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With Good Reason

Arts & Culture

Each week on With Good Reason we explore a world of ideas with leading scholars in literature, history, science, philosophy, and the arts. With Good Reason is created by Virginia Humanities and the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium.


Charlottesville, VA


Each week on With Good Reason we explore a world of ideas with leading scholars in literature, history, science, philosophy, and the arts. With Good Reason is created by Virginia Humanities and the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium.




145 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville, VA 1 877 451 5098


Destroying The Soul

Political prisons in the Arab world are rooted in colonialism. Diana Obeid says these prisons are meant to instill fear and destroy the soul. And: In 2022, Mahsa Amini died after she was arrested by the Iranian morality police for not wearing her head scarf properly. Her death sent convulsions throughout Iran, as intense protests threatened to topple the authoritarian government. Peyman Jafari calls the protests a revolt with a revolutionary perspective. Later in the show: The Yemen civil war started back in 2014. Since then, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the US have all gotten involved - triggering a long and protracted proxy war. Bernie Kaussler says the situation in Yemen is a major humanitarian disaster. Plus: Earlier this year, China brokered a truce between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two of the biggest rivals in the Middle East. Ariel Ahram says China’s emergence in the region might actually be a good thing for the US.


Music For Life

Growing up in Southwest Virginia, Tyler Hughes has been steeped in the traditions of mountain music and dance from a young age. For him, music is about community. And: Life skills classes for people with exceptional needs often teach things like cooking, money skills, and street safety. Karen Feathers and Jackie Secoy believe that appreciating, listening to, discussing, and even playing music are important life skills, too. Later in the show: Imagine you’re looking at a piece of art like a painting or a sculpture. You can probably describe it in some basic ways using math–it’s 30 inches long, it’s twice as tall as it is deep, that sort of thing. Robert Wells says we can do the same thing with music. Plus: 60 years later, The Beatles still capture our attention–and new audiences, too! Thomas Payne is helping a new generation fall in love with John, Paul, George, and Ringo.


Visions Of Style

In the late 70s, the University of Virginia inherited 10,000 glass plate negatives from the Holsinger Studio. Among them were 600 portraits self-commissioned by Black Virginians. John Edwin Mason sat with those images for years, dreaming up the perfect team to bring them to life. He found his team. Now, through the Visions of Style and Progress exhibition, Mason says that the images are transforming the way that viewers think about life for Black Virginians at the turn of the 20th century. And: Light can be tricky to work with in installations. How Holly Robertson used the 9-foot-windows at the university’s Small Collections Library to bring Visions of Style and Progress to life. Plus: It’s difficult to imagine that the highway was someone’s home. But it was. LaToya S. Gray says a once thriving Richmond neighborhood known as the Harlem of the South fell victim to intentionally destructive city planners.


REPLAY Outdoor Archives

We often think of cemeteries as separate worlds unto themselves. But people buried at Confederate graveyards were surely connected to people at the African burial grounds, and the cemeteries reveal the intimacy of their connections. Ryan Smith and his students have been transformed by tending to cemeteries over the past 20 years. And: After Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy needed land for bases and training. Former William & Mary PHd student Travis Harris says the African American neighborhood of Magruder near Yorktown, Virginia was just one of the many mostly black communities forced out to make way for U.S. military bases. Later in the show: Award-winning journalist Brian Palmer grew up hearing about Magruder, his father’s boyhood neighborhood that was bulldozed to make way for a US Naval base. An old picture led Brian and his wife Erin Palmer back to Magruder and across the state tracking where his ancestor was enslaved. After moving to Richmond, the couple got involved in restoring a cemetery where Brian has more ancestors.


Magic And Miracles

At markets in the ancient world, silver-tongued magicians hawked their wares of amulets, cursed tablets and even spells. But Shaily Patel says early Christians developed the concept of divine miracle to distinguish themselves from magic. And: From 1968 to 2001, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood defined generations of childhoods. John Thompson says many of the life lessons Fred Rogers shared on the show embody principles of an ancient Chinese tradition known as daoism. Later in the show: Does God exist? We’ve all grappled with the question. In his latest book - Is There a God? A Debate - Kenny Pearce debates his colleague and avowed atheist, Graham Oppy, on the existence of God and the merits of believing in a higher being. Plus: Buddhism is widely-known as a peaceful tradition deeply committed to non-violence. But Christie Kilby says Buddhism actually has a lot to teach about warfare. She consults for the International Committee of the Red Cross, exploring connections between Buddhism and the laws of war.


