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.

Climate Change: Revisiting “An Inconvenient Truth”

How well does “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006) hold up after ten plus years of scientific research and political upheaval? The hosts engage not only with the film and its nominal protagonist, Al Gore, but the effectiveness of film as advocacy.

Climate Change: Material Memory

Memory isn’t something that lives only in our minds. Memory lives in objects–in museums, and scrap books, and archives. How can archives help us make sense of climate change? What do we choose to preserve and why?

Climate Change: Who Will Suffer and Who Will Profit

The effects of climate change will not be evenly distributed. Some landscapes, cultures, and peoples will suffer more than others. And some people will profit from that suffering. Who has a responsibility to deal with that suffering?

Toni Morrison: Her Life in Words

The hosts take a break from their long form discussion about climate change to discuss Toni Morrison, who died on August 5th. “We die,” Morrison said in her 1993 Nobel Prize acceptance. “That may be the meaning of life. But we do language,” she added. “That may be the measure of our lives.”

Climate Change: Population Displacement and Poverty

How can we think about climate change in new ways, so that we might better understand what’s at stake? If we look at the history of demographic displacement then the future of climate change comes into stark relief. And that future is darker for some than for others.

(r)omance: Alternative Lifestyles

How do alternative lifestyles effect historically heteronormative notions of “romance?” The hosts discuss the ways in which romance has changed in response to the mainstreaming of LGTBQ interests, and how LGTBQ interests have been shaped by mainstream romance.

(r)omance: episodic or epic

We often talk about our lives as if it is one long running story, from cradle to grave. We do the same in our romantic lives, from young and fantastic to mature and sober. But is that true? How much do we actually learn from romance?

(r)omance: Are you difficult?

What makes someone “difficult” in romantic relationships? Putting themselves under the microscope, the hosts explore their own shortcomings and wonder how difficult they are to love.

(r)omance: What Is It?

Romance–with a lowercase “r”–has been a preoccupation in the West since the 17th century. But it’s rarely discussed with any seriousness outside of literature or without pop cultural clichés. The hosts aim to change that.

Donald Trump: The Foucauldian President

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 broke the mold of the modern American President. Countless factors undoubtedly contributed to his election, but one that is seldom discussed is Trump’s compatibility with the critical intellectual fatalism common in continental philosophy.

Donald Trump: Media Responsibility

In a democracy the press serves a vital function–the dissemination of facts. Facts are slippery, but their faithful pursuit strengthens our national character. What has the election of Donald Trump revealed about fact based media in America?

Donald Trump: Change Agent

Cultural progress requires change, but that change isn’t always positive for its agents. For many years progressives ignored the cost of progress, but that bill came due in November, 2016. The 2016 election is a clear signal the world is changing, but what is it changing into?

2020 Democrats: How to “Look Presidential”

TAA 0073 – What do we mean when we say that someone does or does not “look presidential?” Is it still freighted with the same assumptions about race and gender (i.e. white and male)? The hosts discuss the possibility that it conveys a kind of dispassionate and benign ruthlessness.

2020 Democrats: Joe Biden, a Politician’s Politician

TAA 0072 – In most polling, Joe Biden is the front runner amongst Democrats in the 2020 Presidential primaries. But he’s a problematic candidate because many of his mannerisms put him out of step with the Democratic base. What kind of politician is Biden and can he secure the nomination?

2020 Democrats: Warren, and the Rest

TAA 0071 – The 2020 Democratic field is crowded, but there are a few standouts. Assessing the field, the hosts make the argument that Elizabeth Warren stands far out ahead of the rest in terms of preparedness. But is she electable?

Michael Jackson: Transforming the Racial Imagination

TAA 0070 – Though it is widely accepted that Michael Jackson suffered from vitiligo, there is still much to be learned from looking at our own responses to his cosmetic transformation. What does Jackson’s appearance say about our own racial imagination?

Michael Jackson: The One Percenters of Celebrity

TAA 0069 – Megastars like Michael Jackson seem to be exempted from critiques of their wealth. Rarely do you hear Jay-Z or Tom Hanks referred to derisively as “the one percent.” Why don’t we care about extremes of wealth in our entertainers?

Michael Jackson: Gods Require Sacrifices

People are willing to sacrifice a lot to be near greatness. From Plato’s Symposium to starfuckers, the desire to be near the powerful has been with us a long time. But to be near that kind of power requires a sacrifice.

Our Hosts

Steven G. Fullwood

Steven G. Fullwood was born on January 15, 1966. He is an author, filmmaker, podcaster, and curator who may best be known as the archivist who founded the In the Life Archive at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library.

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Brett Kavanaugh Meets #MeToo

TAA 0038 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh in the light of the #MeToo movement. The conversation turns to issues of personal responsibility, power, integrity, and, as always, the history of civilization. This is part I of a multi-part discussion.


TAA 0035 – 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.

C. Travis Webb

C. Travis Webb, PhD, is editor of The American Age

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Welcome to The American Age

The American Age has one objective: to re-ignite zeal for the American idea. Not by provoking nostalgia for what has been, but by inspiring hope for what might be…


Mountains are on the move. The oceans are growing. Vast shelves of ice are phase shifting. The world is unstable, and has always been, but for thousands of years it did not appear so to us…

Seph Rodney

Seph Rodney, PhD, is a staff writer and editor for the online art magazine Hyperallergic and has written for CNN, American Craft magazine, and Artillery magazine. He created a radio show in London called The Thread, broadcast on Resonance FM from 2008 to 2011. He has a forthcoming book from Routledge press on the topic of how the experience of attending an art museum has changed in the last generation. Seph was born in Jamaica and lives in the South Bronx.

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Potlatch Sneakers: The Economics of Social Status

TAA 0040 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss why human beings of limited economic means purchase luxury items–such as expensive sneakers. Who gets to ask the question, how does it manifest across culture, what do these items mean?

Triangulating #MeToo: Morality, Ideology, and Desire

TAA 0039 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss the #MeToo movement and the way in which mainstream American culture over-simplifies sexual desire. Woody Allen, The Son’s of Anarchy, and Brett Kavanaugh are dissected and analyzed.

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