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Listening to America with Clay Jenkinson

Listening to America aims to “light out for the territories,” traveling less visited byways and taking time to see this immense, extraordinary country with fresh eyes while listening to the many voices of America’s past, present, and future. Led by noted historian and humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson, Listening to America travels the country’s less visited byways, from national parks and forests to historic sites to countless under-recognized rural and urban places. Through this exploration, Clay and team find and tell the overlooked historical and contemporary stories that shape America’s people and places.
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Now displaying: June, 2023
Jun 27, 2023

Clay Jenkinson interviews Enlightenment correspondent David Nicandri about the discovery of Ernest Shackleton’s ship the Endurance at the bottom of the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. The Endurance sank in November 1915 after being trapped and crushed by polar ice. A rescue archaeologist named Mensun Bound led two multimillion dollar expeditions to find the sunken ship, which had settled on the bottom of the icy sea nearly 10,000 feet below the surface. On March 5, 2022, an underwater probe found the Endurance right where it should be, and to their great surprise, it was wonderfully intact. Clay asks Nicandri whether such an expensive undertaking was worth it.

Jun 20, 2023

This week, Clay Jenkinson and regular Listening to America correspondent Lindsay Chervinsky talk about moments when the first president, George Washington, may have been tempted to drop the mic - if such a technology had existed in his time. We discuss Washington's response to the Newburgh Conspiracy, Washington showing up at the Continental Congress in uniform before they had appointed him Commander in Chief, Washington's Farewell Address, and Washington's gift of a basket of figs when Colonel Hamilton was beset by a sex scandal.

Jun 12, 2023

This week, Clay Jenkinson interviews the actor John Gowans, who portrays Dr. Ward Evans of Northwestern University in the upcoming Robert Oppenheimer film. Gowans tells fascinating stories about being on the set of the film, particularly the 1954 security hearing in Washington, DC., when Oppenheimer was treated like a man of potential treason by the McCarthy-era security establishment. The director Christopher Nolan kept all the actors in a small enclosed space to create the atmosphere of tension and excruciating intimacy of the security hearing, after which Oppenheimer's security clearance was withdrawn by the United States government. Oppenheimer is one of Clay's historical characters.

Jun 5, 2023

This week, Clay Jenkinson speaks with the director of the Glen Canyon Institute Eric Balken for our initiative Water and the West: The West Runs Dry. Balken believes Glen Canyon Dam should be re-engineered to pass the water of the Colorado River, including its immense silt load, around Glen Canyon Dam. Given the over-allocation of the Colorado River and global climate change, it will be impossible, Balken says, to keep both Lake Powell and Lake Mead full. He believes the water crisis is actually a great opportunity to undo one of the greatest industrial mistakes in American history. What if we emptied Lake Powell and created Glen Canyon National Park in one of the most beautiful canyons in the world?

 

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