Logo for Scene on Radio: Capitalism

Scene on Radio: Capitalism

Kenan Insitute for Ethics at Duke University

Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody-nominated podcast that dares to ask big, hard questions about who we are—really—and how we got this way. Previous series include Seeing White (Season 2), looking at the roots and meaning of white supremacy; MEN (Season 3), on patriarchy and its history; The Land That Never Has Been Yet (Season 4), exploring democracy in the U.S. and why we don’t have more of it; The Repair (Season 5), on the cultural roots of the climate crisis; and Season 6, Echoes of a Coup, the story of the only successful coup d'etat in U.S. history, in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898. Produced and hosted by John Biewen and created at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Scene on Radio comes from the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. The show is distributed by PRX.

Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody-nominated podcast that dares to ask big, hard questions about who we are—really—and how we got this way. Previous series include Seeing White (Season 2), looking at the roots and meaning of white supremacy; MEN (Season 3), on patriarchy and its history; The Land That Never Has Been Yet (Season 4), exploring democracy in the U.S. and why we don’t have more of it; The Repair (Season 5), on the cultural roots of the climate crisis; and Season 6, Echoes of a Coup, the story of the only successful coup d'etat in U.S. history, in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898. Produced and hosted by John Biewen and created at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Scene on Radio comes from the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. The show is distributed by PRX.

63hr 18min
Thumbnail for "S6 E5: A Way Forward".
What would it take to heal from a wound like the Wilmington Massacre and Coup?
Thumbnail for "Season 7 Trailer: Capitalism".
Thumbnail for "Bonus: Long Shadow, In Guns We Trust".
Bonus episode from Long Shadow. In 1999, when shots rang out in a suburban Denver school, it changed everything.
Thumbnail for "S6 E4: The Forgetting".
After the massacre and coup of November 10, 1898, white supremacists in North Carolina took control of the narrative, too, and commenced the forgetting.
Thumbnail for "S6 E3: A Day of Blood".
The story of November 10, 1898: a massacre and coup in Wilmington, NC.
Thumbnail for "S6 E2: Crying "Negro Rule"".
In 1898, North Carolina's white supremacist Democrats were determined to win back control by any means necessary.
Thumbnail for "S6 E1: What Was Lost".
America's only successful coup d'etat. Ep 1 of our 5-part series.
Thumbnail for "Season 6 Trailer: Echoes of a Coup".
Introducing our new mini-series that tells the story of the only successful coup d'etat in U.S. history: In Wilmington, North Carolina, November 10th, 1898.
Thumbnail for "Update: Scene on Radio status report ".
Host John Biewen checks in with listeners about Scene on Radio's long silence and the future of the show.
Thumbnail for ""The Excess of Democracy": Rebroadcast ".
Was the Constitution designed to advance democracy, or to rein it in? 
Thumbnail for "White Affirmative Action: Rebroadcast".
Throughout U.S. history, white folks have received most of the goodies.
Thumbnail for "Losing Ground: Rebroadcast".
A story of stark institutional racism against a Black farm couple in North Carolina.
Thumbnail for "Bonus: Introducing Hot Take ".
A guest appearance from the Hot Take podcast, with co-hosts Amy Westervelt and Mary Annaïse Heglar.
Thumbnail for "Himpathy: Rebroadcast".
Several years after Janey was sexually assaulted by her former boyfriend, she told some of her closest friends about the attack. Their response disturbs her to this day.
Thumbnail for "Things I'm Afraid to Say: Rebroadcast ".
A refugee from Eastern Europe; a gay, Black, Muslim musician from NYC; and how one saved the other.
Thumbnail for "Prince and Philando and Futures Untold: Rebroadcast ".
How to grieve when the deaths come so quickly?
Thumbnail for "S5 E11: Change Everything".
What’s the cultural transformation Westerners must make to live in good health with the rest of the natural world and with each other?
Thumbnail for "S5 E10: The Power Structure, Not the Energy Source".
The actions and policies that people need to push for—now—to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
Thumbnail for "S5 E9: Pachamama".
Some people around the world are trying to protect the planet by infusing the law with Indigenous understandings of Mother Earth.
