The Harper’s Podcast

The Harper’s Podcast

www.harpers.org
Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest mo…


Vicious Cycles
Feb 19 • 32 min
“Until the news can say, ‘We have no show (or paper) today because there is nothing of significance to concern you,’ the news will build its monument to truth on a lie.” So writes Greg Jackson in “Vicious Cycles,” published in the January issue of…
Selective Hearing
Feb 12 • 42 min
If you’re reading this, you already know that over the past five years both the quantity and the popularity of podcasts have exploded. Non-fiction podcasts—particularly those about true crime and history—have cultivated devoted audiences. Yet these shows…
“My Gang Is Jesus”
Jan 30 • 48 min
Evangelical churches in Brazil’s favelas serve as a source of redemption for many, and there are many pastors who work earnestly to save the souls of gang members, whose numbers have grown significantly in recent years. Yet some pastors in Rio de Janeiro…
Trumpism After Trump
Jan 16 • 39 min
Whether Donald Trump wins or loses the upcoming presidential election, the shift in Republican values he has ushered in is sure to outlast him. What aspects of Trump’s legacy will the next generation of conservatism cling to, and under whose leadership?…
Oceans Apart
Jan 9 • 43 min
The Comoro Islands, an archipelago off the eastern coast of Africa, offers a glimpse into the future of the global climate crisis. After the islands’ natural resources were depleted, the local economy failed—except on the island Mayotte, which is an…
Click Here To Kill
Jan 1 • 51 min
In July 2018, local police informed Alexis Stern, a recent high school graduate in Big Lake, Minnesota, that there was reason to believe someone wanted her dead. A hit had been requested, for a little over $5,000 in bitcoin, through a website called…
Body Language
Dec 24, 2019 • 38 min
Many of this decade’s pop culture juggernauts—from Orange Is the New Black to Caitlyn Jenner—have highlighted the lives of trans people. These artifacts have helped popularize the narrative of “switching” from one gender to the other, or feeling “trapped”…
More Than Thankful
Nov 28, 2019 • 46 min
Though you might’ve been raised not to talk about politics at Thanksgiving dinner, food itself has always been political. The questions of who grows it—and for whom—are loaded, especially in the United States, a country that took its farmland from…
Men at Work
Nov 20, 2019 • 34 min
Each wave of feminism in the United States has been met with a rise of men’s groups, which have sought to “heal” men and reconnect them to traditional masculinity. These movements—such as Robert Bly’s Iron John—have attempted to adapt to or resist the…
Impeachment and the Mueller Report
Nov 13, 2019 • 68 min
Today, November 13, 2019, as witnesses take the stand in the first public hearings on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, the Harper’s Podcast looks back to another major report on presidential infraction. The Department of Justice released its…
Brexit: Left of Europe
Nov 6, 2019 • 91 min
Last week, on October 28, Boris Johnson—the British prime minister who said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than request another Brexit extension from the European Union—requested and received such an extension from the European Union, making this…
To Serve Is To Rule
Oct 30, 2019 • 39 min
Public service, stewardship, restraint: these were among the watchwords of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite, a group nearly synonymous with the American ruling class from the late nineteenth century through roughly the late Sixties. Compare these…
The K–12 Takeover
Oct 23, 2019 • 36 min
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, philanthropists and New Orleans education reformers saw an unprecedented chance to completely restructure a failing school system. As a result, New Orleans has become the only city in the United States where charter…
Conditions of Impeachment
Oct 9, 2019 • 43 min
The Constitution of the United States is a foundational element of national mythology, an exceptional document for its time that, unlike other constitutions, is still cited in contemporary political discussions. In the October issue of Harper’s Magazine,…
Good Bad Bad Good
Oct 2, 2019 • 44 min
At this year’s Emmys, the biggest names in television presented their usual awards, while the show itself represented an industry in flux. The hostless proceedings saw record low ratings even as new television shows and streaming services continue to…
The Woodchipper
Sep 24, 2019 • 30 min
September is here, bringing with it a new school year, the first day of fall, and the start of football season in America. After weeks of preseason games and predictions, the thirty-two teams of the N.F.L. begin five months of competition culminating in…
Common Ground
Sep 13, 2019 • 67 min
Each year, the City of David, the archaeological site believed to be the ancient core of Jerusalem, attracts some six hundred thousand tourists, who come to see the place where King David may have ruled in the 10th century BC. The problem is that, as…
The Black Axe
Aug 28, 2019 • 29 min
If you have an email account, you’ve almost certainly received an email from someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince. Yet despite the notoriety of this scam, it continues to net billions of dollars every year—and, as Sean Williams explains in the…
The Family
Aug 15, 2019 • 46 min
The separation of church and state is one of the fundamental principles of American democracy; Article VI of the Constitution states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”…
The Call of the Drums
Aug 8, 2019 • 32 min
Misremembered histories are often more powerful than fact—look no further than the Tea Party, a political movement that wealthy donors and disaffected cranks built upon stacks of unused high school textbooks. However, the United States isn’t alone in such…
The Last Frontier
Jul 31, 2019 • 34 min
The American West has historically attracted defiant, self-sufficient people who are suspicious both of being asked for and of receiving help. In our August cover story, Ted Conover describes the months he spent among a modern crop of homesteaders in…
A Play with No End
Jul 25, 2019 • 36 min
Like Occupy Wall Street, the Gilets Jaunes movement was born of an economic crisis, and has been driven by a desire for systemic change; the media has tarred supporters of both as anti-Semitic and misogynistic. But are the yellow vests’ protests also…
The Hardest Music and the Softest Animals
Jul 12, 2019 • 28 min
As time goes on, the world seems increasingly cruel and absurd—the president tweets hateful memes that originated on Reddit, which are then analyzed by the media and archived by the Library of Congress. But as Nell Zink, author of The Wallcreeper,…
“Just Keep Going North”
Jul 3, 2019 • 30 min
2019 has been a banner year for xenophobia. Before news broke of lice-ridden migrant children forced to sleep on frigid cement, before the racist jokes Border Patrol officers traded on private Facebook groups were made public, President Trump sowed fear…
Stonewall at Fifty
Jun 26, 2019 • 32 min
The mainstream fight for gay rights—for inclusion, for marriage equality—has been waged over fraught territory. Its victories—a changed and changing culture, legal and political leaps unimaginable half a century ago—are nothing short of monumental. But…
Is Poverty Necessary?
