(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 5: Avatar: Cinema’s Watery Grave
In episode 5 of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Isi and Ajay dive deep into the spectacle of James Cameron’s latest blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water, touching on questions of cinematic language, the ironic celebration of nature through its destructions, papyrus fonts, visual and narrative incoherence, Final Fantasy (and being unfair to it), Ridley Scott, Moby Dick, Heidegger’s question concerning technology, Prehistoric Planet, windmills, colonialism, György Lukács, Eiji Otsuka, Sontag's “Fascinating Fascism,” dubs vs. subs, 64-bit water, underwater motion capture, the shock doctrine, the movie's mildly eugenic obsession with sexualized (yet sexless) bodily perfection, James Cameron's legacy in crafting so much of the style of contemporary "cinematic universe" form, even the bizarre Manhattan mall where Isi and Ajay watched the movie. And, of course, lots and lots of water.
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 60: Tangled Legacies—Jünger’s Marble Cliffs
In episode 60 of the podcast, recorded live at Goethe-Institut New York, BISR’s Ajay Singh Chaudhary joins translator Tess Lewis, political theorist Corey Robin, and novelist Jessi Jezewska Stevens for a wide-ranging discussion of Ernst Jünger’s 1939 novel On the Marble Cliffs, now out from NYRB in a new translation by Lewis. Prompted by the […]
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 59: BISR Buddies
In episode 59 of the podcast, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, we are celebrating the many friendships that BISR has fostered over the years. You’ll hear the stories of four friendships – and one marriage – all of which began at a BISR class or event. First, Paige Sweet and Joseph Earl Thomas, fellow […]
Podcast for Social Research, Episode 58: The Kafka Diaries
In episode 58 of the Podcast for Social Research, award-winning translator Ross Benjamin sits down with BISR’s Christine Smallwood, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, and Lauren K. Wolfe to discuss—on the occasion of his new translation of the fully reconstructed, uncensored diaries—Kafka’s long, often fraught, sometimes tendentious publication and reception history. Loosely organized along […]
Faculty Spotlight: Bruce King
In episode three of Faculty Spotlight, Lauren K. Wolfe and Mark DeLucas interview BISR classicist Bruce King. The three discuss: what brought Bruce to the classics; the charisma of his teachers (and the poverty of their ideas); queering the canon; the trouble with the Odyssey; coming to love Latin (and why he’s keeping Horace to […]
(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 […]
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 […]