Severance Radio is an on-air book club dissecting Ling Ma’s satirical, dystopian novel Severance. The novel is a moving family story that explores loneliness, corporate monotony, and survival in the midst of a global health crisis.
In this episode, Severance Radio host Heidi Kyser interviews Hugh Shapiro and Claytee D. White about the blindspots in our past when we look for ways to live during a pandemic.
Hugh Shapiro is a professor of Asian history at the University of Nevada. As a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, he has lectured in 20 countries in Eurasia. Hugh has enjoyed visiting appointments at Princeton University, at universities in China, Japan, and Taiwan, and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His extensive archival and fieldwork regards the history of medicine, disease, and the body in comparative context. His recent work appears in volumes published by Harvard University Press, Brill, and Rowman & Littlefield. Hugh has traveled extensively in Eurasia: Russia, the Baltic States, the Himalayas, China, Japan, Mongolia, and the Silk Road. He enjoys all types of winter and mountain sports and counts volcanic Kamchatka in the Russian Far East, Iceland, and Greenland as among his favorite destinations. Hugh aims for what he terms, “adventure pedagogy”: intense, mindful immersion in the host culture combined with serious study of its history, literature, and geopolitics. Hugh’s other research and teaching interests include visual and performance art, life in post-socialist societies, Sino-Russian-Central Asian relations, and the history of de-colonization and revolution. He received the Li-Qing Prize for the History of Chinese Science and won his university’s highest teaching award. Hugh earned his B.A. from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Claytee D. White is the inaugural director of the Oral History Research Center for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries. She collects the history of Las Vegas and the surrounding area by gathering memories of events and experiences from longtime residents. Her projects include early health care in the city, history of the John S. Park Neighborhood, The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project, and a study of musicians who played with some of the greats in the entertainment field. As one of five founders of the Las Vegas Black Historical Society Inc., she chronicles the history of the Las Vegas black community that was established in 1905. Her published writings on the subject include a book chapter, encyclopedia entries, and several articles. White received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles, master’s degree in history from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has completed work toward a doctorate at the College of William & Mary. White currently serves on the Board of Women of Diversity, the UNLV Presidential Debate Planning Committee, and the Historic Preservation Commission. White has also served on the Historic Preservation Commission for the city of Las Vegas, Nevada Humanities executive board, and is the past president of the Southwest Oral History Association.