Interviews By Topic

Students testing their DNA

What's it like to discover that your own genetic ancestry is both black and white? At West Chester University in Pennsylvania, Anita Foeman leads the DNA Discussion Project, where students use DNA testing to learn about their mixed bloodlines.More

Half brothers Robert Lafayette Gee (right) and Henderson Gee (left). Robert was Ruben Gee‘s first child to his white wife, Aurelia. Henderson was his second child to his slave, Venus. Henderson was born a slave.

Rev. Alex Gee is fascinated by geneology. So he took a DNA test and discovered one of his ancestors was a white slave owner. Then he went down to New Orleans to meet his white relatives — and that meeting sparked a slew of complicated emotions.More

Robot boy

Alexander Weinstein’s “Children of the New World” is a collection of cautionary tales about extreme emotional attachment to software and silicon.  More

"Poison Squad" Volunteers taking in a dinner with a side of Borax.

Science writer Deborah Blum on the government scientists who made the case for food regulation by "eating dangerously."More

Art Official Age cover

Chuck Klosterman thinks the Internet has ruined a lot of things, including death.More

"I Will Bear Witness" by Victor Klemperer

The author of "Lincoln in the Bardo" recommends Victor Klemperer's two-volume diary that reads as a slow-motion picture of what the Holocaust looked like before it was known Holocaust.More

A poison garden

Amy Stewart is a serious gardener with a side gig – writing about all the plants that could kill you.More

Poison tea

Kathryn Harkup is a chemist with an expertise in poison. She’s made a close study of a famous poisoner that employed everything from arsenic to cyanide to knock off close to 300 (fictional) victims: Agatha Christie, the mystery writer.More

A glowing radium clock.

How painting radium on watches and instrument dials killed more than 50 young women working in Ottawa, Illinois.More

"If Beale Street Could Talk" by James Baldwin

The author of "Another Brooklyn" recommends a James Baldwin novel she says belongs on everyone's bookshelf.More

Nikka and Strings

When Nikka Costa was ten, she was a pop sensation in Europe. In her 20s, she was Britney Spear’s opening act. But she’s left pop music behind and now she’s performing songs by some of the musicians she’s known, including Prince and Frank Sinatra.More

"The Land at the End of the World" by António Lobo Antunes

The author of "The Sympathizer" recommends António Lobo Antunes' novel.More

"The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy"

The notorious filmmaker recommends the complete short stories of "one of the greatest―and most underappreciated―writers in America in the latter half of the twentieth century."More

Books on books on books

Why do we keep dividing the world of books into different genres — like romance novels, science fiction and literary fiction? Novelist Lauren Beukes says we should simply get rid of the whole idea of genre.More

Rashid Johnson, Antoine’s Organ, 2016.

Rashid Johnson is a rising star in the art world. Using signature materials like shea butter and black soap, he explores themes of race, yearning and escape, and grapples with what it means to come of age as a black artist and intellectual.More

Right-wing provocateur and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes pumps his fist during a rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on April 27, 2017 in Berkeley, Calif.

Investigative journalist Alexandra Hall examined the "Proud Boys," a men's organization whose founder preaches libertarian ideals, the rejection of feminism, and the "veneration of the housewife," which translates to the belief that most women belong at home.More

From Vivienne's Shadow Walk in Venice

 Sound artist Vivienne Corringham takes us on one of her "shadow walks," where she records local spaces and how they affect the people who live there, then "sings the walk" through vocal improvisations.More

headphones in the city

A composer, environmental philosopher and guest producer on "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" teaches us how to deeply listen to urban spaces.More

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