Aging Well

These days, a lot of feminism is framed around young women rebelling against their mothers’ values. But that wasn’t always the case. Corinne Field says that in the 19th century, the most public and active feminists were over 50. She explains how their age helped lead the movement in earlier times and when things changed. And: Most people think about aging in terms of physical health, but Matthew Fullen is focused on mental and emotional health in old age, as well. Fullen’s research suggests wellness coaches for older adults can help them navigate their later years. Later in the show: Caring for an aging spouse with dementia is difficult for anyone. But generally speaking, men and women take different approaches to their caregiving. Building off of her earlier research with heterosexual couples, Toni Calasanti is exploring how not just gender identity, but sexual orientation affect the way older partners care for their loved ones. Plus: When’s the best age to start drawing social security? Barry Cobb and Jeff Smith share their advice for calculating how to pay for your retirement.


Melting Futures

Polar bears are no one’s prey. Except for climate change itself. John Whiteman says that our human fate is tied up in polar bears’ fate. And: Birds have an unusual predator. Windows. Karen Powers says that an $8 pack of window decals could be life saving. Plus: How Todd Tupper knew he had to return to community colleges to teach zoology before he’d even gotten his PhD.


Food For Thought

We all remember what it was like entering the social battleground known as the school cafeteria. Aside from the usual cliques, there were two types of students: those who brought their lunch and those who bought their lunch. Marcus Weaver-Hightower says public schools should offer free lunches to all students. And: Being a new parent is hard work and it’s also super expensive. Christine Schull says a year of toddler or infant care can cost more than a year of tuition at a public university. Christine’s been named an outstanding faculty member by The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Also: The pandemic turned students' worlds upside-down. Rates of anxiety and depression have jumped, especially among students of marginalized identities. But Leandra Parris says there aren’t enough mental health resources in the K-12 school system to meet the surging demand. Later in the show: The college of education at the University of Mary Washington recently unveiled the STREAM Initiative - a hub for teachers and students that boasts a makerspace and an imaginarium. Kristina Peck and Kevin Good helped design the STREAM Initiative to inspire teachers and spark students’ passion. Plus: With the rise of AI deepfakes and other disinformation on the internet, the ability to critically think has never been more important. Tricia Easterling has dedicated her teaching to boosting her students' critical thinking skills.


REPLAY Writing Through

What do the mythological Chimera and motherhood have in common? In her work, poet Julie Phillips Brown dissects this and other biological queries, cleverly unveiling what makes us distinctly and undoubtedly human. And: Playwright Ivan Rodden focuses on the stories of refugees in his plays On Arriving and Lost Sock Laundry. He aims to dispel the mystique surrounding the refugee crisis, painting intimate onstage portraits of humans navigating the unknown. Later in the show: As a poet, Caseyrenée Lopez loves precision in language. That’s part of why poetry helps them explore the muddiness of being queer. Along with their own work, Lopez has devoted a career to creating spaces for the poetry and experimental work of queer and trans writers. Plus: Poet and writer Louis Gallo says that all writing is autobiographical. Gallo’s own works reveal his life, from the musical city that’s in his blood to his wife, who he calls his muse.


Dividing Lines

In 1990s South Africa, there were violent clashes between Xhosa and Zulu people. And the main way they understood how to define the other group–language. But Jochen Arndt says that 300 years earlier, Xhosa and Zulu didn’t even exist as distinct languages. And: Sudan experienced decades of violent conflict in the ‘90s and ‘00s, including the genocide in Darfur. When we tell the history of those conflicts, it’s usually numbers and dates. Daniel Rothbart and Karina Korostelina recorded oral histories with Sudanese people about what it was like to actually live through those years and what justice after the violence would look like. Later in the show: For centuries, Jewish and Muslim people co-existed in Algeria and other parts of Northern Africa. When French colonial rule took power there, things soured and many Jewish North Africans left for France. But they brought Muslim Arab musical cultures with them. Jonathan Glasser says we can learn a lot about the relationships between Algerian Jews and Muslims by looking at their musical collaborations and connections.


