Podcasts

Nerds in the Woods

Nestled among the tall pines in the heart of North Carolina, the National Humanities Center is a special place for scholars—a place where they can gather to think, study, and write—helping to deepen our understanding of the world and our place in it.

Join us as we take a series of virtual audio journeys through the intellectual woods with cohosts Robert Newman, Tania Munz, and Matthew Booker, as they survey some of the compelling topics being studied by historians and philosophers, scholars of literature, art, and other fields who come to the Center from all over the world.

Episode 1.1 – October 23, 2020

Home Matters: Picturing and Understanding Place


This episode explores how understanding the ways that humans interact with their environments, both locally and globally, can help us confront contemporary ecological challenges. Episode host: Robert Newman. Interviewers: Robert Newman and Tania Munz. Interviewees: photographer Justin Cook, Joni Adamson (Fellow, 2018–19; 2016–17), and Stephanie Foote (Fellow, 2017–18).

Episode 1.2 – October 30, 2020

Composed: Musical and Literary Connections Through the Ages


This episode explores the relationship between literature and music across time, specifically during the Italian Renaissance and in late twentieth-century America, and across and among genres, poetry and literary prose, ballads, rock music, and hip hop. Episode host: Matthew Booker. Interviewer: Robert Newman. Interviewees: Blake Wilson (Fellow 2016–17), Florence Dore (Fellow, 2008–09; 2016–17), and Professor A.D. Carson from the University of Virginia.

Episode 1.3 – November 6, 2020

Dear Readers: What Happens When We Sit Down with a Good Book?


This episode invites us to think more deeply about the practice of reading by reflecting on the experiences of neurodivergent readers, exploring the bonds created among devotees of a favorite author’s work, and by considering insights made possible by computer-assisted reading. Episode host: Matthew Booker. Interviewer: Robert Newman. Interviewees: Matthew Rubery (Fellow, 2018–19), Ann Weirda Rowland (Center Trustee; Fellow, 2019–20), and Ted Underwood (Fellow, 2018–19).

Episode 1.4 – November 13, 2020

Form & Function: The Arts’ Influence in the World Around Us


In this episode of Nerds in the Woods, we talk with three scholars about how form and function work together, investing objects with meaning and resonance in our lives, whether in art and architecture, literary forms, or the stuff of everyday life. Episode host: Robert Newman. Interviewers: Robert Newman, Joan Hinde Stewart, and Tania Munz. Interviewees: Hollis Robbins (Fellow, 2017–18), Sonja Drimmer (Fellow, 2019–20), and Elizabeth Otto (Fellow, 2017–18).

Episode 1.5 – November 20, 2020

Black Power Politics: Tracing the Effects of a Movement


In this episode, we sit down with two scholars whose work complicates our understanding of black power politics and the scope of its influence outside of the U.S. cities with which it is most often associated. Episode host: Matthew Booker. Interviewer: Robert Newman. Interviewees: Jakobi Williams (Fellow, 2016–17) and Katherine Mellen Charron (Fellow, 2019–20).

Episode 1.6 – December 4, 2020

Excursions: Revisiting the History of the Caribbean


This episode takes us on an intellectual voyage through the Caribbean, exploring its historical, political, and cultural importance over the course of the past several centuries. Episode host: Tania Munz. Interviewer: Robert Newman. Interviewees: Rebecca Goetz (Fellow, 2018–19), Marlene Daut (Fellow, 2016–17), and Matthew Smith (Fellow, 2018–19).