Thumbnail for "S5 E8: Last Orders ".
Scotland is a relative leader on climate, but just how quickly will Scots be willing to cut off the flow of oil and money?
Thumbnail for "S5 E7: Deluges and Dreams ".
Climate refugees, and efforts to be part of the solution, in Bangladesh.
Thumbnail for "S5 E6: "We Don't Have the Power to Fight It" ".
Earth’s changing climate is already displacing millions, worsening conflict and violence, including between farmers and traditional nomadic herders in Nigeria.
Thumbnail for "Bonus Episode: Manchin on the Hill, and Introducing Drilled ".
Climate watchers turn their lonely eyes to Washington, D.C., and an episode of the Drilled podcast.
Thumbnail for "S5 E5: Jakarta, the Sinking Capital ".
In Indonesia, among other climate-related challenges, the capital city is sinking into the sea.
Thumbnail for "S5 E4: Up to Heaven and Down to Hell".
Why has the United States played such an outsized role in the creation of the climate crisis?
Thumbnail for "S5 E3: "Managing" Nature  ".
If the Enlightenment was so great, why was it not a course correction for a wayward Western culture?
Thumbnail for "S5 E2: To the Victor".
Part 2 of our series, The Repair, on the climate emergency. How the West really broke bad.
Thumbnail for "S5 E1: In the Beginning ".
Part 1 of our series on the climate crisis. How did we drive ourselves into the ecological ditch? And who is this 'we'?
Thumbnail for "Season 5 Trailer: The Repair".
Season 5 will explore the cultural roots of our current ecological emergency, and the deep changes Western society will need to make to save the Earth and our species.
Thumbnail for "REBROADCAST: S4 E8 The Second Redemption".
This special re-broadcast of a Season 4 episode is in response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. A look at the right-wing counterrevolution in the face of expanding democracy in America: It started long before Donald Trump.
Thumbnail for "BONUS EPISODE: Election 2020".
What does the 2020 election in the United States tell us, or remind us, about the state of democracy in America?
Thumbnail for "Hearing Hiroshima (Rebroadcast)".
The word “Hiroshima” may bring to mind a black-and-white image of a mushroom cloud. It’s easy to forget that it’s an actual city with a million people and a popular baseball team.
Thumbnail for "S4 E12: More Democracy".
What will it take to make the United States a more fully-functioning democracy, and how can we, as citizens, bring about that change?
Thumbnail for "S4 E11: More Truth".
How well do the news media serve us as citizens, and what role does the notion of “objective,” or “neutral” journalism play in the failings of American democracy?
Thumbnail for "S4 E10: Schooled for Democracy".
In most American schools, children hear about democracy, but don’t get to practice it. What would a more engaged brand of civics education look like?
Thumbnail for "S4 E9: American Empire".
“America” and “empire.” Do those words go together? If so, what kind of imperialism does the U.S. practice, and how has American empire changed over time? 
Thumbnail for "S4 E8: The Second Redemption".
The conservative, neoliberal counterrevolution in the face of expanding democracy in America: It started long before Donald Trump. Even before Ronald Reagan and his like-minded counterpart across the Atlantic, Margaret Thatcher.  
Thumbnail for "S4 E7: Freedom Summer".
In the summer of 1964, about a thousand young Americans, black and white, came together in Mississippi to place themselves in the path of white supremacist power and violence. They issued a bold pro-democracy challenge to the nation and the Democratic Party.
Thumbnail for "Bonus Episode: Pandemic America".
In this special episode, host John Biewen and series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika discuss the coronavirus pandemic and how the crisis, and the nation’s response to it, echo themes we’re exploring in our Season 4 series on democracy in the United States.
Thumbnail for "S4 E6: A New Deal".
The Great Depression presented a crisis not only for the U.S. economy, but for American democracy. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to save the nation’s system of government, and its economic system, while reforming both. What did the New Deal achieve, and not achieve?
Thumbnail for "S4 E5: Feminism in Black and White".
People fighting for more democracy in the United States often have to struggle against sexism and racism. In fact, those two struggles are often inseparable—certainly from the perspective of black women and some other women of color.
Thumbnail for "S4 E4: The Second Revolution".
