The Harper’s Podcast podcast

The Harper’s Podcast

Harper’s Magazine

Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest monthly in America, explores the issues that drive our national conversation, through long-form narrative journalism and essays, and such celebrated features as the iconic Harper’s Index. With its emphasis on fine writing and original thought Harper’s provides readers with a unique perspective on politics, society, the environment, and culture. The essays, fiction, and reporting in the magazine’s pages come from promising new voices, as well as some of the most distinguished names in American letters, among them Annie Dillard, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Gaitskill, David Foster Wallace, and Tom Wolfe.

115 episodios

  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    Another Green World


    Jessica Camille Aguirre joins web editor Violet Lucca to discuss “Another Green World,” her piece in the February issue that explores a new experiment inside the infamous Biosphere 2 facility near Tucson, Arizona. Together, they discuss the relationship between climate change, the desire to travel in space, and a failure to confront the lingering colonialist tendency to control and exploit earth’s natural resources until they are exhausted. Does the impetus to find another home for humanity betray a discomfort with our ecological interdependence? Is it an attempt to absolve ourselves for harming the planet when there’s still time to make it livable again? Issues around science and climate reporting are also discussed. Read Aguirre’s essay: This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.
  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    Findings + “An Errand”


    Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, a contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine, joins web editor Violet Lucca to discuss Findings, one of the most iconic sections of the magazine, and his recent short story, “An Errand.” Together, they explore his process for finding Findings and carefully juxtaposing recent scientific studies to form an alternately juvenile and highbrow comedic chronicle. They also delve into the world of Old Delhi to examine Kroll-Zaidi’s short story from the January issue, which finds a brother and sister on a quest to find a seller of hearts. They discuss the ways in which the story blends contemporary reality with folklore, and how Kroll-Zaidi’s work on Findings informs his fiction. Findings: “An Errand”: This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.
  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

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  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    Routine Maintenance


    This year, resolve to think differently about habit. Meghan O’Gieblyn, author of God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning, discusses the spiritual, cognitive, and creative benefits of embracing routine in an increasingly automated world. O’Gieblyn dispenses with narrow notions of life hacking and argues that habits can free us from rigid algorithms to create space for contemplation. Routine doesn’t have to mean killing all spontaneity, but instead can function as a bulwark against mindlessness.
  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    A Firm Hand


    What does advice from the world’s most notorious consulting firm look like? Ian MacDougall discusses the McKinsey mystique, its work culture, the inner workings of its project to reduce violence at New York’s Rikers Island jail complex, and how the firm has shaped American capitalism over nine decades. You can read MacDougall’s annotation of one of McKinsey’s PowerPoint slides, created for the Rikers Island project—along with the entire presentation—here: This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.
  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    The Odor of Things


    Writer Scott Sayare discusses his most recent piece for Harper’s Magazine, which addresses what little we know for certain about our ability to smell, as well as the secretive world of the fragrance industry and our tendency to take olfaction for granted. Sayare also explains new methods of helping those who’ve lost their ability to smell, a common lingering effect of COVID-19.
  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    Desperately Seeking Sebald


    Critic and novelist Lauren Oyler discusses her conflicted feelings about the work of W. G. Sebald, an author whose influence and place in the canon is well established. Harper’s Magazine web editor Violet Lucca and Oyler talk through Sebald’s similarities to contemporary novelists, his feather-ruffling academic career, and what Carole Angier missed in her new Sebald biography, Speak, Silence. Read Oyler’s review: This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.
  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    A Posthumous Shock


    Will Self, author of Umbrella, How the Dead Live, and a new memoir, Will, discusses his provocative argument that trauma—in literary, historical, and cultural criticism—is wildly overused and misapplied. Rather than it being a phenomenon that has persisted throughout human history, Self contends that it is a product of modernity; while past injustices and injurious experience (war, slavery, abuse) may seem to have produced trauma-like symptoms, we have no way of judging whether they resemble trauma as we now conceive of it. Harper’s Magazine web editor Violet Lucca talks through the finer points of Self’s thesis. Read Self’s essay: This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.
  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    Thomas Chatterton Williams


    Thomas Chatterton Williams is an expatriate writer and a former Harper’s Magazine Easy Chair columnist. He joins editor in chief Christopher Beha to discuss his essay, “Continental Divide,” in which Williams travels to Leukerbad, Switzerland, to retrace James Baldwin’s journey in “Stranger in the Village.” The two reflect on the rewarding perspectives gained from living outside one’s home country, and survey the souring relationship between the United States and France. Read Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village”: Read Williams’s “Continental Divide”: Read Williams’s final column for Harper’s:
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    Ad Astra


    Rachel Riederer joins web editor Violet Lucca to discuss Riederer’s November cover story about the potential for military conflict in space. At present, there is no common understanding of what constitutes an act of war in space, nor are there clear guidelines for private companies entering orbit. In this episode of the podcast, Riederer and Lucca parse these inadequacies, the vulnerabilities of military and commercial satellites, recent attempts to update the rules that govern space, and the question of whether the Pentagon is inflating these threats. Read Riederer’s story: This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.
  • The Harper’s Podcast podcast

    Good Mother


    Sierra Crane Murdoch, author of Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country, discusses her latest essay for Harper’s Magazine, which asks a simple yet provocative question: What makes a good mother? Murdoch, a childless white woman, speaks with web editor Violet Lucca about the process of affirming to the state her belief that her friend and the subject of her book Lissa Yellow Bird, a Native woman, would make a good foster parent. Murdoch and Lucca discuss the colonized notions that haunt not only foster care but also journalism, and how, for nonwhite women, surviving trauma can be viewed as a liability rather than resiliency.

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