Practical Criticism/(Pop) Cultural Marxism Crossover: Stop Making Sense
In this very special crossover episode, the compound cast—Isi, Rebecca, and Ajay—are back together after hiatuses of various lengths to discuss the Talking Heads and A24's recent re-release of Jonathan Demme’s much-celebrated 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense. Kicking off with some reunion talk (to wit: research rabbit holes, early modern gardens, avant-garde architecture, automata, and, naturally, more Zelda), the trio then sets out to explore what it is that makes this film such a brilliant exemplar of the genre—joyful, affirmative, but nevertheless critical in sensibility. Along the way, they discuss: first encounters with the film, soundtrack versus album versions (controversial!), David Byrne’s pas de deux with a lamp, fashion and theatrical influences (kabuki, noh, Brecht), laying bare the device, the more integrated musical scenes of the 1980s, satire, collective composition, Tina Weymouth as secret sauce, and so much more. What kind of story does this film tell about music? How did the restored version come to be? And what does it restore?
The Podcast for Social Research
From Plato to quantum physics, Walter Benjamin to experimental poetry, Frantz Fanon to the history of political radicalism, The Podcast for Social Research is a crucial part of our mission to forge new, organic paths for intellectual work in the twenty-first century: an ongoing, interdisciplinary series featuring members of the Institute, and occasional guests, conversing about a wide variety of intellectual issues, some perennial, some newly pressing. Each episode centers on a different topic and is accompanied by a bibliography of annotations and citations that encourages further curiosity and underscores the conversation’s place in a larger web of cultural conversations.
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Faculty Spotlight: Sophie Lewis on Second Wave Feminism, Incipient Queerness, Auto-Analysis, and the Life of the Critic (ft. Paige Sweet)
In episode seven of Faculty Spotlight, Mark and Lauren sit down to chat with two BISR faculty whose interests, scholarly and otherwise, dovetail in fascinating ways—Sophie Lewis, writer, critic, and leading scholar of family abolition and the politics of reproduction; and Paige Sweet, writer, practicing psychoanalyst, and founder of the experimental writing project Infinite Text […]
Faculty Spotlight: R.H. Lossin on Sabotage, Luddites, Violence, and the Digital Library Dystopia
In episode six of Faculty Spotlight, Mark and Lauren sit down with R.H. Lossin, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Warren Center of Studies in American History and a leading scholar of the theory and practice of sabotage. The three discuss: what led R.H. to the study of sabotage; why sabotage is more ordinary than you think; […]
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 70.5: But I’m a Cheerleader—A Brief Film Guide
In this shortcast edition of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, BISR’s Rebecca Ariel Porte, Paige Sweet, and special guest Sonia Werner take an in-depth look back at Jamie Babbit’s 1999 queer cult classic But I’m a Cheerleader—a campy send-up of gay conversion therapy and compulsory heterosexuality. What are the “roots” […]
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 70: Critical Theory and the 21st Century
Episode 70 of the Podcast for Social Research is a live recording of the concluding panel of BISR’s July symposium Frankfurt School and the Now: Critical Theory in the 21st Century. To what extent, 100 years later, can critical theory help us make sense of the particular conditions, crises, and prospective futures of the contemporary […]
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 69: The Worst of Times? The Frankfurt School and Contemporary Culture
In episode 69 of the Podcast for Social Research, live-recorded (like episodes 67 and 68) at BISR’s recent symposium Frankfurt School and the Now, BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Isi Litke, and Nathan Shields and guests Adam Shatz and Kate Wagner ask about the uses of critical theory for thinking about contemporary culture and cultural production, from Twitter to […]
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 68: Critical Theory from Below—Race, Gender, and the Frankfurt School
In episode 68 of the Podcast for Social Research, live-recorded at BISR’s recent symposium The Frankfurt School and the Now, panelists William Paris, Nathan Duford, Eduardo Mendieta, and Paul North tackle the question: What use does Frankfurt School critical theory, a thought movement composed largely of mid-20th-century white men, have for contemporary thinking about race, […]
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 67: What is Critical Theory?
In episode 67 of the Podcast for Social Research, a live recording of the opening panel of two-day symposium Frankfurt School and the Now, BISR’s Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Rebecca Ariel Porte and guests Seyla Benhabib and Aaron Benanav answer the perennial question, What is Critical Theory? As they trace a line from Kant to […]
(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 7: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom — Baroque Beauty and Mourning Play
After a brief hiatus, Ajay and Isi are back with another episode of (Pop) Cultural Marxism! In episode 7, they sojourn amidst the splendid ruins of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the much celebrated 2023 game from Nintendo’s EPD development group, directed and produced by Hidemaro Fujibayashi and Eiji Aonuma. […]
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 66: Dear Prudence—Danny Lavery on the Art and Ethics of Advice-Giving
In episode 66 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, Daniel M. Lavery, erstwhile “Prudence” of Slate’s popular advice column, dropped by to discuss his latest book—a collection of “greatest hits” from his tenure as “Prudie,” interspersed with reflections on the uses and affordances of the advice column, the role and […]