December 15

Ep. 0088: Thaddeus Russell on Undermining Jihadists with Britney Spears & more

Thaddeus Russell is a historian and cultural critic and the author of A Renegade History of the United States. He holds a Ph D from Columbia University. He teaches American history and cultural studies at Occidental College and has taught at Columbia University, Barnard College, the New School for Social Research, and Eugene Lang College.   He has published articles in a variety of scholarly and popular venues.  Russell has appeared on the History Channel, Al-Jazeera, Fox News, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Join CJ & Thad as they discuss:

  • Thad’s background, including how the material that eventually became A Renegade History of the United States prevented him from getting a tenure-track position at Barnard College
  • Thad’s thoughts on cultural history vs. Marxism, the consumer revolution, the market, and capitalism
  • The tensions between puritanism and hedonism in capitalism and in American history
  • The influence of Michel Foucault on Thad’s work
  • The puritanism and asceticism of democracy
  • How ‘ideology free’ or ‘objective’ history is nonsense
  • Thad’s rejection of objective reality and morality
  • Some thoughts on the present and future of higher education
  • Thad’s current project on the history of American pop culture’s spread & influence around the world

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Posted December 15, 2015 by profcj in category "American History", "Interviews", "Podcasts


  1. By profcj (Post author) on

    Yeah, there’s been a version of that theory around for a while. I don’t think it explains everything, but I think there’s definitely something to it. Even back in Europe, people have been saying that the Northern Europeans have a more stern work ethic than Southern Europeans for a long time. Even within a single large European country — take Italy or Germany, for example — Northerners have a reputation for being more hardworking and modern, while Southerners have a reputation for being more laid-back & old-fashioned. Obviously there are always lots of individual exceptions, but I think speaking in aggregates it generally holds.


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