Interviews By Topic

When you’re visiting a new city, it helps to have a guide. Dejene Hodes took Anne and Steve on a tour of Addis Ababa, from the Mercato to the financial district. He says the city is bursting with entrepreneurial energy and ambition.More

Teju Cole

Teju Cole grew up in Nigeria and then moved to U.S., joining millions of others in the African diaspora. He became an acclaimed novelist and photographer, and now celebrates the cosmopolitan culture of global cities, including Lagos and New York.More

Lending a helping hand.

Historian Emily Calacci says the massive migration into African cities isn't following the Western model of urban development. Instead of an infrastructure of roads, railways and electric grids, many African cities rely on "people as infrastructure."More

Lorrie Moore

Writer Lorrie Moore says Alice Munro’s book of short stories, "Carried Away," shows mastery of the architecture of the short story that is both brilliant and can’t be imitated.More

Children in Addis Ababa.

Dagmawi Woubshet and Julie Mehretu were both born in Addis Ababa and then moved to America. They wonder what the city's explosive growth will mean for its unique character — one rooted in Ethiopia's history as the only African nation never colonized.More

Art of Julie Mehretu

The families of Dagmawi Woubshet and Julie Mehretu fled Ethiopia because of the brutal Communist regime that overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie. The violence and corruption in the post-colonial era decimated the hope and idealism of many Africans.More

A moment on the street in Addis Ababa.

Ghanaian post-colonial theorist Ato Quayson thinks a lot about globalization, diaspora and transnationalism. Because he’s a literary scholar, he decided to "read" a single street — Oxford Street in Accra — as a study of contemporary urban Africa.More

Cash

Journalist Anand Giridharadas says that sometimes, major philanthropic gifts are a lot less altruistic than they may appear.More

person and dog

Ecofeminist philosopher Donna Haraway has a reputation for tackling the big intellectual questions of our time — and blowing them wide open. Steve spoke with her for the Los Angeles Review of Books.More

give the gift of a clean kitchen

Psychologist Elizabeth Dunn on how to spend money on ourselves and others in a way that maximizes happiness.More

Werner Herzog

Filmmaker Werner Herzog, whose films include "Grizzly Man" and "Cave of the Forgotten Dreams," recommends a nonfiction collection of J.A. Baker's observations of peregrine falcons, recorded in the early 1960s.More

Catan

Board game critic Eric Thurm argues that games carry subliminal messages — and that even some of the most innocuous games are often more political than we think.
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Mahjong tiles

Board games are a tradition for a lot of us. But have you ever thought about where those traditions come from? Producer Angelo Bautista investigates the history of mahjong.More

chess fight

Chess has a reputation as a highly-intelligent, elegant game. But sportswriter Brin-Jonathan Butler says it’s also addictive — and sadistic.More

Martin Amis

Martin Amis has written his fair share of novels and essay collections. For a writer, you expect their favorite books to be a source of inspiration. For Amis, Saul Bellow's 1953 novel is a source of writer's block.More

desks

Young people seem to be feeling the pressure to be perfect more than anyone else. Social psychologist Tom Curran tells us how neoliberalism and the digital age created a generation that feels guilty about falling short of flawlessness.More

prison

Feeling regret about committing a crime matters in criminal sentencing. But if emotion isn't supposed to have a place in the law, should it matter? Susan Bandes tells us how judges and juries evaluate remorse, and why.More

Jericho Brown

As a black, gay poet, Jericho Brown considers it “hilarious” that he discovered sex through one of the whitest writers in American history — John Updike. More

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