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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. The show is distributed by PRX.
106 Episodes
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Welcome to Season 7: Capitalism. The world's dominant economic system is on trial as it hasn't been for at least half a century. This season tells the story of capitalism -- how people with power built and shaped it over time. We'll also explore what to do now that many people see capitalism as the problem, not the solution. Produced by host/producer John Biewen with co-host Ellen McGirt and story editor Loretta Williams. From the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, in partnership with Imperative 21. 
S6 E5: A Way Forward

S6 E5: A Way Forward

2024-02-0858:18

What would it take, and what would it even mean, to heal from a wound like the Wilmington massacre and coup of 1898 — or from centuries of white supremacist violence, disenfranchisement, and theft? An exploration of that question with community members in Wilmington, and experts on restorative justice and reparations. By Michael A. Betts, II and John Biewen. Interviews with Bertha Boykin Todd, Cedric Harrison, Christopher Everett, Kim Cook, William Sturkey, Inez Campbell-Eason, Sonya Bennetonne-Patrick, Candice Robinson, Paul Jervay,Kieran Haile, Larry Reni Thomas, William “Sandy” Darity, and Michelle Lanier. Story editor: Loretta Williams. Voice actor: Mike Wiley. Music by Kieran Haile, Blue Dot Sessions, Okaya, and Lucas Biewen. Art by Zaire McPhearson. “Echoes of a Coup” is an initiative of America’s Hallowed Ground, a project of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.
S6 E4: The Forgetting

S6 E4: The Forgetting

2024-01-3149:32

After the massacre and coup of November 10, 1898, white supremacists in North Carolina soon finished the job of disenfranchising Black citizens and instituting Jim Crow segregation. They also took control of the narrative. A new propaganda campaign, the one after the fact, succeeded for a century – even as several Black writers tried to tell the truth about 1898 and left breadcrumbs for future historians to find. By Michael A. Betts, II and John Biewen. Interviews with LeRae Umfleet, Gareth Evans, David Cecelski, William Sturkey, Chenjerai Kumanyika, Doug Jones, and Adriane Lentz-Smith. Story editor: Loretta Williams. Voice actor: Mike Wiley. Music by Kieran Haile, Blue Dot Sessions, Okaya, Jameson Nathan Jones, and Lucas Biewen. Art by Zaire McPhearson. “Echoes of a Coup” is an initiative of America’s Hallowed Ground, a project of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.
S6 E3: A Day of Blood

S6 E3: A Day of Blood

2024-01-2439:21

On November 1898, North Carolina Democrats won a sweeping victory at the polls – confirming the success of their campaign based on white supremacy, intimidation, and fraud. But in Wilmington, the state’s largest city, white supremacist leaders were not satisfied. This episode tells what happened on November 10, 1898, in Wilmington: a massacre of Black men, and the only successful coup d'etat in U.S. history. By John Biewen and Michael A. Betts, II. Interviews with LeRae Umfleet, Bertha Todd, William Sturkey, Cedric Harrison, and Milo Manly. Story editor: Loretta Williams. Voice actor: Mike Wiley. Music by Kieran Haile, Blue Dot Sessions, Okaya, Jameson Nathan Jones, Kevin McLeod, and Lucas Biewen. Art by Zaire McPhearson. “Echoes of a Coup” is an initiative of America’s Hallowed Ground, a project of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.
By 1898, two decades after the end of Reconstruction, white elites, backed by violent terror groups, have installed Jim Crow across most of the South. North Carolina, led by its largest city, Wilmington, is different. A Fusion coalition, made up of mostly-Black Republicans and mostly-White members of the Populist Party, controls the city and state governments. White supremacist Democrats are frustrated and plot to gain power by any means necessary. ​​ By Michael A. Betts, II, and John Biewen. Interviews with LeRae Umfleet, David Cecelski, and Cedric Harrison. The series story editor is Loretta Williams. Music in this episode by Kieran Haile, Blue Dot Sessions, Okaya, Jameson Nathan Jones, and Lucas Biewen. Art by Zaire McPhearson. “Echoes of a Coup” is an initiative of America’s Hallowed Ground, a project of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.
S6 E1: What Was Lost

