Stephanie Bastek

Stephanie Bastek is the associate editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.

Stick Shifts and Safety Belts

How car culture swallowed America

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 14, 2019

The Wine-Merchant’s Son’s Tale

The first biography of Geoffrey Chaucer in a generation explores the places that inspired the English poet

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 07, 2019

Meat Made

How 19th-century beef created modern America

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, May 31, 2019

The Space Between Our Ears

How movement, gesture, and spatial reasoning form the foundation of thoughts

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, May 17, 2019

Totes Adorbs

A philosopher digs into the subversive meaning of “cuteness”

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, May 10, 2019

Little Boxes, Big Ideas

Looking to America’s history of experimental suburbs to solve the housing crisis

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, May 03, 2019

The Ten Commandments of Bible Translation

Robert Alter talks about capturing the art of the original Hebrew

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 19, 2019

“Making Books Is a Countercultural Act”

A glimpse into the inner workings of a polyphonic publishing house

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 26, 2019

Daughters of War

Writing women back into battle

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 12, 2019

Not Ready to Make Nice

Meet Lillian Smith, forgotten southern radical

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 05, 2019

The Man Who Changed the Face of Spring

How an English eccentric saved Japan’s cherry blossoms—and spread them around the world

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 29, 2019

White Like Me

How a photograph of a young girl transformed a movement

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 22, 2019

A Woman’s Place

White female slave owners in the South were just as deeply invested in the institution as their male counterparts

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 15, 2019

The Backdoor to Equality

Alternative arguments for fair treatment

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 08, 2019

A Different Sort of Superhero

Black Panther reminds us of comic book protagonists outside the mainstream

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 01, 2019

The Gray Edges of Blackness

Emily Bernard’s essays explore her own experience of race in America

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 22, 2019

Postcolonial Punchlines

Alain Mabanckou on what a joke can do

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 15, 2019

Heroin’s Long History

What our historical fascination with opium can tell us about the present

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 08, 2019

Searching for the Spirit of Acid House

Has electronic dance music lost its soul?

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 01, 2019

The Snow Maiden

Our final episode of 2018 is a send-off to the solstice

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 21, 2018

The Microscopic House Guest

Coming to terms with the abundance of life in our homes

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 07, 2018

Opera 101

A crash course in how to love one of the most elusive art forms

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, November 30, 2018

Through a Lens Darkly

A photographer on how we represent conflict

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, November 16, 2018

Too Much Future

How East German punks tore down the Berlin Wall

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, November 09, 2018

Bad Blood

Why the 17th-century vampire still haunts us today

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Future Is Feminist Book Collecting

How women are shaking up the rarefied world of antiquarian books

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 26, 2018

Neglected Books Revisited, Part 2

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, July 20, 2015

Threepenny Thriller

An 18th-century thief gets a 21st-century update

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 28, 2018

Shifting Sands

We’re almost out of this tiny grain—and we’re only now beginning to pay attention

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 21, 2018

Black Birds of the Tower

There’s evermore to ravens than you think

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 12, 2018

Something Witchy This Way Comes

The social forces at work behind history’s favorite scapegoat

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 05, 2018

Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times

A video teaser for Alan Walker’s new biography

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, September 20, 2018

Weirdo Capital of the West

The fantastical saga of Oklahoma City

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 14, 2018

Smell Ya Later

How 19th-century Americans used their noses to fight for urban change

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 07, 2018

A Road Unforeseen

Read an excerpt from Meredith Tax’s book about the women fighting the Islamic State—and winning

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Women v. ISIS

Feminism in the Syrian desert, microbes everywhere, and one agony aunt

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Long Live the Library

Our favorite public institution provides far more than books

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, August 24, 2018

Strange Fruit and Stolen Lives

The ugly story of the whitest county in America

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, August 17, 2018

Call of the Wild

How a radical conservation effort has transformed a former farm

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, August 10, 2018

Making the Most of #MeToo

A second-wave feminist on 21st-century feminism

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, August 03, 2018

Wonderbrain

Inside the extraordinary minds of people who feel others’ emotions, hear hallucinations, and get lost in their own homes

