Thursday's Show

A Conversation with Sandra Cisneros

Thursday, we’re broadcasting our conversation with Latina writer and activist Sandra Cisneros, who was in Utah as a guest of the Tanner Humanities Center. Her 1984 novel The House on Mango Street has become a staple of American literature, but Cisneros says that only the “right kind” of immigrant is welcome in this country. She was born in Chicago, but it’s taken her decades to find home. Cisneros joins us to talk about heritage, identity, and how stories can be a bridge between people.

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On Trails

Mar 15, 2017
Rich via CC/Flickr, https://goo.gl/uk4xos, https://goo.gl/xYWc9B

 In 2009, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths beneath our feet. On every scale of life on earth, he says, trails form that “reduce an overwhelming array of choices to a single expeditious route.” But how do they form? Why do some paths improve while others disappear? How does order emerge from chaos? Moor joins us to explore how pathways serve as an essential guiding force for trailblazers and trail followers, alike. [Rebroadcast]

The Science of Fat

Mar 13, 2017
Laura Lewis via Flickr/CC, http://bit.ly/2ix26sf

Body fat is a source of shame for many people, something to be hidden, fought, and burned away. But fat, says the biochemist Sylvia Tara, isn’t just unsightly blubber, it’s an essential and deeply misunderstood organ that’s vital to our existence. It enables our reproductive organs, strengthens our immune system, protects us from disease, and may even help us live longer. In her book, Tara explores the science behind our least appreciated organ, and she joins us Monday to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)

Cassi Gurell (http://tinyurl.com/gn7zt6c) via CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://tinyurl.com/p4devpc)

Friday, a panel of journalists and legislators join Doug to review 2017 Utah Legislative Session. A lot has happened on Capitol Hill in the past 45 days. Legislators made a number of changes to the state’s liquor laws, including one that gives Utah the nation’s toughest drunk driving law. Deals were struck to address homelessness in Salt Lake. Tax reforms fizzled. Medical marijuana took a step forward. And car inspections could be a thing of the past. We’ll talk about all that, and more.

Courtesy Photo

Thursday, we’re talking about the lives of refugees with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen. Nguyen came to this country when he was four, and he says there’s a tendency to separate the stories of immigrants from the stories of war. The people who seek refuge here though, he says, often have war stories to tell. Nguyen is in Utah, and joins us to explain what it’s like to be an outsider.

Gage Skidmore (cropped; http://bit.ly/2mgrjqD) via CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://bit.ly/1dsePQq)

Late last week, Congressman Ryan Zinke of Montana took the job of Secretary of the Department of the Interior. As the administrator of roughly a fifth of America’s land, his influence will be widely felt, especially in the West. But who is he? And where does he stand on important issues like state control of public lands, or on the contentious designation of national monuments? Utah Congressman Rob Bishop will be among our guests Wednesday as we examine Zinke’s appointment and what it means for Utah.

William Murphy (http://bit.ly/2lPBwII); CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://bit.ly/1dsePQq)

Tuesday, we’re talking about the rise of the Good Food Movement. It’s an ad hoc cultural crusade that has cropped up across America in the past decade, advocating for good food produced in ways that benefit both the land and the people who grow it. And it’s been successful: local, organic, and natural food is now all the rage. The journalist Naomi Starkman has documented the growth of the Good Food Movement. She’s in Salt Lake this week, and she joins us to discuss how food nourishes the body and soul.

Mein Kampf

Mar 6, 2017

Mein Kampf was Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto, a kind of campaign biography. He wrote the first draft of it while in prison for leading a failed coup, and historian Peter Ross Range says the book crystallized Hitler’s “faith in himself as Germany’s coming redeemer.” Last year, Mein Kampf was republished in Germany for the first time since WWII. Range joins us Monday to talk about the notorious book’s history, influence, and future. (Rebroadcast)

Words on the Move

Mar 3, 2017
Tama Leaver via CC/Flickr http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e, http://bit.ly/2gMBl1m

If you’re worried that the word “literally” now means “figuratively,” or if you fret that acronyms are replacing actual words, today’s show will do one of two things: make you pull out your hair, or it’ll change your mind. The linguist John McWhorter says that changes to the English language are nothing new. Language, he says, isn’t some static thing that just is, “it’s actually something always becoming.” McWhorter will join us to discuss how languages evolve and why we should embrace the changes. (Rebroadcast)

Ali Eminov (http://bit.ly/2mGNVR3) CC2.0(http://bit.ly/1hYHpKw)

A coalition of local government officials announced last week that they’d agreed to changes in the plan to address homelessness in the Salt Lake Valley. Previously, four homeless resource centers would be sited in Salt Lake City; now there will be just two, and a site in Sugarhouse won’t be one of them. A hard-closure date was also set for the downtown Road Home shelter. Hopes are high the new plan will work out, but there are skeptics. Doug and his guests are talking about it on Thursday.

From book cover, Open Midnight

Wednesday, our guest is writer and environmental advocate Brooke Williams. Williams spent a year alone verifying maps of the southern Utah desert, where he felt a deep connection to the landscape. He wanted to understand that connection, and found an answer in the imagined story of his ancestor William Williams. Nature and wilderness, he concludes in his new book, are part of his DNA. Brooke Williams joins Doug to talk about listening to the “archaic whisper” of the past, and how saving the land can save us.

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Friday's Show

The Story of Pain

What is pain? You know it when you feel it, but it’s almost impossible to properly describe. And it turns out, our idea of what that suffering is and means has changed significantly over the centuries. Friday, Doug’s guest is British historian Joanna Bourke, who has written a book that investigates “The Story of Pain.” We’ll explore how knowing the history of pain helps us acknowledge our own sorrows and the suffering of others. (Rebroadcast)

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Through the Lens Free Screening

Bending the Arc

Wed, May 3rd, join us for a free documentary screening. It’s the story of people on the front lines of the global health crisis who heal people with impossible afflictions in impossible conditions.

Utah Profiles

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A guide to the lectures, screenings and other happenings you've heard on the show.

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Listen weekdays at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MT on KUER 90.1