Episodes - In Theory Podcast
By Maria Sachiko Cecire & Noorain Khan
To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.
This podcast uses theory to explain the world around us, from pop culture to politics to our personal lives. Each month, co-hosts Maria Sachiko Cecire and Noorain Khan raid academia for the the most fascinating and relevant social, cultural, and scientific theories and figure out what they mean for us today.
||CleanMini-Ep: Maria Had a Baby!||Missed us? We’ve been busy…in Maria’s case, making a BABY! (Among other things.) In this mini episode we check in about maternal health numbers in the US (not amazing), the experience of becoming a mother (pretty sweet, but keep yer grains of salt handy), and - of course - hit up some feminist theory about this whole childbearing thing. What’s up, Simone de Beauvoir! If you’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale and need another perspective on reproduction, you’ve come to the right place. Mamma Mia! We’re multiplying!||11/13/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS3E6 - Season 3 Gab: Taking Stock, Making Resolutions||One year is over, another just begun! In this mid-season gab we talk about how to look back over the past year and share strategies for making New Year's resolutions that stick. Discover the official Noorain Khan method for taking stock at the end of a year, hear our goals for 2017, and get some concrete advice on how to make a good resolution courtesy of kids.usa.gov. We also reveal our greatest resolution successes (Maria's involves Mordor, kind of) and swear that THIS is the year we're going to stay active - really!! Ready to take on the new year? Tune in for a chilled-out chat about taking the next steps!||1/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS3E5 - Poetry||Does the prospect of reading a poem send you into panicked memories of 11th grade English class? FEAR NOT! Poetry doesn't have to be like that! In this episode we find out how it's secretly all around us in the best ways, use theory to kill the author and open up avenues for fun interpretation, and share love for viral poetry by women of color. Maria's pal and colleague Dr. Adhaar Noor Desai helps demo how to unpack a plum(b) poem (the results make Noorain blush!), and we discover how to put more poetry in our lives. Take a moment to listen - and maybe even start to write!||12/22/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS3E4 - Gifts||Got gift-giving on your mind? You're not the only one to agonize over it! Is exchanging presents a magical practice of reciprocity that leads to stronger human bonds (Team Anthropology!) or is it an inefficient scourge leading to deadweight loss (Team Economics!)? In this episode, we explore these two camps...and in the process get to Japan's extreme gifting culture (Maria’s our in-house expert!), best/worst presents (yay!/ack!), holiday shopping, and registries. Get ready folks, we unwrap gift giving like no one else does—like nerds! Links to Stuff We Talk AboutTheory Bronisław Malinowski, “Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An account of native enterprise and adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea” (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1922) http://wolnelektury.pl/katalog/lektura/argonauts-of-the-western-pacific/ [N&M note: Yes, this title is bad, like baaaad.] Marcel Mauss, “The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies” (Cohen & West Ltd, 1966). https://archive.org/details/giftformsfunctio00maus [N&M note: Yes, this one too.] Joel Waldfogel, “Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays” (Princeton University Press, 2009). http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8972.html Context “Why Economists Hate Gifts”. Planet Money. December 11, 2011. NPR. http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/12/23/144195081/the-friday-podcast-why-economists-hate-gifts Caitlin Kenney. “The Most Wasteful Time Of Year.” Planet Money. November 25, 2009. NPR. http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2009/11/podcast_happy_efficent_holiday.html Shankar Vedantam. "New Study Explores Psychology Of Giving Wedding Gifts." All Things Considered. June 24, 2016. NPR. http://www.npr.org/2016/06/24/483426485/new-study-explores-psychology-of-giving-wedding-gifts Bonus On Japanese gift giving etiquette On Valentine’s Day & White Day in Japan Music this time by 50 Cent, The Isley Brothers, Queen Mariah & Natalie Merchant||12/7/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS3E3 - International Activism||Want to go out and change the world? Great! WE NEED IT. But how to avoid doing more harm than good, especially when working for people from other contexts and cultures? We dig into this tricky question with Dr. Ryan Richard Thoreson: human rights lawyer, LGBTIQ activist, and one of our personal faves. Along the way we encounter white savior Barbie, grapple with the notion of cultural relativism, and each reveal some of our most facepalm-worthy moments abroad. Ryan also catches us up on the state of international LGBTIQ rights and activism, and we share some real talk about the colonialist legacy of the Rhodes Scholarships that Ryan, Noorain, and Maria all held. Theory helped shape how we approach making positive change, so join us for this ep and then get out there and make a difference where you can!