27 episodes

A World Literature Podcast that connects so-called great works of literature with pop culture and current events.

Why Do We Read This? Why Do We Read This?

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

A World Literature Podcast that connects so-called great works of literature with pop culture and current events.

    22. Zaabalawi, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and the X-Files

    22. Zaabalawi, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and the X-Files

    This week I am joined by another wonderful guest, Amina El-Annan, fellow English professor at Baruch College. We discuss a short story by Naguib Mahfouz entitled "Zaabalawi." We draw parallels between the narrators failed search for Zaabalawi and King Arthur's failed search for the Holy Grail in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We also consider the journeys of both the skeptic and the believer as they are presented in the short story and the television show The X-Files.


    We utilized the Norton Anthology World Literature, Volume F, 4th edition.

    Follow the podcast!
    Twitter: @whydowereadthis
    Instagram: @wdwrt_podcast


    Music: Fugue in C# Major, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1": J.S. Bach
    Music Synthesizer and Programming: Shawn P. Russell
    Sound Consultant and Mixing: Shawn P. Russell
    Recording and Editing: Rebecca L. Salois

    • 1 hr 10 min
    21. Girl, Rules for Being a Girl, and Never Have I Ever

    21. Girl, Rules for Being a Girl, and Never Have I Ever

    Welcome Back! We're excited to get started again along with the new semester. In this episode, I am joined by guest co-host Chris Trogan. We discuss Jamaica Kincaid's first published short story "Girl." We talk about rules, both spoken and unspoken, that exist for girls and women by drawing parallels to Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno's YA novel Rules for Being a Girl. We also consider the complicated nature of mother/daughter relationships in both the short story and the Netflix series Never Have I Ever.



    We utilized the Norton Anthology World Literature, Volume F, 4th edition.

    Follow the podcast!
    Twitter: @whydowereadthis
    Instagram: @wdwrt_podcast


    Music: Fugue in C# Major, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1": J.S. Bach
    Music Synthesizer and Programming: Shawn P. Russell
    Sound Consultant and Mixing: Shawn P. Russell
    Recording and Editing: Rebecca L. Salois

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Bloopers 2019-2020

    Bloopers 2019-2020

    Please enjoy these bloopers and funny moments from the first 20 episodes of the podcast (plus the holiday special). I hope you get a chuckle or two out of them. I know they make me laugh, but I was there!

    Remember, I'll be back with new episodes for the fall semester! Keep following on Twitter @whydowereadthis for updates.

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    Music: Fugue in C# Major, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1": J.S. Bach
    Music Synthesizer and Programming: Shawn P. Russell
    Sound Consultant and Mixing: Shawn P. Russell
    Recording and Editing: Rebecca L. Salois

    • 17 min
    20. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dear White People, and Adaptations for Children

    20. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dear White People, and Adaptations for Children

    In this episode, my mother and I discuss A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. We talk about nested stories and how they affect our understanding of the outer story as well as lessons that can be learned from them. We also discuss adaptations geared toward children and how an early introduction to a story line can help a reader better comprehend the original text when they eventually come across it.

    We utilized the Royal Shakespeare Company's unabridged 1968 production of the play to fully understand how the text would be performed.

    Additional sources referenced include: A Vanity Fair article entitled “How Dear White People Crafts Its Hilarious Shows-Within-a-Show" by Laura Bradley and The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner.


    Music: Fugue in C# Major, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1": J.S. Bach
    Music Synthesizer and Programming: Shawn P. Russell
    Sound Consultant and Mixing: Shawn P. Russell
    Recording and Editing: Rebecca L. Salois

    • 54 min
    Student Special #2

    Student Special #2

    The final project that I assigned this semester asked students to compare one of the works of literature we read in class to pop-culture from today and it gave students the options to present their research in one of three formats: a paper, a video, or a podcast episode.

    Five students who completed podcast episodes gave me their permission to share their work as part of a Why Do We Read This episode.

    This episode features English 2800 student Afshara Choudhury and English 2850 students Kevin Nguyen and Yehuda Tenenbaum.

    Kevin's project was a comparison of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift and the animated series South Park. Afshara's podcast was about Sanskrit poet Bhartrhari's poem As the Sun Rises and Sets and Modern Family. And Yehuda covered parallels he saw between Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler and BoJack Horseman.

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    Music: Fugue in C# Major, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1": J.S. Bach
    Music Synthesizer and Programming: Shawn P. Russell
    Sound Consultant and Mixing: Shawn P. Russell
    Recording and Editing: Rebecca L. Salois

    • 49 min
    Student Special #1

    Student Special #1

    The final project that I assigned this semester asked students to compare one of the works of literature we read in class to pop-culture from today and it gave students the options to present their research in one of three formats: a paper, a video, or a podcast episode.

    Five students who completed podcast episodes gave me their permission to share their work as part of a Why Do We Read This episode.

    This episode features English 2800 student Daniel Carku and English 2850 student Ying Mai.

    Daniel’s project was a comparison of Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes and the popular anime Naruto while Ying's podcast was about Voltaire’s satirical novella Candide and another well-known anime, Demon Slayer.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Music: Fugue in C# Major, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1": J.S. Bach
    Music Synthesizer and Programming: Shawn P. Russell
    Sound Consultant and Mixing: Shawn P. Russell
    Recording and Editing: Rebecca L. Salois

    • 41 min

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6 Ratings

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