After the Civil War, a surprising coalition tried to remake the United States into a real multiracial democracy for the first time. Reconstruction, as the effort was called, brought dramatic change to America. For a while.
Thumbnail for "S4 E3: The Cotton Empire".
In the decades after America’s founding and the establishment of the Constitution, did the nation get better, more just, more democratic? Or did it double down on violent conquest and exploitation?  
Thumbnail for "S4 E2: "The Excess of Democracy"".
In the summer of 1787, fifty-five men got together in Philadelphia to write a new Constitution for the United States, replacing the new nation’s original blueprint, the Articles of Confederation. But why, exactly? What problems were the framers trying to solve? Was the Constitution designed to advance democracy, or to rein it in?
Thumbnail for "S4 E1: Rich Man's Revolt".
In the American Revolution, the men who revolted were among the wealthiest and most comfortable people in the colonies. What kind of revolution was it, anyway? Was it about a desire to establish democracy—or something else?
Thumbnail for "Season 4 Trailer: The Land That Never Has Been Yet".
Our season-long series will touch on concerns like authoritarianism, voter suppression and gerrymandering, foreign intervention, and the role of money in politics, but we’ll go much deeper, effectively retelling the story of the United States from its beginnings up to the present.
Thumbnail for "S3 E12: The End of Male Supremacy? ".
In our Season Three finale, co-hosts Celeste Headlee and John Biewen talk about where American culture goes from here, sexism-wise.
Thumbnail for "S3 E11: Domination ".
Host John Biewen dips into the world of sports talk radio, where guys talk not just about sports but also about how to be a man in twenty-first-century America.
Thumbnail for "S3 E10: The Juggernaut ".
Writer Ben James and his wife Oona are raising their sons in a progressive and “queer-friendly” New England town. They actively encourage the boys to be themselves, never mind those traditional gender norms around “masculinity” and “femininity.”
Thumbnail for "S3 E9: Be Like You".
Lewis Wallace, female-assigned at birth, wanted to transition in the direction of maleness—in some ways. He shifted his pronouns, had surgery, starting taking testosterone. None of that meant he wanted to embrace everything that our culture associates with “masculinity.”
Thumbnail for "S3 E8: American Made ".
American history—law, economics, culture—has built different notions of masculinity (and femininity) for people of varying races and ethnicities.
Thumbnail for "S3 E7: Himpathy".
Several years after Janey was sexually assaulted by her former boyfriend, Mathew, she told some of her closest friends, and her mother, what Mathew had done.
Thumbnail for "S3 E6: Warriors ".
Do nations fight wars because men are naturally violent? Or do societies condition men to embrace violence so they’ll fight the nation’s wars?
Thumbnail for "S3 E5: More Than Paper Cuts ".
The #MeToo Movement has shed a harsh light on sexual harassment in the workplace. Just how bad, and how pervasive, is sexism on the job in the U.S., from day-to-day expressions of disrespect all the way to rape? Spoiler: It’s bad.
Thumbnail for "S3 E4: Feminism in Black and White ".
The struggles against sexism and racism come together in the bodies, and the lives, of black women.
Thumbnail for "S3 E3: Skeleton War ".
A few hundred years ago, the great thinkers of the Enlightenment began to declare that “all men are created equal.” Some of them said that notion should include women, too. Why did those feminists—most of them men, by the way—lose the fight? How did the patriarchy survive the Enlightenment?
Thumbnail for "S3 E2: Ain't No Amoeba ".
For millennia, Western culture (and most other cultures) declared that men and women were different sorts of humans—and, by the way, men were better. Is that claim not only wrong but straight-up backwards?
Thumbnail for "S3 E1: Dick Move ".
Launching our Season 3 series, co-hosts John Biewen and Celeste Headlee look at the problems of male supremacy.
Thumbnail for "Scene on Radio Season 3: MEN Trailer".
Scene on Radio opens its Season 3 series, MEN, with this preview. Host John Biewen introduces the series with series co-host Celeste Headlee.
Thumbnail for "I Know It's You (Rebroadcast)".
A father turns on a recorder while tucking in his 7-year-old, having no idea he’s about to capture a poignant growing-up moment in his son’s life. (Advisory: This episode is not suitable for some young children.)
