With Good Reason
Summary: Each week scholars explore the worlds of literature, science, the arts, politics, history, religion, and business through lively discussion with host Sarah McConnell. From the controversies over slave reparations and global warming, to the unique worlds of comic books and wine-making, With Good Reason is always surprising, challenging and fun!
A traveling exhibit called New Virginians: 1619-2019 & Beyond from The Library of Virginia in Richmond features oral histories and photographs recorded by Pat Jarrett. People share their personal stories of how they journeyed from Central and South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Republics to make Virginia their new home. David Bearinger discusses the complexity of the immigrant and refugee experience for the individuals and families who have lived and are living it. Later in the show: The contributions that Irish nuns made to help destitute immigrant Catholic children in New York City were instrumental in developing modern American social institutions like foster care and welfare. Before the nuns aided these children, they were being sent to live with Protestant families, often never seeing their parents again. Maureen Fitzgerald speaks about what lessons can be learnt from the Irish immigrant experience. Also: Cindy Hahamovitch compares the history and experience of guest workers in the United States to other countries.
Sammy was just a month old when he started experiencing symptoms of heart failure. Dr. Mark Roeser helped perform the groundbreaking surgery that saved the boy’s life. And: Burnout is especially prevalent in the medical field. And Dr. Mark Greenawald should know, he felt its devastating effects after a patient of his died tragically while giving birth. Earlier this year, he created PeerRxMed to help health care workers identify and overcome burnout. Later in the show: Domestic violence has been on the rise since the onset of the pandemic. Jhumka Gupta says that’s because stay at home orders have isolated women with abusive partners. Plus: Getting facetime with a doctor can be tough--they’re often overbooked and expensive. The problem is even worse in rural areas, where there’s a shortage of doctors. Erika Metzler Sawin runs a program called UPCARE, placing RNs in rural communities to help fill the gap and get more care to more people.
At the confluence of the James and Rivana Rivers in Virginia sits a Monacan site. Monacan Chief Kenneth Branham walks us through the site of what was once the village of Rassawek, the epicenter of Monacan life before the Europeans arrived. And: Martin Gallivan, author of James River Chiefdoms and Jeffery L. Hantman, author of Monacan Millennium, say there is no doubt that Rassawek is the site of the former Monocan capital. Later in the show: For a decade, now, Amy Clark has been probing family land to make sense of ghost stories. A cemetery of enslaved people punctuates the family homestead. Now she’s troubling myths of Appalachia to make the ground talk. Plus: William Isom II is the director of Black in Appalachia. His work with Amy Clark led to his discovery in Tennessee of the grave of his great, great grandfather.
After months at home, your streaming watchlists are probably exhausted. With Good Reason is here to the rescue! We’re bringing you summer streaming recommendations from scholars and artists. Myles McNutt charts Netflix’s rise to video streaming juggernaut and recommends a miniseries on the systemic failures in sexual assault investigations. And: Yossera Bouchtia suggests two TV shows grappling with race and identity in America. Later in the show: White actors have recently been stepping down from voicing characters of color. Shilpa Davé explains the harmful stereotype she calls “brown voice” and recommends a Netflix show that captures the Indian-American coming of age experience. Plus: Tanya Stadelmann shares two films that document the journey to environmental activism.
Even though transgender-themed TV shows like Transparent and Pose have achieved mainstream popularity, trans people still face huge barriers to employment, housing, and safety. In fact, many trans people of color say that their lives are harder than ever before. Transcripts, a new podcast hosted by Myrl Beam and Andrea Jenkins, investigates how trans activists are trying to change that. Later in the show: The Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History tackles wide-ranging topics, including masculinity in Iranian cinema and crossdressing in the Middle East. Hanadi Al-Samman coordinated the 56 entries in the encyclopedia connected to the Middle East. Plus: Hate crimes against LGBTQ people have been on the rise since 2012. Liz Coston discusses what these crimes look like and how police and doctors are failing victims.
