Culture Study Podcast

Culture Study Podcast

A podcast about the culture that surrounds you — with Anne Helen Petersen and a bunch of very smart co-hosts culturestudypod.substack.com

Episodes

July 17, 2024 49 mins

How are romance writers — and the recent romance boom — chipping away at the norms of Big Publishing? Does self-publishing lead to more diverse authors and characters? How has Amazon both expanded and limited the market? That’s what we’re grappling with in today’s episode.

Back in June, romance novelist Nisha Sharma broke down all the tropes and trends of contemporary romance. Next month, we’ll have the owners of a romance bookstor...

Mark as Played

J.Lo is, as we say in the Culture Study universe, a rich text. There is so much history, so many layers of accumulated meaning, so many relationships, and so little in terms of actual revelations. She gives so much and yet offers so little! Chelsea Devantez is a celebrity memoir aficionado, a humor writer, and a newly-minted J.Lo scholar — and the absolute perfect co-host to unpack all of your J.Lo questions, like why does Mariah h...

Mark as Played
June 26, 2024 60 mins

Why do jeans make us FEEL THINGS? I mean, I have a lot of feelings about the “going out top,” but at least I no longer have to deal with it. Jeans, they’re still here in my wardrobe, making me feel uncool. It’s the actual garment, sure, but it’s also a garment in constant fashion flux — and almost always designed to fit one sort of (thin) body. There’s no one better to talk about big jeans feelings than Virginia Sole-Smith, who’s w...

Mark as Played
June 19, 2024 54 mins

Most people I know think the monarchy — any monarchy — is pretty ridiculous. And yet: most people I know also know a lot about Meghan Markle and followed the #whereiskate conspiracy theorists at least part way down the rabbit hole. They’re rich celebrities, sure, but they’re also embodiments of empire in decline — and I wanted to think through how royal fascination manifests differently depending on where you live, how you were rai...

Mark as Played
June 12, 2024 29 mins

Sephora teens are teens who hang out at Sephora — and they’re a point of cultural anxiety because 1) they’re buying a lot of makeup and skincare products and 2) we have complex and contradictory feelings about when we should start caring about makeup and skincare products, even though absolutely everything in our culture tells young people they should’ve started caring about these things yesterday. Do Sephora Teens just want a publ...

Mark as Played

After our GREAT discussion of A Court of Roses and Thorns we realized we wanted to talk a lot more about romance: about the so-called “boom” and what’s fueling it, of course, but also about various tropes (sick bed, forbidden romance, grumpy protagonist), race and cultural specificity, the level of “spice” and how it shows up on the page, and how to manage your own romance reading behavior. Melody heard Nisha Sharma speak at Romanc...

Mark as Played

Spoiler: No, millennials are not the most nostalgic generation — we’re just in a deeply nostalgic moment in our lives, reckoning (sometimes gracefully, other times less so) with no longer being the Main Character in the generational story. But this moment does give us opportunity to talk about the shape and purpose of nostalgia, how YouTube both amplifies and short-circuits it, and so much more — featuring one of my favorite nostal...

Mark as Played

The very first episode of this pod was on how clothes got so shitty — and it prompted a whole bunch of you to write in with your questions about how the entire experience of obtaining those clothes became so shitty. Some of it is just what’s going on in the fashion world more broadly (and a continued refusal to believe that anyone larger than a size 12 wants cute, well-made clothes that fit and wants to pay you money for them) but ...

Mark as Played

I spent years of my life studying celebrity images and what makes them meaningful to us. A celebrity’s actions or words can make or deepen our connection to them — or they can really piss us off. But why? Is it just a classic case of dashed expectations? What makes, oh, Taylor Swift hanging out with Matty Healy so disappointing? For this episode, I asked celebrity feelings expert Margaret H. Willison to come answer your questions a...

Mark as Played

If you grew up in or adjacent to evangelical culture, the sounds of ‘90s and early 2000s Christian Rock are as familiar to you as the beginning bars of Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” The Newsboys, dcTalk, Jars of Clay, Third Day, Jennifer Knapp, Caedmon’s Call — these groups peaked just twenty years ago, but the sound and vibe feels like an archeological find. Same for the crossover “secular” hits from Creed, Lifehouse...

Mark as Played
May 1, 2024 52 mins

A platform where you can record what you’re reading and talk to others about what they’re reading doesn’t sound like a recipe for dystopia. But throw in a negligent billionaire conglomerate owner, optimization culture, and a competitive industry in which the line between reader and author is continually blurred… and you have a legitimate book lover’s hellscape. In other words: Goodreads! Today, I’m joined by book lover and book cri...