Thumbnail for "Transformation (Seeing White, Part 14)".
The concluding episode in our series, Seeing White. An exploration of solutions and responses to America’s deep history of white supremacy by host John Biewen, with Chenjerai Kumanyika, Robin DiAngelo, and William “Sandy” Darity, Jr.
Thumbnail for "White Affirmative Action (Seeing White, Part 13)".
When it comes to U.S. government programs and support earmarked for the benefit of particular racial groups, history is clear. White folks have received most of the goodies. By John Biewen, with Deena Hayes-Greene of the Racial Equity Institute and...
Thumbnail for "Losing Ground".
For Eddie Wise, owning a hog farm was a lifelong dream. In middle age, he and his wife, Dorothy, finally got a farm of their own. But they say that over the next twenty-five years, the U.S. government discriminated against them because of their race,...
Thumbnail for "My White Friends (Seeing White, Part 12)".
For years, Myra Greene had explored blackness through her photography, often in self-portraits. She wondered, what would it mean to take pictures of whiteness? For her friends, what was it like to be photographed because you’re white? With another...
Thumbnail for "Danger (Seeing White, Part 11)".
For hundreds of years, the white-dominated American culture has raised the specter of the dangerous, violent black man. Host John Biewen tells the story of a confrontation with an African American teenager. Then he and recurring guest Chenjerai...
Thumbnail for "Citizen Thind (Seeing White, Part 10)".
The story of Bhagat Singh Thind, and also of Takao Ozawa – Asian immigrants who, in the 1920s, sought to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that they were white in order to gain American citizenship. Thind’s “bargain with white supremacy,” and...
Thumbnail for "A Racial Cleansing in America (Seeing White Part 9)".
In 1919, a white mob forced the entire black population of Corbin, Kentucky, to leave, at gunpoint. It was one of many racial expulsions in the United States. What happened, and how such racial cleansings became “America’s family secret.” The...
Thumbnail for "Skulls and Skin (Seeing White, Part 8)".
Scientists weren’t the first to divide humanity along racial – and and racist – lines. But for hundreds of years, racial scientists claimed to provide proof for those racist hierarchies – and some still do.   Resources for this episode: ...
Thumbnail for "Chenjerai’s Challenge (Seeing White, Part 7)".
“How attached are you to the idea of being white?” Chenjerai Kumanyika puts that question to host John Biewen, as they revisit an unfinished conversation from a previous episode. Part 7 of our series, Seeing White.  
Thumbnail for "That's Not Us, So We're Clean (Seeing White, Part 6)".
When it comes to America’s racial sins, past and present, a lot of us see people in one region of the country as guiltier than the rest. Host John Biewen spoke with some white Southern friends about that tendency. Part Six of our ongoing series,...
Thumbnail for "Little War on the Prairie (Seeing White, Part 5)".
Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, John Biewen heard next to nothing about the town’s most important historical event. In 1862, Mankato was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history – the hanging of 38 Dakota warriors – following one...
Thumbnail for "On Crazy We Built a Nation (Seeing White, Part 4)".
“All men are created equal.” Those words, from the Declaration of Independence, are central to the story that Americans tell about ourselves and our history. But what did those words mean to the man who actually wrote them? By John Biewen, with...
Thumbnail for "Made in America (Seeing White, Part 3)".
Chattel slavery in the United States, with its distinctive – and strikingly cruel – laws and structures, took shape over many decades in colonial America. The innovations that built American slavery are inseparable from the construction of...
Thumbnail for "How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)".
For much of human history, people viewed themselves as members of tribes or nations but had no notion of “race.” Today, science deems race biologically meaningless. Who invented race as we know it, and why? By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai...
Thumbnail for "Turning the Lens (Seeing White, Part 1)".
Events of the past few years have turned a challenging spotlight on White people, and Whiteness, in the United States. An introduction to our series exploring what it means to be White. By John Biewen, with special guest Chenjerai Kumanyika.
Thumbnail for "Movement Time".
