Podcast Archive - Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 4: 2022 Cultural Year in Review

In episode four of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Ajay, Isi, and Joseph review the year 2022 in pop culture via the prism of five topics and trends: "open world" (and cinematic universe) fatigue (for example, Assassin's Creed: Vahalla, Sonic Frontiers); the plague of remakes and cultural nostalgia (Top Gun Maverick, Wednesday, Interview with the Vampire); cultural paranoia (true crime TV and paraphernalia, including the "In Case I Go Missing Binder," Nextdoor, Tár); liberal fanfiction (Handmaid's TaleBridgerton); and the substitution of moral judgement and "forensic judgement" for actual aesthetic analysis (explainers, the backlash to critique,, deciphering). Do open worlds lend gravitas to video games—or do they just create sameness? What are the pastoral impulses behind farming games? Is the mania for remakes confirmation of Francis Fukuyama's "End of History"? Is Tár a product of cancel cultural panic? What is "plastic representation"; and how does representational fantasy like Bridgerton erase the very historical knowledge that makes social critique possible? And finally, what explains the urge to explain it all? How does ambiguity provide potency to art? The podcast closes with a discussion of Ajay's, Isi's, and Joseph's favorite 2022 things (whether actually released in 2022 or just personally discovered): Elden RingYellowjacketsHadesAzor, The Banshees of Inisherin, Station 11, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. (Ajay's 2022 GOTY and theorized allegory for communism.) 

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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Podcast for Social Research, Episode 57: At Year’s End with the Angel of History—2022 in Review

In episode 57 of the Podcast for Social Research, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Danielle Drori, Mark DeLucas, Lauren K. Wolfe, and Michael Stevenson look back at their 2022 in cultural experiences, from high-brow to middle- to low-: visiting NYC landmarks (for the first time), the New York Philharmonic (and David Geffen Hall’s questionable […]

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 3: Elden Ring: Endless Purgatorio

In episode three of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Ajay and Isi welcome fellow faculty and videogame connoisseur Joseph Earl Thomas to talk about Elden Ring, the acclaimed 2022 RPG videogame, directed and created by Hidetaka Miyazaki and Japan’s FromSoftware studio (alongside some “worldbuilding” by Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin.) After a few preliminaries (a revisit to Andor and discussions of […]

Practical Criticism No. 65—Dark Side of the Moon

In episode 65 of the Podcast for Social Research’s “Practical Criticism” series, the game has changed. For a special live recording of the final episode of 2022, everyone knew in advance that the sonic object would be Pink Floyd’s landmark concept album—and favorite laser light show accompaniment—Dark Side of the Moon. A gathering of dedicated […]

Faculty Spotlight: Paige Sweet

For the second installment of Faculty Spotlight, hosts Mark DeLucas and Lauren K. Wolfe sit down with faculty Paige Sweet—writer, writing consultant, literary theorist, and practicing psychoanalyst—for a wide-ranging conversation about the many eclectic aspects of her work, including the unconventional classroom and how it transforms pedagogical practice; what constitutes literary “theft” (from Kathy Acker’s […]

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 2: Stellan Skarsgårdian

In the second episode of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Isi and Ajay continue their explorations of the “fantastic form” of pop-cultural commodities. This time around, they take up the latest addition to the Star Wars universe, Tony Gilroy’s television series Andor. Their talk touches on topics large and small, from animatronic garbage droids, ordinary social life […]

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 56: Virology—A Reading, Conversation, and Celebration with Joseph Osmundson

In episode 56 of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR faculty Joseph Osmundson joins Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Nafis Hasan for a discussion of his new, highly acclaimed book Virology: Essays for the Living, the Dead and the Small Things in Between (Norton). Issues at hand include: the biological and social mechanics of viruses; how they’re […]

Faculty Spotlight: Türkan Pilavci

In the inaugural episode of Faculty Spotlight, hosts Lauren K. Wolfe and Mark DeLucas sit down with faculty Türkan Pilavci, art historian and field archaeologist, for a wide-ranging conversation about her work, including her archaeological field work in Turkey, the problems with art museums, the meaning and periodization of “Ancient Egypt”; how modern states draw on—and […]

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 1: Elves and Dragons

Introducing Episode 1 of the new Podcast for Social Research subseries (Pop) Cultural Marxism, in which Ajay and Isi (and special guests!) will be exploring the “fantastic form” of pop-cultural commodities—from film and television to toys and games to objects of every conceivable consumer variety. In the premier episode, they turn their attention to the […]

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 55.5, Shortcast: Heathers

In this Podcast for Social Research Shortcast, BISR’s Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Isabella Likte consider the genre of teen comedy—or, in this case, a macabre critique of the genre. Sitting down for a short discussion in advance of our People’s Choice Back-to-School screening of Michael Lehmann’s 1989 film Heathers at BISR Central, Ajay and Isi […]