The LRB Podcast

Weekly conversations drawn from the pages of the LRB, with hosts Thomas Jones, Adam Shatz and Malin Hay.

12 June 2024 · 54mins

In the first in a series of episodes on the UK general election, James Butler is joined by Ann Pettifor and Adrienne Buller to discuss climate policy and its apparent absence from the campaign so far. 

What was the Venetian ghetto?

Erin Maglaque and Thomas Jones, 19 June 2024

12 June 2024 · 40mins

From the ghetto's creation in 1516 until its dissolution at the end of the 18th century, Jews in Venice were confined to a district enclosed by canals, patrolled by guards and locked at night. Yet its residents were essential players in Venetian life, and in practice the ghetto saw far more traffic through its gates than its founders intended. Erin Maglaque joins Tom to discuss what life in the ghetto was like, and why an open-air prison could be considered relatively tolerant by the standards of early modern Europe.

Forecasting D-Day

Lawrence Hogben, 19 June 2024

5 June 2024 · 13mins

The D-Day planners said that everything would hang on the weather. But who would make the forecast? Stephen Dillane reads Lawrence Hogben’s diary piece on forecasting D-Day by committee, and why they very almost chose the wrong day.


On J.G. Ballard

Edmund Gordon and Thomas Jones, 19 June 2024

29 May 2024 · 37mins

J.G. Ballard’s life and work contains many incongruities, outraging the Daily Mail and being offered a CBE (which he rejected), and variously appealing to both Spielberg and Cronenberg. Edmund Gordon joins Tom to explore Ballard’s strange combination of ‘whisky and soda’ conservatism and the avant-garde.

On Festac 77

Sean Jacobs and Thomas Jones, 19 June 2024

22 May 2024 · 46mins

Marilyn Nance was 23 when she photographed Festac ’77, a global celebration of Black and African art that she described as ‘the Olympics, plus a Biennial, plus Woodstock’. In his review of Nance’s book, Sean Jacobs traces a more fraught history of the festival than her photographs would suggest. Sean joins Tom to discuss what Festac meant for politicians, attendees and the proponents of négritude, third worldism and pan-Africanism.

In the Shadow of Silicon Valley

Rebecca Solnit, 19 June 2024

15 May 2024 · 45mins

Rebecca Solnit has lived in San Francisco since 1980, but the city she used to know is fast disappearing, ‘fully annexed’, as she puts it, by the tech firms from Silicon Valley. In this episode of the LRB podcast, Solnit reads her piece from the 8 February issue of the paper, both a eulogy for the city that’s been lost and a dissection of the dystopia that’s replacing it, ‘returning us’, as she puts it, ‘to a kind of feudalism’.

Women in Philosophy

Sophie Smith and Thomas Jones, 19 June 2024

8 May 2024 · 57mins

The recovery of history’s ‘lost’ women is often associated with the advent of feminism, but, Sophie Smith writes, women’s contributions to Western philosophy have been regularly rediscovered since at least the 14th century. She joins Tom to discuss what we can learn from the women who held their own alongside Plato, Descartes and Hume.

Unspeakable Acts

Tom Crewe and Thomas Jones, 19 June 2024

1 May 2024 · 46mins

James Pratt and John Smith were the last men hanged in England for the crime of sodomy, reported to the authorities by nosy landlords who later petitioned for clemency. Tom Crewe joins Thomas Jones to explain how exceptional – and unexceptional – the case was, the historical forces that led to the death sentence and the surprising ambivalence many Londoners felt about ‘unnatural crimes’ in the 1830s.

Where does culture come from?

Terry Eagleton, 19 June 2024

24 April 2024 · 1hr

The word ‘culture’ now drags the term ‘wars’ in its wake, but this is too narrow an approach to a concept with a much more capacious history. In the closing LRB Winter Lecture for 2024, Terry Eagleton examines various aspects of that history – culture and power, culture and ethics, culture and critique, culture and ideology – in an attempt to broaden the argument and understand where we are now.

Remembering the Future

Hazel V. Carby and Adam Shatz, 19 June 2024

17 April 2024 · 38mins

In her recent LRB Winter Lecture, Hazel V. Carby considered the ways that contemporary Indigenous artists are making the ordinarily invisible repercussions of ecocide and genocide visible. She joins Adam Shatz to expand on the artists discussed in her lecture, and how they disrupt the ways we’re accustomed to seeing borders, landmasses and landscapes empty – or emptied – of people.

Leaving Haiti

Pooja Bhatia and Thomas Jones, 19 June 2024

10 April 2024 · 46mins

Since the 2010 earthquake, ordinary life in Haiti has become increasingly untenable: in January this year, armed gangs controlled around 80 per cent of the capital. Pooja Bhatia joins Tom to discuss Haitian immigration to Chile and the US, the self-defeating nature of US immigration policy and the double binds Haitian refugees find themselves in.

Gurle Talk

Mary Wellesley and Thomas Jones, 19 June 2024

3 April 2024 · 30mins

Modern English speakers struggle to find sexual terms that aren’t either obscene or scientific, but that wasn’t always the case. Mary Wellesley joins Tom to discuss the changing language of women’s anatomy, work and lives.

Repopulating Architecture

Rosemary Hill and Thomas Jones, 19 June 2024

27 March 2024 · 49mins

Rosemary Hill celebrates architecture as a social, collaborative endeavour, where human need (and human greed) stymies starchitectural vision. Rosemary takes Tom on a tour of British and Irish architecture, from the Reformation through industrialisation, featuring big egos, unexpected outcomes and at least one architect she thinks it’s ‘completely fair’ to call a villain. 

The Shoah After Gaza

Pankaj Mishra and Adam Shatz, 19 June 2024

20 March 2024 · 57mins

Pankaj Mishra joins Adam Shatz to discuss his recent LRB Winter Lecture, in which he explores Israel’s instrumentalisation of the Holocaust. He expands on his readings of Jean Améry and Primo Levi, the crisis as understood by the Global South and Zionism’s appeal for Hindu nationalists.