October 26, 2021

EP. 236 — Are Dams Cute… Or Not So Cute? with Heather Randell

Dams, what’s their story? Are they scenic sites? Harmful structures? This week, Professor Heather Randell and Jonathan go on a journey through dam history, ecology, and sociology. Listen in to learn about why dams are built; who they serve; and how they can cause displacement, change river ecology, and contribute to climate change.

Heather Randell is an Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography at Penn State. She studies how dam construction affects local communities as well as the health and social impacts of climate change.


You can follow her on Twitter @HeatherFRandell, and at www.heatherrandell.com


Want to learn more about dams? Here are three short films worth checking out:


Guardians of the River

Belo Monte: After the Flood (2016)

A River Runs Through Us


And here’s a recent article from the New Yorker on the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell.

Transcripts for each episode are available at JonathanVanNess.com.

Check out Getting Curious merch at PodSwag.com.

Listen to more music from Quiñ by heading over to TheQuinCat.com.

Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Heather Randell JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness and every week I sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Heather Randell, where I ask her: Are dams cute or not so cute? Welcome to Getting Curious, this is Jonathan Van Ness. I’m so excited for this episode, honey, because I got questions. Welcome to the show, Heather Randall, who is a sociologist and demographer at Penn State University. And she specializes in dam-induced displacement. Welcome, Heather. HEATHER RANDELL [00:00:38] Thank you. I am so excited to be here and to talk dams today. JVN [00:00:43] Me, too. And, you know, here’s the thing. I am, like, I, I love myself, obviously, but I also realize that, like, I’m a little basic sometimes. And I was raised in the 90s. And when you were raised in the 90s, in America, what I&#

Recent Episodes

See All

March 22, 2023

Ninety-five years ago, the world’s first television station launched in upstate New York. And this week, we’re celebrating the small screen with a TV legend: World of Wonder’s Fenton Bailey!

March 16, 2023

We’re back with the second half of our special two-part episode about algorithms and artificial intelligence, featuring returning guest Meredith Broussard.

March 15, 2023

Every time you interact with a targeted advertisement, use a drop-down menu, or scroll through TikTok, you’re engaging with an algorithm. And these algorithms are anything but objective.