In her acclaimed first book, “Floating Coast,” historian Bathsheba Demuth explores how capitalism, communism and ecology have clashed for over 150 years in the remote region of Beringia, the Arctic lands and waters stretching between Russia and Canada. Demuth trekked through the landscape and historical archives in search of answers to questions such as: How did whales become known through the labor of their killing? What happened when human ideas of “progress” were subject to the pressures of arctic life? Why did the superpowers’ grand attempts to cultivate a reindeer farming industry fail? In this episode, we speak with Demuth about these questions and about how creatures like bowheads whales were understood, imagined, and treated vastly differently by three distinct groups of hunters over the past two centuries — indigenous Yupik and Inupiaq whalers, capitalist whalers, and communist whalers — and the fundamental role animals themselves played in how its history unfolded.
Category Archives: blog
In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Salovey and Professor Feimster discuss the “long” civil rights movement, the contributions of civil rights activist Pauli Murray, and how Yale students are using the university’s archival and museum collections in their classes.
The group is joined by two colleagues, Derek Webster (Office of Career Strategy, Common Good & Creative Careers) and Maggie Katz (Center for International and Professional Experience) to discuss the trials and tribulations of the salary/benefits negotiation process. Yes, after all the stress and tumult of getting the actual job, your work is not quite done yet! The group goes through the very important aspects of this process, where efforts can yield benefits years down the line!
For the past ten years, journalist Christopher Ketcham has documented the confluence of commercial exploitation and government misconduct on public lands across the West, the role of the livestock and energy industries in their despoliation, and the impact of rampant federal land management agency capture on wildlife. We speak with Ketcham about his fierce new book, This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption Are Ruining the American West, which Outside Magazine called “the Desert Solitaire of our time.” The national commons that Ketcham focuses on — hundreds of millions of acres stretching across 12 Western states — are managed on the public’s behalf by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Both agencies operate with a “multiple use mandate.” This means they are required to strike a balance between using the land for purposes that generate economic profit and protecting the health of the ecosystem. But today, Ketcham says, “multiple use” is multiple abuse and our public lands — and the wild animals and plants that depend on them — are being pillaged, poisoned, and assaulted by industries and the government agencies captured by them.
“Books, like landscapes, leave their marks in us,” Robert Macfarlane once wrote. “Certain books, though, like certain landscapes, stay with us even when we left them, changing not just our weathers but our climates.” Macfarlane’s writing has done this for us and for millions of readers. It has shifted our climates for the better, deepened our sympathies, expanded our understanding of and attention to our moral and physical landscapes, and reminded us of the stakes of being alive. In this episode, Macfarlane joins us to speak about his new book, Underland: A Deep Time Journey. In the book, Macfarlane explores how we humans shape value across expanses of “deep time” — geological time in which the units of measurement are eons and epochs, not days or years — and asks: Are we being good ancestors? “When viewed in deep time, things come alive that seemed inert,” he writes. “New responsibilities declare themselves. A conviviality of being leaps to mind and eye. The world becomes eerily various and vibrant again. Ice breathes. Rock has tides. Mountains ebb and flow. Stone pulses. We live on a restless earth.”
During his travels in South America at the close of the 18th century, the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt came upon a parrot speaking the words of a lost Indian tribe. The encounter inspired our guest, acclaimed author and New York Times Magazine writer Charles Siebert, to imagine the echoes of human language that might persist, in nonhuman voices, once we are gone. We speak with Siebert about his reporting on humans’ wonder for and wounding of animals, the reach of metaphor, and what he discovered in the gaze of a chimpanzee named Roger.
Live on campus, Paul Attanasio, one of the most respected and successful TV/screenwriters of our time. Paul has created four TV series that have gone to air…and counting. One of ’em is Homicide: Life on the Street, a forebear of our current golden age. Paul was also behind House MD, one the most popular shows in the world for a time. Paul was Oscar-nominated for Donnie Brasco, a favorite among screenwriters. But throw all those other projects out, and Paul would still be one of Aaron’s heroes thanks to Quiz Show, the brilliant, layered, morality tale about the rigged game show scandals of the 1950s, directed by Robert Redford.
Join Aaron and Paul in front of a live audience at Yale for a fascinating conversation about Paul’s movies, shows, and craft.
YJBM editors and podcast hosts chat with David Hafler, the Chair of the Department of Neurology and Professor of Neurology and Immunobiology at Yale, about the connection between food and metabolism, the nervous system, and the immune system for our second episode about food and nutritional science.
They say you are what you eat… but are you, really? Tune in to hear about how food affects our physiology, the most eccentric fad diets, and more!
Join Aaron for his in-depth convo with the man who co-wrote 36 episodes (!) of Cheers, the greatest sitcom of all time. Behind the scenes stories, memories from production, and what made the show such a classic. Stick around for stories about working with Tom Hanks, rewriting Mannequin, and Ken’s love for The Producers.