Hotel Bar Sessions, Ep 31: Whose History?
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1y ago
  The HBS hosts sit down with Dr. Charles McKinney, Jr. to talk about whose history is (and isn't) being taught. Following on the heels of a recent and very contentious political debate over the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools, we invited Dr. Charles McKinney, Jr. (Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History at Rhodes College) to sit for a few rounds at the hotel bar as we explore the dynamics of power, liberation, and Truth as they play out in the teaching of history. Full episode notes available at this li ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions, Season 2 "Afterthoughts"
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1y ago
  My Hotel Bar Sessions podcast cohosts (Dr. Charles Peterson and Dr. Rick Lee) and I have just wrapped up the second season of the podcast. We'll be taking a short (3-week) break to gather our thoughts before returning with a full slate of new episodes for Season 3 on November 8! Throughout Season 2, we took a break every 3 episodes to film an "Afterthoughts" episode, which we posted to our YouTube channel. These were meant to give us a chance to correct or amend anything we said wrongly in an episode, and also to add things that  occurred to us after hearing the aired episo ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions, Ep 30: Robots
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1y ago
The HBS hosts discuss how robots and intelligent machines are upending our social, moral, legal, and philosophical categories. For this last episode of Season 2, the HBS hosts interview Dr. David Gunkel (author of Robot Rights and How To Survive A Robot Invasion) about his work on emergent technologies, intelligent machines, and robots. Following the recent announcement by Elson Musk that Tesla is developing a humanoid robot for home use, we ask: what is the real difference between a robot and a toaster? Do robots and intelligent machines rise to the level of "persons"? Should we accord the ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions, Ep 29: Defending the Humanities
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1y ago
  The HBS hosts present their best defense of humanities-based education and, in doing so, try to justify their existences. As higher education has become more corporatized and STEM-focused, areas of study are often "pitched" to students on the basis of their future income-earning potential. However, college students now are entering a workforce where more than 30% of available jobs will be automated before those students reach middle age. Today's college students need more than vocational training to prepare them for the future they are entering. Most academics can (and do) make the a ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions podcast, Ep 28: Generations
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1y ago
  The HBS hosts discuss whether or not generational tags-- "Boomer," "GenX," "Millennial," and "Gen Z"-- are useful descriptions or just gerrymandered groups. Are you Gen Z, a Boomer, Gen X? We don’t know either but in this episode Dr. Rick Lee leads a discussion to try to figure out whether these generational designations have any stable meaning. Do they make sense as organizational categories. Are they Objective Types, Natural Kind, or Gerrymandered Sets? Do generational markers say more than gender, racial, class, ability in terms of identity? We ask about the dates of generations ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions podcast, Ep 27: The Hustle
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1y ago
  The HBS hosts discuss scams, cons, gig work, and what drives us to live and work at full speed. In the immortal words of Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. (aka, T.I.) "If you don't respect nothing else, you will respect the hustle." In this episode, Dr. Leigh M. Johnson takes the lead in an analysis of how "the hustle," in all senses of that term, define our lives today. We look at the HBO docuseries Generation Hustle-- which tracks the stories of 10 young scammers, con-artists, and/or sociopaths-- before trying to pinpoint the economic and social conditions that make these kinds of hustle ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions podcast, Ep 26: Music
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1y ago
  The HBS hosts talk about music, mathematics, groove, and "altar calls." Dr. Charles Peterson takes the lead in this week's discussion of the power of music in our lives. After a quick run-down of each co-host's own musical likes and dislikes, the HBS gang jumps right into a consideration of the effect that music has on us both as individuals and collectively. Does music give us some singular insight into what it means to be human? What does music evoke within us? How does it seem to have the power to inspire, to sadden, to terrify, and to comfort? How can it be used to manipulate? Is ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions, Episode 25 Guns
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1y ago
  The HBS hosts try to figure out why there are 150 guns for every 100 Americans.  In the midst of a pandemic, as COVID-related deaths creep close towards 1 million, it's easy to forget to the other public health epidemic plaguing the United States, namely, gun violence. Nearly 10,000 people have already been killed by gun violence by June of 2021, with no sign of slowing numbers. Schoolchildren regularly practice "active shooter" drills and, in states like Tennessee, gun-control laws have been relaxed so much that they are practically non-existent. A study published earlier this ye ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions, Episode 24: Specialization
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1y ago
  The HBS hosts discuss academic specializations and how to make the humanities more inclusive. Over the last several decades, there has been a long-overdue push for professors in the humanities to diversify their curricula to include more women, BIPOC, queer, disabled, and other under-represented thinkers and texts. Yet, theh "add diversity and stir" model for syllabus design in many ways fails to address a lot of the problems that motivated this demand in the first place. It isn't just syllabi in the humanities that have a diversity problem. It's the humanities professoriate itself ..read more
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Hotel Bar Sessions, Episode 23: Superheroes
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1y ago
  The HBS hosts discuss the role of superheroes in culture and popular media. In American graphic fiction and contemporary film, the superhero stands at the center of many popular narratives. Superhero stories published by DC Comics and Marvel are a multi-million dollar per year industry and, in 2019 alone, superhero movies grossed 3.19 billion dollars in revenue. Although it may seem to the novice as if these publishing houses and film studios just recycle the same stories (and sequels) over and over, connoisseurs of the genre know that the figure of the "superhero' has changed and ..read more
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