In Focus

We go deep with and into our guest of the week.

30 In Focus: Nir Eyal on (the deontology of) “challenge testing” a Covid vaccine

On April 27, David D. Kirkpatrick reported in the N. Y. Times that Oxford’s Jenner Center is close to starting human trials on a potential Covid-19 vaccine. According to Kirkpatrick, “ethics rules, as a general principle, forbid seeking to infect human test participants with a serious disease. That means the only way to prove that … Continue reading “30 In Focus: Nir Eyal on (the deontology of) “challenge testing” a Covid vaccine”

17 In Focus: Mike Leigh (JP)

The British filmmaker Mike Leigh puts the move into movies: he never stops changing, never stops inventing. In nearly 50 years of filmmaking, he has ranged from comic portrayals of ordinary life amid the social breakdowns of Thatcher’s Britain (Life is Sweet, High Hopes) to gritty renditions of working-class constraint and bourgeois hypocrisy (Meantime, Abigail’s Party, … Continue reading “17 In Focus: Mike Leigh (JP)”

15 In Focus: Zadie Smith (JP)

In this episode, John interviews the celebrated British writer Zadie Smith. Zadie’s horror at the idea of rereading her own novels opens the show; she can more easily imagine rewriting one (as John’s beloved Willa Cather once did) than having to go through them all again. From there the conversation quickly moves through Brexit (oh, … Continue reading “15 In Focus: Zadie Smith (JP)”

15x Afterthoughts on Zadie Smith (John and Elizabeth)

Zadie Smith touched down at Brandeis because Swing Time was this year’s New Student Book Forum selection. It made for a busy day: on top of the podcast, she spoke to faculty and undergraduates at two different events. So, lots of material to discuss.

7 In Focus: Samuel Delany in conversation with John Plotz (Nevèrÿon, Triton, Gertrude Stein and more….)

On August 6, 2019, an article based on this podcast interview appeared in our partner publication, Public Books.  Fresh on the heels of our conversation with Madeline Miller, author of Circe,  John Plotz has a talk with Samuel Delany, living legend of science fiction and fantasy. You probably know him best for breakthrough novels like Dhalgren and Trouble … Continue reading “7 In Focus: Samuel Delany in conversation with John Plotz (Nevèrÿon, Triton, Gertrude Stein and more….)”

4 In Focus: An Interview with Madeline Miller about Circe

On June 6, 2019, an article based on this podcast appeared in our partner publication, Public Books.  In this episode, John and Gina Turrigiano speak with Madeline Miller, author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Circe. They discuss Circe’s place in Greek mythology and in a retelling of the Odyssey “from below” or “from the side,” the concept of “mythological … Continue reading “4 In Focus: An Interview with Madeline Miller about Circe”