Chapter in Podcasting: New Aural Cultures and Digital Media (eds. Dario Llinares, Neil Fox, Richard Berry), forthcoming (2018).
In recent years, there has been a growing area of research focused on points of convergence between scientific and humanities discourses, with methods of interpreting cultural products drawing increasingly on other disciplines and vice versa. Ecological readings of cultural materials would be included here, ecological not in the traditional sense of environmental criticism, but rather focused on the elements of network relations as they play out within the living systems of cultural works. This chapter will examine the ways in which podcasts can share structural and epistemological affinities with ecological processes, engaging the conversational science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind (STBYM) as a case study. I will argue that STBYM, known for its elegantly produced discourse around complex material, with episodes like ‘Meet Your Bacterial Masters’ and ‘The Habitable Epoch’, exemplifies a growing trend toward epistemologically complex methods of approach to cultural processes. This chapter will explore how this kind of conversational podcast can work as a delivery channel for complex material, a ‘wild’ approach to knowledge-making, with attention to its format, aims and medial contexts. I pose this mode as one with surprising potential to challenge top-down and linear logics, and to diverge toward a more complex ecological epistemology: audio discourse compelled in large part by expressions of compound and networked forms of knowledge, where any node of dialogue is emphatically represented as part of a larger ecosystem of information.
 Donald A. Norman, Living with Complexity (Boston, US: MIT Press, 2010), p 39.
 Stuff to Blow Your Mind (Atlanta, US: How Stuff Works, 2010-17). Accessed at http://www.stufftoblowyourmind.com/podcasts. Matt Tierney, What Lies Between: Void Aesthetic and Postwar Post-politics (London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2015). Timothy Morton, Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia University Press, 2016).