Vox Conversations

Vox Conversations

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

Episodes

December 9, 2021 50 min

Vox's Jamil Smith talks with Dr, Robert Bullard, a pioneer in the crusade for environmental justice, about his more than four decades in the fight. They discuss how the movement to recognize environmental civil rights began, overcame some of its early opposition, and the landmark legal case that established a constitutional protection against racist environmental policies and practices. Bullard, a member of the White House Envi...

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Sean Illing talks with historian Jill Lepore about her new podcast: The Evening Rocket explores Elon Musk and the new form of extravagant, extreme capitalism — which Lepore dubs "Muskism" — that he has ushered in. They discuss the formative role played by science fiction stories, why the super-wealthy are drawn to space travel, and why, according to Lepore, Elon Musk is not much of a futurist after all.

Host: Sean Illing (&#...

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December 2, 2021 56 min

Vox's Benji Jones talks with the celebrated entomologist, biologist, and naturalist E.O. Wilson. They talk about Wilson's sixty-plus years as a leading thinker in his field, how his expeditions studying ant species around the world informed his understanding of human beings, and how his discoveries and ideas have mainstreamed the idea of biodiversity and inspired bold new conservation movements.

Host: Benji Jones (@Benji...

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November 29, 2021 62 min

Sean Illing talks with Anne Helen Petersen and her partner Charlie Warzel about their new book, Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home. They talk about a new model of remote work, why Americans have a problematic relationship with work, and how to move toward a rational future (as opposed to a national emergency) of working from home.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox

Guests: ...

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November 22, 2021 63 min

Sean Illing talks with Briahna Joy Gray, the former national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders 2020 Presidential campaign, and current host of the Bad Faith podcast. They discuss the practical challenges facing the Left in the Biden era, untangle the ways in which race and class affect electoral outcomes and should influence messaging strategies, and assess the state of the ongoing effort for a platform of robust, material eco...

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Vox's Rebecca Jennings talks with Taylor Lorenz, tech culture reporter for the New York Times, about the creator economy: what it is, who's in it, and why more people are paying attention to it. They also talk about the hidden toll of running your own individual media company, the elusive term "cheugy," and the perils of reporting on internet culture and becoming (as Taylor occasionally has) part of the story.

Host: ...

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Sean Illing talks with Chris Hayes, author, commentator, and host of All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC. They discuss his recent essay in the New Yorker about fame and the internet, why we seek attention from strangers online, and how some German philosophers might offer guidance for our predicament.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox

Guest: Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes), host, All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC

...

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November 11, 2021 51 min

Vox's Jamil Smith talks with Caroline Randall Williams, academic, poet, and co-author (with her mother, Alice Randall) of Soul Food Love. They discuss the ways in which the African American culinary tradition is interpreted, how to tell stories through cooking, and why what we cook and eat is inextricably bound up with who we are.

Host: Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Guest: Caroline Randall Williams (...

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November 8, 2021 57 min

Sean Illing talks with Sebastian Junger, journalist, filmmaker, and author of the recent book Freedom. Informed by his experience hiking (and trespassing) along America's rail lines, Junger discusses the paradoxes of a "free" society, his recent near-death experience, and how the definition of freedom can change over the course of a life.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox

Guest: Sebastian Junger ...

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November 4, 2021 60 min

Anna North talks with Krys Malcolm Belc, nonbinary transmasculine parent, essayist, and author of the memoir The Natural Mother of the Child. They talk about what it means to be a parent, our gendered assumptions about parenthood, and the dynamics of gender identity in having and raising children.

Host: Anna North (@annanorthtweets), Senior Reporter, Vox

Guest: Krys Malcolm Belc (@krysmalcolmbelc), author

References:?

  • The Natu...
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    November 1, 2021 66 min

    Sean Illing talks with John McWhorter, linguist, New York Times columnist, and author of Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. They talk about the effects of modern antiracism, why McWhorter compares it to a religion, and the societal implications of the way we talk — and don't talk — about racism.

    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox

    Guest: John McWhorter (@JohnHMcWhorter), author

    ...

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    Vox culture contributor Anne Helen Petersen talks with Liz O'Donnell, an advocate for working caregivers and the author of Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents While Making a Living. They talk about the emotional and financial costs of elder care in America, how the burden disproportionately falls on women, and what everyone should know before taking on a caregiving role.

    Host: Anne Helen Petersen (@ann...

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    Sean Illing talks with Joe Bernstein of BuzzFeed News about online disinformation and what — if anything — can be done about it. They discuss the role of tech giants in the spread of propaganda, why it's been impossible for researchers to agree on what disinformation even is, and how the nature of both mass media and democracy means that disinformation is here to stay.

    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox

    G...

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    Vox's Jamil Smith talks with Keisha Blain, associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer's Enduring Message to America. They discuss the legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper-turned-civil-rights-activist, whose speech about voting rights at the 1964 Democratic National Convention changed how the Democratic Party viewed Black activism. They talk about how ...

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    October 18, 2021 58 min

    Sean Illing talks with writer and New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul about her book 100 Things We've Lost to the Internet and the ways, big and small, that the internet has changed our lives. They talk about the complicated relationship between change, innovation and loss, and how to understand who we are and who we've become in a world where we're never truly offline.

    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Inte...

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    Vox's Constance Grady talks with novelist Susanna Clarke about her latest book, Piranesi, before a virtual audience for the Vox Book Club. They discuss how Clarke's novel engages with themes that have come to characterize the pandemic experience, such as solitude, confinement, and isolation from society. They explore the idea of being forced to step away from the world. and what we lose — and gain — when we do.

    Host: Constan...

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    Vox's Jamil Smith talks with attorney, author, and activist Bryan Stevenson about the newly expanded Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. They discuss the museum's project to connect America's history of enslavement with the contemporary realities of voter suppression, police brutality, and mass incarceration. They also talk about the museum's relationship to Stevenson's work with the Equal Justice Initiative, ...

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    October 4, 2021 57 min

    Sean Illing talks with writer Will Storr about his new book The Status Game, and its central idea: all human beings are constantly competing for status. They discuss how certain aspects of society "supercharge" our innate drive for status, how social media has hijacked these impulses, and the risks posed by the status game's most dangerous players.

    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox

    Guest: Will St...

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    September 30, 2021 65 min

    Vox's Sigal Samuel talks with scholars and authors Wesley Wildman and Kate Stockly about their book, Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Enlightenment Engineering. They discuss high-tech tools like brain stimulation and neurofeedback-guided meditation that purport to enrich our spiritual lives, what possible risks they may pose to our psyches, and the ethical implications of technology-induced shortcut...

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    September 27, 2021 62 min

    Sean Illing talks with climate scholar Andreas Malm about his book How to Blow Up A Pipeline. They discuss the failure of decades of protests and appeals to curb the actions of the fossil fuel industry. And they explore why, despite dire evidence like the increasingly common scourge of wildfires and disastrous weather events, the climate change movement hasn't moved beyond peaceful protest — and why Malm argues the time for esc...

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