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 27, 2018

No-No Novel

Resurrecting the legacy of John Okada, the first Japanese-American novelist

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 20, 2018

Get Rich or Die Trying

In the shadow of the Silicon Valley of death

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, May 04, 2018

Revenge of the Nerds

How geek culture finally triumphed

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, May 25, 2018

Stitching History

What an old quilt can teach us about antebellum America

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, May 11, 2018

An Epirotic Odyssey

One man’s quest to uncover Europe’s oldest surviving folk music

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 01, 2018

How to Be a Wolf

An ode to Anthony Bourdain

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 08, 2018

Go Tell It on the Mountain

A tribute to our protected wilderness

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 22, 2018

Lock Her Up

The decades-long U.S. government plan to imprison “promiscuous” women

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 08, 2018

Letter From Underwater

Facing rising sea levels on our own shores

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 15, 2018

Wimbledon Unwound

The surprising sexual politics of tennis

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 06, 2018

A Whale of a Show

Unlocking the mysteries of the world’s largest mammals with old bones and new technology

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 29, 2018

Graveyard Clay and The Dirty Dust

Compare two translations of “Cré na Cille,” Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Irish masterpiece

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, March 16, 2016

When the Chicken Hits the Fan

Bobbie Ann Mason on fiction and character

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 27, 2018

The Floral Gospel

How the Plant Messiah saves species from the brink of extinction

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 20, 2018

Voicing a Legend

Jeremy Irons on reading T. S. Eliot and why poetry matters

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 13, 2018

Go Fish

The story of a Senegalese fishing community on the brink

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 06, 2018

Burmese Daze

How political powers in Myanmar engineered the Rohingya crisis

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 30, 2018

To Infinity (and Beyond!)

Math for the masses

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 23, 2018

The Killers’ Canon

What the publishing habits of the 20th century’s dictators reveal

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 16, 2018

Top of the Tots

What child prodigies have to tell us about our achievement obsession

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 09, 2018

Zombies and Plagues and Bombs, Oh My!

How hyperbolic outbreak narratives have infected our worldview—from media to the government

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 23, 2018

Renaissance Rumor Mill

The man behind the great men of the Renaissance

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 16, 2018

Reclaiming Craftiness

What the things we make with our hands tell us about ourselves

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 09, 2018

A Revolutionary Change of Heart

How a moving essay on war and suffering sprang from a childhood book

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 02, 2018

Rhapsodies in Blue

Vulgar tongues, cruel etymologies, and a spot of poetry

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 15, 2017

Once and Future Food

Imagining a new world of teas and tastes

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 29, 2017

Back in the USSR

A glimpse inside the house that Stalin built, and Italy’s anti-fascist First Family

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 13, 2017

Witches Never Die

Burial practices around the world, from mummies to dancing skulls, and the history of magic’s bad girls

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 27, 2017

The Three Percent

Literature in translation—including the first fiction ever published in English from Madagascar and Tibet

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, November 10, 2017

Jane Austen and the Making of Desire

On being a Regency fanboy, and America’s weird relationship with sex

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, November 20, 2017

Funny Business

Cullen Murphy on growing up in the golden age of make-believe

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 08, 2017

Brainwaves

A composer and a neuroscientist unravel the story of human creativity

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 15, 2017

CSI: Roman Empire

How climate change and disease might have been the real killers

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 22, 2017

School’s Out for Segregation

How charter schools and other private measures undermine a public good

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, January 26, 2018

Seeing Red

How the artistic avant-garde made a modern China

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, January 12, 2018

Scientists and Saints

Women’s roles and rituals under the microscope

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 01, 2017

Lady Pirates and Oceans of Plastic

One very daring journey and the pirate who puts Blackbeard to shame

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, August 11, 2017

What the Nose Knows

Smell detectives, laughing gas, and all the forces we cannot see

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 28, 2017

Love Games and First Impressions

How to judge tennis—or a stranger’s face

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, July 13, 2017

From Beer to Eternity

Exploring ancient ales and fermentation re-creations

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, June 27, 2017

From the Horse’s Mouth

True tales of horse historians, mad bombers, and infinite jam jars

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 09, 2017

Twin Peaks

Reporting from the world’s highlines and highlands

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Fox in the Big House

Soviets, poetry, and foxes, oh my!

