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All Things Grinnell discusses issues of political, social, cultural, and economic importance from the campus of Grinnell College. We talk with students, professors, staff, alumni, community members, and visiting speakers, and tell stories of Grinnell

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Podcast Episode's:
The Artist's Scalpel
<p>Artist <a href='http://www.jeanulrickdesert.com/'>Jean-Ulrick Désert</a> joins us for a conversation about the power and responsibility of art. How do we confront hatred in the world? Creativity is not the easiest response, but it might be necessary. Désert uses common and recognizable objects from everyday life, but presents them with a poetic twist meant to interrupt expectations—and to create space for dialogue in the place of discomfort. Is he changing the world with his art? He wouldn't go that far, but he might be planting much-needed seeds of change around the world.</p>
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Music: Dartanyan Brown's Perfect Sport
<p><a href='https://www.dartanyan.com/About_Me.html'>Dartanyan Brown</a> has been on a quest "to find sounds and vibrations that are healing to people or motivating to people." In liberal arts fashion, that quest has meandered with Dartanyan through careers in journalism, music, technology, and education. Listen to this conversation with the Iowa Rock n' Roll, Blues, and Jazz Hall of Famer for some musical healing and inspiration. In April 2019, he graced Grinnellians with his first performance in Iowa in 40 years. </p>
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Just Food for a Just World
<p>There has never been a fair, just, or healthy food system in the United States of America. So how do we get there?</p> <p><a href='https://columinate.coop/events/abolitionists/'>LaDonna Redmond</a> starts off the third season of the podcast with a long overdue episode on the connection between food and racial justice. From the beginning, the United States of America has relied on exploitative labor practices (and the consequent creation of a racial caste system) to produce food and other agricultural products. </p> <p>A national leader in food activism, Redmond understands this history intimately, and has worked to reverse these persistent historical trends, which now take the form of public health threats like gang violence, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Her journey into food activism started in Chicago with a quest to find healthy food for her son, which led her to planting urban gardens and radically altering the food landscape of her community. Redmond transcends traditional understandings of "food deserts" to address the root causes of injustice and build resilient communities through food. </p>
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Either/Or
<p dir="ltr"><a href='https://twitter.com/alexhreich?lang=en'>Alex Reich ‘11</a> joins us to discuss his time at Grinnell, his <a href='https://watson.foundation/fellowships/tj'>Watson Fellowship</a> journey, and the dangers of black and white thinking, especially in relation to our global food systems.</p> <p dir="ltr">As a student at Grinnell, Reich majored in biology, helped start EcoHouse, ran cross country and track, and even <a href='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LjSzV1R8Us'>starred in one of the most popular Titular Head films</a>. After graduating he spent a year in the Arctic on a <a href='https://watson.foundation/fellowships/tj'>Watson Fellowship</a>, learning about how Arctic indigenous peoples were adapting to climate change, as seen through their relationship with food. </p> <p dir="ltr">Reich is one of the creators of <a href='https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeiYXex_fwgYDonaTcSIk6w'>Minute Earth</a>, an immensely popular YouTube series dedicated to the “science and stories about our awesome planet." Through these stories and educational videos, Reich works to raise awareness and educate people about the intricately linked issues of climate change and our global food system. </p>
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Martha Graham Cracker: A Different Kind of Drag
<p>Dito Van Reigersberg visited Grinnell to perform his heralded Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret drag show. On this episode, Ben Binversie '17 talks with Dito about his hairy-chested drag persona and how she challenges him and the audience to grow and explore. Dito found a home in the performance space, embracing its radical possibilities to push us outside our comfort zones and express emotions and thoughts in a way that transcends the normal rhythms of daily life. Dito and Martha encourage us all to embrace the permission to swim in the waters of uncertainty and explore our identity and purpose in this world. </p>
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Pink Neighbor
<p>There's a party, and everyone's invited! We launch into the universe of <a href='https://www.pinkneighbor.com/'>Pink Neighbor</a> with Erik Jarvis '12 and Katie In '13, two Grinnell alums who came back to live in Grinnell after graduation and become a staple of the creative community here in town. Together they form the band Pink Neighbor, and they both have solo projects and pursue other artistic endeavors. On this episode, they share their musical journeys, the ethos behind their creative projects, and why they decided to make Grinnell their creative home. </p> <p>This episode features music from their latest album, Time Beach Universe, as well as tracks from Erik's new solo album, Daydream Moon, and a few of their neighbors reflecting on what Pink Neighbor means to Grinnell.</p>
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Written in Stone: Toni Morrison
This episode is dedicated to the late Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, editor, and teacher, Toni Morrison. Ben Binversie '17 talks with Shanna Benjamin, Johanna Giebelhaus '96, and President Raynard S. Kington about the legacy of Morrison, whose name will be the first in a new series of names to be engraved on the walls of the new Humanities and Social Studies Center. Kington and Benjamin discuss the radical importance of Morrison in amplifying black women's voices and subverting the white gaze, and Giebelhaus shares her insights from producing and editing the documentary film, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.