||11/24/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS3 Replay: Progressive Patriotism||Following the 2016 election results, we've decided to share our vision for America at its best. So we're re-releasing our episode on patriotism from Season Two. In it, we talk about what it means to be both progressive and patriotic, and describe our inclusive American dream, which has room for both tradition and change. There is so much work to be done, and so much good to fight for. We've rounded up some links for ways to get involved and, if needed, help heal yourself and your community on our website at http://intheory.us.||11/10/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS3E2 - Restorative Justice||Restorative Justice||10/27/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS3E1 - Self Help||Lifehacks, Oprah, The Secret…who CAN’T use a little self-help to maximize their personal and professional lives? We kick off Season 3 by diving into self help and celebrity advice culture, exploring both what’s great about them and their darker sides. We pin down the concept “neoliberalism,” and talk about how competition from the boardroom to the bedroom is leaving people feeling more isolated and looking to self-help for ways to survive in an increasingly precarious economy. On the way, Noorain opens up about her love of Oprah and her celebrity book binges, and Maria casts some epic shade on Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Let’s get this In Theory party started!||10/19/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS2E8 - Aliens: Where is everybody???||Hey--is anyone out there? In our last official episode of Season 2, we talk about whether humans are actually alone in the universe with the help of theories from physicists, philosophers, and Champagne Papi. JK. Kind of. From the Fermi Paradox to the Great Filter Theory to the Drake Equation (see what we did there?) we discuss whether it's crazy to believe in UFOs and little green men…or crazy NOT to! Along the way Maria reveals her awkward mixup of foreign vs. intergalactic policy expectations, Noorain sings the praises of the feminist movie Contact, and together we muse on what our collective obsession with life on other planets says about humanity today. Get ready everyone, the government can’t cover up this conversation! The truth is out there...||6/8/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS2E7 - Do-It-Yourself Theory and the Crafting Comeback||Do-It-Yourself Theory and the Crafting Comeback||5/25/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS2E6 - Season 2 Gab: Bold Transformations & Cozy Routines||Here in our mid-season grab-bag of chilled out convo, we take a break from theory to gab: we reflect on some of the amazing experiences we had as teenagers that made us into the people we are today. From socially conscious scouting to international underwear adventures, we take it back to '90s and let you in on some dorky-but-excellent truths about our formative years. PLUS we each describe our perfect Saturday and get enthusiastic about go-to takeout and gas station jalapeño poppers. Don't judge!! Come relax your brain with us (you need troughs to have peaks!) as we gear up for the last few episodes of Season 2.||5/11/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitS2E5 - Aging: Like Wine or Milk?||S2E5 - Aging: Like Wine or Milk?||4/27/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS2E4 - Destination: VACATION||Ever tried to cram a year's worth of relaxation, adventure, and bonding into your precious few vacation days? Had a meltdown while lost down the TripAdvisor rabbit hole? Got down on yourself for feeling unproductive and wanting to ditch? This time Noorain and Maria talk about vacations: who gets to take them and who doesn't, the benefits of leaving your job both physically and mentally behind, "authentic" trips and the upsides of kicking back in a world of total artifice. Maria spills about her epic Disney Cruise experience, Noorain admits her addiction to online travel planning, and Max Weber and Jean Baudrillard toss their most vacation-relevant theories into our luggage for the trip. Whether you need some holy days of holiday reflection or just want to vacate on your vacation...all aboard!||4/13/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS2E3 - Patriotic Party in the U.S.A.!||America? F YEAH-- in this episode we take patriotism back from the haters and talk about our own progressive brown lady versions of loving up on our country. We share personal stories, like the creepy Scandinavian encounter that got Maria defending the red white and blue, and how the Shiite genocide relates to Noorain's patriotism. And OF COURSE we've got to talk about country music's uncanny ability to articulate certain kinds of America love! We also give you the theoretical low-down on why we even have nations, how nationalism gets cultivated, and Benedict Anderson's work on "imagined communities". There's some real talk on how to love our country in the face of islamophobia, racist police brutality, and inequality everywhere, too. Welcome to our own Party in the U.S.A.!||3/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS2E2 - Food for Thought||If you are what you eat…what does that make us as Americans today?! In this MEGA-EP we're talking about food: how it gets produced, its impact on people, animals, and the environment, and how to make better decisions in the grocery store. We are super excited to feature an in-depth interview with food activist and all-around legend Kate Galassi. Then Maria and Noorain break open the world of assembly-line chickens, ask some questions about food deserts, and do their best to avoid slave shrimp. Hold on to your jicamas everyone, it's time to chow down on another episode of In Theory!