Interviews By Topic

A close up image of delicious-looking bread.

Brother Peter Reinhart has devoted his entire life to nurturing matters of the soul. His spiritual path has led him to the comforting ritual of baking bread.More

Clarice Jensen

After 30 years of playing it, cellist Clarice Jensen decided she wanted to open up what she could do with her cello. So she started plugging it into guitar pedals.More

raven

Years ago, the philosopher David Abram was a sleight-of-hand magician who wanted to learn from the "traditional magicians" of Asia. So he apprenticed with a powerful shaman in Nepal, who seemed to have the ability to transform into a raven.More

Nikka and Strings

When Nikka Costa was ten, she was a pop sensation in Europe. In her 20s, she was Britney Spear’s opening act. But she’s left pop music behind and now she’s performing songs by some of the musicians she’s known, including Prince and Frank Sinatra.More

The Löwenmensch figurine after restoration in 2013

Shapeshifting images run deep in human history, going back to ancient cave paintings. Archeologist Chris Gosden says they're linked to the shaman's ability to cross into the spirit world where humans and animals merge.More

the raven

Bad things happen when people lose their connection to the more-than-human world. "Animals know something that we that don't," says psychologist Sharon Blackie. That's one lesson you can take from the old shapeshifting myths and fairy tales.More

A wolf eyes the horizon

Horror writer Stephen Graham Jones loves werewolves. He redefined the genre with his 2016 novel "Mongrels," about a family of werewolves on the run in a hostile American landscape — a story drawn from his own background.More

Clockwise: Wheat in a field, flint corn, kamut grains, and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Most of us get our food from the grocery store, not the fields where it grows. But if you really want to understand where our food comes from — and the potential threats to the food supply — you have to think about seeds.More

A Black woman with her face on her knee

Poet Claudia Rankine spoke to Anne about the loneliness of being Black in America, and how the social isolation of the pandemic woke Black Americans up.More

Aerial roots.

There is an unusual, giant corn in southern Mexico that gets its own nitrogen from the air — no manufacturing required.More

Conversation with Samantha, the artificial intelligence

To a certain extent, loneliness is part of the human condition. You can be lonely anywhere, even surrounded by friends. But modern life has exacerbated it, and that requires modern solutions. Indie game designer Jason Rohrer has one — an artificial friend named Samantha.More

A man with totalitarian ideas and conspiracy swirling around him.

Examining both historical and present-day moments of widespread loneliness, philosopher Samantha Rose Hill argues we must understand our feelings of loneliness — otherwise they could be exploited to control us.More

Cecil Rhodes cartoons and statues.

Questions about identity, history, language, what should or should not be taught in school — these are all debates about confronting our past. Political theorist Adom Getachew says many of these issues were debated in Africa more than 60 years ago.More

headphones in the city

Composer, environmental philosopher and guest producer David Rothenberg teaches us how to deeply listen to urban spaces.More

Africa made of books

Kenyan literary scholar Simon Gikandi says you can’t understand the rise of European culture — or for that matter, the formation of the modern world — without also knowing how European thinkers demonized Africans and the very idea of "blackness."More

field hockey witch

The 1980s were a golden age for witches. Women everywhere started covens. Among them, the girls field hockey team at Danvers High School in Massachusetts. At least, that’s how Quan Barry imagines it in her recent novel, “We Ride Upon Sticks.”More

Honey Rose

Honey Rose is part of the next generation of witches. They perform traditional magic on TikTok, do tarot readings via email, and seek to control social media algorithms with spells. Producer Angelo Bautista wanted to learn more.More

witches

Archaeologist Chris Gosden has written a global history of magic, from the Ice Age to the internet. He told Steve Paulson he’s come to believe our own culture would be healthier and happier if we took magic more seriously.More

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