Hold That Thought


From anthropology to art history, from physics to philosophy - Hold That Thought is your home to explore a world of ideas. Every week, world-class researchers from Arts& Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis share their passions and discoveries.

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Hold That Thought brings you research and ideas from Arts& Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Throughout the year we select a few topics to explore and then bring together thoughtful commentary on those topics from a variety of experts and sources. New podcasts are posted weekly, so be sure to subscribe!
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-10-18 14:42
last episode published
2019-10-17 16:15
publication frequency
12.01 days
Washington University in St. Louis owner   author  
Hold That Thought author  
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Number of Episodes
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Society & Culture Science & Medicine Philosophy Natural Sciences History Social Sciences Literature Arts



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors
17.10.2019 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

Mud cores, rain gauges, and the hunt for climate data

Climate scientist Bronwen Konecky travels to tropical regions around the world gathering evidence of the geologic past. Using data from rain samples and sediments deep at the bottom of lakes, she is piecing together a story about Earth's climatic histo...
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29.03.2019 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

Reading revelation

Religious studies scholars Elaine Pagels and Laurie Maffly-Kipp discuss the Book of Revelation and how it has been interpreted across time, as well as the personal side of their writing and research.
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31.01.2019 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

Diva Nation

Rebecca Copeland and Laura Miller, coeditors of "Diva Nation: Female Icons from Japanese Cultural History," discuss queens, goddesses, and the nature of “diva-hood.”
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25.10.2018 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

How good is the US economy, really?

Ahead of the midterm elections, Steve Fazzari explores the current state of the economy and explains why widely cited unemployment and growth numbers don't give a full picture.
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27.09.2018 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

Materials through the ages

Over thousands of years, by trial and error, humankind has learned how to produce superior materials for different types of processing. Physicist Ken Kelton talks about materials through the ages.
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25.06.2018 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

The Southwick Broadside

This Fourth of July, visitors to Washington University's Olin Library will have the chance to see a rare piece of history - an early copy of the Declaration of Independence known as the Southwick Broadside. Historian David Konig and curator Cassie Bran...
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4.06.2018 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

Saint Peter, According to Mark

The apostle Peter was a leader and role model in early Christianity - or was he? According to Lance Jenott, a lecturer of classics and religious studies at Washington University in St. Louis, how we understand Peter depends on who is telling the story....
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1.03.2018 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

The Secret Lives of Plants

Biologist Elizabeth Haswell wants to change the way that people think about plants. What do we know about how plants sense their environment, and what remains a mystery? The answers may surprise you. Haswell teaches biology at Washington University in ...
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13.02.2018 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

Frog love and the decoy effect

This Valentine's Day, we bring you a story of frog romance and economics - with a side of math and 1960s game shows. Which mate will the frog bachelorette choose, and how does her choice relate to human decision-making? Economist Paulo Natenzon connect...
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18.01.2018 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

Becoming a Biotech Explorer

A competition for a million-dollar grant leads biologist Joe Jez to creative an innovative program for first-year and sophomore students.
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19.12.2017 http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o681/HTTSocial/HTT-Logo_zpse026be9f.jpg

Amazing Creatures: Cyanobacteria

Biologist Himadri Pakrasi, director of Washington University's International Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, has been studying tiny creatures called cyanobacteria for more than 25 years. He shares what we know about cyanobacteria, a...
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Would you be my neighbor?

Using survey data, sociologist Ariela Schachter has investigated how Americans think about race, immigration status, assimilation, and what it means to be ‘similar.’ She discusses her process and findings.
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How to Create a Musical Monster

It’s been 200 years since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, the classic tale of creation gone wrong. In honor of the novel’s anniversary – and just in time for Halloween – three undergraduates at Washington University in St. Louis were each invited to b...
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Ira Flatow on Climate Change and Science Communication

Ira Flatow, host of public radio's Science Friday, describes how and why conversations about global warming have changed over time. Flatow visited Washington University in St. Louis as part of Arts & Sciences' new "Science Matters" lecture series. ...
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Creators and Copycats: The Business of Fashion in Guatemala

In an indigenous Maya community in highland Guatemala, sociocultural anthropologist Kedron Thomas noticed a trend. Despite companies' increased efforts to protect their brands against "piracy," knock-off clothing fashion was everywhere. In her book Reg...
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Moms at Work: Policies and Perspectives in Europe and the US