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, April 20, 2017

Out of the Closet and Into the Courts

How sex met the law, plus the coolest queen in Africa

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, April 07, 2017

All the Rage

Enlightenment, architecture, and a few Irish favorites

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 17, 2017

Unlikely Encounters

Between fact and fiction, poetry and motion, and Milton Friedman and China’s General Secretary

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, March 03, 2017

From Côte d’Ivoire to the California Coast

Plus: Phillip Lopate tells us a secret

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, February 10, 2017

Red: The History of a Color

Read an excerpt from Michel Pastoureau’s new book about the color of love and rage

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Portraits of a Movement

Plus: our new visual arts blog, and a tour of Trump’s conflict of interest

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, January 27, 2017

Mary Roach & a Double Dose of Shakespeare

Listen to the debut episode of our new podcast

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, June 13, 2016

Superheroes Are So Gay!

Dig into the queer politics of American comics

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, June 27, 2016

Reading Lolita in Maximum Security Prison

Plus: underground art beneath Dupont Circle and headless chickens in Chile

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, July 11, 2016

Go West, Young Scholar

Or, how to enjoy a California wine in a national park full of rattlesnakes

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, July 25, 2016

A New Story for Black Americans

Plus: secrets of political conventions and the alchemy of crowdsourced poetry

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Ku Klux Kounty

Plus, tall tales from Claude Monet and Betty MacDonald

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 07, 2016

High Art and Low Chairs

Plus: a book’s journey from foreign lands to American shelves, and espionage

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 21, 2016

Fighting the Zika Virus with John Wayne (and John Aubrey)

Well, not exactly

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, November 07, 2016

The Aftermath

Finding hope in unexpected places: prison, protest, and poetry

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sounds Like a Revolution

An interview with Madeleine Thien, plus: catching up with Jessica Love on language

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 16, 2016

The Winners of the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, October 01, 2015

Neglected Books Revisited, Part 1

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Scurvy: The Disease of Discovery

Read an excerpt from Jonathan Lamb’s new book about every sailor’s favorite ailment

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 16, 2016

Krazy

Read an excerpt from Michael Tisserand’s new biography of George Herriman

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, December 08, 2016

23/7

Read an excerpt from Keramet Reiter’s new book about the rise of solitary confinement

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, November 03, 2016

Ghostland

Read an excerpt from Colin Dickey’s history of America’s most haunted places

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, October 17, 2016

How to Travel Without Seeing

Read an excerpt from Andrés Neuman’s dispatches from Latin America

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, September 26, 2016

Weapons of Math Destruction

Read an excerpt from Cathy O’Neil’s book on how Big Data increases inequality and threatens democracy

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 09, 2016

The Story of Egypt

Read an excerpt from Joann Fletcher’s book about the civilization that shaped the world

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I Contain Multitudes

Read an excerpt from Ed Yong’s new book about the microbes within us

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Catullus’ Bedspread

Read an excerpt from Daisy Dunn’s new biography of Rome’s most erotic poet

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Engineering Eden

Read an excerpt from Jordan Fisher Smith’s new book about the trial that changed our national parks

