The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with host Sean Illing is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we do offer a space for real dialogue. Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity, and get some cool takes on a very hot world. Formerly the Vox Conversations podcast. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.

Philosophy
Politics
News Commentary
101
The stories soul food tells
45 min
102
The paradox of American freedom
51 min
103
Nonbinary parenthood
55 min
104
John McWhorter, the anti-antiracist
61 min
105
The overwhelming, invisible work of elder care
57 min
106
How Big Tech benefits from the disinformation p...
52 min
107
Fannie Lou Hamer and the meaning of freedom
How a former sharecropper disrupted American politics
54 min
108
What the internet took from us
53 min
109
Trapped inside with Susanna Clarke's Piranesi
43 min
110
Bryan Stevenson on the legacy of enslavement
57 min
111
What's your status?
51 min
112
Is there a hack for enlightenment?
59 min
113
Fighting a world on fire with fire
56 min
114
Revolutionary Love
51 min
115
How to make meaning out of suffering
52 min
116
Ken Burns's latest on The Greatest
62 min
117
The road from 9/11 to Donald Trump
62 min
118
Rep. Pramila Jayapal on immigrants and America ...
45 min
119
Why America's obsession with rights is wrong
52 min
120
The news is by — and for — rich, white liberals
57 min
121
Clint Smith III on confronting the legacy of sl...
55 min
122
Was the cruelty the point?
55 min
123
How seashells shaped the world — and predict ou...
52 min
124
Bill Maher on free speech, comedy, and his haters
45 min
125
Robert Reich wants you to take on the system
48 min
126
Marty Baron on the future of news
49 min
127
The death of cool
43 min
128
We need to talk about UFOs. Seriously.
Professor Alex Wendt tells Sean Illing why he thinks the aliens might already be here
57 min
129
Philadelphia's progressive prosecutor
District attorney Larry Krasner talks about his reform agenda, rising gun violence, and how to take on the system
49 min
130
Fareed Zakaria on the fate of democracy
65 min
131
Jane Goodall on the power of hope
The world's foremost expert on chimps wants us to remember we're animals, too
56 min
132
Why we love drugs
Michael Pollan on humans, plants, and the coming psychedelic revolution
58 min
133
The rugged majesty of revision
Jamil Smith in conversation with author Kiese Laymon on revision, restoration, and repair
54 min
134
How to forgive
53 min
135
What makes a great conversation?
Hosts Sean Illing and Jamil Smith introduce themselves and reintroduce Vox Conversations, a podcast exploring big ideas and hard questions together with bright minds and deep thinkers.
21 min
136
Introducing: Now & Then
A new history podcast from CAFE and the Vox Media Podcast Network
57 min
137
The science of dating
52 min
138
Honoring Juneteenth with Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi on racism, systemic change, and whether an antiracist America is even possible
47 min
139
Digital dictatorship
54 min
140
The man who proposed reparations in the 1860s
Abe Lincoln's forgotten abolitionist ally
62 min
141
What pandemic recovery should look like
54 min
142
The gift of getting old
52 min
143
Freedom, and what it means to have a body
50 min
144
Why are we so worried about Satan?
58 min
145
How to be wrong less often
48 min
146
The complicated history of wildlife conservation
What can the past tell us about the future of fighting extinction?
65 min
147
How to replace everything in the industrialized...
58 min
148
Patricia Lockwood's big, beautiful internet brain
51 min
149
Who is the real George Soros?
53 min
150
Introducing Unexplainable
A new podcast from Vox about everything we don’t know.
26 min
151
The border, explained by someone who knows it i...
51 min
152
"Wintering," wisdom, and weathering life's dark...
62 min
153
Reframing America's race problem
49 min
154
Who owns the Western?
45 min
155
A Watchmen writer on race, TV, and tech giants
52 min
156
Uncovering the history of psychedelics in Chris...
48 min
157
Biden's immigration architect on racism, reform...