S6 E1: What Was Lost

2024-01-1040:45

This series tells the story of the only successful coup d’etat in U.S. history, and the white supremacist massacre that went with it. It happened in Wilmington, North Carolina in November 1898. But before we get to that story, we explore the surprising world of Wilmington in the 19th century – the world that the massacre and coup violently destroyed. By Michael A. Betts, II, and John Biewen. Interviews with LeRae Umfleet, Cedric Harrison, David Cecelski, and William Sturkey. The series story editor is Loretta Williams. Music in this episode by Kieran Haile, Blue Dot Sessions, Lucas Biewen, Kevin MacLeod, Jameson Nathan Jones, Alon Peretz, and Florian. Art by Zaire McPhearson. “Echoes of a Coup” is an initiative of America’s Hallowed Ground, a project of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.
Introduction to Season 6, a series co-produced by Michael A. Betts II and Scene on Radio producer and host John Biewen, with story editor Loretta Williams. Music by Kevin MacLeod, Okaya, and Lucas Biewen. Echoes of a Coup is a project of America’s Hallowed Ground and Scene on Radio, from the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.
In our Season 5 finale: What’s the cultural transformation we need to make — in the West, and the U.S. in particular — to live in good health with the rest of the natural world and with each other? Episode 11 of The Repair, our series on the climate emergency. Researched and produced by John Biewen, with co-host Amy Westervelt. Script editor, Cheryl Devall. Interviews with Dirk Philipsen, Christian Felber, Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, and Jessica Hernandez. Music by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Lesley Barber, Cora Miron, Fabian Almazan, and Alex Weston. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.
The first of two concluding episodes in Season 5, in which we focus on solutions. In Part 10 of The Repair, we look at the actions and policies that people need to push for —now — to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. Reported by Amy Westervelt. Script editor, Cheryl Devall. Production and mix by John Biewen. Interviews with Kate Marvel, Ken Caldeira, Julian Brave Noisecat, Kate Aronoff, Naomi Klein, Julia Steinberger, Leah Stokes, Heidi Marmon, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Tara Houska, and Max Berger. Music in this episode by Lili Haydn, Kim Caroll, Chris Westlake, Lesley Barber, Cora Miron, goodnight Lucas, and Maetar. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.
S5 E9: Pachamama

S5 E9: Pachamama

2021-12-0140:19

In several countries around the world, including Ecuador, New Zealand, and the U.S., some people are trying to protect the planet using a legal concept called “rights of nature” – infusing the law with Indigenous understandings of Mother Earth. Part 9 of The Repair, our series on the climate emergency. Reported by Amy Westervelt and Polyglot Barbershop. Script editor, Cheryl Devall. Production and mix by John Biewen. Music in this episode by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Lesley Barber, Cora Miron, and Fabian Almazan. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.
S5 E8: Last Orders