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Dealing Hope
Hasan Davis shares his story of becoming a "hope dealer," overcoming challenging circumstances, learning disabilities, and numerous setbacks to find his path. Along the way, various people inspired him to see a version of himself that he could not, and now he brings that message of hope to people, especially youth, through work in schools and the criminal justice system. Davis wields the power of stories to engage in difficult discussions about the history of slavery and racism in this country, and help people reflect on their own stories. Gabriel Shubert '20 also talks with Hasan's son, Malcolm Davis '21, about his music, growing up in Berea, Kentucky, and how he brings his personal life and activism into his music.   Then, Gabriel Shubert '20 talks with Davis' son, Malcolm Davis '21, playwright, poet, and musician, about his music, growing up in Berea, Kentucky, and how he brings his personal life and activism into his music. Davis discusses the musical community here at Grinnell, where he has found helpful friends and developed his voice.
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Marching for Climate Action
<p>We talk with with Ed Fallon, former Iowa legislator and founder of Bold Iowa, about marching for climate action and creating awareness of the climate crisis in the presidential primaries. After spending over a decade in the Iowa House of Representatives, he organized and participated in marches across the country for climate action, and founded Bold Iowa to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. Being in Iowa during caucus season, Fallon sees an opportunity and responsibility to elevate discussion of the climate crisis to a priority.</p>
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Voting Rights: Devil in the Details
<p>Doug Hess '91, assistant professor of political science, has researched the National Voter Registration Act basically since it was passed by Congress in 1993. The law was intended to advance voting rights by requiring states to incorporate registration opportunities into the application process for a motor vehicle license and many types of public assistance. States were supposed to implement the law by 1995, but as we enter 2020, many aspects of the policy have stalled or been neglected. Because of this, Hess continues to research and monitor the implementation of the legislation throughout the United States. Student researchers Greg Eastman '19 and Takshil Sachdev '19 join for this discussion of the status of the legislation throughout the country, obstacles to implementation, and potential solutions to overcome these challenges. Then, Hess discusses the recent <a href='https://www.grinnell.edu/poll'>Grinnell College National Poll</a> findings about voter confidence in elections, and what it may mean for turnout in the upcoming presidential election.</p>
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The Spaces in Between
<p>On this episode, we talk with Anya Grundmann '89, the vice president of programming and audience development at <a href='https://www.npr.org/'>National Public Radio</a>. Once upon a time, she was a wide-eyed Grinnell College student, exploring her passion for music and throwing herself into the wide-ranging learning experiences of the liberal arts. The same spirit of exploration which informs so much of the NPR ethos can also be traced back to her time at Grinnell. From Grinnell to the world of public radio, and back, we also talk to Eric McIntyre, professor of music, as he guides us on a musical tour of some works from the <a href='https://www.grinnell.edu/campus-life/arts-culture/museum/about'>Grinnell College Museum of Art</a>. McIntyre created six musical compositions in response to works on display in the exhibition, For Campus and Community: The Collection of the Grinnell College Museum of Art. </p>
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Running Through the Years
<p>On this episode, Evelyn and Will Freeman, longtime coaches of cross country and track and field, reflect on almost 40 years of coaching student-athletes here at Grinnell. The Freemans' unique and evolving coaching philosophies, which center on a holistic approach to personal growth and individualized mentorship in tandem with athletic success, have influenced countless Grinnellians. We hear from the Freemans and some of their student-athletes as they gathered in the fall to celebrate their retirement and share memories.</p>
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Essential Grinnellian: Joe Rosenfield '25
