Pod Academy



Sound thinking: podcasts of current research


  • Journalism – the first draft of history?

    Journalism – the first draft of history?

    10/07/2017 Duración: 57min

    Journalism has been called 'the first draft of history', and as a first draft it may be written over, forgotten, ignored.  In this podcast, journalist Martin Bright (@martinbright) considers one tiny strand of the story of the Iraq war. It illustrates truth and fake news, things that are very much on our minds at the moment.  It is taken from a lecture Martin gave for IF, the free university in London, in its series 'Thinking Without Borders'  in 2017. Martin Bright:  Let's begin with the rules of journalism - never befriend a politician, never befriend a PR, never betray a source and never use PowerPoint (though that one I am ignoring....) I'm going to look at one story that plays its part in the history of the lead up to the Iraq war which you may or may not have heard about. It is a story in which I as a journalist felt I was writing the first draft of history. It's a story I wrote while working on The Observer [a UK Sunday newspaper] in early 2003. It is a story left out of the reports on the Iraq war (

  • “Kill all Normies”: the rise of the alt-right

    “Kill all Normies”: the rise of the alt-right

    29/06/2017 Duración: 33min

    Following the election of Donald Trump, the alt-right has come to play a significant role in American political discourse. They are an upstart political movement that rejects traditional conservatism and championed Trump and his opposition to political correctness. But how did a movement rooted in online and video game culture come to be so influential? Angela Nagle (@angnagle) is an Irish writer and academic who has written extensively on the rise of anti-feminism and the revitalised culture wars. She’s recently written a new book called Kill All Normies, in it she documents how fringe online politics and discussion boards have become mainstream.   Alex Burd spoke to Angela to discuss the book. He started by asking when the alt-right became a mainstream force. Angela Nagle: It has to be the election of Donald Trump. I know that's very recent. Maybe you could say something like Gamergate brought a lot of different right leaning movements and forums and things that weren't very overtly political ended up muc

  • Murder by women in eighteenth century London and Paris

    Murder by women in eighteenth century London and Paris

    27/05/2017 Duración: 24min

    We appear fascinated with the phenomenon of the woman who kills. In the last year alone in the UK, both ITV and channel 4 have launched popular documentary series chronicling the shocking lives and crimes of women who commit murder. But what is it about the murderess that renders her so interesting? To social historian Dr Anna Jenkin (@acjenkin), it is her ability to offer unique insight into the gender dynamics, and broader cultural climate, of the society in which she lives. Anna's PhD thesis explores female perpetrated homicide in eighteenth-century London and Paris. Dr Sarah Burdett caught up with Anna to discuss the findings of her research.She began by asking what it was that inspired her to investigate the topic. Anna Jenkin: I started as an undergraduate studying eighteenth-century London, and in the second year of my undergraduate I looked specifically at the case of Sarah Malcolm, who is a serial killer, mass murderess, in 1730s London. I found the case a really interesting insight into an aspect

  • Trump: the first 100 days

    Trump: the first 100 days

    29/04/2017 Duración: 29min

    What is the scorecard for President Donald Trump after the first 100 Days?  "C minus overall," says Peter Trubowitz, Professor of International Relations and Director of the US Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Associate Fellow at Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs. Trump said he was going to shake up Washington, and he has, but on the legislative front he has done little of what he promised in his first 100 days. Alex Burd talked to Professor Trubowitz last year during the presidential race, now he returns to get the Professor's view on the new President's first 100 days. Listen to Alex Burd's earlier podcasts with Professor Trubowitz:  The Rise and Rise of Donald Trump (July 2016) and Clinton and Trump (August 2016) Photo by Gage Skidmore (Transcript to follow)

  • Trump: the first hundred days

    29/04/2017 Duración: 29min
  • Lies, damned lies and statistics: Fact-checking, the new journalism

    Lies, damned lies and statistics: Fact-checking, the new journalism

    15/11/2016 Duración: 36min

    "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on," said Winston Churchill.  If that was the case then, how much more valid is it today.  The explosion of social media and its ability to circulate and generate misinformaton has completely changed the political landscape. And it has led to a whole new branch of journalism - political fact-checking. This interview was first posted on the New Books Network and was conducted in the heat of the 2016 US Presidential Election campaign.  In it, Lucas Graves, assistant professor in the school of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin Madison talks to James Kates about the emergence of fact checking as a necessary, if often maligned , attempt to get at the this elusive thing called 'truth'. As George Orwell said, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable...." Lucas Graves book,  Deciding What’s True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism came out in 2