||3/16/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanS2E1 - Periods: Surfing the Crimson Wave||Hey you! In Theory's back for Season 2 and we're taking on menstruation! Ever wondered why we have periods? (No really - WHYYYYY??? ) We've got answers for you! Turns out that menstruation is full of theory to be unpacked. This week we discuss menstrual taboos across cultures, how creative tactics can help people survive oppressive systems, Maria's dream mechanical womb, and gab about the First Moon Party you never had. This isn't just for ladies--come one, come all and surf the crimson wave with us!||3/2/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanInterview with Noorain & Maria: Part 2||Here it is, the exciting second half of our interview! Just one week away from the official start of S2...||2/24/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanInterview with Noorain & Maria: Part 1||Missed us? We’re (almost) back! In the weeks leading up to Season 2 we’re releasing this two-part interview with your co-hosts…and introducing our fab new team member Olive! Listen in for the inside scoop on how Maria and Noorain met, how the podcast came about, and reflections on growing up different in “flyover states.” (Olive’s family raised POT BELLIED PIGS!) We’re putting theory aside for the moment and just hanging out – come join! You know we won’t be able to resist nerding out, high fiving, and getting sentimental about our big-picture hopes for the future.||2/17/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMini-Ep: Have an Unnecessarily Sexy Halloween!||BOO! Need help picking out what to wear for Halloween? We're interrupting our own hiatus to dish on the wide range of awesomely horrific ways companies have sexed up women's and girls' Halloween costumes, from sexy pumpkins to sexy pizza rat (yes that happened). The internet has started cataloging this creepy trend every year now, but WHY is it happening? In this special between-season mini-episode, we get into the pornification of femininity and talk over Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth to understand why constraints on women's appearances don't appear to be going anywhere. Cady and the Mean Girls gang make it into this Halloween gabfest - don't miss out!||10/26/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 9: Our Country Music Obsession Confession||Feels so right, feels so wrong, now we're crying, now we're running back for more… Tale of a bad ex? Nope! It's our flat-out love affair with country music. Join us in the last episode of Season 1 as we reveal all our feels about this much-abused genre, with a special focus on its fabulous storytelling and the time-honored tradition of lady revenge songs. We'll share some of our favorite tunes and talk about Lauren Berlant's infinitely useful theory of "the female complaint." Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and the Dixie Chicks dust off their boots (and shotguns) to help us unpack the intimate public of women's culture, which connects ladies through shared stories of suffering, broken dreams, and hellfire-n-vengeance when things get to be a little too much. C'mon down, y'all!||9/30/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 8: Our Quantified / Cyborg Selves||Is your Fitbit turning you into a cyborg? In this week's podcast we explore the Quantified Self Movement, which encourages gathering data about ourselves in the quest for self-improvement. We get into what this means for our culture of maximization and productivity, how new technologies have helped us to think of ourselves as machines, and how the singularity movement envisions our cyborg future. On the way we talk about Donna Haraway's feminist Cyborg Manifesto, how long Ray Kurzweil thinks it will take for us to live forever, and what it means to be human. You know, the small stuff. Come "process" it all with us…resistance is futile!||9/16/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 7: A Crash Course in Apocalyptic Prophecy||From the folks on the street distributing pamphlets about Armageddon to the rise of survivalists and doomsday preppers, the apocalypse seems to be everywhere. In this episode we get a crash course in the end of the world as we know it from Dr. Anbara Khalidi of Wadham College, Oxford. We find out what the Christian apocalypse is supposed to look like, why people get so passionate about it, and how Foucault's theories of discourses can help us make sense of it all. Dexter, exorcisms, and rains of frogs all make their appearances...so get prepped ya'll, In Theory's doing the Apocalypse--now!||9/3/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSeason 1 Gab: SHORTS! on Celebrities, Noorain's Wedding, News, & Vacations||It's summer and In Theory brings you some shorts that we've recorded over the past few months that are just a little bit shorter and little bit sweeter! Perfect for between quick dips in the water at the beach. CELEBRITIES: First we get why we love to talk about celebrities, and how celeb gossip can matter in our lives (even if we never meet Snooki or the Hemsworths ourselves). NOORAIN’S WEDDING: Following up on Episode 5’s discussion of the Wedding Industrial Complex, Noorain talks us through some of the pressures she felt and decisions she made when planning her own South Asian-American wedding. NEWS: Maria and Noorain quickly share how they keep up on the news every day: their favorite sources, apps, and thoughts on social media’s role in informing us today. VACATION: Noorain and Maria bring each other up to speed on their summer travels, with detours to talk about amusement parks old and new, the importance of taking (and planning!) vacations, and unlimited soda. Come on in, the water is fine!