Dr. Estelle B. Freedman – History of Feminism

The place of women in the world and in the American society has changed in many aspects in the recent past.  Many people say this is due to the politics of feminism, and some inquire where it will lead.

I spoke with Professor Estelle B. Freedman by phone in April 2002 and asked her to talk about why feminism did not evolve as people evolved and civilization developed.

The books Professor Freedman recommends are “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, and “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler.

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Maria Stewart – Professor Sandra Kamusukiri: A Visit With A Free Black Woman – Boston, 1840

Maria W. Stewart, was a free black woman who lived in Boston, Massachusetts, from the early 1820s to the early 1840s. She was the first American born woman to lecture in public on political themes and likely the first African-American to speak out in defense of women s rights.

A forerunner to Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass, she was intensely religious and was regarded as outspoken and controversial in her time.  For more than a century Maria W. Stewart’s life’s contributions have remained obscured, illustrating the double pressures of racism and sexism on the lives of African-American women.

The life of Maria W. Stewart, a free black woman who lived in Boston, Massachusetts, from the early 1820s to the early 1840s is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

Maria W. Stewart was personified by Chautauqua Scholar, Professor Sandra Kamusukiri, during the 1996 Democracy in American Chautauqua held in Ukiah, California.  Professor Kamusukiri is an Associate Vice President Emeritus, of the Emeritus English Faculty of the California State University at San Bernardino. I met with her, posing as Maria W. Stewart, and began our visit when I asked Maria W. Stewart to explain the differences between the lives of free black women in the northern states and black women who were slaves in the southern states.

The book that Maria W. Stewart recommends is the Bible.

 

The book that Sandra Kamusukiri recommends is “Maria W. Stewart, America’s First Black Woman Political Writer: Essays and Speeches,” edited by Marilyn Richardson

The program was originally broadcast in 1996.

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Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner: Survival Is Indigenous

The consequences of the control of reproduction and the reproduction of daily life that began about the time of the creation of the moveable type printing press, in approximately the year 1440 is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

Our guest is Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, the Founding Director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, New York and member of the Adjunct Faculty at Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York.   Sally Roesch Wagner was one of the first two women to receive a doctorate for work in women’s studies, with a Ph.D. awarded to her in 1978 from the history of consciousness program by the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Wagner, a Radio Curious veteran guest is the author of “Survival Is Indigenous,” a book that describes the consequences of the societal control shortly after the development of the printing press, fomented by western religions, which she argues exists to the present time.

Sally Roesch Wagner and I visited in the Radio Curious studios on January 6, 2016, to discuss “Survival Is Indigenous,”  and began our conversation when I asked her what is indigenous about survival.

The books Dr. Wagner recommends are “Braiding Sweetgrass:  Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants,” by Robin Will Kimmerer; and “My Life on The Road,” by Gloria Stienem.

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Ebershoff, David — How Many Wives are Enough?

Polygamy used to be a central aspect in Mormon beliefs.  However, it has not been for over 100 years now, due partly to considerable effort by Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham Young’s many wives.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with David Ebershoff, author of “The 19th Wife,” the story of Ann Eliza Young, and her realization and then quest to let the world know that marriage should only pertain to two people, instead of one man and a plethora of wives who were referred to as “sister wives.”  We discuss what marriage is, how religion plays a large role in many people’s lives, and how the quest that Ann Eliza had effected her world and the world we live in today.

Our conversation, recorded on August 29, 2008, began when I asked David Ebershoff why Ann Eliza wanted to apostate (or leave without approval) from the Mormon Church in relationship to the politics then and now.

The book that David Ebershoff recommends is, “American Wife: A Novel” by Curtis Sittenfeld.

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Ebershoff, David — Southern California: 1903-1945

In this program we visit with David Ebershoff, author of “Pasadena,” a book about storytelling.  “Pasadena” is the story of Linda Stamp, a young girl born and raised on a rural coastal area near San Diego, California, beginning when she was born in 1903.  Linda learned the many different ways of the sea as she grew and married into a wealthy Pasadena family.

This is also a book about choices, some which we think through, and some which determine our fate even when we were unaware of the magnitude of the moment. 

With the novelist’s freedom to he uses his sense of story, where it begins and where it ends.  As the middle part of the story is built, so are the character’s lives, juxtaposing the times and places in their lives times.

In many ways, California itself is the novel’s main character. We get to see what the land must have been like when it was a wild, teeming frontier, just on its way to being transformed by fishermen, farmers, land developers and tourists.

David Ebershoff is currently an executive editor at Random House, and lives in New York City.  When and I visited by phone in July 2002, I asked him to describe the kinds of things in his life that prompted him to write his second novel “Pasadena.”

The book David Ebershoff recommends is “Middlesex,” a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides.

