Sinister Myth challenges cultural mythologies about sexuality in the West, because so often they encourage, perpetuate, or foster violence against women and minorities. The series is made up of interviews with writers, academics, and people working on community projects. Alongside the interviews, the series also includes “Sinister Bitesize” which offer short soundbites from experts with advice on allyship and more, and there will also be “Sinister Keywords,” which feature short conversations about language, and how words can encourage or harm minority groups.
Sinister Myth was generated through an Ohio State Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX) Grant, and it was created by Zoë Brigley Thompson and Brendan Walsh. The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Sinister Myth podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of the Ohio State University and its employees.
The Hexing Circle: A Pre-election Poetry Reading
On November 1st, Sinister Myth held an online poetry reading a day after Halloween and a few days before the US Presidential Election. Regardless of who would win, the women reading gathered together to perform a protective hex through poems, gathering strength and power.
The readers were a squad of seven: Sarona Abuaker, Sascha Aurora Akhtar, Ruth Awad, ZoëBrigley, Mari Ellis Dunning, Melissa Studdard, and Christina Thatcher.
Sinister Bitesize: Writing Empathy Machines
For Sinister Myth Bitesize this month, we talk with the British poet and writer Roger Robinson. This is a snippet preview of a forthcoming interview with Roger whose book 'A Portable Paradise' won the TS Eliot and Ondaatje Prizes. The T.S. Eliot Prize judges wrote of the book: “The collection’s title points to the underlying philosophy expressed in these poems: that earthly joy is, or ought to be, just within, but is often just beyond our reach, denied by racism, misogyny, physical cruelty and those with the class power to deny others their share of worldly goods and pleasures.”
Roger lives between England and Trinidad, and he was interviewed by Zoë Brigley, Rob Mackenzie, and Kristian Evans, editors for the “Dwelling” issue of Magma Poetry journal. The interview was commissioned for Magma Poetry 79 out next spring. Rob asked Roger about how to survive in dark and difficult times, while Kristian posed a question about what attracts people to white supremacy.
Malia Lee Womack: Analyzing US Colonial Human Rights Abuses Against Puerto Ricans
If you don’t know the history of U.S. interference and dubious practices in Puerto Rico, this interview with Malia Womack is a must hear. Recorded at the end of last year when Malia was completing field work in Puerto Rico, the discussion focuses on the history of US colonialism on the island including the testing of birth control on and sterilization of Puerto Rican women. We talk about the possibility of change for the better in Puerto Rico, and what we could learn from Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of activism.
Burning Down Narratives of Shame
This interview – delayed due to the global pandemic – features Elissa Washuta, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode, and her book White Magic is forthcoming from Tin House Books. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers.
This is essential listening for anyone who wants to find a voice for writing about difficult subjects like trauma and mental health. It covers such subjects as using humor to deal with difficult subjects, and allowing oneself to be angry. Elissa talks about what her Catholic upbringing taught her (or not), as well as negative stereotypes of native women. There’s also a moving discussion of what happens when mental health diagnoses are wrong.
Unsafe Higher Education Spaces and Noise Pedagogy
This interview tackles the experience of black students in universities and schools, featuring the work of researcher Sherita Roundtree, Assistant Professor at Towson University. Prof. Roundtree discusses her research on developing diverse representation and equitable access for students, teachers, and scholars who write in, instruct in, and theorize about writing classrooms.
Roundtree explains “Noise” pedagogy which considers how multivocal representations of belonging challenge misrecognition and mislabeling of black women in institutions like the university. How do we rethink teaching and learning when standardized approaches do not fit the teacher or students?
Meet the New Sinister Myth Team
2020 sees a new production team working on Sinister Myth, and Zoe Brigley interviews them about their interests for creating new thematic strands, including political debates about trauma, the experience of minority students in higher education, and healing in the context of the community.
Alex Ameter worked for political campaigns, a foreign policy think tank and the US Army. Has a BA in International Relations and Political Science from the Ohio State University and an MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Resolution from Norwich University. Alex’s research focuses on identifying the social impacts of trauma through the lens of organization psychology to build sustainable remedies that address systemic sources and mitigate individual repercussions.
Deborah Eshun is a multimedia journalist graduating from the Ohio State University in May and has a passion for storytelling using all things digital. When not producing episodes, she does stand-up comedy, sewing and dances to the beat of her own drum.
McKinzi Warren is completing a masters in social work at the Ohio State University. She stands to create communities that are as diverse as they are united. She is the owner of Global Conversations LLC and its subsidiary SpeakIt! Language Learning, an adult foreign language program that makes conversational fluency in another language fast and fun. She is a passionate advocate for how focussing on community-care and self-care together heals trauma, and has recently accepted the role of Creative Content Director at The Trauma Masterminds, a private practice outside Columbus Ohio that specializes in trauma-based counseling.