Sociologist Caitlyn Collins frequently remembers a familiar phrase from her childhood. Collins’ mom, a successful sales director, often said with a sigh: “If we were in Europe, this would be so much easier!” So, was Collins’ mom correct? Are the lives ...
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How to Sit on the Iron Throne: Power and Violence in "Game of Thrones" and History

Rival families fight for the throne by racking up the body count through political maneuvers, murders, battles, and betrayals. This summation is true as much for the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones" as it is for history, specifically the Atlantic world...
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Charter School Myths

Do charter schools perform better than traditional public schools? Does competition between schools really help students? Ebony Duncan Shippy, a sociologist of education at Washington University in St. Louis, breaks down some common myths about charter...
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High-School Students Should Study Earth Science. Here's Why.

Ever wonder why some subjects are taught in high school while others are not, or why students spend so much time memorizing facts? According to geophysicist Michael Wysession, science curricula in the US are based on standards that are more than 120 ye...
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Making Sense of Klansville

During the civil rights era, North Carolina was home to more dues-paying Klan members than the rest of the South combined. When conducting research on this chapter of history for his acclaimed book Klansville, USA, sociologist David Cunningham encounte...
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Mapping Asthma: The Geography of Inequality

Kelly Harris, a doctoral student in education, uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to identify ‘hotspots’ of childhood asthma in St. Louis. Higher asthma rates are linked with lower income levels, and Harris wants to understand why. Through data,...
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Right to Work? Unions& Income Inequality

Over the past three decades in the United States, the wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else has reached new extremes. At the same time, labor union membership has drastically decreased. In his book What Unions No Longer Do, sociolo...
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Inequality at Work

In her book No More Invisible Man: Race and Gender in Men’s Work, sociologist Adia Harvey Wingfield documents the pervasive and often subtle ways that successful black men – people like doctors, lawyers, and engineers – continue to face inequality in t...
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The Legal Mind of Thomas Jefferson

Before becoming the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was a successful lawyer in Virginia. His legal training influenced the way he thought about government and politics, yet this earlier part of his career has large...
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Love Music Across Time

From today's top 100 Billboard songs to ancient Sumerian scripts, human beings have always sung about love. So how have love songs changed across the ages? Have they evolved to reflect society's understandings of love? Or have we been singing about bas...
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Good Gaucho Gone Bad: The Creole Drama

In the 1880s, a new kind of performance became the craze in Argentina and Uruguay. These wild "Creole dramas" glorified country life and the occasionally violent exploits of gauchos, or Argentinian cowboys. In addition to being hugely fun to watch, the...
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Staging the Blues: The Ma Rainey Story

Before film or even audio recordings, audiences across the south flocked to traveling tent shows for entertainment. Under these tents, female performers like Gertrude "Ma" Rainey helped invent and popularize a new type of music: the blues. Paige McGinl...
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Performing Emotion: Freemasons and the Theater of Ritual

Hundreds of years ago in France, a group of men set up dramatic lighting, put on costumes, read scripts, and acted out a dramatic story. Despite all these elements of the theater, the men were not performing for an audience or acting on a stage. This g...
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Performing Gold: Fanny Kemble, Modern Banking, and the Evolution of Acting

When actress Fanny Kemble took the stage in 1831 as Bianca, the pure and mistreated wife in Henry Milman's play Fazio, she astounded audiences with her true-to-life portrayal of jealousy and grief. Julia Walker, associate professor of drama and English...
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Who Should Sing 'Ol' Man River'?

What can one Broadway tune reveal about the history of American race relations? In his book "Who Should Sing Ol' Man River?: The Lives of an American Song," musicologist Todd Decker explores how the meaning of "Ol' Man River" has been reshaped over tim...
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Metabolism: The Google Maps of Cancer Research

When you hear the word "metabolism," what do you think about? Thanks to the groundbreaking work of chemist Gary Patti here at Washington University in St. Louis, instead of diet or weight loss, we think: "possible cure for cancer." Patti explains how m...
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Pilgrim Fathers, How The Thanksgiving We Know And Love Was Manufactured

Thanksgiving is a day most Americans look forward to, a day of watching parades and feasting on delicious food with friends and family. However, the rosy picture we have in our minds of our Pilgrim forefathers sitting down to eat with the local Native ...
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A Chemist's Quest for New Antibiotics

