A radio and web media project whose aim is to provide in-depth analysis and commentary on a variety of matters — political, economic, social and cultural — important to progressive and radical thinking and activism.
Against the Grain
12:00 PM Pacific Time: Mondays to Wednesdays
In-depth analysis and commentary on a variety of matters — political, economic, social, and cultural — important to progressive and radical thinking and activism. Against the Grain is co-produced and co-hosted by Sasha Lilley and C.S. Soong.
In these anti-utopian times, many of us long for a place that’s free from the reach of capitalism and the repressive arm of the state. But we assume such things, even in partial form, don’t exist. Historian Andrej Grubacic discusses the spaces where people have attempted to operate outside of the state and market—and some … Continued
Are children inherently creative? What might be taken as a given is actually a relatively new notion. And, as Amy Ogata argues, it took hold in the United States under particular circumstances: driven in part by Cold War anxieties about the health of the nation, along with the desire by toy manufacturers to sell products … Continued
What happens when poor immigrants seek work on urban street corners? What interpersonal and structural forces affect their vulnerability to harm? Paul Apostolidis considers the plight of migrant day laborers in the U.S. in light of their own words, of the dynamics of state violence directed at Palestinians, and of the nature of precarious bodily existence … Continued
Political decolonization was one of the signal events of the twentieth century, but according to Michael Denning, it was prefigured by the decolonization of the ear. The cultural historian discusses the moment in the late 1920s when insurgent sounds swept the globe, spurring resistance to empire, and shaping the place of music in our lives … Continued
The South African playwright Athol Fugard is famous for his plays about the racial dynamics inaugurated and propagated by the apartheid regime. L. Peter Callender, who stars in Aurora Theatre’s current production of Fugard’s “’Master Harold’ . . . and the Boys,” talks about Fugard’s plays and also about his own efforts to get African … Continued
If you’re like most Americans, you probably feel overworked and underpaid. Americans, on average, labor 300 hours more per year than their counterparts in Northern Europe. And even workers in Europe, with some notable exceptions, have not seen substantial reductions in their hours for decades, despite increasing labor productivity. So what’s going on? Sociologist Christoph … Continued
Meditation may appear to be an intensely individualistic, private activity, but Dean Mathiowetz believes it has significant political potential. He contends that mindfulness meditation fosters what he calls democratic citizenship, in part because of its non-instrumental, “good for nothing” aspect. Dean Mathiowetz, “‘Meditation is Good for Nothing’: Leisure as a Democratic Practice” New Political Science … Continued
We rely on automation in all aspects of our lives, from our jobs to our leisure activities. It’s meant to save us time and labor and free us for other pursuits. But does automation make our lives better? Writer Nicholas Carr reflects on the darker side of automation, from mechanized warfare to deskilling on the … Continued
The Pacific Islands are tiny and often go unnoticed, except by the U.S. military. Guam was made a U.S. territory in 1898, and what’s happened to its indigenous Chamorro population and its environment is a case study in how militarism and colonialism operate. Craig Santos Perez writes about Guam, its people, and their ongoing struggle for … Continued