<p>Joe Rosenfield '25 never wanted his name in the spotlight, but on this episode we are shining a light directly on Rosenfield, his remarkable life, and the enduring impact he left on Grinnell College. We talk with George Drake '56, president and professor emeritus, who recently <a href='https://www.amazon.com/Mentor-Life-Legacy-Joe-Rosenfield/dp/0998652857'>published a biography of Rosenfield</a>. Drake discusses how Rosenfield fell in love with Grinnell and provides a compelling portrait of a man whose love, humor, and generous spirit continue to live on at Grinnell College and around the world. </p>
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Town-Gown Tales
<p>We talk with Dan Kaiser, emeritus professor of history, who shares three lesser-known stories from the 1930s and 40s that illustrate the evolving relationship between the town and College. From racist housing covenants and Japanese internment to botanical gardens and reduced tuition for Episcopal students, we discuss some moments that show how this complex relationship has played out over the years.</p>
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Destruction and Rebirth: The Cyclone of 1882
You know the name of the College yearbook, but do you know the story of where it came from? On this episode, we dive into the archives with Allison Haack to explore the impact of the 1882 cyclone that tore through town, leaving 39 people dead and dozens of homes destroyed. J.B. Grinnell led the recovery effort and the town and College came back stronger than before. The buildings that rose up in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone are now gone, but the legacy of this important turning point in the College’s history remains. We also talk with Chris Jones, the College archivist, about what he's learned about the College from the basement of Burling Library.  
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Edith Renfrow Smith '37
<p>Edith Renfrow Smith '37, the first African American woman to graduate from the College, shares her memories of growing up in Grinnell, her family's history of slavery, and her incredible life.</p> <p>Smith <a href='https://www.grinnell.edu/news/edith-renfrow-smith-37-doctor-humane-letters'>received an honorary degree</a> at the 2019 Commencement ceremony. After graduating from Grinnell with a major in psychology and minors in history and economics, Smith then moved to Chicago, where she has lived since, working as a stenographer and public school teacher. Smith is now 105 years old and is part of a <a href='https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186413'>Northwestern University study</a> of "superagers." In the episode, Smith discusses the importance of education in her family as they went from slavery to college graduates in two generations, and reflects on lessons learned from her long life.</p>
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Empower People: Grinnell Prize Winner Shafiq Khan
<p>On this special episode of All Things Grinnell, we talk with Shafiq Khan, the winner of the 2019 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize. Khan is the founder and CEO of EMPOWER PEOPLE, an organization in northern India that works to eradicate bride trafficking and empower and liberate the women and girls who are victimized. </p>
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Congregating at Grinnell: The Religious History of the College
<p><a href='http://magazine.grinnell.edu/news/portrait-teacher'>George Drake '56</a> kicks off Season 2 of All Things Grinnell by taking us on a tour of the College's religious history. The College was founded by a group of Congregationalist ministers, in large part to train future ministers. Drake discusses how Congregationalism impacted the development of the College's values and priorities. Although Grinnell is no longer affiliated with any religious institution, the legacy of its religious past endures, manifested in its tolerant environment and commitment to critical thought. </p>
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Season 2 Preview
<p>All Things Grinnell is back for season 2 starting September 19. This season, we'll turn the lens inward to examine the people, places, and history that make up Grinnell- the town and the College. Highlights include George Drake '56, former professor and president of the College, and Edith Renfrow Smith '37, the first African-American woman to graduate from the College. Episodes will be released every other Thursday.</p>
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Grinnell Farewells