Remember the last time you were sick and your doctor gave you antibiotics? What might have happened if those drugs didn't work? As antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread around the world, this scenario is much more than a "what if." The World Health Orga...
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Social Citizens: How Peer Networks Influence Elections

When you walk into a voting booth in less than a week to vote for the future president of the United States, you'll be all by yourself making a very personal decision - right? Betsy Sinclair, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis ...
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"Do You Like Scary Movies?" Horror Films& Things That Make Us Scream

Horror movies have been drawing audiences since the earliest days of film. But why are we drawn to fictional portrayals of events that we'd do anything to avoid in real life? And are we frightened by the same things we were 20 years ago? John Powers wa...
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Slavery at Sea

In her new book Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage, historian Sowande' Mustakeem reveals the forgotten world of 18th century slave ships. Here, she shares the tragic story of one enslaved woman and discusses why it's so imp...
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The Hidden History of Trumpism

In a recent article in the Guardian, postdoctoral fellow Tim Shenk argues that Donald Trump's rise within the Republican Party has historical - and often overlooked - roots. From an obscure online journal to a best-selling book from 1941 and beyond, Sh...
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A Laboratory for the Social Sciences: The American Panel Survey

What does the average American voter really think about the 2016 presidential candidates? How much do those beliefs depend on things like income, education level, or even personality? With the American Panel Survey (or TAPS), social scientists have a p...
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How to Forecast an Election

It's about six weeks until the 2016 US presidential election, and everyone wants to know: Who will win? Hillary Clinton? Or Donald Trump? To attempt to answer this question, political scientists like Jacob Montgomery build complex forecasting models. M...
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Milk at Altitude: Exploring Health in the Himalayas

Scientists agree that breast milk is good for babies, but E.A. Quinn believes there's a lot more to learn. Join Quinn on a recent research trip to a remote valley in Nepal, where she works with community partners to understand the health of mothers and...
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Theater for Health

According to some estimates, just 6 percent of mothers in Peru wash their hands before preparing food. Is it possible that theater could help change this statistic? Art can surely offer personal comfort and emotional healing, but can it influence publi...
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Eating Organic in Nazi Germany

Eat plenty of raw vegetables. Avoid preservatives. Breads should be whole grain. These may sounds like words of advice from your local natural foods store, but starting in the 1930s, the same messages were systematically spread throughout Germany by th...
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Breaking Down Persistent Myths About Eating Disorders

Treated for her first eating disorder at 11, Rebecca Lester, now in recovery, studies these conditions as an anthropologist and psychotherapist. She breaks down the most persistent eating disorder myths that pervade popular culture and the very system ...
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The Philosophy of Cancer

In 2009, Anya Plutynski - a historian and philosopher of biology - was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite all of her experience with scientific research, Plutynski struggled to fully understand her disease. How do scientists and doctors define cance...
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Pain: A Cultural History

When we think about pain, most of us think of doctors or medicine, but Javier Moscoso has a different perspective. As a professor of history and philosophy of science at the Institute of History at the Spanish National Research Council, he studies the ...
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Venus, Deconstructed

As a follow-up to last week's episode with Luis Salas on the ancient history of medicine and anatomy, we're reaching into the archives to share the story of story of one museum, La Specola, and its infamous 18th century exhibit of gruesome wax anatomic...
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Galen and the Elephant's Heart

What can an ancient debate about an elephant tell us about the history of medicine? To find out, step into the life and times of Galen of Pergamum. Though his name is not commonly recognized today, Galen's writings influenced medical theory and practic...
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The Non-sense of Art

For a while now, David Schuman, a fiction writer and the director of the Creative Writing MFA program at Washington University in St. Louis, has been interested in--what he calls--"the Void." The Void can also be thought of as the ineffable quality of ...
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Shame: Friend or Enemy?

For some artists, shame motivates them write the next page. Others become paralyzed by it. Today, Stefan Merrill Block, the author of The Story of Forgetting, shares his earliest encounter with artistic shame. He also gives his advice on how to overcom...
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Grief and Memoir: Writing about the Tough Stuff

Today, we consider the memoir. Kathleen Finneran, a writer in residence at Washington University in St. Louis, talks about her memoir "The Tender Land: A Family Love Story," which focuses on her family and how their lives were altered by the suicide of...
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