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Reese, Father Tom — Pope Francis & the Catholic Church: A Discussion with a Priest, Part Two

Marriage, divorce and the role of women in the Catholic church are some of the topics of this edition of Radio Curious, the second of two visits with Father Tom Reese, a member of the Society of Jesus.  In the first visit, we discussed his view of Pope Francis, the role of prayer, and the possibility of opening the priesthood to women. 

Father Tom Reese entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained in 1974.  Currently he is a senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter. He was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. 

Martha McCabe, our guest host, is a retired higher education legal counsel and civil rights attorney with masters degrees in history and creative writing.  Brought up as a Roman Catholic, she graduated from Jesuit Santa Clara University and is now a secular Buddhist.  As a novelist, she was a guest on Radio Curious in 2006. 

When Martha McCabe visited with Father Tom Reese by phone on August 14, 2015, she began their conversation by inquiring about marriage in the Catholic Church.  While the Vatican views marriage as a sacred pact between two people, it forbids its priests from entering into that union.

The book Father Tom Reese recommends is “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on climate change

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Reese, Father Tom — Pope Francis & the Catholic Church: A Discussion with a Priest, Part One

 In recognition of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September 2015, Radio Curious presents a series of visits with Father Tom Reese, a member of the Society of Jesus.  In this first of two visits, we discuss his view of Pope Francis, the role of prayer, changes within the Catholic Church’s view of marriage and the possibility of opening the priesthood to women. 

Father Tom Reese entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained in 1974.  Currently he is a senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter. He was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. 

Our guest host for this visit with Father Reese is Martha McCabe, a retired higher education legal counsel and civil rights attorney.  She holds masters’ degrees in history and creative writing.  Brought up as a Roman Catholic, she graduated from Jesuit Santa Clara University. As a novelist, she was a guest on Radio Curious in 2006. 

When Martha McCabe visited with Father Tom Reese by phone on August 14, 2015, they began when she asked him what the election of a Latin American Pope Francis indicates about the future direction of the Catholic church and the papacy.

The book Father Tom Reese recommends is “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on climate change

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Patterson, Dr. Victoria — Native American Life, Before and After Europeans Part One

Cultures that have no written language pass on their histories through oral traditions. The stories are the way that social values and traditions are taught by one generation to the next. Animals often play a significant character role in these stories.

In the Native American traditions of the northwest part of California, the coyote is a popular character. Dr. Victoria Patterson, an anthropologist based in Ukiah, California, has worked with native peoples for over 30 years. She knows these stories, and she sees them as windows, allowing us to imagine how original native peoples of northern California thought and lived.

I met with Dr. Victoria Patterson and asked her about the significance of the story where the coyote jumped off into the sky. Our discussion lead to a two-part program, originally broadcast in February of 1999.

The books Dr. Victoria Patterson recommends are “Deep Valley,” by Bernard W. Aginsky and “Under the Tuscan Sun,” by Frances Mayes.

Originally Broadcast: February 16, 1999 and February 26, 1999.

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Gilbert, Ronnie — A Memorial Tribute

In this edition of Radio Curious we honor and pay tribute to folk singer Ronnie Gilbert, who died on June 6, 2015 at the age of 88. She is well known for her powerful contralto voice as a member of the Weavers, the extraordinarily popular folk music quartet that in 1950s and 1960s. She also had careers as an actor and a psychologist.

From the Radio Curious archives, recorded in September 1996, Ronnie Gilbert describes her introduction to music and dance, how the Weavers came together; their blacklist experience; her thoughts about turning 70 years old when this program was recorded in 1996; and her friendship and work with Holly Near. We conclude with Holly Near recalling her friendship with Ronnie Gilbert.
The books Ronnie Gilbert recommends are “The Moors Last Sigh” by Salman Rushdie, “Making Movies” by Sidney Lumet and “Eyewitness: A Personal Account of the Unraveling of the Soviet Union” by Vladimir Pozner.

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Lowe, Felicia — Chinese Immigration:  The Veil of Secrecy and Silence

Secrecy of and revelation about the trip to America to secure a new life during the Chinese Exclusion era is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. 

Our guest is Felicia Lowe, whose filmChinese Couplets” tells her mother’s story.  Felicia Lowe was met with refusals and silence when as a child she asked her mother about her childhood. This shroud of silence was lifted when Felicia Lowe’s daughter found an old family photograph taken in China and asked her grandmother to tell the story related to the photograph. 

The film “Chinese Couplets” shows and tells the story of a childhood in rural China, the new identity to secure passage to America, the fear of deportation if the truth were known, and a prosperous and successful life of an immigrant Chinese woman in Oakland, California.   The film “Chinese Couplets” will be shown at the Mendocino Film Festival on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 10 am in the Village of Mendocino, California.

When Felicia Lowe and I visited by phone from her home in San Francisco, California, May 17, 2015, I asked her to tell us about her mother.

The book Felicia Lowe recommends is “The Blues Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

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