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A Democratic Socialist’s Almanac is a podcast exploring all things relevant to Socialism today, from the latest scholarship regarding the socialist tradition to socialist reflections on our current moment and where to go from here. Below is a partial prospectus with a subject by subject bibliography. Written by Lelyn R. Masters with a Memphis Music Soundtrack by Harry Koniditsiotis Marx’s Epicurianism Fusaro, Diego. Marx, Epicurus, and the Origins of Historical Materialism. Permanent Press, ...
 
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Herculaneum Uncovered is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Director of Research and Honorary Professor of Roman Studies in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge. This wide-ranging conversation covers his fascinating archeological work done in Herculaneum and Pompeii, the poli…
 
Content warning: rape, suicide On 25 May 2018, the Irish people voted to remove the Eighth Amendment from the constitution. This amendment, which had been introduced in 1983, not only made abortion illegal in Ireland, but equated the life of a pregnant woman to the life of a fertilised embryo. Despite this criminalisation, the ban on abortion was a…
 
How do you do archaeological research on a place that exists for only one week per year, in the middle of the Nevada desert, and is based on the ethos of "leave no trace?" In The Archaeology of Burning Man: The Rise and Fall of Black Rock City (U New Mexico Press, 2020), Dr. Carolyn White, a professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, se…
 
The trade union movement in Britain has existed for nearly two centuries: from the Tolpuddle Martyrs, to the 1888 Matchgirls’ strike, to the militant action of Women machinists at the Ford plant in Dagenham in 1968 - organised labour has a rich, if complicated, history. But in the ebb and flow and workers’ power over the decades, we find ourselves …
 
Throughout 2021 we have witnessed a number of devastating and deeply disturbing extreme weather events across the globe. From flooding and forest fires, to soaring temperatures, it is abundantly clear that global warming is accelerating faster than anticipated, and our window of opportunity to combat its worst effects is shrinking commensurately. T…
 
One would think that comparing civilizations as far removed in time and space as Ancient Egypt and Ancient China might not reveal much. Yet Professor Tony Barbieri’s Ancient Egypt and Early China: State, Society, and Culture (University of Washington Press: 2021) gleans much from a deeply-researched comparison of political structures, diplomatic re…
 
The story of Alexander the Great has inspired conquerors and would-be conquerors throughout history. Alexander’s sweep through the Middle East and Central Asia left behind evidence of his mark on history--namely, in the several cities that he founded, and that sprung up to govern the kingdoms he left behind. One man looking for evidence of Alexande…
 
In May 2021, Pluto published a new edited collection from Jules Joanne Gleeson and Elle O’Rourke, titled Transgender Marxism. The book offers a groundbreaking synthesis of transgender studies and Marxist theory. Exploring trans lives and movements, the collection’s contributors delve into the experiences of surviving as transgender under capitalism…
 
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is a far-reaching piece of legislation that would, if passed into law, result in an enormous and unprecedented extension of policing powers, severely curtailing the right to peaceful protest. Over the summer, many people have taken to the streets in #KilltheBill protests to voice their opposition and al…
 
Olga Tufnell (1905–85) was a British archaeologist working in Egypt, Cyprus, and Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s, a period often described as a golden age of archaeological discovery. Tufnell achieved extraordinary success for an “amateur” archaeologist and as a woman during a time when the field of professional archaeology was heavily dominated b…
 
On this episode of New Books in History, Jamie Kreiner, Associate Professor of History at the University of Georgia, talks about her new book, Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West, out in 2020 with Yale University Press. In the early medieval West, from North Africa to the British Isles, pigs were a crucial part of agriculture and culture. In…
 
'Work hard, get paid.' It's simple. Self-evident. But it's also a lie - at least for most of us. For people today, the old assumptions are crumbling; hard work in school no longer guarantees a secure, well-paying job in the future. Far from a gateway to riches and fulfillment, 'work' means precarity, anxiety and alienation. Discussing everything fr…
 
Content warning: suicide Academia was once thought of as the best job in the world - a career that fosters autonomy, craft, intrinsic job satisfaction and vocational zeal. And yet you would be hard-pressed to find a lecturer who believes that now. Indeed, there’s a strong correlation between the marketisation and commercialisation of higher educati…
 
Marianne Hem Eriksen (Associate Professor, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester) speaks with Michèle Hayeur Smith (Research Associate, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University) about Smith’s recent book, The Valkyries’ Loom: The Archaeology of Cloth Production and Female Power in the North Atlantic (Univer…
 
Borders are more than geographical lines - they impact all our lives, whether it's the inhumanity of deportations, or a rise in racist attacks in the wake of the EU referendum. Border Nation, the new book by Leah Cowan, shows how oppressive borders must be resisted. Laying bare the web of media myths that vilify migrants, Leah dives into the murky …
 
Since the beginnings of organized archaeology in the Middle East in the 19th century, western archaeologists have typically employed large “gangs” or “teams” of locals to perform the manual labor of excavating a site. Frequently considered “unskilled” workers, their contributions to archaeology have often been overlooked and underappreciated. Allis…
 
