Prize–winner Jack E. Davis swoops through five centuries of history to tell the bird’s improbable story in The Bald Eagle.
    Go beyond the episode:
    Jack E. Davis’s The Bald EaglePeep bald eagle nest cams across the countrySmarty Pants loves birds: meet the caracara and the ravens of the Tower of LondonRead Erik Anderson’s story of how a beguiling South American hummingbird ended up in the basement of a Pennsylvania museumWatch Rescued from an Eagle’s Nest, a 1908 silent short that dramatizes the (impossible) fear of an eagle carrying off a child
    Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.
    Subscribe: iTunes • Feedburner • Stitcher • Google Play • Acast
    Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes! Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.
     

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    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
104 Ratings

104 Ratings

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