Jun 5, 2019 • 35 min
Common sense seems to dictate that the rise of automation will bring about the economic demise of the working class. But need this be true? This assumption draws on a history of economic thought, from Malthus to Marx, that accepts laws such as the labor…
The Abortion Bans
May 23, 2019 • 44 min
Over the past few weeks, the legislatures of Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Utah have passed bills that have significantly restricted abortion to much earlier stages in pregnancy; Arkansas banned the procedure outright.…
Downstream
May 15, 2019 • 33 min
For many Americans, our relationship with stuff ends when we take it to the curb on trash day. But for millions of items—everything from coat hangers to mattresses—this is the beginning of a second life, one that flows out the Miami River and on to Haiti.…
Humanitarian Wars?
May 7, 2019 • 71 min
The oxymoron “humanitarian war” is sometimes used ironically, at other times derisively, and still at others earnestly. In his recent book, excerpted in the April issue of Harper’s Magazine, Rony Brauman, former president of Doctors Without Borders,…
The Truce
May 1, 2019 • 39 min
For most Salvadorans, it’s difficult to avoid the nation’s gangs, vast networks that manifest their power through extortion and territorial control. Why, then, do so many Salvadorans vilify a man who had made extraordinary progress toward easing gang…
Lost at Sea
Apr 23, 2019 • 30 min
There remains an idea that society exacts its price, and that if we could simply bring ourselves to walk away from it all—our bank accounts, our homes, our internet connections—we could, like Thoreau, return to an Edenic existence. The truth, of course,…
The Storyteller
Apr 15, 2019 • 29 min
It’s not a new question, but it is an especially timely one: How do children of immigrant parents absorb and, in turn, imagine an idea of their ancestral country? Pierre Jarawan’s new novel, The Storyteller, follows Samir, a German-born son of Lebanese…
Destined for Export
Apr 8, 2019 • 33 min
Adoption is often idealized as an altruistic, almost saintly act. But, throughout history and across cultures, the paths babies have taken to reach those well-meaning parents have frequently involved coercion or trafficking. In a report for the April…
Like This or Die
Mar 25, 2019 • 39 min
Though we live in a politically factious era, our cultural landscape is dominated by consensus, where even the New York Times publishes top-books lists and must-see-TV listicles in place of measured criticism. What do we lose by squaring art away into…
Not Mere Projection
Mar 18, 2019 • 30 min
Cy Twombly’s art was in many ways the perfect avatar of Cy Twombly the man. As an artist at the intersection between two major movements in the twentieth century, he was an unplaceable combination of art outsider and someone with high-art sensibility, an…
Emily Bernard and Mychal Denzel Smith
Mar 11, 2019 • 39 min
Black artists, intellectuals, and writers have long been asked to process their pain for white audiences—which has led some well-intentioned white progressives to view pain as the entirety of the black experience. Recognizing this fact inevitably leads us…
Catechism of the Waters
Mar 4, 2019 • 33 min
Playful, big-eyed, and highly intelligent, sea lions seem to beg for human attention—except they don’t, because they’re animals. In the March issue of Harper’s Magazine, Sallie Tisdale examines how human intervention—specifically, the construction of…
The Myth of White Genocide in South Africa
Feb 25, 2019 • 34 min
The popularity of white nationalism is not limited to predominantly white countries, and in South Africa, a country upheld as a model of racial reconciliation, white anxiety has coalesced around the notion that white farmers are being systematically…
Going To Extremes
Feb 7, 2019 • 31 min
As medical technology continues to extend life spans, very little thought is given to the quality of those added years, or to what someone who is severely infirm but not terminally ill might need to feel fulfilled. In the February issue, Ann Neumann…
Without a Trace
Jan 17, 2019 • 26 min
Each year, millions of people around the globe are displaced, and while many are able to resettle through official channels, millions more are forced to travel through unofficial, unsanctioned, often dangerous paths. When migrants vanish, whose…
Machine Politics
Jan 10, 2019 • 45 min
There is an exquisite irony about the rise of the internet and personal computing: although they were once hailed as safeguards against authoritarianism, that’s precisely what they now enable. In the January issue, Fred Turner explains how the challenge…
The Gatekeepers
Dec 20, 2018 • 39 min
Although many august publications have survived the shift to digital, they have retained many of the problems in how print outlets make assignments and edit their writers’ work—particularly when it comes to race. In the December issue, Mychal Denzel Smith…
