It's been almost three years since the death of Abbas Kiarostami, one of the titans of modern cinema. Included in this episode is a tribute by Martin Scorsese as well as a portion of a long sit-down interview with Kiarostami.
Episode 52: A seminar on the Franklin Book Program w/ Levi Thompson
This episode of The East Is A Podcast is brought to you by students from Levi Thompson’s University of Colorado Boulder course Representing Islam. In it, they cover the operations of the Franklin Book Program, an American book-publishing and translation initiative that operated in the Middle East from 1953 to 1979. Levi and his students examine the program as an instance of American soft power within the context of Cold War cultural imperialism and give listeners a number of bibliographical notes for further investigation.
Episode 50: Political Prisoners and the American Carceral State w/ Chase Madar
Chase Madar is an attorney, author, and journalist in New York. He is the author of The Passion of [Chelsea] Manning: The Story Behind the WikiLeaks Whistleblower (Verso, 2013) and part-time faculty at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
Jake Aron (@ogdenvillegov) studied at Columbia’s Middle East South Asian and African Studies department. He is one half of Moloq @moloqmusic, an Atlanta-based psychedelic pop duo he co-founded with Paul Stevens.
Episode 36: Rocking the Boat w/ Vidyaratha Kissoon
Vidyaratha Kissoon lives in Guyana. He has been involved in the work to promote gender equality, child protection and LGBT equality. He blogs at http://churchroadman.blogspot.com/ . He agreed to do this podcast because he was able to get a coffee in Georgetown from one of Sina's friends.
William Blum was one of the most critical voices in the US media sphere. After leaving behind a lucrative career with the State Dept in 1967, he began writing about the disastrous consequences of US foreign policy.
Here is a short conversation with radio host David Swanson from a few years ago, preceded by a short intro. Blum speaks about his career, his frustrations with the corporate media, and the Obama administration.
Episode 15: The Tasks of Indigenous Translators w/ Nikki Hessel
Nikkie Hessel is Associate Professor School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Her most recent book is Romantic Literature and the Colonised World: Lessons from Indigenous Translations (Palgrave, 2018).
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's reign was profoundly connected to the Western news media. The mainstream press played an active role in the ousting of his rival Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, and spent the next two decades lavishing him with the kind of praise that only paid off toadies could provide.
But the relationship soured in the 1970s. As the pressures on his regime increased internally, Western journalists were beginning to do their jobs. Foolishly, the last monarch of Iran let his narcissism get the best of him and chose to accept interview after interview, allowing himself to be pestered with questions about torture, beatings, and the opposition to his authoritarian rule.
I've collected a bunch of interviews from mostly his later years, preceded by a brief introduction on the imperialist birthday party he threw for himself in 1971.
Episode 13: Yemen and the Problems of Empire w/ Isa Blumi
Isa Blumi is Associate Professor in the Department of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Turkish Studies at Stockholm University. He holds a PhD in History and Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies from New York University and a Master of Political Science and Historical Studies from The New School for Social Research, New York.
A interview with legendary English journalist Robert Fisk from 2015 produced by Vancouver's Redeye Collective. The talk was titled: "Goodbye, Mr Sykes! Adieu, Monsieur Picot!" How the ISIS ‘caliphate’ frightens the Middle East – and us."
For more on Redeye, please consult their archive here.
Episode 10: The Edward Said Mixtape (Vol. 2) - Said clashes with Lewis & Huntington
While they may not be household names, Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington can justifiably count themselves among the most influential academics of the last few decades. As the Cold War was winding down, the two men helped manufacture one of the biggest intellectual frauds in recent memory: "The Clash of Civilizations." These two men, with the help of countless media appearances and glowing write ups, peddled the dumb but marketable idea that "Christendom" and "Islam," two entirely fictional entities woven solely out of words, were on track for a final showdown.
Edward Said, who speaks here in selections from two different lectures I've edited lightly, was one of the brave few who took on this hoax and exposed it for what it was.
Episode 9: Postcoloniality, Marxism, Nasserism w/ Sara Salem
Sara Salem is Assistant Professor in Sociology at the London School of Economics. Sara's research interests include political sociology, postcolonial studies, Marxist theory, feminist theory, and global histories of empire and imperialism.
Episode 8: On the concept of Brownness (approximately) w/ Manu Samriti Chander
Manu Samriti Chander is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark. He holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and a PhD from Brown University. His first monograph, Brown Romantics: Poetry and Nationalism in the Global Nineteenth Century(Bucknell, 2017), examined the appropriation of British Romantic tropes by colonial poets throughout the nineteenth century.
Episode 7: Gayatri Spivak "Inside Saudi Arabia" (1980)
An interview with Gayatri Spivak fom the archives of Alternative Views, the legendary public access TV show based in Austin created and hosted by Douglas Kellner and Frank Morrow. In the episode, the hosts ask Spivak about her experiences teaching in the KSA. Interview begins around 5:00.
Turkey has for decades been one of the most important allies of the Western powers. The rise of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan--a charismatic nationalist and polarizing figure who survived a coup attempt in July 2016--has stirred up consternation among the establishment about his loyalty to the geopolitical status quo.
This episode revisits the Western media's love affair with a Turkish strongman who didn't offend the fickle tastes of the Anglo-American foreign policy elite. In 1958, CBS produced a made-for-TV documentary "The Incredible Turk" about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk-- narrated by none other than Walter Cronkite. I have included the entire documentary (lightly edited for time) and a short preamble from contemporary commentators who long for the return of our man in Ankara.
In April 1964, Malcolm X traveled to Saudi Arabia to complete the Hajj. Upon his return, he gave a press conference and explained what lessons his experiences abroad had taught him about the problems facing African-Americans.
Episode 2: The drone who would be king w/ Emran Feroz
Emran Feroz is an Austro-Afghan journalist and author based in Stuttgart. He is the author "Tod per Knopfdruck" [Death at the Push of a Button] published by Westend in Oct 2017. His work has appeared with The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Atlantic, The Hindu, Alternet and several other media outlets. He is also a regular contributor to German-language newspapers and magazines.