Migrating Marshes

Many environmental movements pop up in small communities. Records aren’t always kept. What remains are the t-shirts, petitions and water bottles created along the way. Jinny Turman and her students are helping to preserve what’s in plain sight. And: Sea level is rising. People along the Chesapeake Bay are feeling it, and researchers are swarming. Nicole Hutton Shannon says that heavily surveyed communities should have access to the research they contribute to. Later in the show: There’s a lot of water insecurity in the Navajo Nation. Adam Crepelle says this affects every aspect of life. Plus: For years, researchers wondered how saltwater marshes would survive sea level rise along the Chesapeake. They have their answer. Matt Kirwan says that the marshes are migrating inland, often expanding into ghost forests.


Save the Small Sums

In 1865, the Freedman’s Bank was written into law by President Lincoln to help newly freed enslaved people save money and buy land. But the bank collapsed less than 10 years after it was established - throwing many Black Americans into financial ruin. Justene Hill Edwards says the racial wealth gap can be traced back to the rise and fall of the Freedman’s Bank. And: During Jim Crow, literacy tests at the voting booth disenfranchised many African Americans. Mark Boonshoft says lawmakers passed these literacy tests at the same time that they denied African Americans the right to education. Later in the show: During the Great Migration, millions of African Americans fled the Jim Crow South to more urban cities in the North and West. Black immigrants from the Caribbean also took part in the Great Migration. Janira Teague says the influx of African Americans and Caribbean immigrants to New York City created a vibrant fusion of Black ethnic diversity. Plus: Charles Chavis is the Vice Chair of Maryland’s Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission started back in 2019 and is the first of its kind. It’s purpose is to uncover forgotten narratives and biographies of Maryland’s lynching victims.


REPLAY The Voyage of the USS Albatross

In 1908, the U.S.S. Albatross set off on a research expedition to the newly acquired U.S. colony of the Philippines. Today, Kent Carpenter is studying the more than 80,000 fish samples collected by the Albatross to uncover how overfishing is actually changing fish genetics. Carpenter has been named an Outstanding Faculty member by The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. And: The Chukar Partridge is a common ground-bird found in parts of Asia and the western United States. Brandon Jackson believes this species is the key to understanding the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. Later in the show: When a neighboring wind farm was endangering an entire population of bats at the Rose Guano Cave in Spring Valley, Nevada, Rick Sherwin helped come up with an ingenious system to protect them. Also: “Toad Day” is the one night that all toads in a single region mate, and biologist Jason Gibson celebrates it each year. Gibson also started HerpBlitz, an annual citizen scientist event to collect information on reptiles and amphibians.


Life Without Boundaries

19th and 20th century poet, Alice Meynell–a.k.a. “the penciling mama”--described motherhood as “life without boundaries.” Cristina Richieri Griffin discusses the Victorian mother of eight’s complicated feelings on mothering. And: The 2003 Haitian novel, The Infamous Rosalie, tells the stories of generations of women who are enslaved on a plantation. Ima Hicks explores how for these women, mothering was a particularly complicated act. Later in the show: Camilla Morrison believes that a costume design can explore existential ideas like what it means to be a woman and how women grapple with motherhood. Plus: In recent years, experiences of postpartum depression that used to be whispered about are now shouted on tik tok and instagram. Marion Young has studied maternal depression and shares one way it changes how mothers parent.


Sound Medicine

Kiera Allison says that we experience pain as narrative -- there’s a beginning, middle and hopefully end. And the story we tell ourselves about that pain, and whether or not anyone hears our story, has a lot to do with how we experience it. And: Studies have shown that doctors have biases towards their patients. This impacts the treatment that people receive. Miranda Cashio and Renee Stanley created a simulation to determine if their students shared those biases, and if those biases affected the care that they gave their patients Later in the show: COVID-19 forced us all to be infectious disease experts in our own worlds. Now, through a Virginia Department of Health grant, Michelle Doll is developing curricula on what we can do to prevent the spread of disease, from the everyday person to the hospital’s CEO. Plus: Alessandra Luchini says that AI can process information, but not learn. The ability to learn is distinctly human and cannot be taken away from us.



