UMP podcast: Learning tools and syllabus suggestions

Teachable podcast episodes with suggested reading and recommended subject areas. Learning tools, course kits, syllabus suggestions.

Learning tool: University of Minnesota podcast

The University of Minnesota Press podcast is a place where Press authors join peers, scholars, and friends in conversation. Topics include environment, humanities, race, social justice, cultural studies, art, literature and literary criticism, media studies, sociology, anthropology, grief and loss, mental health, and more. A more detailed listing of subjects is below. 

The University of Minnesota Press podcast is available on the following platforms:

Spotify  //  Google Podcasts  //  Apple Podcasts

Stitcher  //  SoundCloud  //  iHeartRadio

Listen Notes  //  TuneIn

Whether you're looking for syllabus suggestions or whether you're an independent reader looking for continuous learning inspiration, here are free teachable podcast episodes and the books they pair with from University of Minnesota Press.



Consumer culture


Environmental humanities

Literary criticism and publishing


Material culture 


Mental health


Social justice

Transracial adoption


Podcast episode: Who is welcome? Hospitality and contemporary art. Irina Aristarkhova (Arrested Welcome) in conversation with artist and art educator Jorge Lucero, with references to contemporary artworks and what they teach about hospitality, including Linda Hattendorf's documentary film The Cats of Mirikitani, Ana Prvački, Faith Wilding, Lee Mingwei, Kathy High, Mithu Sen, Pippa Bacca and Silvia Moro's Brides on Tour, and Ken Aptekar's exhibition Neighbours.

Subjects: art, hospitality, contemporary art, women's studies, feminist theory, performance studies, film, photography

See also: Environmental Humanities



  • Arrested Welcome
  • Replacing Home
  • Unapologetic Beauty
  • Schizogenesis
  • A Capsule Aesthetic


Podcast episode: The case for taking objects seriously with authors Christine Harold (Things Worth Keeping) and Nicole Seymour (Bad Environmentalism).

Subjects: environmental governance; eco-narratives; consumer culture; materiality studies; design studies; maker culture; environmental rhetoric; thing theory



  • Things Worth Keeping (cover)
  • Bad Environmentalism (cover)
  • Alien Phenomenology (cover)
  • Shopping Our Way to Safety (cover)
  • The Platform Economy (cover)


Podcast episodes:

-Attending to body and Earth in distress: Ranae Lenor Hanson (Watershed) joins Teddie Potter (clinical professor in the School of Nursing and Director of Planetary Health at the University of Minnesota) and Lena Jones (political science faculty member at Minneapolis College and connected to the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy) in conversation about how the health of our bodies and the health of the world they inhabit are inextricably linked.

-Planetary probiotics and Gaia's variants. Jamie Lorimer (The Probiotic Planet) and Bruce Clarke (Gaian Systems) discuss a range of topics including Lynn Margulis, science fiction, neocybernetics, and COVID-19, and ultimately seek insight into an environmental crisis of humanity's own making.

-Capture: The nineteenth-century landscape and wildlife in modernity. Antoine Traisnel (Capture) in conversation with Michelle Neely (Against Sustainability) about how the drive to contain and record disappearing animals was a central feature and organizing pursuit of the nineteenth-century US cultural canon. With references to Muybridge and Audubon, Poe and Hawthorne, Whitman and Thoreau.

-Why art? On performance, theater, deep time, and the environment: With Patricia Eunji Kim, art historian and assistant professor/faculty fellow at the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at New York University; Kate Farquhar, landscape designer; and Marcia Ferguson, senior lecturer in theatre arts at the University of Pennsylvania.

-Time and the interplay between human history and planetary history: Carolyn Fornoff, coeditor of Timescales, in conversation with contributors Jen Telesca of Pratt Institute, Wai Chee Dimock of Yale University, and Charles Tung of Seattle University.

-Scientists and humanists talk timescales and climate change, featuring contributors to Timescales: Thinking across Ecological Temporalities: Bethany Wiggin, director of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities; oceanographer Frankie Pavia; law student Jason Bell; and geophysicist Jane Dmochowski.

-Hope and art when the world is falling apart features contributors to An Ecotopian Lexicon: anthropologist and herbalist Charis Boke, visual artist Michelle Kuen Suet Fung, and Sam Solnick of the University of Liverpool.

