The American Age

Podcast

What if your favorite college professors were willing to talk about everything from philosophy and politics to pop culture and love with the same kind of consideration and enthusiasm? Each week C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss life, culture, and art, and challenge their listeners to take fewer things for granted and all things more seriously.

Latest Podcast

Fathers: Part II

TAA 0037 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood continue their discussion about fathers. Picking up from last time, they consider what is and isn’t possible in our intimate relationships. From fathers to history, we are born into dynamic contexts that both injure and inspire us. What tools do we have to manage these overwhelming forces?

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TAA 00036 - Sept. 10, 2018

C. Travis Webb talks about narrowing our critical targets to those who truly oppose progressive agendas. He argues against generalizations that describe Republicans as “racist,” “greedy,” “homophobes,” and suggests these generalizations are the equivalent of indiscriminate machine gun fire. Only by committing ourselves to principles of empathy and courage can we hope to defeat those who oppose progressive politics.

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TAA 00035 - Sept. 3, 2013

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss fatherhood. Being sons and having sons informs their exploration of masculinity, pride, misfortune, and the culture’s ambivalence towards traditional masculine values.

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TAA 00034 - Aug. 23, 2018

 C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood continue their discussion of Plato’s Noble Lie. The conversation moves to the possibility of progress within human history, and whether or not the human race has time to continue to iteratively improve itself.

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TAA 00033 - Aug. 16, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss Plato’s “noble lie.” Are some kinds of myths necessary to promote comity between strangers? Is the American Dream a worthwhile national story? How might we update it in the twenty-first century so that it remains relevant today?

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TAA 00032 - Aug. 9, 2018

C. Travis Webb discusses memes. He argues that typical discussions about memes, from their silliness to the gene-meme theory of Richard Dawkins, miss something very important about their function. He explains why The American Age produces memes and how they’re related to Buddhist prayer flags.

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TAA 00031 - Aug. 2, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss Seph’s recently completed book project. Seph has spent years studying how art museums cadre to and shape public expectations. Is it possible for the museum to be a neutral space of aesthetic engagement, or is it hopelessly bound to a political agenda?

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TAA 00030 - July 26, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss the various ways that music does and does not shape the work they do. Does music boost or distract from your work? Just as musical tastes differ, so do preferences for listening.

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TAA 00029 - July 19, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood begin by discussing Rachel Dolezal, but quickly move to a free ranging discussion of why we’re so bound up in racial narratives. What’s at stake, and what do African and European Americans gain by focusing on it?

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TAA 00028 - July 12, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney and Steven Fullwood swap poems that have moved, inspired, and saved them. If you care about words or love lyrical licks, pop on some cans and give us a listen.

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TAA 00027 - July 5, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Steven Fullwood, and new contributor Meloo discuss the limits of civility. Does justice demand that we make public life uncomfortable for members of the Trump administration, or have we left too little space for principled disagreements on immigration?

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TAA 00026 - June 28, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss “toxic masculinity.” What do healthy models of masculinity look like, and is it possible to be manly without being a misogynist? Check out this episode of our podcast.

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TAA 00025 - June 21, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss Trump’s announcement of a space force. The show asks whether it’s crazy to consider the possibility “politics by other means” will continue unabated in space.

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TAA 00024 - June 14, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood discuss what their twenty-year-old selves would think of their middle-aged selves. How do our measures of success change over time? Check out this episode of our podcast.

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TAA 00023 - June 7, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss Roseanne Barr’s apology. How much credit should she get? Can we fight for a progressive political agenda and make room for forgiveness and empathy?

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TAA 00022 - May 24, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood discuss the role of politics in art. Artists have always been politically engaged, but can too much politics interfere with what is moving and provocative about great art?

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TAA 00021 - May 17, 2018

C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss Comedy Central’s recently aired skit, “The Blackening.” From dissecting the underlying racial codes, to discussing what constitutes racial “progress,” they examine some of the dynamics that allow people to play with their “blackness.”

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TAA 00019 - May 10, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood discuss UFOs. From the validity of their sightings to the possibility that they are a conscious manifestation of an uncanny universe, the subject is treated seriously–and skeptically.

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TAA 00018 - May 3, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss Michelle Wolf’s performance at the White House’s Correspondence Dinner. What is the role of the comedian in a civil society? In what ways are political upheaval’s related to social etiquette?

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TAA 00017 - April 27, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss whether or not its fair to ostracize intellectuals that have unfashionable opinions. Athletes and entertainers are often given a pass for unpopular opinions, why not intellectuals too?

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TAA 00016 - April 23, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood discuss UFOs. From the validity of their sightings to the possibility that they are a conscious manifestation of an uncanny universe, the subject is treated seriously–and skeptically.

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TAA 00015 - April 17, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss their decision to go back to graduate school late in life. What does it take to participate in the pursuit of human knowledge, and is it worth the cost?

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TAA 00014 - April 20, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood talk about the natural tensions that exist between liberty and safety. You cannot maximize both, so what does the current balance between the two in our society say about our priorities and prejudices.

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TAA 00013 - March 29, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood discuss UFOs. From the validity of their sightings to the possibility that they are a conscious manifestation of an uncanny universe, the subject is treated seriously–and skeptically.

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TAA 00012 - March 22, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss “context collapse.” This is the idea that “new media” has decontextualized the facts of our lives and cultures. We don’t have enough information to make judgments about one another. Is this a new phenomenon, and is it necessarily bad? How might we deal with it?

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TAA 00011 - March 8, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood discuss whether free, heterogeneous societies must tolerate some degree of violence. Is violence the cost we all must bear to live with difference?

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TAA 00010 - March 1, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood discuss the history of denial in America, from Thomas Jefferson to the 2016 election. Should denial be considered a form of collective madness, and has social media made our denial worse?

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TAA 00009 - February 22, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss their decision to go back to graduate school late in life. What does it take to participate in the pursuit of human knowledge, and is it worth the cost?

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TAA 00008 - February 15, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss writer David Roberts recent take down of the New York Times opinion page, and its attempt to incorporate conservative leaning writers. Is conservatism just a series of “irritable mental gestures” or a vital and coherent worldview?

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TAA 00007 - February 8, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss corporate responsibility. What does it mean when corporations become the guardians of democracy?

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TAA 00006 - February 1, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss their decision to go back to graduate school late in life. What does it take to participate in the pursuit of human knowledge, and is it worth the cost?

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TAA 00005 - January 31, 2018

Secrets are an inextricable part of intimate relationships–not only keeping them together, but keeping them from each other. A wide ranging discussion between C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood.

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TAA 00004 - January 23, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss corporate responsibility. What does it mean when corporations become the guardians of democracy?

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TAA 00003 - January 16, 2018

C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss their decision to go back to graduate school late in life. What does it take to participate in the pursuit of human knowledge, and is it worth the cost?

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TAA 00002 - January 9, 2018

In this episode C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss faith in the future. Is faith in the future justifiable or naive? Contrasting Ta-Nehisi Coates with Jeffrey Goldberg (the editor of The Atlantic), Webb argues that “faith” isn’t the point, and Rodney emphasizes the importance of honesty in any assessment of the American project.

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TAA 00001 - January 3, 2018

On the inaugural episode of The American Age podcast, C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss “unlucky days.” Taking inspiration from the Mayan tradition of the haab (i.e. the five “unnamed” days that fall between the end of the old sun calendar and the start of the new) Travis and Seph discuss the days between Christmas and New Year, and the ways in which we try to make sense of our lives.

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