Browncast Episode 43: Indian Elections, the Aftermath, with Kushal Mehra

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else).

In this episode we discuss the outcome of the Indian elections with Kushal Mehra, host of the Carvaka Podcast (and a BJP supporter, albeit not exactly a traditional one). Kushal thinks Modi’s sweeping victory had more to do with his ability to deliver real benefits to the poorest Indians. Feel free to disagree and post your opinions in the comments. We talk about the failure of the Left’s dream scenario of “dalit-Muslim unity” as a counterweight to Hindutvadi politics (at least in this election), what this means (or does not mean) for Indian democracy, the role of Indian Muslims, and so on.

 

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Browncast into June….

Thanks to everyone who is a patron on the Browncast. I’ll be posting a few more in there today (or very early tomorrow). We won’t be posting anything in public until June 1st. Our podcasts tend to go longer, rather than shorter. Perhaps it’s a brown thing? In any case, regular podcasts of 1+ hours mean that our month quota gets used up regularly.

I won’t be recording too many podcasts for the next month (I may jump on one here and there depending on my availability), but that’s fine because there are already several in the pipeline. Here is a preview:

  • Discussion about the Indian elections. Kushal and Zach almost get into a (friendly) shouting match on this one
  • I talk about Game of Thrones, fantasy, and neuroscience, with Adam Calhoun
  • A discussion with an Israeli American about living in Israel, and perceptions of Israel abroad.
  • A discussion about open science with “data thug” Jordan Anaya
  • A discussion between me and two young millennial tech-bro browns about navigating American society
  • A discussion of Game of Thrones with a historian and a geneticist (this is not recorded yet)

One of the reasons I’ll be taking a break is that I’ve been podcasting pretty intensively recently. I’ve been putting out a podcast every week for my main science one since the end of January, and have gotten about 2 months ahead there (that’s what recording on weekends and two or three times a week sometimes will do).

I will be focusing on other projects for a bit, and not podcasting will make my schedule more flexible.

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Browncast Ep 42: American Arranged Marriage

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on Libsyn, AppleSpotify, and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…this podcast was posted a week ago).

Probably the number #1 reason that the “Browncast” is of interest to me is that I can talk to people who are different from me in some deep and important manner. This podcast is a conversation with Amit, an Indian American who is doing a medical residency. Raised on the “best coast” of the USA, after some conventional dating travails, he has decided he will go the route of an “arranged” matched.

If you listen, you will see that the process has been a positive one for Amit, and it includes much more flexibility and volition than most Americans might imagine.

I went into the discussion mildly skeptical and came out of it with an appreciation for how people can make different choices, but those choices are probably the best for them.

I would really appreciate if regular readers/commenters would leave more positive feedback/ratings, especially on Apple and Stitcher.

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Browncast Ep 40: Wael Taji on the Topology of Privilege

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…).

(as of this posting there are two postings on the patron page that probably won’t see the light of day until next month; one on Game of Throne and another a discussion with an Indian American on his impending arranged marriage)

On this episode, I talk to Wael Taji, a graduate student in behavioral economics and neuroscience at Peking University, in China. Wael is from an ethnically European background but converted to Islam at one point, before becoming a Coptic Christian (listen to the podcast for details!).

We talk about privilege, race relations, or lack thereof, in modern China. Wael has been living in China for two years, and first visited in 2013. He offered his own views on the changes in China’s view of the world and its place geopolitically.

Wael also offers a pessimistic take on Western academia (his undergraduate background was as a student at Cambridge University). His comparative assessment of intellectual prospects in China and the West were published in Palladium Magazine.

We would definitely appreciate more positive reviews. Many of you listen to us, but don’t leave any reviews!

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Browncast Ep 39: Carl Zha, Pakistan, and China’s demographic crisis

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…).

This episode we talk to Carl Zha (a return guest) about the Pakistani bride controversy and China. A lot of the discussion involves general demographic concerns about Chinese society.

Also, I know that some listeners consider Carl to be a Chinese government operative or plant (at least on Twitter). In which case, we present here a representative here of the Chinese government!

