KPFA: Letters and Politics [Program Feed]

  • A History of The Ideas That Made America
    We are in conversation on the intellectual history of ideas in America and how they have been pass down and reuse. We explore the intellectual transformation America, from the Enlightenment, transcendentalism, and Social Darwinism to progressivism, conservatism, and postmodernism. Guest: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she teaches US intellectual and cultural history. She is the author of American Nietzsche, and most recently, The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History. 
  • Outsiders: Five Women Writers Who Changed the World
    Today we are in conversation about the life of English novelist Mary Shelley, who wrote the book Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.  A book that is considered in part a Gothic novel and part, a philosophical novel.  We focus on Mary Shelley's relationship to her mother, the highly influential eighteen century feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft who died ten days after Mary Shelley's birth. Guest: Lyndall Gordon [1] is a senior research fellow at St Hilda's College, Oxford and an award-winning biographer. She is the author of many books including her latest, Outsiders: Five Women Writers Who Changed the World.   [1]
  • A History of Democratic Socialism in Europe and The U.S.
    Today we are in conversation with professor Gary Dorrien about the history of social democracy both in Europe and the United States. He discusses how the fallout from twenty years of neoliberal economic globalism has sparked a surge of interest in the old idea of democratic socialism -a democracy in which the people control the economy and government, no group dominates any other, and every citizen is free, equal, and included. Christian socialism, he explains, paved the way for all liberation theologies that make the struggles of oppressed peoples the subject of redemption. He argues for a decentralized economic democracy and anti-imperial internationalism. Guest: Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and professor of religion at Columbia University.  He is the author of several books on social ethics and theology including Economy, Difference, Empire: Social Ethics for Social Justice, The New Abolition, Breaking White Supremacy and his latest, Social Democracy in the Making: Political and Religious Roots of European Socialism.
  • The Role of Climate Change in The Collapse of an Empire
    A conversation with Kyle Harper about one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. Central to this issue are question such as how does an empire fall? What was the role of climate change and pandemic diseases in the collapse of Rome’s power. Guest: Kyle Harper is a historian of the classical world and the Senior Vice President and Provost at his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire.
  • The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle
    We are in conversation with LiLillian Faderman about her book The Gay Revolution. It begins in the 1950s, when law classified gays and lesbians as criminals, the psychiatric profession saw them as mentally ill, the churches saw them as sinners, and society victimized them with irrational hatred. Against this dark backdrop, a few brave people began to fight back, paving the way for the revolutionary changes of the 1960s and beyond. Faderman discusses the protests in the 1960s; the counter reaction of the 1970s and early eighties; the decimated but united community during the AIDS epidemic; and the current hurdles for the right to marriage equality. Guest: LiLillian Faderman is an internationally known scholar of lesbian history and literature, as well as ethnic history and literature. Among her many honors are six Lambda Literary Awards, two American Library Association Awards, and several lifetime achievement awards for scholarship.
  • A History of the Roe v. Wade Decision
    A conversation on the history of the Roe v Wade decision and on the man considered a legal jurist at one time who will right the majority opinion Harry Blackmun. Guest: Linda Greenhouse  is Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and a Pulitzer Prize–winning Supreme Court journalist who is a contributing Op-Ed writer for The New York Times. She is author of several books including Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey
  • We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation
    A conversation on re-segregation in American life today.  According to author Jeff Chang "resegragation is one of the most under-thought and under-recognized issues of our times. It is a fact that the U.S. is moving towards becoming a "majority-minority" country. In California is already happening.  And in the Bay Area we are racially re-segregating at a shocking rate, especially in the form of gentrification and displacement". Guest: Jeff Chang [1] is a Hip Hop journalist and writer. His latest book, We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation [2] was named the Northern California Nonfiction Book Of The Year, and the Washington Post declared it “the smartest book of the year.” In May 2019, he and director Bao Nguyen created a four-episode digital series adaptation of the We Gon' Be Alright [3] for PBS Indie Lens Storycast. [1] [2] [3]
  • A History of the Espionage Act and the Case of Julian Assange
    As the United States charges Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917 today we dive into the history of this act and even go further back to 1798 and the first Sedition Act in which the political times resemble those of our own. Guest: Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Stone was appointed by President Obama to serve on the President's Review Group which was charged with evaluating our nation's foreign intelligence surveillance programs in the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks. He is the author of many books on constitutional law, including Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century (2017), and Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime (2004). He is co-author of The Free Speech Century.     
  • Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across The American Divide
    Today, we air a conversation with Pulitzer Prize author and reporter Tony Horowitz [1]in an interview conducted about a week and a half ago talking about a sojourn into the deep South. Tony Horowitz [2] unexpectedly died last Sunday potentially of a heart attack.  He wrote extensively throughout his career about the Civil War, and the South relationship to today.  His latest book Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across The American Divide is the main topic of our conversation today. Guest: Tony was a native of Washington, D.C., and a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As a reporter he covered wars and conflict in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans for The Wall Street Journal. Returning to the U.S., he won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and wrote for The New Yorker before becoming a full-time author.     [1] [2]
  • What Robert Mueller Meant to Say in His First Statement
    Special counsel Robert Mueller made his first remarks since his report has came out into the 2016 election. And then, he resigned from his appointment as Special Counsel.  Today, we bring you his full statement and then we'll get reaction with guest John Nichols, Washington correspondent of the Nation Magazine.    
  • American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World 
    A conversation with scholar Christina Proenza-Coles about the role that people of African ancestry have played in the formation of the Americas; and not just in the United States but the entire continent. Guest: Christina Proenza-Coles is author of the book American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World.
  • Fund Drive Special – The Map of Knowledge
    In concluding our series of conversations on the ancient world, today, we look at  the Caliphates of the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries in Baghdad and Cordoba.   Guest: Violet Moller is a historian and writer who specializes in intellectual history. She is the author of the book The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found. Support KPFA [1], Please DonateToday! [2] Book – The Map of Knowledge  $100. USB Letters & Politics: The Ancient History Pack (Over 30 interviews) $180 Combo Book + USB $300 [1] [2]
  • Fund Drive Special – The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
    More than two thousand years ago, in ancient Rome lived a poet named Lucrecious whose work on the nature of things revolutionized the way people understood the universe. Lucrecious thought that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions. This idea fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; it shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson. Guest: Stephen Greenblatt [1] is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.  He is the author of many books, including The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Support KPFA [2], Please DonateToday! [3] Book: The Odyssey by Homer. Translated by Emily Wilson  $100. USB Letters & Politics: The Ancient History Pack (Over 30 interviews) $180 Combo Book + USB $250 [1] [2] [3]
  • Fund Drive Special – Cyrus: The Persian Conqueror Astride the Ancient World
    We continue our series of conversations on the ancient world by looking East and the first global empire of Persia. The first ruler Cyrus the Great, brought by conquest or gentler mean a dominion stretching from the Aegean Sea to the Hindu Kush and encompassing some tens of millions of people.  Acclaimed for ruling with a light hand in an efficient and benign fashion and introducing chivalry to warfare. It is believed that Cyrus the Great produced the "Cyrus Cylinder", the first human rights bill which portrays a very modern way of ruling with pluralism and tolerance at its core. Guest:  Reza Zarghamee is and environmental lawyer and history author. He is the author of acclaimed book Discovering Cyrus: The Persian Conqueror Astride the Ancient World (Iran's Age of Empire). Support KPFA. Please Donate Today! [1] Book: The Odyssey by Homer. Translated by Emily Wilson  $100. USB Letters & Politics: The Ancient History Pack (Over 30 interviews) $180   [1]
  • Fund Drive Special – The Odyssey, Why It Still Matters Today
    The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty, and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home. It is about how we find community, how we find who gets to be in a particular community, and what does it mean that some people belong and other people don't belong. It's a poem that resonates with current issues we have in our culture such as immigration, or what do we do about veterans returning from war. Guest: Emily Wilson is a professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is the first woman who translated the ancient Greek epic story, the Odyssey by Homer, into English language. Support KPFA. Please Donate Today! [1] Book: The Odyssey by Homer. Translated by Emily Wilson  $100. USB Letters & Politics: The Ancient History Pack (Over 30 interviews) $180 [1]

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