John Cleese and Iain McGilcrest (Second Night)
Dec 13, 2018 • 73 min
What do a comic genius and an internationally renowned psychiatrist have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out. So much, in fact, that Harper’s Magazine and Book Culture on Columbus brought John Cleese and Iain McGilchrist together for two nights of…
John Cleese and Iain McGilchrist (First Night)
Dec 13, 2018 • 78 min
What do a comic genius and an internationally renowned psychiatrist have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out. So much, in fact, that Harper’s Magazine and Book Culture on Columbus brought John Cleese and Iain McGilchrist together for two nights of…
How to Save The Internet
Nov 29, 2018 • 43 min
Social media has changed “the future of history.” Our lives and the historical events of our time are recorded differently now, with tweets and Instagram posts replacing letters and film rolls as primary sources for future generations to study. In the…
Checkpoint Nation
Nov 15, 2018 • 48 min
With over 45,000 agents in its ranks, US Customs and Border Protection is the largest law enforcement agency in the country. Yet, as Melissa del Bosque notes in “Checkpoint Nation,” CBP’s jurisdiction extends farther than even congressional leaders…
The Tragedy Of Ted Cruz
Nov 8, 2018 • 47 min
In one of the most closely watched races of this midterm election cycle, Ted Cruz narrowly defeated Beto O’Rourke to gain reelection to the Senate for a second term. Unpopular among Democrats and Republicans alike, Cruz has been a target of national…
The Haunting of Western Pennsylvania
Oct 31, 2018 • 16 min
Western Pennsylvania is a haunted-house mecca, boasting 40 haunts (as their owners like to call them) within 40 miles. With readymade Rust Belt ruins, low rents, and the horror legacy of George Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead, Martin, and…
The Progressive Case For States’ Rights
Oct 25, 2018 • 55 min
By 2040, 70 percent of Americans will live in 15 states. The Republican Party, led by a president elected by a minority of voters, is advancing a set of policies that fewer and fewer Americans support, and with four sitting Supreme Court justices…
Fall Books and an Interview with Rachel Kushner
Oct 12, 2018 • 57 min
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee—and Brett Kavanaugh’s irate response—was an excruciating bit of political theater, complete with righteous speeches from both sides of the aisle. (It also proved to be not much…
Thomas Frank: Rendezvous With Oblivion
Sep 20, 2018 • 54 min
The advent of radical centrism; journalists’ fantasy that they are part of the professional elite; the shuttering of local newspapers; the impending extinction of the book editor; your Comp Lit degree from Brown: All are symptoms and causes of the…
They Told Us Not To Say This
Sep 13, 2018 • 33 min
Natalie Holly reads Jenn Alandy Trahan’s short story from the September issue “They Told Us Not to Say This.” Then, Trahan joins Web Editor Violet Lucca for a discussion of her work. Trahan is a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, where she was a…
From the People Who Brought You the Weekend
Sep 6, 2018 • 48 min
Hailed as a major victory for conservatives seeking to reduce collective-bargaining rights, the recent Supreme Court ruling in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31 has further emphasized the…
The Deportation Racket
Aug 30, 2018 • 40 min
There are 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and, by one estimate, one in ten of them has been the victim of some sort of fraud—deceived by scammers who promise to expedite their visas, free them from detention, or help with…
How to Start a Nuclear War
Aug 16, 2018 • 37 min
When both war and the military-industrial complex hum unchallenged in the background of American life, it turns out that a fighter pilot, in the right circumstances, has the ability to launch a nuclear attack. Barack Obama’s commitment to “modernize” the…
Living in the Vanguard of Climate Change
Jul 13, 2018 • 33 min
The western United States is experiencing longer-burning, wider ranging, and more deadly fires now than at any point in the past century. The attitude towards fire and fire management in the rural West and Washington, however, has changed little in the…
Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment Of Mental Illness
Jul 6, 2018 • 57 min
The United States has the largest population of prisoners in the world: at present, nearly 2.2 million adults are inside correctional facilities. The incarcerated are disproportionately African-American and Latinx, and nearly half have been diagnosed with…
The Death Of New York
Jun 28, 2018 • 55 min
Bank-owned bikeshares and empty condos. Record numbers of homeless families and “curated” pop-up shops. A poverty level that’s higher than the “Fear City”–era. Such are the realities of living in New York City in 2018. In his July cover story “The Death…