S4 E20 The Chair: More broke than woke


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[Episode theme]

We talk about Netflix’s “The Chair” with two female professors, about the show’s portrayal of female allyship, discrimination against faculty of color, the debate over free speech on the American campus, and why we think the show missed the mark.


2:00 Our first impression of the show

3:40 What is it like to be a mother and a college professor in the show vs IRL

6:20 In just six episodes, this show attempts to capture the complexity of contemporary U.S. campus politics

10:30 Our issues: an over-simplistic portrayal of students demands, an unrealistic solution to Yaz’s stalling career

13:20 Anachronism in the plotline: some depictions are outdated

18:30 Entering one room filled with whiteness — our PTSD and imposter syndrome

24:45 Why is Bill the most authentic, and the fullest character in a show about Ji-yoon? Why do we keep loving and forgiving “Bills”?

29:05 Ji-Yoon obsession with perfectionism and assimilation reveals our society’s double standard towards scholars of color

34:30 Ji-Yoon and Bill’s on-screen chemistry, and real-life examples

39:40 Allyship between female professors in universities

41:50 Joan’s conflicted relationship with feminism

56:25 The cruel, blatant ageism in the show

1:01:10 The role of university administration in the show vs. IRL


Afra & Juan Qian

[Guest introduction]

Yuan Yuan: Recently graduated from Yale with her Ph.D in philosophy, now teaches at NYU-Shanghai

Eileen Chow: Associate Professor of the Practice in Chinese and Japanese Cultural Studies at Duke University

[Audio editor]


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