Friday, March 18, 2011

Listening ideas for 18 March 2011

The China History Podcast
The Qing Dynasty Part 1
In this first episode covering the Qing Dynasty we look at the Shunzhi emperor and his son, the Kangxi emperor. The 61 year reign of the Kangxi emperor was the longest in imperial Chinese history. The Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong eras saw the Qing dynasty reach its greatest heights and China was economically the wealthiest and intellectually the most advanced and artistically refined empire on earth. In this episode we examine the life of the first of these three great emperors.
(review, feed)

London School of Economics: Public lectures and events
Grasshoppers, Ants and Locusts: the future of the world economy
The financial crisis was the product of an unstable interaction between ants (excess savers), grasshoppers (excess borrowers) and locusts (the financial sector that intermediated between the two). In view of this history, is the current recovery solidly built? Or do the weaknesses the crisis revealed remain pervasive? Martin Wolf is the associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times.
(review, feed)

Radio Open Source
C. D. Wright in Triumph: One With Others
C. D. Wright is well known for assembling her patchwork poetry from local and vernacular fragments. Even with fame and standing, she has still the one-of-a-kind comic, passionate, choleric sound of an offbeat oracle of the Arkansas Ozarks, where she grew up. So the National Book Critics Circle award last week for her book-length poem One With Others — after a near-miss for the National Book Award — seals a distinctly individual triumph of voice and art.
Our conversation is about V., about Arkansas then and now, and about the mixed-media of One With Others. Food price lists of the time and place (“Jack Sprat tea bags only 19 cents. A whole fryer is 59 cents… Cherokee freestone peaches, 5 cans for $1.”) are juxtaposed with Dear Abby advice columns in the local paper (“DEAR TOO MUCH IRONING, I would iron his underwear. You are wasting more energy complaining and arguing than it takes to iron seven pairs of shorts once a week. Everybody has a problem. What’s yours?”) and intercut with the poet’s interviews 40 years later.
(review, feed)

Women's History Month
In this episode we learn about lesser-known women in chemistry. We start with Dorothy Hodgkin and end with a tour of integral females highlighted in CHF's museum.
(review, feed)

The elegance of the hedgehog

Robert Adams is a book reviewer from Canada. He was born in Wales in 1937, which he frequently reminds us of in his talks, but came to Canada a life time ago in 1964. He features, from time to time, on the podcast Big Ideas where he lectures extensively reviewing a book that by virtue of that lecture, you immediately begin to love. (feed)

The latest subject of this elation was The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (translated from French into English). Adams retells the tale of the twelve year old girl from the haughty Parisian upper class, the concierge in their luxurious apartment building and the new tenant from Japan. It is not just the drama of the people who won't fit in and the youngster planning her suicide. Barbery is a philosopher and the novel, as Adams tries to reveal, is a vehicle of her ideas about the good life and the lies, big and small, of society.

Robert Adams's enthusiasm is contagious. As with the previous reviews, you are drawn in by how compelling he retells the story, convinced by his interpretations and in the end you feel you have read the book with him. The only thing that remains is to re-read it alone. Adams not only makes you appreciate a certain piece of literature, he makes you love and teaches you to close-read literature in general.

More Big Ideas:
Age of Unequals,
Dan Dennett: what should replace religion?,
Chris Hedges,
Needham about China,
The Reluctant Fundamentalist.