Historian and Neuroscientist Team Up for Podcast
When history professor Julian Zelizer and neuroscientist Sam Wang started the podcast Politics and Polls prior to last year’s presidential election, they never dreamed it would still be going a year later. “We thought there wouldn’t be much to talk about after Hillary won,” Zelizer said.
Instead, the pair found themselves with plenty of new ground to cover. And Wang, who’d boasted on Twitter that he would eat a bug if Donald Trump won, found himself swallowing a cricket on national television.
Fast-forward to the present, and Zelizer and Wang continue to record weekly interviews with guests ranging from renowned journalists and politicians to playwrights. The podcast has become an influential source of commentary and analysis for policy-makers, journalists and the public. In the past year it has been downloaded 170,000 times on iTunes and it is ranked in the top 20 for political podcasts.
The discussion resembles a dinner table conversation among friends trying to make sense of the political world around them. The hosts contemplate unfolding events such as the Trump-Russia story, or discuss the impact of gerrymandering on elections. Or they may talk about immigration with an expert in that field, or debate Brexit’s parallels to U.S. events.