-On deep time, extinction, and reframing our relationship with geological time with David Farrier, author of Anthropocene Poetics, and Adam Dickinson, author of Anatomic.

-During a time when 90% of the world's big fish are gone, Jen Telesca (Red Gold) illustrates the managed extinction of the giant bluefin tuna in a conversation with editor Jason Weidemann. [Transcript.Download: a Red Gold discussion guide.

Subjects: environmental humanities, climate change, the Anthropocene, ecology, sustainability, anthropology, environment and society, geography, philosophy, animal studies, art, photography, performance art, science, ecocriticism, deep time, extinction studies, ocean resource management, wildlife



  • Timescales (cover)
  • An Ecotopian Lexicon (cover)
  • Anthropocene Poetics (cover)
  • Red Gold (cover)
  • Capture



  • The Probiotic Planet
  • Gaian Systems
  • After Extinction (cover)
  • Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet
  • Watershed


Podcast episode: Christopher Isherwood in Transit: A 21st-Century Perspective featuring authors and Isherwood scholars Jim Berg and Chris Freeman in conversation with University of Minnesota Press director Doug Armato on the book and Isherwood's history of publication in the US. [Transcript.]

Subjects: Christopher Isherwood; memoir and autobiography; travel writing; gay studies; Los Angeles; writers in exile



  • Isherwood in Transit (cover)
  • The American Isherwood (cover)
  • Isherwood on Writing (cover)
  • Kathleen and Christopher (cover)
  • Middlebrow Queer (cover)


Podcast episode: Balzac in translation: Portraits of a turbulent 19th-century France with remarkable contemporary resonances. Balzac translator Raymond MacKenzie (Lost Illusions, Lost Souls) in conversation with Press director Doug Armato.

Subjects: Honoré de Balzac, translation, Comedie Humaine, Human Comedy, France, 19th century, book-to-film adaptation



  • Lost Illusions
  • Lost Souls
  • Italian Chronicles
  • Diaboliques
  • Graziella


Podcast episode: Edith Wharton and the personal library with author Sheila Liming (What a Library Means to a Woman), Wharton scholar Donna Campbell, and Nynke Dorhout and Anne Schuyler of The Mount in Lenox, MA.

Subjects: Edith Wharton; book history; material and print culture; histories of collecting; late 19th and early 20th-century American culture; libraries and self-making; women's history; women's education; history of the book



  • What a Library Means to a Woman (cover)
  • The Death of Things (cover)
  • Playing with the Book (cover)
  • Picturing the Postcard (cover)
  • The Tears of Things (cover)


Podcast episode: How information became a "thing": exploring how the now-neglected filing cabinet profoundly shaped the way that information and data have been sorted, stored, retrieved, and used. Featuring Craig Robertson (The Filing Cabinet), Shannon Mattern (Code and Clay, Data and Dirt), and Lisa Gitelman (Modelwork).

Subjects: media history; history of information; history of technology; twentieth-century American history; media studies; science and technology studies; design



  • The Filing Cabinet (cover)
  • Code and Clay, Data and Dirt (cover)
  • Modelwork (cover)
  • Archaeologies of Touch (cover)
  • The Interface (cover)


Podcast episodes: A three-part mental health series featuring author Mindy Greiling (Fix What You Can: Schizophrenia and a Lawmaker's Fight for Her Son) in conversation with: (1) Minnesota Public Radio's Alisa Roth on the criminalization of mental illness; (2) Dr. George Realmuto, psychiatry professor at the University of Minnesota, on mental illness and substance abuse; and (3) Jim Trepp, author of Lodge Magic, on recovery and better futures for persons with mental illness.

Download: A 30-page study guide with information on understanding symptoms, discussion questions, and resources.

Subjects: psychology, psychiatry, social work, mental health system, nursing, chemical dependency, criminalization of mental illness, public policy



  • Fix What You Can (cover)
  • The Crusade for Forgotten Souls (cover)
  • Thirty Rooms to Hide In (cover)
  • The Alchemy of Meth (cover)
  • Medical Necessity (cover)



  • Decarcerating Disability (cover)
  • Silent Cells (cover)
  • Solitary Confinement (cover)
  • Hikikomori (cover)
  • The Aesthetics of Disengagement (cover)


Podcast episodes:

-How institutionalized racism shapes health in the 21st century: Anne Pollock (Sickening) speaks with Ruha Benjamin about the unconscionable disparity in health outcomes between Black and white Americans. 

