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Who Were the First Black Dandies?

It was last year, at a black-studies conference at Northwestern University, that my colleague Stacey Patton noticed something surprising. All those graduate students and young professors milling about? They looked sharp—really sharp, actually.

Of course, this isn’t exactly par for the course at an academic gathering. So Stacey asked a group of folks why they were so well turned out. “You don’t know?” one of them asked her. “Black dandies are the in thing in the academy.”

And it’s not just the a…

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Introducing a New AfterWord

When we first conceived of the AfterWord podcast, it was based on a couple of pretty simple ideas: that Chronicle reporters do a lot of fascinating work, and that you might like to hear some of the stories behind their stories.

The response we got was great, and the interviews I conducted were always entertaining. But that’s essentially what they were—interviews. When I chat with a reporter who’s just wrapped up a big story … well, odds are good that we’re going to hew pretty closely to the fram…

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Why Are Beef Cattle Getting Bigger?

You’ve probably heard that conventionally-grown beef tends to come loaded with drugs and hormones. But you might not realize that land-grant universities have played a crucial role in making that so. Melody Petersen, an author and former New York Times reporter, explains how animal scientists have helped pharmaceutical companies make inroads in the beef industry.

Read Melody’s story: Who Are Animal Scientists Serving?
Download this recording: MP3 Version

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Why College Matters—and Why It’s in Peril

What makes the American college experience valuable—and how can we preserve it? Andrew Delbanco, director of American studies at Columbia University, wrestles with those questions in his new book, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be. He spoke with us about why liberal education is a principle worth fighting for and how colleges can lead the charge.

Read Andrew’s commentary: College at Risk
Download this recording: MP3 Version

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You Say ‘Broadus,’ I Say ‘Lagniappe’ …

After five decades, the massive Dictionary of Regional American English has made it through the alphabet: It just published its fifth volume, covering Sl-Z. The Chronicle‘s Heidi Landecker chats with Joan Houston Hall, the dictionary’s chief editor, about some of her favorite vernacular words and phrases.

Read Heidi’s story: An American Regional Dictionary Explores the Power of Place
Download this recording: MP3 Version