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.

April 8th, 2018

This week on the podcast, explorations of persona, which in Latin means “mask” or “character,” and in the context of literature refers to the narrator, sometimes associated with the author and other times not. We're joined by dynamic poets Anthony Madrid and Duriel E. Harris.

 Sharon Olds on poetry and the body:

"It's curious where different...

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April 1st, 2018

This month on Open Stacks, all things poetry. We feature this art, which Emily Dickinson said she recognized when she felt “physically as if the top of [her] head were taken off,” and we’ve organized the episodes around the four categories of common and proper nouns: ideas, people, things, and places. This week, ideas. Daniel Borzutzky's dystopian vision of a prison camp at Lake Michigan's shore, and Robert Darnton on poetry as covert communication system and revolutionary tool in 18th century France.


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March 25th, 2018

This week on the show, we're taking a multifocal look at translation processes. Come along as we consider its tectonic, idiosyncratic, and uncharted terrains in conversations with Haun Saussy, Yoon Sun Yang, and the Co-op’s own Jeff Deutsch and Adam Sonderberg. With Rosanna Warren, Saussy discusses translation theory and translations of Baudelaire into Chinese; Yang talks about the formation of the concept of the...

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March 18th, 2018

This week on Open Stacks,  discussions about two of the most fervently debated and scrutinized institutions: prisons and public schools.

First, Touissant Losier sits down with Michael C. Dawson, to discuss the book Losier and Dan Berger co-authored, Rethinking the American Prison Movement. Then, Bill Ayers and Crystal Laura talk about their book, "You Can't Fire the Bad Ones!": And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, Teachers Unions, and Public Education, co-authored with Rick Ayers.


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March 11th, 2018

 This week on Open Stacks, the many relationships of art to time, as elucidated in photography, theater, and the lives of artists. Pamela Bannos discusses her book Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife, which details the life and work of the posthumously celebrated photographer; and Laura Letinsky and John Muse talk about their respective books Time’s Assignation and Microdramas.


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March 4th, 2018

This week on Open Stacks, the history from below tradition and social movements in the moment. William Pelz talks about historiography, political movements, views on the history from below tradition within academia. Then Lisa Lee, David Stovall, and Bill Ayers discuss, among other things, young people in social movements, the nature of the office of the presidency, and what Stovall calls “the commitment of folks to demand joy in such severe hate.” Finally...

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February 25th, 2018


This week on Open Stacks, the de's and re's in urban space. Marc Lamont Hill and John Joe Schlichtman discuss their book, Gentrifier, and Woodlawn resident and community organizer Sharon Nelson-Payne describes the proposed community benefits agreement and the fight for equity on the south side.

Did you miss the Gentrifier selected bibliography when it went up? You can see the authors’ reading suggestions on our blog, here


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February 18th, 2018

This week on Open Stacks, French literature is upon our tongue. University of Chicago professor Alison James talks Oulipo, Kit Schluter on translating Marcel Schwob into English, and bookseller Adam Hocker welcomes us to Albertine, New York's premier French bookstore.

Step into the store to see our new French Corner, created in partnership with Albertine (pictured above), and read up on the endeavor and find book recommendations here.


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February 11th, 2018


This week on Open Stacks, we're considering Black music genres, their transformations, tropes, tenets, and migrations. Joining us are Melanie Zeck on Transformations of Black Music, Adam Gussow on Beyond the Crossroads, and Chief Wicked on lyricism in rap music. 

We started this episode with words from Nathaniel Mackey and Splay Anthem, his National Book award winning collection. The book is comprised of pieces from two serial poems by Mackey, “Mu” and “Song of Andoumboulou,” which he's been working on (and continues to write) for over twenty years. In this clip, he reads from both...

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February 4th, 2018

This week on Open Stacks, we're talking hegemonies and tech. Marie Hicks tells the story of British women codebreakers during World War II, as detailed in their book, Programmed Inequality. And Tom Mullaney talks about the century-long quest to create a tyepwriter capable of handling Chinese characters. 

It goes without saying that women have a long history in computer science. Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, worked on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine in...

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