Mt. Trashmore has the distinction of being the first landfill converted into a park. And for many years, it was a popular spot for locals to hangout in Virginia Beach. Until it exploded on April 1st 1992… Well, not exactly. It was an April Fools prank that went wrong. VERY wrong. Producer, Matt Darroch has the story. And: In grade school, many of us learn that America was founded as an exceptional society - a land of religious freedom and boundless opportunity. But Nancy Isenberg says Britain saw colonial America as a wasteland where they could get rid of their underclass of poor whites, otherwise known as “waste people.” Also: Some of the most iconic athletes, like Muhammad Ali, used trash-talk to get into the head of their opponents and gain the upper hand. But does trash talk hit the same if it’s coming from a robot? Aaron Roth set up an experiment to see how humans were influenced by a trash talking robot. Later in the show: From reality shows to b-list rom coms, we’ve all found ourselves vegging out on the couch watching trashy or bad TV. And it’s not like we’re unaware that shows like Love Island are bad. We KNOW they’re bad. So why do we watch? Roscoe Scarborough says there are four categories of people who watch “trashy” TV. Plus: Corin Hewitt gives new meaning to the phrase one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. He’s been making art from trash for decades. Now he’s shifting his work to Adventure Playgrounds. He says these playgrounds are filled with junk and other discarded material so kids can build their own little worlds under minimal supervision.


REPLAY My Pandemic Valentine

We’re drawn to people who are kind to others. But once that kind person becomes our partner, we want special treatment. Lalin Anik says we get a boost from feeling our "uniqueness" affirmed. She shares just how critical that special treatment is to a fulfilling relationship. And: Can one person really satisfy all of our needs? Julian Glover says no. They share how non-monogamy can be a freedom practice. Later in the show: Studies show that the more we look at screens, the less we feel our body. Scary, right? In our virtual world, we are becoming increasingly out of touch. Two days after Sushma Subramanian got engaged, she moved to Virginia to teach, leaving her fiance behind. She tells us about the app that got them talking -- and touching-- across the distance. Plus: Kristina Feeser shares her bittersweet realities of love.


Making Home

Lauren K. Alleyne lived the first part of her life in Trinidad and then moved to America at 18 and has been there since. Her poems explore what it’s like to have one foot in Trinidad and one in America. Home, she says, is her poetry. And: Alexia Arthurs award-winning short story collection is called How To Love A Jamaican. She says she wrote the collection while she was in the Midwest as a way to feel closer to her cultural home. Later in the show: The themes of a coming-of-age story are universal: independence, disillusionment, purpose, power. But it’s the particulars, whether Dickens’ England or Baldwin’s Harlem that make a story stick with us. Maggie Marangione’s novel Across the Blue Ridge Mountains roots coming-of-age in the Appalachian communities of Shenandoah. Plus: Solomon Isekeije says his art is all about mixing, just like his identity. He grew up in Lagos, Nigeria with a mix of languages and backgrounds all around him. Now Isekeiji makes art that grapples with the different parts of who he is.


Building Brotherhood

Gay men’s choruses have a rich history that stretches back to San Francisco in the 1970’s. Kevin Schattenkirk-Harbaugh is a longtime member of a gay men’s chorus and he says it was one of the first spaces where he truly felt like he belonged. And: David Trouille embedded himself in a community of Latino immigrants who regularly played park soccer in West Los Angeles. The soccer field was a place where these men could bond, share work opportunities, and blow off steam. But then the surrounding white neighborhood started to take notice… Later in the show: Many African American intellectual and civil rights leaders like W.E.B Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Medgar Evers were Freemasons. But little has been written about the role of Black freemasonry during the Civil Rights Movement. Derrick Lanois says African American fraternal organizations offered a safe space where Black men could plan the resistance against racial oppression. Plus: Boys learn what it means to be a man from various sources in society. And one of the biggest sources today is video games. Marc Ouellette says video games take the player through what he calls “a life course of masculinity.”


The Visitors' Center

In the summer of 1982, a group of six paraplegic men set out to climb the highest natural peak in Dallas, Texas. Sometimes carrying their wheelchairs up the Guadalupe Peak, they made it. Perri Meldon is working on a disability handbook that tells these stories and more. And: How Lauren McMillan and her students are working with the Patawomeck and Rappahannock Tribes to develop the Virginia Indian Trail in King George County. Later in the show: Tens of thousands of people take pilgrimages to Camino de Santiago each year. Kathleen Jenkins finds that children and parents are especially enlightened by their pilgrimages. Plus: Jolanta Wawrzycka takes us along James Joyce's route through Bloomsday in Dublin.