When writer and radio producer Lulu Miller (Invisibilia) discovered she’d have to leave Virginia, she wrote a startling love letter to the state -- one that charges everyday people to stay angry about injustice. A.D. Carson (University of Virginia) uses hip-hop and spoken word to tell hard truths about racist history, cutting through denial with metaphor. Later in the show: Tawnya Pettiford-Wates (Virginia Commonwealth University) believes that theatre can heal injustice. She believes it, because she’s seen it happen. Her theatre troupe The Conciliation Project stages plays and dialogues that tackle issues of identity and race in America. Plus: Theatre professor and performer Artisia Green (William & Mary) explains how West African spirituality helps her illuminate new dimensions to familiar plays.
Colleges all over the country closed campus and shifted to online classes at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Despite fears of a virus resurgence, Virginia Tech and William & Mary are among a growing number of colleges planning to re-open in the Fall. Katherine Rowe (William & Mary President) and Tim Sands (Virginia Tech President) discuss their plans for keeping students safe and how the institution of higher education may be forever changed. Later in the show: Student loan numbers have skyrocketed in recent years, but some groups of students are affected more than others. Jason Houle (Dartmouth College) explains how the burden of student debt follows the same social divides that much else does: race and class. Plus: Stephanie Cellini (George Washington University) studies the rise and fall of for-profit colleges and universities. She says they often take advantage of the students who are most in need of a leg up.
In 1855, an outbreak of yellow fever devastated the port city of Norfolk, VA. Annette Finley-Croswhite (Old Dominion University) says the similarities with the handling of the coronavirus pandemic are chilling. And: Marie Antoinette had wacky hairdos and threw lavish parties. She was also smart and never said,“Let them eat cake.” Ron Schechter (William & Mary) has uncovered her secret library of banned books, which he says reveals a depth to her character not previously recognized. Later in the show: Maggie Walker was an African American teacher and businesswoman and the first woman of any race to charter a bank in the United States. Colita Fairfax (Norfolk State University) says Walker was also a powerful civil rights leader in the former capital of the Confederacy during the repressive Jim Crow era. Plus: A town’s historical markers tell visitors the story of a place. But what do they leave out? We take a walking tour of Fredericksburg, Virginia’s historic markers and monuments with geographer Stephen Hanna (University of Mary Washington) to understand its untold stories.
As more cities close down streets to traffic, new riders are hopping on bikes every day. Evan Friss (James Madison University), author of On Bicycles: A 200-Year History of Cycling in New York City, talks about the rise in pandemic pedaling and why New York’s bike share program is so successful. And: With so few cars on the road, CO2 emissions have dropped dramatically. But if every silver lining has a touch of grey, it’s the rise in single-use plastic pollution. Matt Eick (Virginia Tech) is a soil scientist who digs deep into our natural environment during this pandemic. Later in the show: Would you be willing to pay an extra few cents for compostable take out containers? Mary Beth Manjerovic (Virginia Military Institute) is asking and restaurants are willing as our trash piles up. Plus: Edward Maibach (George Mason University) suggests we start conversations about climate change in unexpected places: Facebook, the doctor’s office, and the TV weather report.
After the police killing of George Floyd, protests around the country have erupted, calling for an end to police brutality against Black Americans. Sociology professor Alex Vitale (Brooklyn College) says it’s not enough to reform the police. Instead, we must actually defund police and essentially end policing. And: Justin Hansford (Howard University School of Law) explains why one popular reform known as community policing is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Later in the show: Junauda Petrus-Nasah is an activist, writer, and performance artist. She reads her poem “Could We Please Give The Police Departments To The Grandmothers?” which aired at a press conference on June 3rd, hosted by Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block. Plus: Connie Hassett-Walker (Norwich University) studies the history of police in America. Going all the way back to the 18th century, she traces the racist roots of American police and reflects on how this legacy still echoes today.
