Erin L. Thompson talks about monuments, and their role in American public life. Public art intervenes in directly in politics, shaping social behavior in the present. Monuments, in her account, are a bid for immortality that says “this is how things are” but often means “this is how things should be.”

In the episode she talks about The Houston Museum of African American Culture. They are engaged in a super exciting project reinterpreting the cultural memory of the US Civil War, as the first Black cultural institution that has re-housed a Confederate monument.

If you’re keen on the history and politics of monuments, check out her brand new book: Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments. It’s coming out from Norton this Tuesday (Feb 8)! You learn more about the book, and her upcoming talks on her website:

Erin L. Thompson is an associate professor of Art Crime at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Her first book Possession (Yale UP, 2016) studied the history of theft at the heart of private art collections from the Ancient World to the present.

Image: Statue of a man on a horse, part of the the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial at the US Capital, described in this article from the Architect of the Capital, US government website.

Music used in promotional material: ‘Morrisson’s jig – Leslie’s march’ by Aislinn

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Legal Regulation of Drugs

Carl Hart speaks with Kim about America’s punitive drug laws, and how we might change them for the better. He argues that we should legalize and regulate the sale of all drugs, in the same way we regulate the sale of alcohol, to improve the health, equity, and liberty of our society.

Dr. Hart is a professor of behavioral neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. You can learn how his scientific research in Neuropsychopharmacology relates to the politics of human experience in his new book Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear (Penguin Random House 2021).

Image: Creative Commons

Music used for promotional material: ‘A Better Tomorrow’ by astrofreq

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