The Underground Railroad

*Warning: Spoilers!*

In Colson Whitehead’s award winning novel The Underground Railroad, Cora, daughter and granddaughter of slaves, flees her plantation after a horrific punishment. She heads out with a fellow slave Caesar, who takes her to the underground railroad – in this novel, a real RR. She is passionately pursued by Ridgeway, a slave catcher while she experiences the horrors of American racism and the courage of the RR personnel. The book compares a mythological Southern narrative of slavery with Cora’s truths and Ridgeway’s version of the “American imperative.” Beautifully written, full of horrific incidents, the book reminds us of the power of racism, the government’s complicity in its implementation and persistence, and reminds us freed African Americans carried with them the legacy of violence, oppression, suppression, and more violence whether from the police, physicians, or any other institution.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Underground Railroad click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here – or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play

American Gods

The novel is a fascinating exploration of the meaning of ethnicity, modernism, memory, and community in which we are reminded of the many ethnicities that make up America, but also their amalgamation into a secular American society with few gods. As multiple characters remind us, America is a hard place to be a god. This is a quintessential American novel from a quintessential British storyteller – it’s a sprawling road trip into the vast highways and byways of the American landscape, it’s a horror novel, a mystery, a romance, a western, a fantasy, and ultimately a look into the heart of America.

This podcast features Caroline Bhalla, Raphael Bostic, Lisa Schweitzer, and David Sloane

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander is one of the most important American books in the last decade. Alexander systematically explores the policy changes from the days of Nixon through the present – exploring how each decision has created and allowed a system which criminalizes blackness, brownness, otherness in way that both creates new racial biases and confirms them by incarcerating millions of young black and brown men (and to a lesser extent, black and brown women).

On Such a Full Sea

In this edition of the Bedrosian Book Club Podcast, we’re looking at the dystopian novel On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee. Lee’s novel follows Fan, a young woman from one of the labor communities, as she leaves her home in search of her love. In a corporatized future world – where the wealthy fly in helicopters, workers try to compete with robots, and the really poor live in favelas – what becomes of social mobility and the notions of resilience and hope and equality?

Podcast – Invisible Cities episode

Featuring Lisa Schweitzer and David Sloane In this special edition of the Bedrosian Book Club Podcast, we discuss the Italian classic novel Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. The ancient emperor, Kublai Khan is so busy running the empire that he needs merchants to describe his vast empire, the great explorer Marco Polo is the only one whose imaginative…

Podcast – The White Album edition

by Raphael Bostic, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Martin Krieger, and David Sloane In this edition of the Bedrosian Book Club Podcast, we discuss Joan Didon’s book of essays about history and politics, The White Album. Published in 1979, these essays reflect a time of change here in California and America as a whole. If as she writes in the…

New Podcast – the Citizenville edition

Featuring Raphael Bostic,David Sloane, and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe In this edition of the Bedrosian Book Club Podcast, the faculty discuss California lieutenant  Governor, Gavin Newsom‘s book Citizenville. Ostensibly, the book is about how government has not caught up with the ubiquity of smart phones and technology found in the rest of our everyday lives. It is a rallying…

Citizenville

In this edition of the Bedrosian Book Club Podcast, we discuss California lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom’s book Citizenville. The book is about how government has not caught up with the ubiquity of smart phones and technology found in the rest of our everyday lives. It is a rallying cry for innovation from within government to revolutionize the way things are accomplished. Newsom argues that technological innovation will both create more efficiency and create a wider public responsiveness.

Do Raphael, David and Sherry share Gavin Newsom’s optimism that technology can easily reinvent government? Find out!

Listen through the player here, or subscribe/download on iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.