58 min
158
The Capitol Siege and American Revolution
41 min
159
Why fascism in Post-Trump America isn't going away
Vox's Sean Illing and Yale professor Jason Stanley discuss why American democracy provides such fertile soil for fascism
40 min
160
The Joe Biden experience
Ezra Klein and Evan Osnos discuss our new president
61 min
161
What it means to be a "good" rich person
Exploring the anxieties of wealthy people and their desire to be seen as "middle class."
46 min
162
Peter Kafka and Kevin Roose on big tech's power...
26 min
163
Sam Sanders and Olivia Nuzzi on President Trump...
41 min
164
Best of: We don’t just feel emotions. We make t...
A mind-blowing conversation with Lisa Feldman Barrett on how emotion is made
90 min
165
Best of: Ending the age of animal cruelty, with...
75 min
166
Best of: The moral philosophy of The Good Place
98 min
167
Best of: Michael Lewis reads my mind
101 min
168
Best of: Tracy K. Smith changed how I read poetry
85 min
169
What I’ve learned, and what comes next.
Ezra reflects on his time with Vox, what he's learned, and what comes next.
38 min
170
Best of: An inspiring conversation about democr...
67 min
171
Michael Pollan on the psychedelic society
70 min
172
Best of: Robert Sapolsky on the toxic intersect...
75 min
173
Joe Biden and "the new progressivism"
58 min
174
Best of: Frances Lee on why bipartisanship is i...
57 min
175
The most important book I've read this year
91 min
176
Best of: Alison Gopnik changed how I think abou...
92 min
177
Best of: Vivek Murthy on America’s loneliness e...
76 min
178
What Democrats got wrong about Hispanic voters
60 min
179
Antitrust, censorship, misinformation, and the ...
How 2020 changed Facebook and Twitter for the better
55 min
180
The crisis isn’t Trump. It’s the Republican Party.
60 min
181
The Joe Biden experience
63 min
182
Chris Hayes and I process this wild election
Polarization, polling error, and the Latino vote
59 min
183
Stacey Abrams on minority rule, voting rights, ...
In 2020, democracy is on the ballot.
65 min
184
Nate Silver on why 2020 isn't 2016
The Wizard of Odds on 2016's mistakes, polling error, and Trump's chances
65 min
185
Sarah Kliff grades Biden and Trump's health car...
Sarah Kliff and I wonk out on the 2020 healthcare stakes
73 min
186
Trumpism never existed. It was always just Trump.
American Affairs editor Julius Krein on Donald Trump and the decay of the American right
55 min
187
What should Democrats do about the Supreme Court?
Ganesh Sitaraman on court packing, democracy reform, and the future of the Democratic Party
81 min
188
Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and...
A joyful, cathartic conversation with Marilynne Robinson
70 min
189
The case for Trump’s foreign policy
Rebeccah Heinrichs on great power competition, China, and how Trump sees the world
68 min
190
Fareed Zakaria on how Biden and Trump see the w...
The scholar and pundit discusses China, American exceptionalism, and foreign policy
76 min
191
How a climate bill becomes a reality
How to craft a climate bill that will actually work
82 min
192
The meat we eat affects us all
The human costs of eating meat
33 min
193
A dark, dangerous debate
In a special, post-debate episode, I'm joined by Matt Yglesias to discuss the most unnerving presidential debate I've ever seen.
68 min
194
A radical — or obvious? — plan to save American...
Lee Drutman's case against America's two party system
66 min
195
RBG, minority rule, and our looming legitimacy ...
Political scientist Suzanne Mettler on whether American democracy will survive 2020
70 min
196
David French and I debate polarization, secessi...
Competing paths to solve our polarization crisis
87 min
197
The Matt Yglesias Show
Vox's Matt Yglesias on Twitter, climate change, and one billion Americans
88 min
198
Race, policing, and the universal yearning for ...
52 min
199
How to think about coronavirus risk in your life
Julia Marcus on how to make important life decisions in a pandemic
64 min
200
Black Republicans, Donald Trump, and America's ...
83 min