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Episode 96: The Longue Durée of Modernity w/ Daniel McClure

Daniel McClure is a historian and writer interested in long term historical processes (like capitalism, imperialism, and the nation-state), connecting those big ideas to American popular culture and media in the postwar era. He explains how a theoretical approach to the study of history, while often met with skepticism in the academy, provides such an effective lens for understanding the current moment. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 94: The Greenwich Village Folk Explosion w/ Stephen Petrus

Stephen Petrus is a historian of 20th century America and author of Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival. In this conversation, he tells me about discovering the world of beat poetry, folk music, and a rising "counterculture" in his younger years, and how becoming an academic historian led him to explore the complex social, political, and economic trends that created such a potent cultural moment in 1950s and 1960s New York City. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 93: Jason Wilson

Jason Wilson's coverage of last summer's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which culminated in the murder of Heather Heyer, helped frame the rising presence of "alt-right" and white supremacist actors on the American political stage. In this conversation, Wilson tells me about his youth in Australia, years studying media theory in grad school, and how he became alternately fascinated and horrified with America's radical right-wing. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 92: Allen Ruff

Allen Ruff is the host of A Public Affair on WORT-FM community radio in Madison, Wisconsin, a show that features interviews with a wide range of figures from the left side of the American political and cultural scene (including yours truly). In this conversation, he talks about his experiences in the antiwar movement of the 1960s and 1970s, his subsequent career as an academic historian, and his trajectory on the radical left. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 91: Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank might be best known as the author of What's the Matter with Kansas?, a 2004 book that sought to explain why so many Americans in "flyover country" vote for the Republican Party. But his analysis goes much deeper than just Kansas. In this conversation, he discusses his development as a political analyst and historian, and offers his perspective on what's happened to the left and right in recent decades. His latest book, Listen Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? traces how Democrats became the party of Wall Street, and Republicans hone their image as the party of "ordinary working people." LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 90: AM/FM - The Political Economy of Mass Shootings

In this episode, Justin Rogers-Cooper joins me to unpack the mass shooting phenomenon in the wider context of American history. Why do Americans kill each other? Who benefits from mass killings? And how is social violence connected to the structures of capitalism? LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 89: Erin Bartram

Erin Bartram's blog piece, "The Sublimated Grief of the Left Behind," explores an uncomfortable topic among graduate students and recent Ph.D.'s: giving up on the academic job market. In this conversation, Bartram discusses the origin of the piece (and how it ended up in the Chronicle of Higher Education), the ideological and material gap between full-time professors and part-time adjuncts, and how her path as an academic was shaped by the wider politics of neoliberalism in the university. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 88: Jeremy C. Young

Jeremy C. Young is a professor of history at Dixie State University, and the author of Age of Charisma:  Leaders, Followers, and Emotions in American Society, 1870-1940. In this conversation, Jeremy tells me about his own political evolution, and how contemporary American political figures like John McCain and Howard Dean led him to investigate how the idea of "personal magnetism" came to have such a particular power over the American public. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 87: Eero Laine

Eero Laine is a professor of Theatre at the University at Buffalo whose work often focuses on the world of professional wrestling. He joins me to talk about how he came to study wrestling as both a performance and social/psychological phenomenon, and explains why the particular political economy of the WWE provides such a critical lens for understanding American history and culture. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 86: AM/FM - Punk in the 90s

David Fouser was definitely way more into punk, as both an ethos and music genre, than I recall ever being. But now that he's all grown up, like many of us, his politics and musical tastes have evolved. In this conversation, we trade memories of the 1990s Southern California punk and ska scene, and reflect on punk's wider political and social significance. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE 

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Episode 85: Daniel Bessner

Daniel Bessner is a professor and writer whose work explores 20th century American cultural and intellectual history. In this conversation, we talk about his book Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual, his current research into the archives of the RAND Corporation, and his ideas about how intellectuals and academics might fit into a wider left project. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE 

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Episode 84: Yekaterina Oziashvili

Yekaterina Oziashvili, a professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College, joins me to talk about her upbringing in Georgia during the final years of the Soviet Union, and how the nation's collapse in the early 1990s led to profound transformation's in her family's life. Her story, including her move to New York City at the age of 14, provides a fascinating angle on the intersection of ethnic identity, nationalism, and revolutionary politics. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE 

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Episode 83: AM/FM - The Deep State is Capitalism

What is the "deep state"? Does it really exist, or is it a specter in the minds of far-right conspiracy theorists from Jack D. Ripper to Alex Jones? In this episode, Justin Rogers-Cooper joins me to sort it out, exploring the "deep state" idea in the context of the opioid crisis and other contemporary signs of malignant capitalism. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 82: Michael Brenes

Michael Brenes is a historian and Senior Archivist for American Diplomacy at Yale. When I first met him years ago, we were both working on degrees in American history at the CUNY Graduate Center, and discovered similar interests: twentieth century U.S. politics, the Cold War, the military-industrial complex, Vietnam—and, perhaps most importantly, a desire to understand how these historical phenomenon connect with our current crisis. In this conversation, Michael tells me how he landed at CUNY, his work exploring the political economy of the American military, and what his upcoming biography of Hubert Humphrey will tell us about a critical moment in the history of left/liberal politics. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 81: Yasmin Nair

Yasmin Nair is a writer and activist based in Chicago, known as much for her dynamic political and cultural writing as for her contentious social media adventures. In this conversation we spend a good amount of time talking about her amazing piece in Evergreen Review, a manifesto for an apocalyptic moment that combines analysis of neoliberalism with ideas about gentrification, queer culture, dystopian science fiction, and so much more. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 80: AM/FM - 1877-1977

Justin Rogers-Cooper and I have often talked about combining our scholarly interests into an academic mega-project, exploring the connections between 1877 and 1977, an era that witnessed spectacular clashes between labor and capital and the development of a "citizen-soldier" politics that threatened the state's hegemonic grip on the imperial narrative. In this episode, we brainstorm some ideas about the project and try to nail down why this 100-year period is so critical to understanding our present historical moment. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 79: Douglas Williams

Douglas Williams is a fierce political writer and grassroots organizer whose work can be found at TheSouthLawn.org. In this conversation, he tells me about the influence of his father's union work on his political development, and how the letdown of the Obama years led him, like many others, to the radical left. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 78: RE: Louis CK with Peter Sabatino

Peter Sabatino, the Nostalgia Trap's producer and sound wizard, joins me to unpack the recent revelations about Louis CK's abusive behavior. Our conversation attempts to put this stuff in context, discussing both Louis' disturbing comedic output and the wider problem of predatory men protected by their social, political, and cultural power. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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Episode 77: Nelson Lichtenstein

Nelson Lichtenstein is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he also serves as the director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy. He joins me to talk about his time at Berkeley during the radical uprisings of the 1960s, his development as a labor historian, and the state of American politics. LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

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