Why does New York City smell? Is its smell distinguishable from that of other large cities? Does that smell tell us something about the world that our other senses cannot? Last year we spoke to historian Melanie Kiechle, who has devoted a considerable amount of brain- and nose-power to our long relationship with the scents around us. Her book, Smell Detectives, is an olfactory history of 19th-century urban America, from delightful scents to foul stenches, including those that everyday citizens used to bolster the budding environmental movement.
Go beyond the episode:
- Melanie Kiechle’s Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America
- Check out a modern-day smell map of the City of Light(and odor), from graphic designer Kate McLean
- Live in Pittsburgh? Download Smell PGH, the app that tracks pollution odors (read more here)
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. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
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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] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!
Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.
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