Subjects: racism, health disparities, biopolitics, 2001 anthrax attacks, Hurricane Katrina, mass incarceration, Flint water crisis, liberatory imagination, Serena Williams, reproductive justice

-Race and the politics of precarity in the United States: Daniel Martinez HoSang and Joseph Lowndes (Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity) on the 1619 Project, the 1776 Report, and recent and ongoing attacks on critical race theory.

Subjects: critical race theory; race and politics; race, class, and gender; race and ethnic relations; American history; Introduction to American Studies; US political institutions; US political thought; politics and culture

-How the ordinary postwar home constructed race in America: Dianne Harris (Little White Houses) in conversation with Mabel O. Wilson about the construction and representation of racial identity in midcentury suburban housing.

Subjects: critical race theory; race and architecture; architectural history; American history; US housing market inequalities; race and class politics



  • Producers, Parasites, Patriots
  • Little White Houses
  • Sickening
  • Sweetness in the Blood
  • Blood Sugar


Podcast episodes:

-How might we understand borders and citizenship in a post-Brexit context? Suzanne Hall (The Migrant's Paradox) examines the brutal contradictions of sovereignty and capitalism in the formation of street livelihoods in the urban margins in five cities in Britain. Hall joins Tariq Jazeel, Huda Tayob, and Les Back in this conversation published in partnership with Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

-The crime of black repair in Jamaica. Jovan Scott Lewis (Scammer's Yard) in conversation with Peter James Hudson, asking what constitutes a crime and questioning the fairness of a world economy that relegates Caribbean populations to durative sufferation, with focus on Lewis's ethnographic fieldwork in Montego Bay.

Subjects: sociology, geography, anthropology, ethnography, globalization, postcolonialism, migration, citizenship, racial capitalism, diverse economies, world economics, Caribbean studies, Jamaica, reparation, criminal justice



  • Scammer's Yard (cover)
  • Everyday Equalities
  • The Migrant's Paradox
  • Gringolandia (cover)
  • Arc of the Journeyman


Podcast episodes:

-Miscarriage and infant loss are experiences that disproportionately affect Indigenous women and woman of colorContributors to What God Is Honored Here? speak about the traumas and tragedies of womanhood: co-editors Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang and writers Michelle Borok, Soniah Kamal, Jami Nakamura Lin, and Seema Reza. [Transcript.]

-Creative writing as a powerful tool for challenging racism: Carolyn Holbrook, author of Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify, in conversation with Sherrie Fernandez-Williams, author of Soft: A Memoir. [Transcript.]

-How digital technology has further entrenched the United States' racialized policing and punishment: author Brian Jefferson (Digitize and Punish: Racial Criminalization in the Digital Age) in conversation with editor Pieter Martin. [Transcript.]

Subjects: race, antiracism, structural racism, racial equity, social justice, women's studies, social work, nursing, creative writing, race and the criminal justice system



  • What God Is Honored Here? (cover)
  • Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify (cover)
  • Digitize and Punish (cover)
  • As We Have Always Done (cover)
  • The Beginning and End of Rape (cover)



  • Hope in the Struggle (cover)
  • Nellie Francis (cover)
  • This Is Where I Am (cover)
  • Outsiders Within (cover)
  • The Denial of Antiblackness (cover)


Podcast episodes: 

-"I may not be able to find my family but it always made me feel a step closer to help others." Jane Jeong Trenka (Outsiders Within) talks with Ami Nafzger. Both conversants were adopted to the midwestern United States from South Korea. Nafzger is founder of Adoptee Hub and Global Overseas Adoptees' Link

-Korean and Vietnamese adoptees on the intimate racialized politics of transracial adoption: Three writers and artists who were adopted across geographic borders in the 1970s talk isolation, racism, identity struggle, adoption policy, and how the Internet has changed the ways connection can be found. Featuring Jane Jeong Trenka, Indigo Willing, and kimura byol-nathalie lemoine.

Subjects: transracial adoption, adoption, nonfiction literature, essays, globalization, childhood studies, race and ethnic studies, sociology, South Korea.



  • Outsiders Within
  • Claiming Others
  • Families Apart
  • From Orphan to Adoptee
  • Magical Realism for Non-Believers