  • How to interpret visual art

    How to interpret visual art

    12/10/2016 Duración: 01h15min

    Why and how should we interpret visual art? With a vast historical sweep - from early medieval art on the walls inside the Basilica of San Vitale to Banksy's 2015 stencils of shipwrecked refugees on walls in Calais,  by way of Caravaggio, Nevelson and Rothko - author, artist and film maker  Gillian McIver looks at various theories of art criticism and helps us understand how to approach visual art. This lecture was part of series on Thinking put on by the IF Project, the free university in London.  IF is an innovative project offering free humanities courses to young people who have been priced out of today's higher education market.[We have another podcast from the IF lecture series, looking at the relevance of studying history: here.] Gillian McIver starts from the premise that "The most important mechanism  for interpreting visual art is your own eyes and your ability to really see and to really look.....Go, stand in front of the work of art, literally, physically,  look at it. Walk around it, look at its

  • Schooling and flocking

    Schooling and flocking

    02/10/2016 Duración: 10min

    They say a fish can fall in love with a bird, but where would they live? However, when it comes to fluid dynamics, birds and fish come from more similar neighbourhoods than you might think.  This podcast is about the physics of fish schooling and bird flocking and how these animals use their fluid environment - and each other - to get around.  That's schooling and flocking. Dr Hassan Masoud is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno and he recently co-authored a paper on the hydro dynamics of collective locomotion.  Birds fly in flocks and fish swim in schoools - so why?  It turns out that fluid dynamics can go a long way to answering that question. Dr Masoud talks to Meg Rosenburg in this podcast which first appeared on Physics Central, the 'physics buzz blog' of the of the American Physical Society.   Photo: Starlings and sunset, Brighton by Joe Flintham

  • Digital exposure

    Digital exposure

    14/09/2016 Duración: 36min

    Always on our smartphones and other digital devices, we live in an expository society, says Prof Bernard Harcourt.  The landscape described in his new book is a dystopia saturated by pleasure. We do not live in a drab Orwellian world, he writes. We live in a beautiful, colourful, stimulating, digital world a rich, bright world full of passion and jouissance–and by means of which we reveal ourselves and make ourselves virtually transparent to surveillance.  This is digital exposure, exposing a great deal about our lives. This podcast is an edited version of a longer interview which first aired on the New Books Network. Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (Harvard University Press, 2015) guides us through our new digital age, one that makes it so easy for others to monitor, profile, and shape our every desire. We are building what he calls the expository society a platform for unprecedented levels of exhibition, watching, and influence that is reconfiguring our political relations and reshapin

  • 04/08/2016 Duración: 15min

    This is the second in our series on the 2016 US Presidential election, in which Alex Burd talks to Peter Trubowitz, Professor of International Relations and Director of the US Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Associate Fellow at Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs. [ The first podcast, on Donald Trump can be found here.] With the Democrat and Republican conventions now complete and the candidates confirmed, attention turns to the general election. Donald Trump, the self-appointed outsider, faces Hilary Clinton, the first female Presidential nominee in the history of the two main parties. Clinton is no stranger to government however, having been the First Lady of the United States, Senator for New York, and Barack Obama’s Secretary of State in a career of public service that spans three decades. The campaign has been vitriolic from the outset with Trump dubbing Clinton ‘crooked’, while Democrats and been quick to argue that Trump is unfit to hold the offic

  • The rise and rise of Donald Trump

    The rise and rise of Donald Trump

    18/07/2016 Duración: 20min

    "The American dream is dead.  I will bring it back and we will make America great again....." In nine months Donald Trump has stunned the political establishment, brushing aside other contenders to become the Republican nominee in the race for the White House. How has the man made famous for saying 'You're fired' come so close to landing the biggest job in the western world? To find out, Alex Burd went to talk to Peter Trubowitz, Professor of International Relations and Director of the US Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Associate Fellow at Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs, who has been trying to untangle the secrets of the rise of Trump. Business magnate and reality TV star Donald J Trump announced his intention to run for the Republican presidential nomination on 16 June 2015. His announcement was met with bemusement and ridicule. Within nine months he had stunned the political establishment and forced his final opponent, Ted Cruz, into withdrawing

