Public Communications

Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast

From 2018-2019, I worked with Roger Lancaster and fellow graduate students in the Cultural Studies PhD program at George Mason University to produce a podcast focused on my research area: the intersections of climate change, political economy, and culture.

A playground for small children near Racine, Ohio with the AEP Mountaineer power plant in the background

“Climate Science Denial and Information Inoculation” with John Cook
In this episode, I interview John Cook of the Center for Climate Change Communication about what we know about climate misinformation and how to combat it. This episode was recorded and produced by Adam Proctor. I transcribed and promoted it upon its re-release.

Audio of John Cook and Richard Todd Stafford “‘Climate Science Denial and Information Inoculation'” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (13 September 2018)

A creek that flows out of the coal combustion byproducts dump in the vicinity of Cheshire, Ohio and the Gavin Power plant

“Petrocultures and the Energy Humanities” with Imre Szeman
In this episode, my colleague Amy Zhang interviewed Imre Szeman about the deep imbrication of culture and energy. Adam Porter recorded and produced this episode. I transcribed it.

Audio of Imre Szeman and Amy Zhang “Petrocultures and the Energy Humanities” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (27 September 2018)

View of the coal combustion byproduct dump that looms over Cheshire, Ohio from the parking lot of the old school

“Toxic Risk, Corporate Negligence, Public Reckoning” with Merlin Chowkwanyun
In this episode, my colleague Tauheeda Yasin Martin interviewed Merlin Chowkwanyun about the online archive Toxic Docs. Adam Porter recorded this episode, while I edited and transcribed it.

Audio of Merlin Chowkwanyun and Tauheeda Yasin Martin “Toxic risk, corporate negligence, public reckoning” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (11 October 2018)

Train cars carrying coal near Middleport Ohio

“Cheap Nature; or, the Cultural Logic of Historical Capitalism” with Jason W. Moore
In this episode, I talked with Jason W. Moore about “cheap nature” as a necessary component of capitalist accumulation and how he sees the political economy of the capitalocene. I recorded, produced, and transcribed this episode.

Audio of Jason W. Moore and Richard Todd Stafford “Cheap nature, or the cultural logic of historical capitalism” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (25 October 2018)

View of Gavin power plant from side entrance

“Greenwashing Culture” with Toby Miller
In this episode, my colleague Pavithra Suresh talked with Toby Miller about the environmental impacts of the production, dissemination, reception, and formation of identities and subjectivities of cultural products and about efforts to make cultural forms sites for intervention into environmental issues, including climate change. I recorded, produced, and transcribed this episode.

Audio of Toby Miller and Pavithra Suresh “Greenwashing culture” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (8 November 2018)

View of closed Philip Sporn power plant and operating Mountaineer power plant from a baseball field near Racine Ohio.

“Planning the Good Anthropocene” with Leigh Phillips
In this episode, I talked with Leigh Phillips about why markets have had such limited success as mechanisms for addressing climate change – and the role that state planning could play in coordinating far-reaching responses without compromising the gains in quality of life that have been associated with the era of cheap fossil fuel energy. I recorded, produced, and transcribed this episode.

Audio of Leigh Phillips and Richard Todd Stafford “Planning the good anthropocene” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (31 January 2019)

View of Mountaineer power plant from the close public pool in Syracuse Ohio

“The Storm State: The Political Economy of Government in the Age of Climate Crisis” with Christian Parenti
In this episode, I talked with Christian Parenti about the role the state takes in shaping the environment and how the acceptance of robust state intervention in the wake of disasters could serve as a model for addressing climate change more broadly. We also spoke about the ways that climate change intensifies conflict by deepening the precarity of people around the world. I recorded, produced, and transcribed this episode.

Audio of Christian Parenti and Richard Todd Stafford “The storm state: the political economy of government in the age of climate crisis” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (14 February 2019)

View of the Gavin power plant from the front yard of one of the few remaining houses in the old part of Cheshire Ohio

“Just Urban Futures” with Ashley Dawson
In this episode, my colleague Eric Ross talked with Ashley Dawson about the climate challenges faced by large metropolitan areas and the choices they face. They talk about the ways that institutional responses embed various degrees of denial and about how climate-focused urban initiatives can be drivers of climate gentrification or climate justice. I recorded, produced, and transcribed this episode.

Audio of Ashley Dawson and Eric Ross “Just Urban Futures” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (28 February 2019)

Gavin powerplant from the rear

“Everything is Connected: Environment, Economy, Foreign Policy, Sustainability, Human Rights, and Leadership in the 21st Century” with Sheila Watt-Cloutier
In this episode, my colleague Christine Rosenfeld talked with Shelia Watt-Cloutier about how her experiences as an Inuit and working on the Inuit Circumpolar Council have shaped her view that climate change can be best framed as a question of “collective human rights.” They also talk about the threats of Persistent Organic Pollutants to the indigenous people of the Arctic Circle. I recorded, produced, and transcribed this episode.

Audio of Sheila Watt-Cloutier and Christine Rosenfeld “Everything is connected: environment, economy, foreign policy, sustainability, human rights, and leadership in the 21st century” on the Capitalism, Climate, and Culture podcast, a production of the Cultural Studies Colloquium at George Mason University (18 April 2019)

Barges carrying coal underneath the bridge between Middleport, Ohio and Mason, West Virginia

Appearance on 100 Days in Appalachia

In Summer 2020, journalist and scholar Laura Harbart Allen interviewed my colleague Caroline West and me about Universal Basic Income for an episode of 100 Days in Appalachia. She was interested in how the economic crisis triggered by covid-19 had shaped our views, after reading our exchange in Lateral about using Universal Basic Income to support a just transition in historically coal-dependent Central Appalachia.

Read more and listen on the 100 Days in Appalachia website.

Interview: Chris Newfield on Higher Education

In 2017, I interviewed Christopher Newfield, author of The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them (2016), Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (2008), and Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (2004), about how the public and social benefits of public universities have been undermined by neoliberalization, diminishing their abilities to deliver on their democratizing potential.

Read an archived copy of this interview.


close up of a bittersweet vine

WUVT-FM 90.7 Blacksburg and The Woove

From 2008 to 2011, I was a DJ on WUVT-FM 90.7 Blacksburg, a mixed format student- and community- run radio station at Virginia Tech. With Whitney Waller, I co-hosted It’s Not for Everyone, a late-night show during which we spliced, collaged, and mangled indie and post rock songs, noise tracks, electronic music, and found sound. I also hosted Sunday Morning Classical, which showcased minimalism, musique concrète, sound sculpture, electroacoustic and conceptual music, and other concert compositions that would ordinarily be considered too inaccessible for classical radio.

While DJing for WUVT-FM, I wrote music and culture reviews for the in-house publication The Woove. Most of what I wrote was relatively ephemeral and forgettable, but in 2008, I piloted a substantive interview series focused on how underground artists understand the relationships between creativity and intellectual property; these interviews featured artists like Troy Mighty of Dead Western, Matt Garfield of Mose Giganticus, Justin Duerr of Northern Liberties, and more.