S5 E8: Last Orders

2021-11-2433:36

Among the wealthy, industrialized Western countries that created the climate crisis, Scotland is one of the leaders in pivoting away from fossil fuels – or promising to. Just how quickly will Scots be willing to cut off the flow – of oil, and money? Part 8 of The Repair, our series on the climate emergency. Reported and written by Victoria McArthur, with additional writing and script editing by Cheryl Devall. Production and mix by John Biewen. Music in this episode by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Lesley Barber, Cora Miron, and Maetar. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.
The climate crisis is not new to Bangladesh. For decades, global warming has exacerbated storms and flooding and turned many thousands of people into refugees in their own country. Yet, even though Bangladeshis did almost nothing to create the crisis, some are trying to be part of the solution. Reported by Tareq Ahmed, with recording and production help from Tareek Muhammad and Muhammad Rabbi. The series editor is Cheryl Devall. Music in this episode by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Lesley Barber, and Fabian Almazan. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.
Earth’s changing climate is already displacing millions of people, worsening tension and conflict, and sometimes violence – for example, between farmers and traditional nomadic herders in Nigeria. Part 6 of The Repair, our series on the climate emergency. Reported by Ugochi Anyaka-Oluigbo, with reporting and production assistance from Nchetachi Chukwuaja and Tim Cuttings Agber. The series story editor is Cheryl Devall. Mix by John Biewen. Music in this episode by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Lesley Barber, Cora Miron, Alex Weston, Fabian Almazan, and Maetar. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.
Co-hosts John Biewen and Amy Westervelt discuss the U.S. Congress’s effort to pass its first major climate bill ever, and Senator Joe Manchin’s move to block a key measure seemingly on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. And an episode of Drilled, Amy Westervelt’s true crime podcast about the climate crisis.
Southeast Asia is especially vulnerable to storms, rising oceans, and other climate effects—though countries in the region did very little to create the crisis. In Indonesia, among other climate-related challenges, the capital city is sinking into the sea. Part 5 of our series, The Repair, on the climate emergency. Reported by Nita Roshita, with recording and production help from Hilman Handoni. Mixed by host John Biewen. Interviews with Bondan Kanumoyoso, Yayat Supriatna, Selamet Daroyni, Amalia Syafruddin, and others. The series editor is Cheryl Devall. Music in this episode by Lil Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Lesley Barber, and Fabian Almazan. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.
Why has the United States played such an outsized role in the creation of the climate crisis? As a settler nation, the U.S. emerged from the colonizing, capitalist West, but what did America and its cultural peculiarities bring to the party? Part 4 of our series, The Repair, on the climate emergency. Researched and written by this season’s co-host, Amy Westervelt, produced and mixed by host John Biewen. Interviews with Colin Jerolmack, Darren Dochuk, Melissa Aronczyk, Bob Brulle, and the Rev. Lennox Yearwood.  The series editor is Cheryl Devall. Music in this episode by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Lesley Barber, Cora Miron, and goodnight Lucas. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music. The Repair is supported by Scene on Radio listener-donors, and by the International Women’s Media Foundation.
If the Enlightenment was so great, why was it not a course correction? In fact, did cultural values that took hold in the West in this period speed up our race toward ecological suicide? Part 3 of our series, The Repair, on the climate crisis. By season co-host Amy Westervelt, with host and producer John Biewen. Interviews with Devin Vartija, Darren Dochuk, Melissa Aronczyk, and Amber Kanazbah Crotty. The series editor is Cheryl Devall. Music in this episode by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Lesley Barber, and Cora Miron. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.
S5 E2: To the Victor

S5 E2: To the Victor

2021-09-2243:37

How western Europe really broke bad in its understanding of humanity’s place in the natural world, from the Crusades to capitalism. Part 2 of our series, The Repair, on the climate crisis. By host and producer John Biewen, with co-host Amy Westervelt. Interviews with Charisse Burden-Stelly, Kate Rigby, Enrique Salmón, and David Pecusa. The series editor is Cheryl Devall. Music by Lili Haydn, Chris Westlake, Kim Carroll,  Cora Miron, Alex Weston, Lesley Barber, and Fabian Almazan. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music. Season 5 is supported by Scene on Radio listener-donors, and by the International Women’s Media Foundation.
Part 1 of our series on the climate emergency. How did we drive ourselves into the ecological ditch? And, crucially, who is this ‘we’? Our story starts with … Genesis.  By host and producer John Biewen, with co-host Amy Westervelt. Interviews with David Pecusa, Bina Nir, and Kate Rigby.  The series editor is Cheryl Devall. Music by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Alex Weston, and Cora Miron. Music consulting by Joe Augustine of Narrative Music. Season 5 is supported by Scene on Radio listener-donors, and by the International Women’s Media Foundation.  
This season will explore the cultural roots of our current ecological emergency, and the deep changes Western society will need to make to save the Earth and our species. Through interviews with historians and other experts, The Repair will trace the evolution of the West’s colonizing, extractive culture, and how we in the rich Global North drove humanity into the ecological ditch. We’ll hear from producers in countries that did not create the crisis, yet got hit early and hard. Finally, with help from leading thinkers and activists, Biewen and Westervelt will look at potential solutions—the repair.
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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
Reply

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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