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. 


63 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Is ‘home’ a place or more of a feeling? Jocelyn Robinson speaks with three American expats who unpack the relationship between self and place, draw...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: May 06, 2021
  • Length: 27:58
  • Purchases: 1
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What happens when you uproot an American institution like the diner and place it somewhere entirely new — like Germany? Florenz Gilly and Leon Ginz...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 22, 2021
  • Length: 30:32
  • Purchases: 1
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Inspired by a year of forced isolation, essayist Bilal Qureshi explores the history, landscape, and meaning of friendship across cultures. At the h...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 08, 2021
  • Length: 28:47
  • Purchases: 1
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One day, Jakob Lewis receives an email from a German man named Ingo asking to be his pen pal. The close relationship they develop teaches Jakob tha...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 25, 2021
  • Length: 27:55
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The Big Ponder, Credit: © Goethe-institut
Producer Alex van Oss ponders the external, internal, and eternal meanings of buildings in his Washington, D.C. neighborhood. The result is a perso...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 11, 2021
  • Length: 28:00
  • Purchases: 1
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In both Germany and the U.S., the flag can be divisive, eliciting pride in some and unease in others. From patriotism to protest, Jocelyn Robinson ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 10, 2021
  • Length: 28:10
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The Big Ponder, Credit: © Goethe-institut
Since World War II, there have been countless American GIs stationed at military bases all over Germany. Sylvia Cunningham and Monika Müller-Kroll ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 10, 2021
  • Length: 28:52
  • Purchases: 1
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Katie Davis tells the story of an inadvertent provocation between two boys at a teen center in her Washington, D.C. neighborhood, the conflict that...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jan 28, 2021
  • Length: 24:52
  • Purchases: 1
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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