For many people, running is not just an ordinary, seemingly healthy exercise activity, but an essential component of their everyday lives. Whether part of their efforts and desire to attain optimal health or a rigorous, deeply embodied activity that they enjoy, running is now a ubiquitous, culturally-meaning practice within modern capitalist societies. The omnipresence of running images, symbols and representations within sporting and social media is a testament to its power and ubiquity of running within, at the very least, North American popular culture.
The scale of Russian international influence has expanded greatly since the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Since that year, we’ve seen the invasion of Ukrainian territory in the Crimean Peninsula in 2014-15, increased border activity with Georgia enacted in the name of Olympic security, and later the Russian cyber interference in elections throughout Europe and North America. Each are important examples of Russian intervention close to home and abroad, with Putin’s Russia leading a campaign to expand the influence of the federation. Continue reading
Sam: Oliver and I are really excited about this episode in terms of what it signifies for the development of our Somatic Podcast project. It’s not that we think this particular episode is some kind of important or insightful piece of audio production, but rather that it marks our foray into experimenting with the podcast episode form and what it offers in terms of rethinking digital storytelling, the relation between music, sound, and experience, and the role of audio storytelling within critical research about all things “somatic” and “active”. On its own terms, this episode was incredibly personal, and fun to create. It is also, to date, our first attempt to create a “Somatic Art” episode. Continue reading
In recent years, numerous podcasts have emerged related to the critical study of sport and physical culture. Professors, scholars, and researchers increasingly engage with the podcast as a useful form for expanding the digital reach of their research projects, engaging with different audiences and publics, and illuminating the politics and power relations of the sports world through a more interactive, digital medium. The feminist sport podcast Burn It All Down, hosted by a group of activists, journalists, and professors, now has a total of thirty-two episodes, as they “bring an intersectional feminist view to the biggest stories in sports.” For some time, academic Shawn Klein has produced the podcast Examined Sport on his website, using the digital audio form to, among other things, “extend the reach of the philosophy of sport literature.” These are just a couple notable examples of sport scholars and researchers producing informative and insightful podcasts today.
(Photo Credit: Photo of ACROSS Lexington way-finding sign on route A. Photo taken by Oliver Rick.)
In this episode we explore the history and spaces of suburbia, focusing on the role of physical activity in the shaping of suburban life. The story and development of American suburbs is a long, complicated, and often overlooked social history, but what many people forget is their persistent role as spaces where people exercise, play sport, and seek leisure. In developing the episode we spoke with several contributors to examine questions not only of what the suburbs have been in the past, but what they could be in the future as places where people are physically active. It is becoming clearer with each day that cities continue to spill out into their surrounding districts, and there are intense commercial pressures to privatize and enclose the public/open lands of the these communities. Here we examine how these pressures have been dealt with in suburban communities and what these communities can do to preserve land in accessible and equitable ways.
I’ve [co-founder Sam] had the privilege to know my friend Helen McBride for at least seven years now. She currently lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and in the span of our friendship she has become increasingly immersed in feminist activism. We met while graduate students at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and from the beginning her work and energies were directed to studying and highlighting the role of women and feminism. Her graduate historical research explored the role of Northern Irish women community organizers within the peace process during the Troubles. While in Laramie she became involved in the community’s Take Back the Night and SlutWalk events. When she returned to Belfast following her graduate work, she became heavily involved in the feminist activist community, co-founding the city’s Hollaback chapter, joining the Belfast Feminist Network, and becoming a member of the Belfast Go Girl collective of young, creative women, as well as the city’s local roller derby community. As far as I’m concerned, Helen exemplifies how millions of women embody their feminist activism and politics within their everyday life.
(Photo Credit: Photo of Letchworth Garden City “Agricultural Belt”. Photo taken by Sam Clevenger.)
This episode deviates slightly from previous Somatic episodes in that it combines a personal journey of contemplation with an exploration of an interesting historical topic to create almost an artistic and audial rendering of a somatic experience. In this episode, I talk about my PhD research on the history of the international garden city movement, specifically two prominent planned communities that emerged as a result of the movement: Letchworth Garden City in the United Kingdom, and Greenbelt, Maryland in the United States. Playing recorded soundscapes from my visit to these communities, I reflect on my experience visiting and staying in these communities, talk about the history, and ponder the significance of such planned communities in terms of how they help us rethink the meaning of our bodies in relation to our built environments. As a result, the episode involves a mixture of approaches in that I both talk about the history of garden city ideals, and ponder my own somatic experience in the communities. It’s kind of like a personal journey and soundscape that I’m hoping is in some way informative and interesting to you, the listener.
In this episode we took a break from our usual format and tried out something new. We are going to try to stay as close as possible to a monthly schedule with our main episode releases, but there are times when we want to be able to go outside of that routine and put out a show that may need to be more timely or that does not quite fit a normal format. Continue reading
(Photo Credit: Canadian Pacific London bicycle share program via photopin (license))
Bike share programs, sometimes also referred to as cycle-hire schemes, are becoming an increasingly common place part of transportation infrastructure and programming in cities around the world. In this episode we had a chance to sit down and talk with Transport for London’s (TFL) Duncan Robertson to understand what this specifically looks like with in London. Specifically we were interested in connecting the function of the scheme with the political intent of former mayor Boris Johnson, and what this might mean for the future of the program.
The Olympics is one of the biggest sporting events in the world that connects to a wide array of global and local political, economic, social, cultural, and technological processes. As such it has received a lot of attention, both in the popular media and through academic analysis. In order to cut through this multiplicity of voices and opinions we turned to Dr. Bryan Clift to explore how he views to games in Rio and what it means for the future of the Olympics.