Recommended Podcasts

The following is a list of English-language podcasts I listen to, in no particular order. I listen to all of these on Pocket Casts on my phone. You can just search them on your podcast app.

List of Spanish and Arabic podcasts I listen to will be published separately.

PS: I also have a podcast – Hummus For Thought – although it’s been inactive for some time. It ain’t dead, I promise. Updates soon!

Last update: August 5, 2019.


For The Wild: “We discuss the critical ideas of our time and parlay them into action for the defense and regeneration of natural communities. Keyho topics include the rediscovery of wild nature, ecological renewal and resistance, and healing from the trauma of individualistic society. We travel deep into ancient forests, align with the struggles and ways of Earth-based people, and rekindle the mysteries of intuition. We join today’s brightest visionaries in this momentous work of reimagining a world where humanity can find its way back into the web of life.”

For The Wild is probably my favorite podcast at the moment. It is hosted by the wonderful Ayana Young and, as they describe it, it is an “anthology of the anthropocene”. She invites fascinating guests to talk about the current state of our world from as many points of views as possible. They have scientists, indigenous activists, feminist theorists and other people who share their vision of regenerating our planet and our lives with it.

If someone asked me to recommend a podcast about re-wilding the world and re-wilding our lives in the most open-minded and sober way, For The Wild would be my choice. Do yourself a favor and check their website as well as it has more than just the podcast.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

Their Own Devices has the funny tagline of ‘MTV Parents Raising YouTube Kids’ (as in folks born/raised in the 80s raising kids today). It focuses on teenagers and is hosted by Marc Groman, a White House (Obama-era) tech and privacy adviser, and David Reitman, an adolescent medical doctor.  I’m neither a parent nor a teenager, but I got hooked on this podcast very quickly. They talk about everything from sexting to Fornite, passing by the different parenting approaches to children’s relationship with tech and so on. The hosts are really understanding and they regularly have teenagers on the show, earning them the distinction of actually treating teenagers like human beings with agency.

Here are episodes that I liked recently. Season 1 finished in May 2019 and it has 25 episodes. Season 2 should come out soon.

IRL (In Real Life) is a podcast by Firefox hosted by Manoush Zomorodi. It touches on everything related to tech, from digital security to gender and safety, passing by workers’ rights and free speech. They’re at Season 5 now. Zomorodi, who has been hosting since season 4, is just great and so was Veronica Belmont before her. This podcast helped me a lot in 2018 especially as I was struggling to balance my online presence with my mental health. Been listening to it ever since.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

The Lebanese Politics Podcast is hosted by Nizar Hassan and Benjamin Redd. It’s pretty much what it sounds like! In their episodes, they go through events on a weekly basis and then focus on a particular topic. They also have special episodes such as their “party profiles” and “historical figures” in which they dive into the history and politics of specific political parties and historical figures. Even if you’re not interested in Lebanese politics – and I won’t blame you for that – I’d recommend giving a few of them a listen.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

+972Mag is the podcast of the Israeli/Palestinian website of the same name, hosted by Henriette Chacar and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. It goes through a number of different issues related to Israel/Palestine. It’s fairly new (since March 2019) but has already produced at least 12 episodes, from interviewing a Sudanese refugee in Tel Aviv about the ongoing Sudanese revolution to going to an alternative “march of return” within the 48 borders, passing by interviewing a Queer Palestinian activist about Pride week and asking why Israelis continue to support the brutal military occupation.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

The Partially Examined Life is, I think, one of the first podcasts I ever listened to as they’ve been releasing episodes since 2009 (I think I discovered them around 2014). They are now, at the time of writing, at episode number 222 – and that is impressive in itself. The hosts – Mark Linsenmayer, Seth Paskin, Wes Alwan and Dylan Casey – often have fairly different points of views and always choose interesting topics, which makes for great listening. They also regularly have guests. Plus, many if not most of their episodes are actually in more than just one part, so you could be looking at 5 hours of Nietzsche or 2 hours of Game of Thrones. Honestly, they talk about so many different things that it’s difficult to describe the podcast.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

The Minimalist Vegan is a weekly podcast hosted by Michael & Maša Ofei. As the name implies, they try to combine minimalism with veganism. I don’t know if that might sound too ideological for some, but it’s not. They’re very nuanced and honest about trying different things. As they do this as a couple, I recommend listening to this with your partner. But it’s just as relevant if you’re single. They also have a book (same title) that I recently bought for myself and a friend of mine. I only just started it but he finished it in one sitting and loved it. He described it as the kind of book you revisit a number of times.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

screen-shot-2019-08-05-at-21.37.39.pngThe Ottoman History Podcast is one of those podcasts you had no idea you’d be interested in. It’s true that I have some personal connections to the topic: I am Lebanese, I study Lebanese & Levantine history and the Levant was part of the Ottoman Empire for nearly five centuries. But trust me, this podcast is absolutely fascinating. It is much more than ‘just’ a history of Ottoman territories. They also explore diasporas (historical and modern) as well as anything related to the Middle East, the Balkans, Turkey etc and some stuff on the Muslim-majority world more broadly. Just look at the titles of the following episodes to get an idea of how diverse their topics are.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