  • Thinking and dying in London

    Thinking and dying in London

    28/06/2016 Duración: 01h01min

    "We always write - and read - history thought the prism of our contemporary concerns," So why study history?  What do we mean by 'history'? This podcast is a lecture by Dr Richard Barnett, which was part of a course on Thinking run by the IF Project, the free university in London. "We always write - and read - history thought the prism of our contemporary concerns," says Dr Barnett.  "There is no such thing as an objective reading of history.  This doesn't render history completely subjective, what it means is that history is always coloured, always brought to light, and sometimes distorted, by our present preconceptions, our own concerns, our political concerns and identity where we stand in our own societies, where we want to go.  So history in some ways always serves the needs of the present.  That doesn't make it worthless, in some ways it can make it even more valuable." Drawing on the story of John Snow - seen as the father of epidemiology because of his work on cholera - Dr Barnett explores history,

  • The Serengeti Rules – The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Matters

    The Serengeti Rules – The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Matters

    13/05/2016 Duración: 28min

    How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? Biologist Sean B Carroll talks to Craig Barfoot about his latest book, The Serengeti Rules.They explore  how life works at vastly different scales. We find out how wolves can change the physical shape of rivers and why, on the plains of the Serengeti, 150kg is the number which determines whether you will likely get eaten or not. This is a thoughtful and at times humorous conversation about the state of our world's wildlife areas and the rules which determine how nature operates. Reviews of the book: "In The Serengeti Rules, the author goes from E. coli to elephants to lay out the basic rules that shape so much of what’s around us and inside us."--Brian Switek, Wall Street Journal "In this remarkably engaging book, Carroll . . . persuasively argues that life at all levels of complexity is self-re

  • Digital breadcrumbs: the data trail we leave behind us

    Digital breadcrumbs: the data trail we leave behind us

    03/05/2016 Duración: 14min

    Once upon a time, in the land of Great Britain, Amanda woke up to the sun shining on a bright Monday morning. Before she got out of bed, she opened the BBC weather app on her phone  to check the weather for the day ahead.  She had started leaving her trail of digital breadcrumbs....... She took a shower, made some breakfast, brushed her teeth and left the house.  Amanda used Facebook to send a message to her friend telling him she was almost at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom. Her friend replied:  “No you’re not!  Your message location says you’re still at home!” Oops. Amanda was busted! She tapped her Oyster Card at the Underground Station and read the news on The Guardian app using the Wifi available underground. Arriving at Russell Square Station, she bought coffee at a cafe using her contactless card and made her way to SOAS for her first lecture of the day. Amanda was blissfully unaware that her morning schedule had created a trail of “Digital

  • Music and Resistance

    Music and Resistance

    24/04/2016 Duración: 27min

    When the gun is replaced by the melody: how does music resist? ‘Even if they don’t have a message, the act of actually playing music itself is resistance,’ says Dr. Sara McGuiness, senior teaching fellow in Music at SOAS. Classical Thai musician Luang Pradit Pairoh fought through the melodies of his songs surrounded by oppression; Ahmed Maher signed petitions to bring down the Morsi government in Egypt whilst at concerts around the country, and the melody of an old Catalonian song travelled almost a century of different resistance movements. This is a podcast of musical adventures. It features conversations with musicians, writers and academics with special guest appearances from random people pulled off the street. ------------------- The podcast was produced by Lara Şarlak, Fino Patanasiri, Diego M. Mosquera and Kelly O’Donovan, students on  'Digital broadcasting', an MA course taught  as part of the skills training options offered to MA students studying within the school of arts (which combine music,

  • Class – what is it?

    Class – what is it?

