The Hayseed Scholar Podcast

Brent Steele

Interviews with political science, history, sociology and international relations scholars about their journeys, work, practices, and challenges. read less

Alexander Barder
Aug 19 2022
Alexander Barder
Professor Alexander Barder joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast. Dr. Barder was born in Paris, France, but he and his family moved to Miami very shortly thereafter. He traveled back to France often to visit family, and mainly spoke French until going to a bilingual school. His discussions with his grandpa about World War II sparked an interest in history, which, along with math, were his favorite subjects in school. Alex went to boarding school in Geneva his senior year of high school, worked at a bank and thought about finance or banking as a major. But after three semesters at American University in DC, he quite college, went back to Miami and worked various jobs (including brokering) for the next seven years. Alex chipped away at his undergraduate degree, finishing in Spring 2003 with a BS in Mathematics. He became interested in International Relations, and took an IR theory seminar, co-taught by Harry Gould and Nick Onuf, at FIU in the Spring of 2004 that got him interested in being an academic. After being wait listed that year for the PhD program at Johns Hopkins, Alex got in the following year and pursued his PhD studies there. He talks about writing and publishing with Francois Debrix, including his first book published by Routledge in the Interventions series in 2012. Alex got a job at American University of Beirut in 2013, where he and his family stayed until 2014, seeing first hand the impact of the nearby civil war in Syria. Alex returned to FIU as an Assistant Professor that year, where he has been ever since. They finish by chatting about how he approaches writing, his practices of decompressing and health, spending time with his family, and more!
Patricia Owens
Jul 29 2022
Patricia Owens
Professor Patricia Owens joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast.Professor Owens grew up in London, with Irish parents who'd emigrated from Ireland during the Troubles, and the conflict in Northern Ireland provided a background to her life and especially growing up. Patricia went to a Catholic school in South London until 16, and her Catholicism was less a 'religious' factor than it was a cultural and political identity that shaped her time growing up in England in those days. She talks about playing football from an early age, going to Bristol for uni, the very impactful time studying abroad in the mid-90s in Chapel Hill, NC, where she first encountered political theory, and was a tour manager for the local indie rock band June in 1996:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_(North_Carolina_band)Professor Owens went to Cambridge for her Masters, then to Aberystwyth for her PhD. She reflects on that time and the fellowships and postdocs that happened in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the US academy, and how those shaped what she was interested in. But there was always Arendt, a theorist whose work influenced Prof Owens' throughout the 2000s (work that Brent connected with especially during his time at KU), and 2010s. Professor Owens talks about the Women in the History of International Thought project, a Leverhulme-funded project that has reconfigured our understanding of the history and historiography of International Thought (and IR):https://whit.web.ox.ac.uk/home She and Brent conclude with her thoughts on writing, decompressing, and more!
Sophie Harman
Oct 5 2021
Sophie Harman
Professor Harman joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast. She starts off discussing with Brent her childhood and growing up on a farm in Buckinghamshire in SE England, her interests and aspirations during that time and the family dynamics regarding politics and who was expected to take over the farm each generation. She had a gap year, then went to Manchester for undergrad and graduate training, got into global public health, political economy, and traveled to Tanzania, and then as she tells it was able to get a job in London at City University after approaching some folks from there when they were hiring, at a BISA, after two gin and tonics. She discusses the burgeoning section and field of global public health and how that slowly grew, but remained a somewhat smaller section even up until ‘the big one’, the current pandemic of Covid-19 that spread across the world in 2020. She is a film maker, the first one on this podcast, and her film, Pili, is an amazing accomplishment of a movie that was produced and filmed in Tanzania, about a woman who gets a chance to get a better job/role but is keeping a secret about her HIV-positive status. It is available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, Youtube, and other sites:https://play.google.com/store/movies/details?id=tn6QEm-KjOU.P Professor Harman finishes up her conversation discussing how she approaches writing, how when and where she and fellow global health scholars Sara Davies and Claire Wenham first discussed the possibilities of Covid-19 becoming the pandemic it is today, Polyani, the upcoming ISA Presidential election and friend of the pod Prof Laura Shepherd, and more!
Rebecca Adler-Nissen
Sep 18 2021
Rebecca Adler-Nissen
Professor Rebecca Adler-Nissen joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast. Professor Adler-Nissen is a proflic scholar known for her work on diplomacy, integration, practice theory, and her deep knowledge and use of social theory. She talks to Brent about growing up in Denmark, but also Israel and the United States. Before going to uni, Rebecca spent some time working on boats, sailing at one point to the Canary Islands where she looked for more work at the age of 18. She eventually returned to Europe, attending both the University of Copenhagen and Sciences Po. Rebecca went to Copenhagen as well for her Master's and PhD, at a time when the 'Copenhagen school' was gaining momentum and the lectures and conversations in her program were filled with excitement. She talks to Brent about writing her PhD at Copenhagen, how she got into the topic of European integration to 'update' her grandmother who had fought in the resistance against the Germans, on the possibilities of Germans being the ones after the Berlin Wall fell who were building a peaceful order.  Rebecca reflects on her visiting position at the EUI in Florence, before defending her thesis and going on the market in 2009-2010. It was in the 2010s when Rebecca burst onto the scene with a flurry of now iconic publications, and she talks about what went into that. She shares her perspective on writing, how she decompresses with her family and through running, her approach to reviewing manuscript, and more!
