Smarty Pants

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Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Produced and hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at]

Episode List:

This Is How an Empire Falls

The discomforting parallels between our current moment and the end of Rome

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, August 07, 2020

I Want to Believe

Hunting down America’s favorite fringe stories, cryptids, and alien encounters

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 31, 2020

The Oldest Living Music in the World

One man’s quest to uncover the mysteries of Europe’s most enduring folk songs

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 24, 2020

Twin Pandemics

A conversation about Covid-19 and racism with Philip Alcabes and Harriet Washington

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 17, 2020

Preaching the Floral Gospel

How the Plant Messiah saves species from the brink of extinction

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 10, 2020

Read Me A Poem, Won’t You?

Behind the scenes of our sister podcast

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, July 03, 2020

Whale Song

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

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 26, 2020

Founding Falsehoods

Reconsidering how we’ve been telling stories about American history

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 19, 2020

The Antebellum Feminine Mystique

Contrary to fables, white female slave owners in the South were just as deeply invested in the institution as their male counterparts

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 12, 2020

Still Junk Science

How scientific inquiry has been complicit in, or explicitly aligned with, racism and white supremacy

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, June 05, 2020
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