||8/19/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 6: Paleoworld||In this episode, we theorize and debunk all things Paleo!||8/5/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 5: Wedding industrial complex bells are ringing||Going to the chapel of love? Time to talk about the billion-dollar wedding industry! We take you through the stats and checklists of wedding planning, and give the low-down on the capitalist origins of some major Big Day traditions. Get ready to rethink white dresses, diamond engagement rings, celebrity weddings, and where taste comes from. Appearances by Disney princess culture, Scottish kilts, promposals, Eliza Dolittle, and more!||7/22/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 4: Childhood: those golden years (or are they?)||Ahhh childhood-- those innocent years when kids use their imaginations, play outside, and have experiences that will shape them for life. Timeless, right? Except not. These understandings of childhood are pretty recent and often assume a white, middle-class, heteronormative child. We talk about where these ideas come from and some of the disturbing results when a kid doesn't conform to popular assumptions about what children "should" be like. Get ready to blow the lid off of childhood!Links to Stuff We Talk AboutTheory Robin Bernstein. Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights. NYU Press (2011). http://nyupress.org/books/9780814787083/. Sigmund Freud. "The Development of Sexual Function." An Outline of Psychoanalysis. (1940). http://www.cla.csulb.edu/departments/hdev/facultyinfo/documents/freud_developmentofsexualfunction.pdf. Viviana A. Zelizer. Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children. Princeton University Press (1994). http://press.princeton.edu/titles/5452.html. Context Hugh Cunningham, “Histories of Childhood,” in The American Historical Review 103, no. 4 (October 1998): 1195–1208. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2651207. Ezra Jack Keats. The Snowy Day. Viking Books for Young Readers (1996). http://www.amazon.com/The-Snowy-Day-Board-Book/dp/0670867330. Turnette Powell. "Time Out." In Episode 538: "Is This Working?" This American Life. October 17, 2014. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/538/is-this-working. Articles Brit Bennett. "Addy Walker, American Girl." The Paris Review. May 28, 2015. http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/05/28/addy-walker-american-girl/. Linda Geddes. "Does sharing photos of your children on Facebook put them at risk?" The Guardian. September 21, 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/21/children-privacy-online-facebook-photos. Anna Holmes. "White Until Proven Black: Imagining Race in Hunger Games" The New Yorker. March 30, 2012. http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/white-until-proven-black-imagining-race-in-hunger-games. "Black Preschoolers Far More Likely To Be Suspended." NPR.org. March 21, 2014. http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/03/21/292456211/black-preschoolers-far-more-likely-to-be-suspended. Bonus More on the Joker's Scar stories in The Dark Knight film (2008) here and here. Musical interludes from Taylor Swift and the Jackson Five.||7/8/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 3: Cultural Appropriation!||This time we talk about cultural appropriation: What is it? How can you know? Is eating a taco cultural appropriation? We get into the roles of context, history, and power disparities in answering these questions...plus more on tattoo fails, pop music, some of Urban Outfitters' most facepalm-worthy designs, and the dangers of "strategic anti-essentialism".||6/24/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 2: Why are people so nasty to women on the Internet?||In this episode, we take a look at the dark sexist underbelly of the Internet. We discuss examples in blogging (like the explosive reactions to posts by a gluten-free woman food blogger), gaming, and social media. In the process, we take up the patriarchy, gender-based violence, and the concept of “emotion work.”||6/14/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 1: Yup, there's a Military-Entertainment Complex...||We kick off In Theory by diving into the military-entertainment complex. In this episode, we figure out how ISIS co-opted one of the most successful video games of all time and that gets us to Top Gun, Katniss Everdeen, and theories of nationhood...||5/29/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
WOW….In Theory Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Maria & Noorain. Keep bringing it.
Fascinating and fun!
Great topics and fascinating insights, all discussed in an accessible, conversational style. Thanks!
In Theory is on fleek! Relevant, brilliant, easy-to-listen, super interesting, and thought provoking. That is what this podcast is and MORE. Maria / Noorain, keep the good stuff coming; it’s great to hear your voices in this world!