Tim Longman
Jun 8 2021
Tim Longman
Professor Timothy Longman of Boston University joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast. Tim chats with Brent about growing up in Illinois and Kansas, with two politically active parents and a father who was a pastor. Professor Longman attended Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, pursuing his interests of religion and politics. While there, he also became politically active, working on the Mondale campaign in 1984.  He speaks about his graduate training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his interest in African politics and his decision, eventually, to focus on Rwanda as the basis for his dissertation, examining the role of the Christian churches there in its political transition. This included fieldwork in 1992 and 1993, but by the end of his time there it was becoming apparent that violence was a real possibility. In 1994, Tim took a Visiting Assistant Professor position at Drake University, and it was there that Brent took his  first political science class taught by Tim in the Fall of 1994. Tim talks about how the genocide changed his focus of his dissertation, how he was able to defend in the Spring of 1995 while still a VAP at Drake, a period of temp work in Minneapolis that preceded his work with Human Rights Watch back in Rwanda where he worked closely with Dr. Alison Des Forges on examining the factors that led to and facilitated the genocide. Tim talks about his time at Vassar, then at Boston University, as well as his approach to writing, work/life balance, and more!
Matt McDonald
Dec 6 2020
Matt McDonald
Professor Matt McDonald of the University of Queensland joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast. Brent has known of Matt's work for almost two decades, and known him directly for about half that time, emailing Matt about the latter's fantastic 2010 'Lest we Forget' IPS article and striking up a correspondence, then friendship, since that time.Matt talks about growing up in a small town in New South Wales and how his dad having a bike accident as a child led Matt and his siblings on a path to college.  Matt moved as a kid to Brisbane, learned how to play the piano, and attended UQ for his undergrad, Masters and then his PhD, living with his parents throughout much of that time and commuting to UQ for his classes. He had a brief career as a lounge guitar player playing coffee shops and pubs, but sadly his career as a musician didn't pan out. So he talks about how and when he started to get interested in academia, and the life changing exchange he had to Aberystwyth where he really got into IR theory. He discusses going on the market, finishing his PhD while teaching full time, his first couple of publications, and the very circuitous travel for his ultimately successful interview at Birmingham.  He reflects on how enjoyable it was to have colleagues like Chris Browning, at both Birmingham and then at Warwick. Matt, Helen and their two boys enjoyed Britain, but also missed family in Australia. So Matt moved back, again, to UQ where he is today. We chat about his approaches to writing, how he decompresses via exercise, music, camping, and craft beer. This includes his treatment of craft beer evaluation, via Untappd, with the integrity it deserves. And it also, in closing, includes Matt and Brent's infamous and widely ridiculed (by HS podcast episode 4 guest, Jelena Subotic) evening out with Chris Browning in Prague at the 2018 EISA.
Luke Ashworth
Aug 16 2020
Luke Ashworth
Professor Lucian Ashworth of Memorial University joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast. Luke talks about growing up in England and Wales, then moving to the Netherlands at the age of 15. He chats with Brent about his decision to go to Keele, some of the major figures in IR that shaped his interests very early on, and then going to Career Services at Keele to try and decide where to go for his PhD. Ultimately deciding on Dalhousie, Luke recalls how he developed an interest in interwar figures like Norman Angell and David Mitrany, while also becoming aware of a new guard of approaches and scholars developing Gramscian, Feminist and post-structural applications of International Relations. Thereafter, some time spent at Carleton University with David Long began a series of collaborations that would produce work published at the end of the 1990s. Luke discusses his job interview at Limerick, where he then worked for 16 years until moving to his current position at Memorial in Newfoundland. Luke reflects on the students he trained at Limerick who are still in the academy to this day, such as former Hayseed Scholar podcast guest Cian O'Driscoll and the now 'internationally renown' Seán Molloy. Luke shares the ways in which the moves in the late 1990s and early 2000s to rethink, and reconstitute, the historiography of International Relations, happened in tandem, and then eventual dialogue, with scholars like Duncan Bell, Brian Schmidt and Cecelia Lynch. These moves helped in part to setup the vibrant Historical IR section that includes another Hayseed Scholar podcast guest, Halvard Leira, along with Or Rosenboim and Ben de Carvalho. Luke also discusses the pathbreaking work which has also reconsidered the racial and gender dynamics of this historiography, including by Robbie Shilliam and the Women and the History of International Thought project. He concludes by sharing his thoughts on how studying past civilizational collapses may help us with our current crises of the pandemic and climate catastrophe.