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Scene on Radio: Capitalism
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Scene on Radio: Capitalism

Author: Kenan Insitute for Ethics at Duke University

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Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody-nominated podcast that dares to ask big, hard questions about who we are—really—and how we got this way. Previous series include Seeing White (Season 2), looking at the roots and meaning of white supremacy; MEN (Season 3), on patriarchy and its history; The Land That Never Has Been Yet (Season 4), exploring democracy in the U.S. and why we don’t have more of it; The Repair (Season 5), on the cultural roots of the climate crisis; and Season 6, Echoes of a Coup, the story of the only successful coup d'etat in U.S. history, in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898. Produced and hosted by John Biewen and created at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Scene on Radio comes from the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Season 7, Scene on Radio: Capitalism, is produced in partnership with Imperative 21. The show is distributed by PRX.
110 Episodes
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There’s a long and painful history in the U.S. of white men killing black men and boys without punishment. In this episode, we listen in on “Dar He,” the one-man play by Mike Wiley that brings to life the story of Emmett Till.
Losing Ground

Losing Ground

2017-07-2651:55

For Eddie Wise, owning a hog farm was a lifelong dream. In middle age, he and his wife, Dorothy, finally got a farm of their own. But they say that over the next twenty-five years, the U.S. government discriminated against them because of their race, and finally drove them off the land. Their story, by John Biewen, was produced in collaboration with Reveal.
A father turns on a recorder while tucking in his 7-year-old, having no idea he’s about to capture a poignant growing-up moment in his son’s life. (Advisory: This episode is not suitable for some young children.)
The word “Hiroshima” may bring to mind a black-and-white image of a mushroom cloud. It’s easy to forget that it’s an actual city with a million people and a popular baseball team. In 1995, John Biewen visited the city to speak with survivors and to ask: What did the world’s first atomic bombing mean in the place where it happened?  Hearing Hiroshima is a production of Minnesota Public Radio, from American Public Media. Photo: Selections from the 1995 tapes. Photo by John Biewen.
How to grieve when the deaths come so quickly? How, as a Black mother in America, to protect your child’s innocence and hope? An audio essay by Stacia Brown. The first in a summer mini-season of rebroadcasts. Editing by Shea Shackelford and host John Biewen. Music by Prince, Eme Dm, One World One Nation, Blu & Exile, Otwin, and goodnight Lucas.
A refugee from war in Eastern Europe. An NYC-born survivor who grew up poor, Black, Muslim, and gay. And how one, and her music, saved the other. By Aleks Basic, featuring Laila Nur. Part of our summer mini-season of rebroadcasts. Editing by Shea Shackelford and host John Biewen.
Himpathy: Rebroadcast

Himpathy: Rebroadcast

2022-06-2954:39

Several years after Janey was sexually assaulted by her former boyfriend, Mathew, she told some of her closest friends, and her mother, what Mathew had done. Janey was so troubled by her loved ones’ responses that she went back to them years later to record conversations about it all. In this episode: Janey’s story, and philosopher Kate Manne, who coined the term “himpathy” in her 2017 book, “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny.” With co-hosts John Biewen and Celeste Headlee. Part of our summer mini-season of rebroadcasts. To hear more of Janey Williams’ story and the conversations she had with friends, check out her podcast, "This Happened", available on most podcast apps and at thishappenedpodcast.com.
Bonus: Introducing Hot Take

Bonus: Introducing Hot Take

2022-07-0601:14:02

In this bonus episode we share a recent installment from Hot Take, the climate podcast co-hosted by Amy Westervelt (co-host/reporter for our Season 5 series on climate, The Repair) and writer Mary Annaïse Heglar. They talk with their guest, author and New York Times writer David Wallace-Wells, about the lessons we can learn from Covid-19, the parallels between pandemic response and climate response, and how Russia’s war in Ukraine sits at the intersection of the two.
The next in our summer mini-season of rebroadcasts: For Eddie Wise, owning a hog farm was a lifelong dream. In middle age, he and his wife, Dorothy, finally got a farm of their own. But they say that over the next twenty-five years, the U.S. government discriminated against them because they were Black, and finally drove them off the land. Their story, by John Biewen, was produced in collaboration with Reveal, the podcast and radio show from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
When it comes to U.S. government programs and support designed to benefit particular racial groups, history is clear. White folks have received most of the handouts. Part of our summer mini-season of rebroadcasts. By John Biewen, with Deena Hayes-Greene of the Racial Equity Institute and Season 2 series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika.
In the summer of 1787, fifty-five men got together in Philadelphia to write a new Constitution for the United States, replacing the new nation’s original blueprint, the Articles of Confederation. But why, exactly? What problems were the framers trying to solve? Was the Constitution designed to advance democracy, or to rein it in? And how can the answers to those questions inform our crises of democracy today? By producer/host John Biewen with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Woody Holton, Dan Bullen, and Price Thomas. The series editor is Loretta Williams.
Scene on Radio is on an extended hiatus, but is on its way back. Host and producer John Biewen explains that the show has found a new home: the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.
As we get ready to launch our Season 7, a bonus episode from another podcast we think our listeners will want to hear: Long Shadow. Episode 1 of its newest season, In Guns We Trust, with host Garrett Graff.Mass shootings have plagued the U.S. for generations. But in 1999, when shots rang out in a suburban Denver school, it was different. What changed? Everything.
Can a winning baseball team bring St. Louis together post-Ferguson? John Biewen explores the question in the inaugural episode of Scene On Radio, a new podcast of audio stories from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. 
Friends and Basketball

