I like to listen to podcasts as I work and as I run. But finding good podcasts that are worth my time is no easy task. Even when I find recommendations, I never know where to start. Here is a list of podcasts I listen to, why I like them and why I hate-listen to others. I’ve included the particular episodes that I thought were standouts and that I come back to regularly or even assign in classes. They are in no particular order.
- Slate DoubleX podcast is a podcast hosted by Hanna Rosin, Noreen Malone and June Thomas. I usually listen to them while I run. I often go faster with rage and frustration with the things they say as for example when Noreen Malone said that today’s college activists are illiberal, or when they made judgments about whether something was sexist by asking “is this good for women?” without much sense of which women they were talking about when they said that, which was really all the worse for their discussion sometime ago about how they really are thinking about diversity, “trust us.” But I listen because it tells me something about how mainstream feminism consumes the news.
- After the election, I was floundering about for podcasts that might help us understand what happened. Through Facebook, I came across Doug Henwood’s Left Business Observer podcast, whose post-election episode featured Jodi Dean, Glen Ford and Alex Gourevitch. It was one of the best things I heard. It’s the November 10th episode. Then I just kept listening and was equally impressed by Henwood’s interview with Alan Finlayson on the comparison between Brexit and the election of Trump the following week.
- Another podcast that is smart and in-depth is Against the Grain out of KPFA in Berkeley. I assign Michel Feher’s episode on the rise of neoliberalism in my philosophy of commerce course. This is a podcast that I learn things from: the history of school segregation, arguments for universal basic income, Malthus and the market, policing in neoliberalism.
- This is hell. Well, some days it feels like it. The “This is Hell!” podcast is another left podcast, with Amber A’Lee Frost on Hillary’s feminism, Jodi Dean on the need for real party politics, and more post-election left analysis from Liza Featherstone and Doug Henwood. I have to admit there are times when this podcast, which I also listen to as I run, can be frustrating. Like when Micah White advised leftists to move to small towns and run for empty uncontested seats. But this podcast offers a platform for voices that we need to hear more from.
- 2 Dope Queens. Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are very funny. Listening to this podcast feels like listening in to a conversation between two best friends because it is. Also, they like to abbreve.
- I don’t really like to listen to philosophy podcasts, it’s too close to home or something. But I like to listen to Myisha Cherry’s UnMute Podcast–she invites interesting people on to discuss important and timely topics. Also, she often talks with analytic philosophers. I am not an analytic philosopher, but I appreciate learning something about how analytic philosophers are addressing issues I care about. Some good episodes are Luvell Anderson on slurs, Rachel McKinnon on allies and active bystanders, and José Jorge Mendoza on immigration and how he got into philosophy from activism. But the best one I listened to that really had me riveted was with Nancy Bauer on pornography, how she got into philosophy from journalism, and what it means for philosophy to engage the public.
- WTF with Marc Maron. I’m a latecomer to this podcast. I just started listening to it last month. I like it. Maron knows how to do an in-depth interview. My favorite at this point is the one with Sarah Jessica Parker. I’m not really a big SJP fan. I do not like Carrie Bradshaw. But I started to watch Divorce and I saw her with Jerry Seinfeld on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and I thought she was funny and real and this was a refreshing surprise. From WTF I learned that SJP was Annie on Broadway when she was 11 and that half her family is in show business, having all moved to NYC from Cincinnati when she was young.
- This American Life. If you listen to podcasts, you know that TAL is one of the originals. I go in and out of phases of regular listening. I really enjoyed the one where they talk to young teenagers about their social media use. I was running and started to cry as I listened to the episode on the Anatomy of Doubt about a girl who is raped and the police and her foster mom think she is lying. I require students to listen to the episode on unequal housing for my philosophy of race course. I have ancient philosophy students listen to the psychopath test episode when we discuss Aristotle’s ethics to get the sense of the measure Aristotle offers for virtuous living as acting like the virtuous person. I have also had gender studies courses listen to the testosterone episode. I also appreciated TAL’s two-part series on policing in America here and here.
- The Moth. I know, I know, we all know about this. It’s good. It’s been good for a long time. There’s just something about regular people telling stories. You can’t go wrong.
Photo by Patrick Breitenbach
I am a huge fan of Undisclosed Podcast and The Breakdown. Both are legal/crime related but so interesting without being exploitive. The first season of Undisclosed covers the Adnan Sayeed case from Serial, but if you didn’t listen to that Season 2 is a completely different and unrelated case.