Facts can be ignored by the powers that be and still ignite a movement. An interview with Tim Tyson, author of the new book, The Blood of Emmett Till. Tyson was the first historian or journalist to interview the former Carolyn Bryant, the woman in...
Thumbnail for "Emmett and Trayvon (Rebroadcast)".
There’s a long and painful history in the U.S. of white men killing black men and boys without punishment. In this episode, we listen in on “Dar He,” the one-man play by Mike Wiley that brings to life the story of Emmett Till.
Thumbnail for "I Found No Strangers (Travels With Mic, Part 3)".
The last in our series exploring the spirit of America in the footsteps of one of its greatest writers, John Steinbeck. At key spots on Steinbeck’s 1960 journey across the country, we team up with artists to explore how things have changed, or not,...
Thumbnail for "Reality is Not the Stronger (Travels With Mic, Part 2)".
The second in a three-part series, journeying into the soul of America through the eyes of artists, while following in the footsteps of Nobel Prize-winning writer John Steinbeck who drove across the country in 1960 for his iconic book, Travels with...
Thumbnail for "Monster America (Travels With Mic, Part 1)".
First in a three-part journey into the soul of America, through the eyes of working people who happen to be artists. In this episode, David Slater in Sag Harbor, New York, and Kalamu ya Salaam in New Orleans. Retracing the 1960 journey by writer John...
Thumbnail for "El Nuevo South".
Siler City, North Carolina used to be a typical Southern town. Everybody was white or black. Now the town’s population is half Latino. One community’s journey through the “five stages of grief” – all the way to acceptance? By John Biewen and...
Thumbnail for "Prince and Philando and Futures Untold".
How to grieve when the deaths come so quickly? How, as an African American mother, to protect your child’s innocence and hope? An audio essay by Stacia Brown.
Thumbnail for "None of Us Could be Thrown Away (Storymakers, Part 4)".
The last installment in our Storymakers series. Four pieces by citizen storytellers on living together, and apart, in Durham, North Carolina. By Vimala Rajendran, Chip and Teddy Denton, Courtney Reid-Eaton, and Nia Wilson.
Thumbnail for "That Old Optimism (Storymakers, Part 3)".
More from our team of citizen storytellers in Durham, NC. Stories by Courtney Smith, Katt Ryce, and Kimani Hall, exploring the things that unite and divide people in Durham and in America. Part of Storymakers: Durham, a project of the national...
Thumbnail for "The Way It Is (Storymakers, Part 2)".
Three stories conceived and made by citizen storytellers Jamila Davenport, Roberto Nava, and Debby Bussel explore race, class, and gentrification in Durham, North Carolina.  Part of Storymakers: Durham, a project of the national...
Thumbnail for "Finding America in Durham, N.C. (Storymakers, Part 1)".
Can stories help to bring a community together?  How about radio stories, conceived and made by citizen storytellers? Introducing Storymakers: Durham, a project of the national Localore: #FindingAmerica initiative.
Thumbnail for "Hearing Hiroshima".
The word “Hiroshima” may bring to mind a black-and-white image of a mushroom cloud. It’s easy to forget that it’s an actual city with a million people and a popular baseball team. How did the cataclysm of 1945 reverberate in the place where it...
Thumbnail for "My Dad and Me, in Three Songs".
It can take a lifetime to make sense of a parent, or to get over him. Or, just maybe, to come to terms. By Ruxandra Guidi.
Thumbnail for "Close Relations".
The people we love have power—the power to upend our lives, or at least to make things interesting. Two stories of surprises, curveballs thrown by family members. Pieces by Qathi Hart and John Rash.
Thumbnail for "Selected ShortDocs: Memory".
A quartet of very short works exploring memory – most inspired by Third Coast Audio Festival ShortDoc Challenges. Pieces by Ligaiya Romero, Madeline Miller, Nan Pincus, and John Biewen.
Thumbnail for "Rogue Chickens and Ratty-ass Radishes".
A punk farmer. A tale of rogue chickens on the loose in the city. A pair of refreshing takes on the whole Food thing, in and around Durham, NC. Pieces by Emily Hilliard and Joseph Decosimo.
Thumbnail for "Things I'm Afraid to Say".
