RadioWest Podcast

RadioWest Podcast

From KUER 90.1

A radio conversation where people tell stories that explore the way the world works. Listen weekdays at 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MT on KUER 90.1. Join us at 801-585-WEST or radiowest@kuer.org Rebroadcast at at 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Eastern on the PRI StreamMore from RadioWest Podcast »

Most Recent Episodes

The Work of the Dead

Why is it that we care for the dead? The philosopher Diogenes suggested that his corpse simply be tossed over the city wall, but it's an idea that seems unthinkable. Historian Thomas Laqueur says bodies matter because we've decided they do - from prehistoric times, regardless of faith or creed. Laqueur's book explores the ways we've ritualized and remembered the dead throughout history. Friday, he joins Doug to explain how our relationship to the dead has helped shape the modern world. (Rebroadcast)

Custer's Trials

Even in his lifetime, George Armstrong Custer was controversial. He was ambitious and flamboyant as well as courageous and talented. Though largely remembered for his death at the Little Bighorn, T.J. Stiles' paints a fuller picture of Custer's colorful and complicated life. Stiles says Custer lived at a "frontier in time." He helped usher in the modern American era, but couldn't quite adapt to the modernity he helped create. Stiles joins us Thursday to talk about his book "Custer's Trials." (Rebroadcast)

Helping Children Succeed

A few years ago, Paul Tough wrote a book about new research showing that character traits like grit, self-control, and optimism are critical to a child's success. Tough's latest book builds on that research by explaining how to put it into practice. He argues that a child's home and school environments are the principle barriers to his or her success. Improve the environment, Tough says, and you can improve the child. He joins us Wednesday to explain his theory of helping children succeed. (Rebroadcast)

Why Men Fight

When a mixed martial arts studio moved in across the street from literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall's office, the timing couldn't have been better. Gottschall was in a mid-life crisis; he was out of shape and his academic career was stalling. So joining the gym was personal, but he was also fascinated by these questions: Why do men fight and why do we like to watch? Tuesday, Gottschall joins Doug to talk about his experience in the cage, and about violence and the rituals that contain it. (Rebroadcast)

The Mormon Struggle for Whiteness

Monday, we're joined by University of Utah professor Paul Reeve to talk about his book Religion of a Different Color. In it, he explores how America's Protestant white majority characterized Mormons as racial outsiders in the 19th century. Protestants were convinced that members of the country's newest religion were not merely a theological departure from the mainstream, they were racially and physically different. Medical doctors even supported the claim. Reeve says the LDS church responded to those attacks with aspirations for whiteness that may have been a little too successful. (Rebroadcast)

The Road Not Taken

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . ." Those are the first words to Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." One hundred years after their publication, Frost's immortal lines remain unbelievably popular. The poem seems straightforward enough: it's about boldly living outside conformity, right? Wrong, says poetry columnist David Orr. He says nearly everyone hopelessly misreads Frost's poem. Orr joins us Friday as we explore the meaning of "The Road Not Taken" and the history behind it. [Rebroadcast]

Islam's Shia-Sunni Split

Journalist Lesley Hazleton says that if you want to understand headlines from the Middle East today, you have to understand the story of Islam's first civil war. When the prophet Muhammad died, factions in the young faith became embroiled in a succession crisis. The power grabs, violence, and political machinations resulted in the schism between Sunni and Shia. Hazleton joins Doug to tell the story of Islam's sectarian divide and to explain how that history influences current events. [Rebroadcast]

The Geography of Genius

Where does genius come from? Some people say geniuses are born, or that they're made by thousands of hours of work. But what if genius is actually grown, like a plant? Travel writer Eric Weiner has scanned the globe and come to exactly that conclusion. He says genius arises in clumps at particular places and times when certain ingredients are present. Think Ancient Greece, 14th-century Florence, or modern-day Silicon Valley. Weiner joins us Tuesday to explain his theory of the geography of genius. [Rebroadcast]

Meet Me in Atlantis

Around 360 BC, the Greek philosopher Plato wrote about a marvelous city that disappeared millennia earlier. Atlantis is one of the world's great unsolved mysteries, despite the efforts of scholars, amateur sleuths, psychics, and conspiracy theorists. The journalist Mark Adams went on his own quest - not to find Atlantis itself, but to understand the people searching for it. Friday, he joins us to talk about the sunken city and the place it holds in our imagination. [Rebroadcast]

How the Other Half Banks

In a new book, legal scholar Mehrsa Baradaran argues that America has two systems for personal banking. The rich have personal bank accounts at brick-and-mortar businesses, while the poor either don't bank at all or rely on payday lenders and check cashers that charge exorbitant rates and fees. The result, Baradaran says, is a sadly ironic situation where "the less money you have, the more you pay to use it." She joins us Monday to explain how we got into this mess, and how we might get out of it. [Rebroadcast]

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