Grantee Spotlight: Hi-Phi Nation

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Grantee Spotlight:

In Their Own Words

A Weekly Newsletter

"Connecting Philosophy with the Public"

Barry Lam

Host and Producer, Hi-Phi Nation
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Vassar College

Barry Lam

"For years I wanted to better connect philosophy with the public, and had an idea to create a story-driven philosophy podcast. When I went to a conference at West Point and heard veteran stories, I felt like I found my podcast focus. I spent a year recording audio of veterans and service members talking about how they have used philosophy to come to terms with their wartime experiences. A summer stipend from NEH allowed me to spend two months combining my academic research with 15 to 20 hours of recorded interviews to create a two-part episode, “Soldier Philosophers”.

I was also able to use that NEH-supported episode to leverage more funding. I got a year-long fellowship from Duke that allowed me to complete the first season of Hi-Phi Nation. Because podcasts don't fit within what is funded in mainstream academic philosophy, it had been hard for me to get people to look at my project seriously. The NEH funding support showed the world that what I was doing had merit."