In this podcast, Mark Evan Bonds (NHC Fellow, 1995–96; 2021–22) examines what it means to “break the fourth wall” in classical music composition and performance. Exploring the way that composers like Franz Joseph Haydn used their compositions to subvert audience expectations can help us to understand the ways that styles of music appreciation have changed from the Enlightenment to the present day.
In this podcast, John D. Wong (NHC Fellow, 2021–22), associate professor of humanities and social sciences at the University of Hong Kong, connects the growth of the commercial aviation industry in Hong Kong to the city's emergence as a contemporary economic powerhouse while facilitating an exchange of ideas that shaped the modern age.
In this podcast, Timothy L. Stinson (NHC Fellow, 2021–22) explains how narratives of divine vengeance shaped forms of European identity by reflecting political and religious tensions from the medieval period onward.
In this podcast, Jacob M. Baum (NHC Fellow, 2021–22), associate professor of history at Texas Tech University, discusses how the autobiographical notebooks of Sebastian Fischer, a deaf sixteenth-century shoemaker, can enhance and challenge our perspective on early modern disability studies. Fischer’s manuscript not only describes what life was like during this period for an artisan with hearing impairment, but also provides a window into the way that major historical events like the Protestant Reformation were experienced by individuals who lacked economic status and political power.
Taking its inspiration from Great Expectations, Furnace Creek teases us with the question of what Pip might have been like had he grown up in the American South of the 1960s and 1970s and faced the explosive social issues—racial injustice, a war abroad, women’s and gay rights, class struggle—that galvanized the world in those decades. Deftly combining elements of coming-of-age story, novel of erotic discovery, Southern Gothic fiction, and detection-mystery thriller, Furnace Creek offers a contemporary meditation on the perils of desire, ambition, love, loss, and family.
Freedomville is the story of a small group of enslaved villagers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, who founded their own town of Azad Nagar—Freedomville—after staging a rebellion against their slaveholders. But Laura T. Murphy (NHC Fellow, 2017–18), a leading scholar of contemporary global slavery, who spent years researching and teaching about Freedomville, found that whispers and deflections suggested that there was something troubling about Azad Nagar’s success.
Science under Fire reconstructs a century of battles over the cultural implications of science in the United States, showing how suspicion of scientific methods and motivation has played a major role in American politics and culture since the 1920s with profound repercussions that continue to affect everyday life in the current moment.
From stagecoaches and trains to buses, cars, and planes, Traveling Black explores when, how, and why racial restrictions took shape and brilliantly portrays what it was like to live with them. It also recounts the many forms of resistance deployed in the prolonged fight for freedom of movement across the United States.
Zimbabwean poet and scholar Tsitsi Ella Jaji (NHC Fellow, 2017–18) discusses and reads selections from Mother Tongues: Poems, her award-winning second book of verse, in which she explores our relationships with language, from the first words we learn to the vows we swear, examining how generations of love and loss are inscribed in our every utterance.
Demonstrating the conflicts between international conservation, nature tourism, decolonization, and national sovereignty, Our Gigantic Zoo explores the legacy of Bernhard Grzimek, Europe’s greatest wildlife conservationist, who portrayed himself as a second Noah, called on a sacred mission to protect the last vestiges of paradise for all humankind.