Open Stacks Podcast

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Open Stacks is back! Download and subscribe, wherever you get your podcasts. 

Only have time for sample? Check out our season 4 teaser here. 

On Open Stacks, the podcast from the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, we dig through our shelves, cracking open new books and old, and speak with publishers, authors, and booksellers about the cultural value of their work. Available wherever you find your podcasts. Tune in and browse along with us. 

We'll be featuring listeners' voices throughout the season, and we'd love to hear from you! Share a notable passage with us, or respond to one of our occasional prompts. Find recording guidelines and a submission link here.

June 10th, 2018

This week on Open Stacks, the second episode of our occasional Biblio-files series, featuring Co-op friends and legends, with professor emerita and former University of Chicago president Hanna Holborn Gray.

Gray coaching UChicago football players for a charity Monsters of the Midway competition against the Chicago Bears, 1992. (University of Chicago Photographic Archive, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library)

Upon her appointment as president of University of...

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June 3rd, 2018


This week on Open Stacks, we're celebrating Chicago's own legendary Gwendolyn Brooks on her 101st birthday.  Reginald Gibbons, Angela Jackson, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Georgia Popoff, Troy Harden, and Cheryl Clarke join us for conversations and readings about her life and legacy.

In 1944 an editor at Harper & Brothers contacted Richard Wright, the author of Native Son, to ask his opinion of poems submitted for publication by a Chicago woman named Gwendolyn Brooks. Wright responded:

“They are hard and real, right out of the central core of Black Belt Negro life in urban areas. ......

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May 27th, 2018

This week on the program, cities shifting and shifted, and the people, institutions, and social structures that make it so. Ben Austen recounts the dissolution of Cabrini Green, America’s most iconic public housing project, on Chicago’s west side and tells a story of America’s public housing experiments and failures; LaDale C. Winling examines the role of universities on the shape of their neighborhoods and towns; and Gordon Douglas considers how DIY planning takes place, and who participates, within urban contexts.

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May 24th, 2018

OPEN STACKS is turning 1! Help us celebrate a year of of conversations devoted to books and book lovers by voting on your favorite episode or segment from the list below by June 24, 2018. You'll be entered to win any 5 OPEN STACKS books of your choice and we'll feature the top 5 ranked episodes on our upcoming one year anniversary show!

Please share any further thoughts on what the episode or segment meant to you and/or feedback on the podcast in general. These responses are not required, and will not impact your chances of winning, though we may use your response on our social media and elsewhere. Thanks for reading and listening with us! 

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May 20th, 2018

This week on Open Stacks, French part deux. Join us for tete-à-tetes with translators Jonathan Larson on Francis Ponge's Nioques of the Early-Spring and Jordan Stump on Marie NDiaye's My Heart Hemmed In, as well as University of Chicago fellow Katie Kadue on Rabelais and domestic georgics.

Find our previous episode on French literature here, featuring University of Chicago professor Alison James, translator Kit Schluter, and Albertine Bookstore bookseller Adam Hocker.


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May 13th, 2018

This week, a further look at the mechanisms of incarceration. 2018 Pulitzer Prize winning professor, legal scholar, and author James Forman, Jr. discusses Locking Up Our Own and prisoners rights advocate Sarah Shourd recalls and contextualizes her own and others' experiences in solitary confinement.

James Forman, Jr. spoke and conversed with a packed house at our 57th Street Books location last May. Congratulations, belatedly, to Forman for being awarded the 2018 Pulitzer in general nonfiction. Forman's Critical Reads ...

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May 6th, 2018

This week on Open Stacks, the inaugural episode of our occasional Biblio-files series, featuring Co-op friends and legends, beginning with prolific author, esteemed anthropologist and professor, and publishing partner of the Co-op, Marshall Sahlins. 


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April 29th, 2018

 This week on Open Stacks, lit for the little ones, in honor of the 99th anniversary of Children's Book Week! Caldecott Medalist Javaka Steptoe and National Slam Champion Elizabeth Acevedo join us, along with award-winning children's fantasy author and 57th Street Books’ Children’s Manager Franny Billingsley. Plus, our booksellers' childhood favorites and scenes from 57th Street's storytime.

Children’s Book Week is the annual celebration of children’s...

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April 22nd, 2018

“In his magisterial study of the implications of the German word Stimmung, or ‘attunement,’ Leo Spitzer explores the unity of such feelings between persons and their environment,” writes Susan Stewart in The Poet’s Freedom: A Notebook on Making. “Spitzer... emphasizes that the environment is not only spatial but also temporal—that a sense of Stimmung arises often from the moment to hand.” If a point is...

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April 15th, 2018

This week on Open Stacks, we're taking a look at poemthings that point to truths beyond the given names of things contained within them. First, a performance from Cecilia Vicuña, the artist behind PALABRArmas, an exhibition at Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society free and open to the public until...

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