Southwest Virginia has seen a decline in coal and tobacco—two industries that once boomed in the region. Could hemp be a way to boost the local economy? Ryan Huish (University of Virginia’s College at Wise) and Michael Timko (University of Virginia) are collaborating on an Industrial Hemp project to explore hemp’s potential for repairing lands damaged by coal mining. Plus: When the Food and Drug Administration approved the production and sale of genetically modified salmon in 2015, some consumers were alarmed by the prospect of consuming “Frankenfish.” But are all genetically modified foods dangerous? Eric Hallerman (Virginia Tech) makes the case for accepting some of them. Also: When a person’s time is taken up by the needs of daily subsistence due to poverty, environmental concerns can recede as a priority. When we talked to Camellia Moses Okpodu for this interview, she was at Norfolk State University (Xavier University) investigating ways to get more disenfranchised minorities and people who are economically at risk interested in environmental activism. Later in the show: In July of 1975, news spread that workers at a factory in Hopewell, Virginia had been poisoned by an insecticide called Kepone. Greg Wilson (The University of Akron) was a Virginia Humanities Fellow and historian who traces the environmental crisis that followed with the discovery that the James River and marine life were saturated with the chemical. And: What if there was an app that worked like GoogleMaps, but for marine animals? Sara Maxwell (University of Washington - Bothwell) is using satellite tracking to help fisheries avoid catching animals like whales, turtles, and sharks while they’re hunting for other fish.
“Take Me Out To The Ball Game” is the most popular song in American sports, but did you know that the woman who inspired its creation was a feminist Vaudeville actress of the 1920's? And: Before the pandemic struck, Nick Heath was a rugby announcer in England. Now that rugby games are shut down, his hilarious play-by-play videos of everyday activities have gone viral. Plus: 80% of new referees don’t make it past their second year. A new survey explains the problem.
People across the nation are starting gardens. From six feet away, of course. Lilia Fuquen (Virginia Humanities Food and Community Program)is collaborating with organizations to bring people “immunity gardens.” Plus: Jinny Turman (University of Virginia College at Wise) tells us about the 70s back-to-the-land movement, and how the fallout of COVID-19 could lead to another movement. Later in the show: The 2008 recession transformed work life for Americans. Susan Coombes (Virginia Commonwealth University) studies its impact on the gig economy, and is watching closely as many gig workers are now essential. Hear why the 40-hour work week may never be the same. And: During this unsettling time, Victor Tan Chen (Virginia Commonwealth University) discusses joblessness after the last economic downturn, finding lessons for today.
With coronavirus cases multiplying, COVID-19 test kits were scarce and hospitals were frantic. Two doctors, Dr. Amy Mathers (University of Virginia) and Dr. Melinda Poulter (University of Virginia) decided to make their own tests and shared thousands of them with medical centers across the nation. And: Like most users, Jeanine Guidry (Virginia Commonwealth University) clicked through Pinterest for gardening tips or decorating ideas. But she also found a surprising abundance of vaccine conspiracy theories. Guidry studied the social media platform’s role in the anti-vaccination movement. Now she’s teaching about the spread of COVID-19 misinformation online. Later in the show: Fifteen years ago, if you complained of a new meat allergy, the doctor might not have taken you seriously. Thanks in large part to the work of Thomas Platts-Mills (University of Virginia), we now know a sudden meat allergy is real and it’s caused by tick bites. And there may be a link between the allergy and heart disease. And: CRISPR gene-editing technology might inspire fears of bioengineering superhumans, but realistically it can do a lot more with non-human animals. Philosopher Jesse Kirkpatrick (George Mason University) is less worried about human gene editing and more interested in how CRISPR technology can be used to enhance—or harm—the environment around us.
he Fall of Saigon marked the bitter end of the American War in Vietnam and the loss of a homeland for hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people. We share stories of the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops, along with heroic rescues and harrowing escapes of Vietnamese citizens. Then we take a glimpse into post-war life under communist rule in Vietnam. Later in the show: Some of the Vietnam War’s most enduring legacies are the Vietnamese communities of America, made up of refugees who arrived en masse after the Fall of Saigon. In our final episode, we explore how these communities became a key to economic success for refugees, and how many still grappled with the complexities of gratitude, guilt, and silence. Members of the next generation share the delicate balance of growing up as both Vietnamese and American, and discuss immigration in the U.S. today.