    17/04/2016 Duración: 30min

    Class is not only one of the oldest and most controversial of all concepts in social science, but a topic which has fascinated, amused, incensed and galvanized the general public, too. But what exactly is a ‘class’? How do sociologists study and measure it, and how does it correspond to everyday understandings of social difference? Is it now dead or dying in today’s globalized and media-saturated world, or is it entering a new phase of significance on the world stage? In this podcast, first published on Ideasbooks.org, Craig Barfoot talks to Dr Will Atkinson, author of the book Class  to explore these questions.  They take us through theoretical traditions in class research, the major controversies that have shaken the field and the continuing effects of class difference, class struggle and class inequality. Class:    Class is published by Polity Press and is part of their Concepts in Social Sciences series. You may also be interested in our BookPod on Tony Atkinson's book Inequality- what can be done? i

  • Cyber sovereignty: The global Domain Name System in China

    Cyber sovereignty: The global Domain Name System in China

    17/04/2016 Duración: 22min

    The internet has long been seen as a force of global connection,  But this notion of a global internet has never been entirely accurate. Language barriers, access limitations, censorship and the human impulse to stay within your own social circles contribute to us staying local.  And then there is the larger architecture of the internet.  This podcast looks at at how this architecture, specifically the Domain Name System (DNS) has been used and developed in China to localize control there. In this podcast, Adriene Lilly talks to Séverine Arsène, a researcher at the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China in Hong Kong and Chief Editor of China Perspectives – a journal dedicated to cultural, political and economic trends in China. She is also author of the recent article Internet Domain Names in China: Articulating Local Control with Global Connectivity part of a special feature of China Perspectives 'Shaping the Chinese Internet' The internet has long been seen as a force of global connection, bringi

  • Autism – police practice needs to change

    Autism – police practice needs to change

    12/04/2016 Duración: 09min

    Autism is a condition that affects about one in a hundred of us.  But few people understand or can recognise it.  This can have serious implications when people with autism encounter the criminal justice system. Recent research by City University and the University of Bath suggests that most people with autism, and about 75% of their parents,  are left very upset after dealings with the police.  April is Autism Awareness Month, and Pod Academy's Lee Millam  went to talk to Dr Laura Crane of City University London, to find out more. Lee Millam:  Autism is a complex condition for which there is no cure.  The main features are problems with social communication and interaction. Laura Crane:   Everyone with autism is very different, but people with autism all show the same key features - impairment in interacting with people socially and repetitive behaviours, interests and activities. These really vary so you could have one persion with autism who is very verbally and intellectually able, whereas others may n

  • Effundum Spiritum Meum – I Will Pour Out My Spirit

    Effundum Spiritum Meum – I Will Pour Out My Spirit

    04/04/2016 Duración: 15min

    This podcast is the second in our series on new concert music.   New music can be unfamiliar and challenging - this series, written and presented by composer Arthur Keegan-Bole, is designed to present new music in a non-scary way or at least to explain that composers are making logical music - not trying to make weird, 'difficult' music to confound the listener. The sublime music in this podcast, I will Pour Out My Spirit, ‘Effundum Spiritum Meum’, is a newly composed piece by Benedict Todd relating to the lost sounds of a ninth century Iberian liturgy.  It was composed as part of Bristol University's exciting Old Hispanic Office project. Now over to Arthur to introduce this podcast....... Arthur Keegan-Bole:  Hello, you’re listening to I will Pour Out My Spirit, ‘Effundum Spritum Meum’, a podcast about how a newly composed piece of music relates to the lost sounds of a unique liturgy called the Old Hispanic Office which was first sung on the Iberian Peninsula before the 9th Century. Hold on, stay there,

  • Moving from old to new

    Moving from old to new

    29/03/2016 Duración: 33min

    How did we transition from candles to kerosene? or kerosene to electricity? What and when were the conditions ripe for energy transitions of our past? and what lessons do they have for us in the 21st century as we make a transition from high carbon intensity fossil fuels to renewable energy.. In this podcast Chaitanya Kumar from Sussex University talks to Roger Fouquet from the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics. The podcast was first broadcast on The Shift, a great new on-line platform for conversations on energy and climate This is a short version of the transcript Chaitanya Kumar:  What are the key patterns that you've seen emerge from your study of historical energy transitions? Roger Fouquet  Under every single energy transition like biomass to coal, coal to oil or oil to gas etc, is a disaggregation of a number of sectors and services. Services like heating, lighting and every sector like transport, housing etc; each one of those needs to make a transition of its own. The technolo

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