A refugee from Bosnia. An NYC-born survivor who grew up poor, black, Muslim, and gay. And how one, and her music, saved the other.
Thumbnail for "Groundwork".
People in two communities – one in Alaska, one in New York State – wrestle with questions about energy and the environment. We listen in on democracy close to home. Stories by John Biewen and Jon Miller, edited by Deb George.
Thumbnail for "Straight, No Chaser".
A South Sudanese refugee and the music that cuts his heart to pieces. Thelonious Monk’s North Carolina roots. Music and home. Pieces by Nusaibah Kofar-Naisa and John Biewen.
Thumbnail for "Losing Yourself".
It happens. A happy, healthy young person suddenly gets a grave diagnosis. What does not usually happen: The patient rolls tape. By Ibby Caputo.
Thumbnail for "The Dead Can't Do You Nothing".
It waits for us all. A lot of people want to think about death as little as possible. Others want to dive right in and explore the mystery. Two short docs on the Big D.  
Thumbnail for "The Right Note".
Music can be a powerful gift – if you get the song right, or the right song. Two stories from North Carolina.  
Thumbnail for "Emmett and Trayvon".
There’s a long and painful history in the U.S. of white men killing black men and boys without punishment. In this episode, we listen in on “Dar He,” the one-man play by Mike Wiley that brings to life the story of Emmett Till.  
Thumbnail for "No Santa".
A father turns on a recorder while tucking in his 7-year-old, having no idea he’s about to capture a poignant growing-up moment in his son’s life. (Advisory: This episode is not suitable for some young children.)
Thumbnail for "Hijabis".
The surest way for a woman to declare herself a Muslim is to wear the head scarf — the hijab. In these two short pieces, young Muslim women explore the often unwelcome questions and perceptions that come with the scarf, and the deeply...
Thumbnail for "What Men Talk About When They Talk About Sports".
Tens of millions of Americans, most of them men, tune in to sports talk radio. Is sports talk a haven for old-school guy talk, including misogyny and gay-bashing? For the final episode in our series on sports and society, “Contested,” host...
Thumbnail for "A Level Playing Field?".
Two families, both making big investments of time and money to involve their kids in sports. But the investments they’re able to make are very different. In Part 5 of “Contested,” our series on sports, society and culture: Sports and...
Thumbnail for "An Athlete Inside and Out".
Tal Ben-Artzi didn’t worry about being an out bisexual athlete at Penn State. Maybe she would have if she’d known the school’s history. How much have times changed? In Part 4 of “Contested,” our series on sports,...
Thumbnail for "The (High School) Mascot Wars".
Two small towns, one in Idaho, the other in Upstate New York, try to decide whether to change the nickname of their high school sports teams: The Redskins.
Thumbnail for "Friends and Basketball".
More from suburban St. Louis, post-Ferguson, on the popular notion that sports unites communities. Can the camaraderie of a team sport make race and class status “disappear” for the kids involved or their parents? Scene on Radio host and...
Thumbnail for "Sports, the Great Uniter?".
Can a winning baseball team bring St. Louis together post-Ferguson? John Biewen explores the question in the inaugural episode of Scene On Radio, a new podcast of audio stories from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. 

S6 E5: A Way Forward

Thumbnail for "S6 E5: A Way Forward".
February 8, 202458min 18sec

What would it take, and what would it even mean, to heal from a wound like the Wilmington massacre and coup of 1898 — or from centuries of white supremacist violence, disenfranchisement, and theft? An exploration of that question with community members in Wilmington, and experts on restorative justice and reparations.

By Michael A. Betts, II and John Biewen. Interviews with Bertha Boykin Todd, Cedric Harrison, Christopher Everett, Kim Cook, William Sturkey, Inez Campbell-Eason, Sonya Bennetonne-Patrick, Candice Robinson, Paul Jervay,Kieran Haile, Larry Reni Thomas, William “Sandy” Darity, and Michelle Lanier. Story editor: Loretta Williams. Voice actor: Mike Wiley. Music by Kieran Haile, Blue Dot Sessions, Okaya, and Lucas Biewen. Art by Zaire McPhearson. “Echoes of a Coup” is an initiative of America’s Hallowed Ground, a project of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.