See what I mean? I purposefully expanded this list just to emphasize my point. And they also have episodes in Turkish.

uploads_2F1563819506021-0qxy4ecl0bi-6416de24f65ed4a49330aa75ed76603b_2FVMPN_003_PWTV_TileArtPrimetime is a podcast by Vox hosted by Emily VanDerWerff about the role of television in American political culture. In season 1 (ongoing), they look at how the American presidency is portrayed in TV series, movies etc. More importantly perhaps, they also look at how the presidency is affected by these media. If it sounds too niche, it shouldn’t be. This is a story about how politics and media intersect, and it goes way beyond the USA only. Given my background in cultural studies, I might have expected to not find anything too new in this podcast, but I’d be wrong.

I’ll just list the first seven episodes in order here because they’re all equally good:

Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 22.10.13On Being is a podcast I discovered just a few days ago and already listened to a few episodes. I am told it’s fairly well-known in the US, and they’ve been releasing episodes since 2003. Hosted by Krista Tippett, On Being explores some of the fundamental questions in life.

I’ll just list the episodes I listened to so far. The episode with Gregory Orr is particularly good.

Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 22.21.31Hakai is the podcast version of the website of the same name. In their own words: “Hakai Magazine explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective.” This is a curious podcast (and website) because, let’s face it, most of us who don’t live on coasts probably don’t think that much about our blue world. But we do live in a blue world, and our planet (as Arthur C. Clarke famously said) has the wrong name. It shouldn’t be called Earth. It should be called Ocean. So see this podcast as one step towards rectifying a fundamental error in how we understand our own world.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

proxy.duckduckgo.comNice Try! is one of the loveliest podcast discoveries that I’ve made. Produced by Curbed and Vox Media and hosted by Avery Trufelman, Nice Try! is a podcast about utopias. However, by definition, a Utopia doesn’t exist, so this is more about what people have tried to do. The good, the bad and the ugly.

They’re still in season one so I’ll list all episodes at the time of writing:

avatars-000350245499-wre05q-t500x500Arab Tyrant Manual is a podcast by Iyad El-Baghdadi and Ahmed Gatnash tackling the unfortunately always-relevant topic of authoritarianism. Although as the title suggests, it is Arab-focused, they actually regularly widen their coverage and have guests from around the world. Full disclosure: I am a freelance editor on the Arab Tyrant Manual website, which means I occasionally edit articles, and I will be a guest on their show in the near-future.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

711362-1528822639436-582c17c5a7757The Actual Fluency Podcast is a podcast about language-learning hosted by Kris Broholm. With over 160 episodes to date, Broholm has interviewed over a hundred language learners, polyglots, linguists and other linguaphiles on their experience learning languages. Language-learning is a topic I’m really passionate about as I strongly believe it helps build more organic links between people across imaginary (and yet all too real) borders.

Here are episodes that I liked recently. You can choose them based on languages you’re interested in, or on methods of language learning that you’re curious about, or whatever other reason you may have.

And since I have your attention: if you want to learn languages, I highly recommend Language Transfer.

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 02.31.32.pngThe Guardian Audio Long Reads are so well-known I’m guessing they don’t need much introduction. Many of these Long Reads have audio versions and this is what this podcast is. Every episode is a deep dive into a topic currently affecting world politics/culture.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

Ezra_Klein_show_podcast_Vox.0The Ezra Klein Show is, I think, one of the most famous podcasts out there. He invites guests from different backgrounds and expertise, most of whom are really interesting, and engages with them in a way that is stimulating. Although US-focused, many episodes, if not most of them, have global relevance.

Here are episodes that I liked recently:

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It Could Happen Here is a podcast by the writer/editor/journalist Robert Evans. He describes it like this:” In this nine-part series I walk the listener through exactly how a second American Civil War could happen. Using hard facts, historical anecdotes and my own experiences reporting from two real civil wars, I’ll leave you believing it COULD happen here.” Scared? Well, that’s not really the point, but you should be worried even if you’re not an American. By worried, I don’t mean just panic and give up. The good thing about this podcast is that he also tries to provide some options to mitigate violence, and hopefully even prevent it.

So I’ll just link them chronologically since it doesn’t make much sense to prioritize them.

p076bclf13 Minutes to the Moon is a phenomenal 13-episodes podcast by the BBC on all the people who made Apollo 11 possible. As an added bonus, the music is by Hans Zimmer. They speak to the scientists and astronauts behind one of the 20th century’s most incredible achievements. There’s no point listing the episodes here since you have to listen to them in order in any case.

 

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