Scene on Radio Podcast

Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody Award–nominated podcast from the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University that dares to ask big, hard questions about who we are—really—and how we got this way. Launched in 2015, the podcast is produced and hosted by CDS audio director John Biewen, along with collaborators, and distributed by PRX.

+ Season 1 featured a mix of stand-alone and multiple-episode stories.
+ Season 2, Seeing White, explored the history and meaning of whiteness and was nominated for a Peabody Award.
+ Season 3, MEN, delved into sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny.
+ Season 4, The Land That Never Has Been Yet, earned another Peabody nomination for its exploration of democracy in America—past and present.
+ Season 5, The Repair, looked at the cultural roots of the climate crisis and the deep changes Western society will need to make to save the Earth and our species.

Find out more, and subscribe, on the podcast website; follow Scene on Radio on social media: @SceneOnRadio.

Scene on Radio Episodes

A blurry photo of a woman with her back towards the camera walking through a forest.

The Forest

“In these photographs, a deliberate juxtaposition of dark and light exemplifies the complex nature of the black subconscious. Afraid and fearless at the same time, we rise.” By the time she graduated...

A photo of a young man in front of a hearse.

Seeing the World in a Different Way

“I [came] into this course, thinking . . . it was very much about photographing. But what the whole year turned into for me was really about meeting people and relating to people. Trying to come in...

A drawing of a woman's head in profile looking at a cake, with the words "I speculate about cake... for Moira Kalman"


“An answer is satisfying, but speculation is limitless. The daydreaming I still do about the mysterious and unaccounted for missing half of that cake brings me more joy than the facts about what...

A collage from "One Hurricane Season" by Tamika Galanis, featuring an old photo mixed with leaves and other natural ephemera.

One Hurricane Season

“This work is an amalgamation of things that have gone the same way of my grandmother’s memories, carried into the ether by the water and the wind.” CDS has been fortunate to have documentary artist...

An image of CD Wright

A Reading from One With Others

“This is not a work of history. It is a report full of holes, a little commemorative edition, and it aspires to the borrowed-tuxedo lining of fiction. In the end, it is a welter of associations.”...

A black and white photo of a man sitting on a curb in front of a plume of steam from a grate, by Sylvia Plachy


“My photographs are of the world but not documents. They come as visions and demand my attention. As a photographer I must take them. They insist. . . . I will talk here and there, and I hope the...

A photo of an old camera set up on a tripod in front of an old house

Witness, Evidence, and Documentary Art

“This thing we call documentary and this thing we call invention are universal impulses to see, to create, a happening—what we try to do here I think is not so much ‘take’ [photographs] but craft...

A photo from Gravity is Stronger Here

Gravity Is Stronger Here

“I am a fellow American seeker who holds up a camera, a double-sided mirror,with the hope that everyone involved, subject and photographer alike, gains a deeper understanding of who we collectively...

Art by Mara Guevarra

The End of Male Supremacy? (MEN, Part 12)

In our Season Three finale, co-hosts Celeste Headlee and John Biewen talk about where American culture goes from here, sexism-wise. And we hear from scholar Melvin Konner, who argues that we are in...

Art by Mara Guevarra

Domination (MEN, Part 11)

Host John Biewen dips into the world of sports talk radio, where guys talk not just about sports but also about how to be a man in twenty-first-century America. What John finds is more complicated...