Mark as Played

A listener submitted a question earlier this week that was basically: Why are we talking about Taylor Swift again???? And I get it: if you’re not a fan, if her music is not for you, you too might be tired of the ongoing Taylor Swift Conversation. But I’m ultimately less interested in Taylor Swift herself and more interested in the shape of that conversation: what are we actually talking about when we talk about Taylor Swift? We’re ...

Mark as Played
April 17, 2024 36 mins

Who can force a nationwide conversation about musical genre for a whole damn month? Beyoncé can. And I knew I wanted to be several weeks into that discussion — and several weeks into my own relationship with the album — before I dove in myself. I also knew I wanted to talk about it with someone else with a similarly deep and ambivalent relationship with country music: the good, the white, the cold-beer-nation-building, all of it. S...

Mark as Played

Moms For Liberty sucks. I’m not going to even try to soften that statement, because it’s true: they’re an ideologically regressive organization that is wielding the idea of “parental rights” to censor books, teachers, and instructional materials. They make it much, much harder for educators to do their jobs — and many of the people most involved don’t even have kids in public schools.

But to defeat them, you have to understand what...

Mark as Played

Driving, attending meetings, hunching over laptops, zooming, commuting, absentmindedly scrolling Instagram — so much of contemporary life encourages if not outright demands that we sit. But study after study (and maybe just your own body) has told you: this much sitting is not great for us. But what are we supposed to do instead? Can we get rid of the junk wellness moralizing (10,000 steps a day!) and figure out small things that a...

Mark as Played
March 27, 2024 54 mins

As any Pacific Northwest teen from the ‘90s and early 2000s who carted a Nalgene around campus can tell you: WATER BOTTLE CULTURE IS NOT NEW. As pretty much any Grandpa or Boomer Dad can tell you: NEITHER IS STANLEY. But the demand for Stanley Tumblers (and, just as important, the inflated, often misogynistic conversation around it?) That’s (sorta) new. Like everything we talk about on this show: it’s complicated.

For today’s epis...

Mark as Played

I occasionally encounter someone who asks: Who would follow a celebrity on Instagram? Lady, I WOULD. I do! I follow celebrities who I actually like and celebrities who I find weird and complicated (Gwen Stefani, hi) and celebrities I wrote about or profiled at some point in the last ten years and now know all about their workout routines (hi, Brie Larson). But I didn’t follow Kevin Bacon — until a reel of him dancing, back-lit in h...

Mark as Played
March 13, 2024 52 mins

What does it mean to think of student loans as culture? First off, it means that we can think of them as something that’s changeable. Because as much as we’ve come to think of massive piles of debt as “just the way it is” for a broad swath of people (and more and more every year), there’s nothing inevitable about student loans. Our status quo doesn’t have to be saddling young adults (and/or their parents, and/or their grandparents)...

Mark as Played
March 6, 2024 43 mins

If you’ve been in a bookstore lately, you’ve undoubtedly seen it: A Court of Thorns and Roses, better known as ACOTAR, ruling over the paperback bestsellers with all its sequel pals. These books are behemoths. They’re massive. They’ve sold millions upon millions of copies. They’re about faeries. And they’re very, very hot.

Culture writer (and lifelong fantasy reader) Kathryn VanArendonk joins me to talk all things ACOTAR, from “is ...

Mark as Played
February 28, 2024 54 mins

Every so often, I do a Culture Study (newsletter) interview that inspires a LOT of follow-up questions — and the podcast is the perfect forum to address them, particularly when the interviewee is as smart and hilarious and curious as Heather Radke. For today’s episode, Heather and I tackle all your BUTTS questions, like: Why are butts so funny? Isn’t it weird the fossil record can’t tell us how big butts were? Wouldn’t it be awesom...

Mark as Played

Popular Podcasts

    Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

    Let's Be Clear with Shannen Doherty

    Let’s Be Clear… a new podcast from Shannen Doherty. The actress will open up like never before in a live memoir. She will cover everything from her TV and film credits, to her Stage IV cancer battle, friendships, divorces and more. She will share her own personal stories, how she manages the lows all while celebrating the highs, and her hopes and dreams for the future. As Shannen says, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it’s about how you get back up. So, LET’S BE CLEAR… this is the truth and nothing but. Join Shannen Doherty each week. Let’s Be Clear, an iHeartRadio podcast.

    The Dan Bongino Show

    He’s a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and New York Times best-selling author. Join Dan Bongino each weekday as he tackles the hottest political issues, debunking both liberal and Republican establishment rhetoric.

    Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang

    Ding dong! Join your culture consultants, Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang, on an unforgettable journey into the beating heart of CULTURE. Alongside sizzling special guests, they GET INTO the hottest pop-culture moments of the day and the formative cultural experiences that turned them into Culturistas. Produced by the Big Money Players Network and iHeartRadio.

    Stuff You Should Know

    If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Advertise With Us
Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.