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.
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.
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.
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.
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.