Friends and Basketball

2015-09-2327:04

More from suburban St. Louis, post-Ferguson, on the popular notion that sports unites communities. Can the camaraderie of a team sport make race and class status “disappear” for the kids involved or their parents? Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen hangs with a girls’ high school basketball team to test the idea. Scene on Radio comes from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
Two small towns, one in Idaho, the other in Upstate New York, try to decide whether to change the nickname of their high school sports teams: The Redskins. (Produced in 2015. Listen for the update at the end.)
Tal Ben-Artzi didn’t worry about being an out bisexual athlete at Penn State. Maybe she would have if she’d known the school’s history. How much have times changed? In Part 4 of “Contested,” our series on sports, society and culture: stories of LGBTQ women athletes, past and present.
A Level Playing Field?

A Level Playing Field?

2015-11-0427:16

Two families, both making big investments of time and money to involve their kids in sports. But the investments they’re able to make are very different. In Part 5 of “Contested,” our series on sports, society and culture: Sports and the American Dream.  
Tens of millions of Americans, most of them men, tune in to sports talk radio. Is sports talk a haven for old-school guy talk, including misogyny and gay-bashing? For the final episode in our series on sports and society, “Contested,” host John Biewen listened in.
Hijabis

Hijabis

2015-12-0217:44

The surest way for a woman to declare herself a Muslim is to wear the head scarf — the hijab. In these two short pieces, young Muslim women explore the often unwelcome questions and perceptions that come with the scarf, and the deeply personal decision to wear it. Short documentaries by Reem Alfahad and Sofiya Volubuyeva.     
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Comments (47)

Rebecca A

I am so excited for this season!

Jun 13th
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Nuri Akter

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Feb 24th
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Christopher Peterson

Great season, but I'm kind of tired of hearing John quietly, profoundly utter a guilt ridden "yeah" with a pregnant pause when he talks with Chenjerai.

Oct 21st
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Alexander Boulton

Original Sin, in my view, is knowledge; the idea that we could become like God, all-knowing and all-powerful, rulers of the Garden of Eden instead of its stewards. That is why we were cast out. Because of our arrogance. The ancient Mesopotamian civilizations ruined their land through bad agricultural practices; they were forced to migrate. I would expect a similar explanation can be found for the flood that Noah lived through.

Sep 24th
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⚖ LifeCoachTay

Such A Good Episode!!!!!

Jan 15th
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Shelly Smith

missed you both! thanks for the bonus election episode!

Dec 14th
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Bobbi Baribeau

I graduated from high school and college and never had American History broken down like this. A child would know this was wrong no matter what religion their families practiced yet our nations leaders thought it was ok. So shameful that I, a white woman, feel the guilt.

Dec 3rd
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Alex Mercedes

Great to hear from you again. any bonus episodes you offer between now and the next season will be heartily welcomed.

Nov 25th
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Berit Talan

I've listen to Seeing White and The Land That Never Has Been Yet. They were both excellent and so thought provoking. Going back to listen to everything else this podcast has put out.

Oct 21st
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Travis Henson

I’m not crying I’m cutting onions. Such a great episode.

Sep 26th
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Kelly Gill

Just finished season 2-a friend recommended it. It was worth EVERY minute! thank you!

Aug 14th
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Authentictalks 2.0

💕💕

Jul 2nd
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Amy Urban

Fascinating. Worthwhile. Thought-provoking.

Jun 24th
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Alex Mercedes

excellent show! can we please be sure NPR hears this episode? I finally had to stop listening to NPR because it felt...well fake. then 2016 election happened and I got scared and came back. By the inauguration, I had to leave again: tRump was a phony but so was NPR. just a different kind. this issue really really needs amplification. especially now.

Jun 17th
Reply (1)

Laura Eckmann

White males feeling discriminated against still boggles the mind.

Jun 11th
Reply (1)

Dani

Thank you all for creating this podcast, and for packing it with the information I wish I'd learned in school. I will absolutely be listening a second time, sharing with friends & supplementing with additional material. Really appreciate everything!

Jun 11th
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David Brooks

Discovered this because of the recommendation to listen to Seeing White. Educational and insightful.

Jun 5th
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Alex Mercedes

whoa! Silas is blowing my mind as I witness - again - how much smarter, more intuitive, honest, and impassioned our "kids" are than we often give them credit for. I'm greatly heartened to know there are teachers using this series in their lessons. wonder if there's a way to enroll American adults in this curriculum, some way to launch a vast public education project?

May 13th
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Ellen Boyd

These podcasts should be mandatory listening for all Americans. The episodes are filled with history that we were never taught in school but that has so strongly shaped the country we have become.

May 10th
Reply (1)

Tj Grant

Terrible podcast. The white Male journalist who makes this podcast constantly apologizing for his privileged group affiliations. When he gets to experts on prehistory his whole case for the foundation of patriarchy founders on either a simple misunderstanding or a willful misinterpretation. Yes hunter-gathers were more egalitarian in social structure, but it doesn't follow from that that they weren't patriarchal. In fact the field of anthropology agrees that all hunter-gather groups ever studied were patriachial, even while being more egalitarian in general than more populous complex societies. Agriculture is not the beginning of patriarchy, just the next step of it. One has to read the work of primatologists to get to the origins of patriarchy. Check out Barbara Smuts.

Mar 12th
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