Ultimately the key point for me is to get someone on who can watch the Chinese media, which is totally opaque to me.

We would definitely appreciate more positive reviews. Many of you listen to us, but don’t leave any reviews!

Addendum: This podcast, along with one other, has been on the patron page for several days. There are cases where the latency is very short due to the timeliness, but in other cases, it can be as long as a week or more.

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Browncast episode 37: Arabian Linguistics, pre-Islamic Arabia

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…).

Picture for al-jallad.1In this episode we talk to Dr Ahmed Al Jallad, Sofia Chair of Arabic Studies at Ohio State University. Dr Jallad is an expert on the languages and scripts of pre-Islamic Arabia. We talk about the origins of Arabic (most likely in the Northwest of the peninsula and not in the South as previously believed), the development of the Arabic script (most likely from Nabatean Arabic) and the inscriptions of the region (In the 6th Century CE the ones that do reference a religion mostly reference Christianity, not the pagan gods of pre-Islamic Arabia that dominate our vision of the “era of Jahiliya”..

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Browncast Ep 36: Karl Smith, Communist to neoliberal

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…).

On this episode, I talk to Karl Smith. A former economist, Smith is now a columnist at Bloomberg. Smith’s style is that of a nonpartisan neoliberal driven by empirical considerations, but he actually has a very interesting background as someone who came out of an orthodox Marxist family. He was raised, quite literally, as a Bolshevik.

We also talk about his experiences being a relatively heterodox black American public intellectual, and how both of us see how racism has played out in our lives and in the country at large.

Finally, we discuss what we see in store for the United States in the future on the global stage.

We would definitely appreciate more positive reviews. Many of you listen to us, but don’t leave any reviews!

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Browncast Ep 35: Tahir Andrabi on Primary Education in Pakistan

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…).

Tahir Andrabi

This week we have a twofer about education in Pakistan. In part one we talked to Dr Sohail Naqvi about higher education, and in this episode Omar and Zachary talk to Professor Tahir Andrabi. Tahir is the Stedman-Sumner Professor of Economics at Pomona College and is currently working as the founding dean of the school of education at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He has a professional interest in primary education and public policy and has written extensively on these topics. He shares his views about primary education in Pakistan. I was especially taken by his observation that the 10th grade examination (the “Matriculation” examination) in Pakistan is one of the reasons why primary education in Pakistan is so sub-par. And that the entire colonial era educational system is meant to identify “winners” (the top 1 % of the students) instead of meeting the needs of the majority of students (the modal student in Pakistan is headed for failure). His points about educated girls having sparked a revolution in (private) primary education in the rural areas, and lax enforcement being the reason (onerous and useless) state regulation of education has done relatively little damage in Pakistan, are also spot on. I hope we get Dr Andrabi on again to discuss some of these topics in greater detail.

We would definitely appreciate more positive reviews. Many of you listen to us, but don’t leave any reviews!

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Browncast Ep 34: Sohail Naqvi on Higher Education in Pakistan

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…).

Related imageThis week we have a twofer about education in Pakistan. In this episode Omar and Zachary talk to Dr Syed Sohail Hussain Naqvi. Dr Naqvi is currently the Rector of the University of Central Asia. Prior to that he has been vice chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences, executive director of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and Dean of electrical engineering the Ghulam Ishaq Khan institute of technology. He shares his views about higher education in Pakistan and his own experiences in that field. In the next episode, we speak to Dr Andrabi about primary education.

In the next episode, we talk with Professor Tahir Andrabi about primary education.

We would definitely appreciate more positive reviews. Many of you listen to us, but don’t leave any reviews!

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What is a “Brown Pundits” podcast?

One of the interesting things about asking people whether they would come on this blog’s podcast is that they often say “I don’t know if I’d be that interesting to the audience….” More specifically, there isn’t always a South Asian “hook” to some of the episodes.

But the name of the podcast is “Brown Pundits” because this podcast was started by a few brown guys. Not because we discuss purely “brown” things.

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