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.
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.
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.
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.