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, July 20, 2016

“Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People” and Other Myths

Read an excerpt from Dennis A. Henigan’s updated book about gun control

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Neither Snow Nor Rain

Read an excerpt from Devin Leonard’s eclectic history of the U.S. Postal Service

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, June 27, 2016

The Sting of the Wild

Read an excerpt from Justin O. Schmidt’s new book about venomous bugs

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Good Neighbors

An excerpt from Nancy L. Rosenblum’s new book about everyday American life

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, June 14, 2016

India’s War

An excerpt from Srinath Raghavan’s new book about India in WWII

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, June 08, 2016

America’s Snake

An excerpt from Ted Levin’s new book about the rise and fall of the rattlesnake

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Life with Wagner

An excerpt from Christian Thielemann’s book about a lifetime of conducting

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Edge of the Empire

Travel ancient Britannia in this excerpt from Bronwen Riley’s new book

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, May 10, 2016

67 Shots

Read an excerpt from Howard Means’s new history of the Kent State shootings

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Black Hole Blues

Read an excerpt from Janna Levin’s new book about the soundtrack of the universe

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Jazz of Physics

Read an excerpt from Stephon Alexander’s book about the music of the universe

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking

A brief excerpt from Adam Briggle’s new book about fighting Big Oil in Texas

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hamburgers in Paradise

Read an excerpt from Louise O. Fresco’s new book about the story of food

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Masters of Empire

Read an excerpt from Michael A. McDonnell’s new book about Great Lakes Indians

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Unruly Equality

Read an excerpt from Andrew Cornell’s new history of anarchism

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, January 07, 2016

Philip Sparrow Tells All

Read an excerpt from the lost essays of Samuel Steward

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, January 11, 2016

Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich

Read an excerpt from Mary Frances Berry’s new book about vote buying

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, February 01, 2016

The Profiteers

Read an excerpt from Sally Denton’s book about the world-building Bechtel Corporation

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Almost Home

Read an excerpt from Githa Hariharan’s new collection of travel essays

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Rarest Bird in the World

Read an excerpt from Vernon R. L. Head’s new memoir about the search for the Nechisar Nightjar

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Mechanical Horse

Read an excerpt from Margaret Guroff’s new history of the bicycle in America

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Nothing Ever Dies

Read an excerpt from Viet Thanh Nguyen’s new book about Vietnam and the memory of war

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Meaning of the Library

A brief excerpt from a new collection of essays, edited by Alice Crawford

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, August 06, 2015

The Firebrand and the First Lady

Read an excerpt from Patricia Bell-Scott’s book about Eleanor Roosevelt and Pauli Murray

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, February 08, 2016

You Could Look It Up

Read an excerpt from Jack Lynch’s new ode to the encyclopedia

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The White Road

Read an excerpt from Edmund de Waal’s new book about porcelain

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Mushroom at the End of the World

An excerpt from Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s new book about life in ecological crisis

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Changing the Subject

An excerpt from Sven Birkerts’s latest book about art in the Internet age

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Database of Dreams

Read an excerpt from Rebecca Lemov’s new book about the prehistory of Big Data

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Invention of Nature

A brief excerpt from Andrea Wulf’s new book about Alexander von Humboldt

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Latest Readings

A brief excerpt from Clive James’s new collection of essays

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Pedigree

A brief excerpt from Nobel prizewinner Patrick Modiano’s memoir

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mindware

A brief excerpt from Richard E. Nisbett’s new book

by Stephanie Bastek | Thursday, August 20, 2015

Strangers Drowning

A brief excerpt from Larissa MacFarquhar’s new book about extreme virtue

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, September 29, 2015

One Child

Read an excerpt from Sarah Conley’s new book about the morality of having children in our imperiled world

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, December 14, 2015

Getting Screwed

Read an excerpt from Alison Bass’s new book on sex workers and the law

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, November 09, 2015

The Society of Genes

Read an excerpt from Itai Yanai and Martin Lercher’s new book on evolutionary biology

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Workshops of Empire

A brief excerpt from Eric Bennett’s new book about creative writing and the Cold War

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, October 13, 2015

South Toward Home

A brief excerpt from a new book by Margaret Eby

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, September 09, 2015

A Strange Business

A brief excerpt from James Hamilton’s new history of art dealership

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, September 14, 2015

The Wonder of Wuthering Heights

An interview with Alison Case, author of the novel “Nelly Dean”

by Stephanie Bastek | Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Doomed to Re-Tweet It

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Phi Beta Kappa Awards Short List

Fifteen books are in the running for three $10,000 awards

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Victorian Mystery No More

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, September 07, 2015

Ahead of the Curve?

by Stephanie Bastek | Monday, June 08, 2015

Wat Wreck

by Stephanie Bastek | Wednesday, December 10, 2014