The Art of Doing Nothing Much, Together

Sheila Liming on the importance of chillaxing

Brandon King (Flickr/bking)
Brandon King (Flickr/bking)

Hanging out. All of us could probably stand to do more of it, especially if it doesn’t come with a calendar invite. In her new book, Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time, Sheila Liming writes that she’s found herself “an accidental witness to a growing crisis: people struggling to hang out, or else voicing concern and anxiety about how to hang out.” The coronavirus may have heightened this struggle, but its root causes—our increased obsession with our phones, the shrinking of public spaces, widening income inequality, American individualism—predate the pandemic. Liming, a professor of communications at Champlain College, joins us on the podcast to discuss both what we have to lose by not spending unstructured time together and how we can get it back.

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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. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.

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


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