The Big Ponder – A Transatlantic Podcast

Series produced by Goethe-Institut

Caption: The Big Ponder, Credit: © Goethe-institut
Image by: © Goethe-institut 
The Big Ponder 

This transatlantic podcast explores abstract concepts and phenomena through personal radio essays. Every other week, one of our producers transforms a broad topic into a captivating story told from a US-German perspective.

In cooperation with radio stations and independent producers in the US and Germany, the Goethe-Institut has created the transatlantic podcast THE BIG PONDER. We invite listeners to reflect on abstract ideas and phenomena through hyper-local stories. Each topic will be explored from a transatlantic perspective: do the US and Germany share the same values? What divides us? What unites us?   

In addition to sharing our passion for great storytelling, THE BIG PONDER hopes to further strengthen the transatlantic network of journalists and podcasters through our close collaboration with radio stations and partners on both sides of the pond. We are especially thankful for the support from our friends at the Bertelsmann Foundation, RBB Kultur, and the RIAS Berlin Kommission. 


55 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Bilal Qureshi explores the German-English idea of ‘Wanderlust’ through his personal audio archives and conversations with fellow travelers. Does th...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jan 14, 2021
  • Length: 28:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Jakob Lewis and his wife Catherine transformed their front yard in Nashville into a garden. From conception to harvest, Jakob meditates on the less...

  • Added: Dec 31, 2020
  • Length: 28:00
Caption: The Big Ponder, Credit: © Goethe-institut
“We have the right to hate Germany because we love it,” German writer Kurt Tucholsky wrote. Listening to positions from both sides of the Atlantic ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Dec 17, 2020
  • Length: 28:59
  • Purchases: 1
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Ingrid Crepeau is a successful US-American puppeteer, performer and puppet-designer based in the Washington, DC area. Her time in Darmstadt, German...

Bought by KICI Iowa City and WNYO


  • Added: Oct 30, 2019
  • Length: 26:38
  • Purchases: 2
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Berlin and Los Angeles share a common problem: homelessness. Producer Caroline Porter reports on topic, which is the focus of the Goethe-Institut L...

Bought by WNYO and KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Oct 30, 2019
  • Length: 13:22
  • Purchases: 2
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People of mixed heritage lead complex lives, often navigating between two racial and/or cultural identities. Producer Jocelyn Robinson, who lives t...

Bought by KICI Iowa City and WNYO


  • Added: Oct 16, 2019
  • Length: 27:04
  • Purchases: 2
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Since the US Men’s National Soccer Team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, many American soccer players have been looking to sign onto inter...

Bought by WNYO


  • Added: Oct 09, 2019
  • Length: 21:55
  • Purchases: 1
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“It was chaos, it was total chaos.” When the Berlin Wall unexpectedly fell in 1989, it triggered a time of massive flux for the newly reunited capi...

Bought by KICI Iowa City and WNYO


  • Added: Oct 02, 2019
  • Length: 19:45
  • Purchases: 2
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After moving from Cologne, Germany, to New York City, our producer Thomas Reintjes had trouble adjusting to walking in the bustling metropolis. Tra...

Bought by KICI Iowa City and WNYO


  • Added: Sep 25, 2019
  • Length: 24:08
  • Purchases: 2
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In 1925, the African-American philosopher Alain Locke (1886-1954) launched a revolutionary black arts movement now known as the Harlem Renaissance....

Bought by KICI Iowa City and WNYO


  • Added: Sep 18, 2019
  • Length: 34:12
  • Purchases: 2
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Chris Strachwitz is a man possessed. A “songcatcher,” capturing and recording the traditional, regional, down-home music of the US, his adopted hom...

Bought by WDCB, KICI Iowa City, WNYO, and KWMR


  • Added: Sep 11, 2019
  • Length: 29:23
  • Purchases: 4
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Historically, New Orleans is a cultural, spiritual and ethnic melting pot. In the streets, you immediately come across signs of French, Caribbean, ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City and WNYO


  • Added: Sep 04, 2019
  • Length: 13:32
  • Purchases: 2
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It seems like there are more people nowadays with tattoos than there used to be – of the body art is hidden, but most are quite visible. Men and wo...

Bought by KICI Iowa City and WOUB


  • Added: Aug 28, 2019
  • Length: 09:56
  • Purchases: 2
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Since 2016, the German scientists Sonja Schrepfer and her husband Tobias Deuse have led the Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology Lab at the Unive...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Aug 21, 2019
  • Length: 14:56
  • Purchases: 1
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In these times of increased awareness of environmental protection, the bicycle is on the rise again. In Germany, especially medium-sized cities suc...

Bought by KICI Iowa City and KWMR


  • Added: Aug 14, 2019
  • Length: 19:19
  • Purchases: 2
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During the Nazi regime, many German artists, scientists, and other intellectuals found refuge in Southern California. The authors Lion Feuchtwanger...

  • Added: Aug 07, 2019
  • Length: 34:48
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In this radio travelogue, culture writer and journalist Bilal Qureshi explores Germany’s capital Berlin to find out about local origins, regulation...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jul 31, 2019
  • Length: 28:44
  • Purchases: 1
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In this episode, producer Katie Davis profiles German-American photographer Volkmar Wentzel who was born in Dresden, Germany in 1915 before moving ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jul 24, 2019
  • Length: 12:31
  • Purchases: 1
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The Bauhaus school of art, architecture and design was founded in 1919 and lasted for only 14 years before the Nazis forced it to close in 1933. An...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jul 17, 2019
  • Length: 25:09
  • Purchases: 1
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On June 24, 1948, the Soviet military administration officially cut off roads and rails into West Berlin in the Berlin Blockade, isolating it from ...

Bought by KWMR, KICI Iowa City, and Morton College Radio


  • Added: Jul 10, 2019
  • Length: 19:21
  • Purchases: 3