Dan Hicks, Curator and Professor of Contemporary Archaeology, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University has written a terrific book. The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution (Pluto Books, 2020) is a call to arms, for Western museums to return everything it procured, or more correctly stole, from African locatio…
 
We are in a moment of profound overlapping crises. The landscape of politics and entitlement is being rapidly remade. As movements against colonial legacies and state violence coincide with the rise of authoritarian regimes, it is the lens of racism, and the politics of race, that offers the sharpest focus. The 'hostile environment' and the fallout…
 
When asked what he saw after reverently peering into the freshly opened tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, Egyptologist Howard Carter could only find the words the say “Wonderful Things.” These words have become legend in Egyptology; whether they were actually spoken by Carter or were ascribed to him after the events took place in order to embellish the …
 
Today we are joined by Fiona Greenland, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, to talk about her new book, Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Raiders, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2021). Through much of its history, Italy was Europe’s heart of the arts, an artistic playground for forei…
 
In the early hours of the morning of the 12th October 1984, a bomb exploded in the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Five people were killed and many more were injured. The bombing was an attempt by the Provisional IRA to kill the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and her cabinet. Patrick Magee, the man responsible for planting the bomb, was eventually app…
 
The arrival in 1532 of a small group of Spanish conquistadores at the Andean town of Cajamarca launched one of the most dramatic – and often misunderstood – events in world history. In Inca Apocalypse: The Spanish Conquest and the Transformation of the Andean World (Oxford UP, 2020), R. Alan Covey draws upon a wealth of new archaeological and archi…
 
In 2019, over 10,000 possible victims of slavery were found in the UK. From men working in Sports Direct warehouses for barely any pay, to teenaged Vietnamese girls trafficked into small town nail bars, we're told that modern slavery is all around us, operating in plain sight. But is this really slavery, and is it even a new phenomenon? Why has the…
 
Studying the New Testament Through Inscriptions (Hendrickson Publishers, 2020)through Inscriptions is an intuitive introduction to inscriptions from the Greco-Roman world. Inscriptions can help contextualize certain events associated with the New Testament in a way that many widely circulated literary texts do not. This book both introduces inscrip…
 
For decades we have spoken of the 'Israel-Palestine conflict', but what if our understanding and framing of the issue has been wrong all along? That’s the argument of a new book published in January 2021, Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine. Joining us in conversation this month is the author, Jeff Halper, former Director of the Israeli Commi…
 
In Ireland in the Virginian Sea: Colonialism in the British Atlantic (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), Audrey Horning revisits the fraught connections between Ireland and colonial Virginia. Both modern scholars and early modern colonialists themselves viewed English incursions into Ireland and North America as intimately related. But the …
 
_[This episode was recorded live at Five and Dime at noon on August 14, 2020] _ That’s it for the first season of A Democratic Socialist’s Almanac. Some odds and ends may float up afterwards, some updates or conversations, but further episodes will not add anything essential to what has been said here. The goal was to articulate a particular vision…
 
Walk into any European museum today and you will see the curated spoils of Empire. They sit behind plate glass: dignified, tastefully lit. Accompanying pieces of card offer a name, date and place of origin. They do not mention that the objects are all stolen. Few artefacts embody this history of rapacious and extractive colonialism better than the …
 
Deep in the jungles of Myanmar lie the remains of an ancient kingdom, the 15th-century royal city of Mrauk-U. Located in the Bay of Bengal and separated from the rest of the country by the Arakan mountain range, Mrauk-U Township boasts a stunning rural landscape dotted with the hundreds of spires of stone temples, remnants of the former glories of …
 
Amazon is the most powerful corporation on the planet. Now with a net worth in excess of $200 billion dollars, its CEO, Jeff Bezos, has become the richest person in history, and one of the few people to profit from the global pandemic. Amazon’s dominance is so profound that it has reshaped the global economy itself: we now live in the age of 'Amazo…
 
What are the African Middle Ages? A place, certainly, and a time period, evidently. But also a “documentary regime,” argues François-Xavier Fauvelle. How do we reconstruct these centuries of the African past in the face of a daunting lack of sources? In thirty-four thoughtful vignettes, Fauvelle takes us along for the ride as he wrestles with this …
 
A global pandemic; the onset of a massive economic crisis; and the reinvigoration of a powerful social movement for racial justice - these are just some of the seismic events that have defined 2020, a year that still has several months to run, and yet already has few historical parallels. In July, Pluto launched a new series of short books, 'Vagabo…
 
Regardless of whether I agree with Joe Biden’s politics, after reading about him in depth I really like Joe Biden. I did not expect to like Joe Biden. I expected to find him to be an acceptable alternative to Donald Trump. But now I have real hope that a Biden presidency could transform our nation. Hear me out! In 2010 Jules Witcover published an e…
 
[correction: At the 2019 DSA National Convention it was proposition 15 that defined the DSA position as Bernie-or-Bust, not proposition 32 as I mis-state in the episode. From the motion to adopt: "Primary motivation: We endorsed Bernie whether or not you agree. But if he fails to gain the Democratic nomination, we need to decide what to do. My reso…
 
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