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On Top of the World

Jan 31, 2018

Dave and Matt have read Maya Jasanoff’s new book on the life and times of Joseph Conrad, The Dawn Watch.  We discuss Conrad’s life, and the limits of his vision in the turbulent world of the late 19th-century.  This is a story that has remarkable parallels to our own moment in history: a world of transnational corporations, terrorism, immigration, and disruptive technological change.  Plus, why our world is more similar to the lead up to the First World War than you think! 

For History teachers with students who have read Conrad’s works for a literature course or an English class, we weigh the benefits and drawbacks of using Conrad in a history classroom.

Tune in for a tales of Polish nationalism, depression, race, and empire!  Stay to find out why old Józef really, really hates those darn steamships.  


Maya Jasanoff – The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World

Chinua Achebe – “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness'” and Things Fall Apart

Allan B. Calhamer – Diplomacy

Greg Grandin – The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World