<p>On this episode, the season finale, we say goodbye to Mike Latham, outgoing vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College, and talk about his time here in Grinnell and the importance of global education, before he becomes the president of Punahou High School in Hawai’i. Then we get global ourselves and talk to the language assistants from this past year, Mélanie Izrael, Maria Kustova, and Carla Wagner from Argentina, Russia, and Germany. We’ll also hear from Ania Chamberlin ‘19, who put on quite the art exhibit in Smith Gallery before graduating this spring. To round out the show we recap this year’s Summerfest event at the College.</p>
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Amy Tan: Commencement 2019
<p>Amy Tan, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and many other novels, aspiring nature journalist, and musical dominatrix for the literary band The Rock Bottom Remainders, gave the 2019 Commencement address. She sat down to talk about the values she shares with Grinnell and how she found her own path to a meaningful career after a traumatic childhood. She discusses how writing has influenced her life and helped her to understand who she is and connect with her family, as well as millions of readers around the world.</p>
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It's Lit(erary)! Shakespeare, the Afterlife, and Reconciliation
<p>What happens after death? On this episode, we wrestle with that age-old question alongside Shakespeare and our very own John Garrison, associate professor of English. His recently published book, Shakespeare and the Afterlife, reckons with how the Bard grappled with some of the biggest questions of life and death during his time. Then, we turn to a seemingly more uplifting topic, reconciliation, with Jan Frans Van Dijkhuizen, associate professor of English literature at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Dijkhuizen, paints a bleak picture of the literary history of reconciliation, but his conclusions bear strongly on our present moment, especially the polarized political landscape that surrounds us. We also hear from our music correspondent, Gabriel Shubert ’20, who spoke with the drummer from Camp Cope, an Australian independent alternative punk band that performed in Grinnell on April 19.</p>
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Podcast Extra: S-Town with Gina Caison
<p>On this podcast extra, we talk with Gina Caison, assistant professor of English at Georgia State University, about the famous podcast, S-Town, from the producers of Serial and This American Life. We discuss the tropes of southern literature present in S-Town, the relative shitty-ness of Woodstock, Alabama, and the complexity of characters in the show. Is S-Town just a recycled Faulknerian tragedy, or something deeper and more revealing?</p>
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Indigenous
<p>We talk with scholars of Native studies about important issues facing Indigenous people throughout the United States, from the effect of oil booms on people and land to misrepresentation in literature. Sebastian Braun, director of the American Indian studies program at Iowa State University, discusses the Bakken oil boom and the impact it’s had on Native and non-Native people and the environment based on his time at the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Gina Caison, assistant professor of English at Georgia State University, talks with Ben about the often overlooked role of indigenous people in the South and how focusing on that history impacts contemporary Native peoples. There’s also a short story on Noura Mint Seymali, the Mauritanian musical emissary who performed in Grinnell's Herrick Chapel on April 3.</p>
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Squirrel Flower
<p>We talk with Ella Williams ’18, who graduated from Grinnell in December with big plans for her music career. Since graduating, she went on tour in Europe with Adrianne Lenker, playing to sold out crowds all over the place as her musical persona, Squirrel Flower. By the time she got to Grinnell, Ella had already released her first album, but she chose not to study music academically at Grinnell. Williams continued to play music, though, and her songs show the influence of her time in Grinnell. On the show, Williams reflects on her music and time in Grinnell, which was coming to an end when we talked back in the fall. We also have a preview of Will Bennett and the Tells' new album, "All Your Favorite Songs." Bennett '13 grew up in Grinnell and his music focuses heavily on his rural Iowa roots and navigating life since Grinnell.</p>
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Reckoning with the Faulconer Gallery
<p>The history of racial violence in this country is long and ugly, and the trauma is ever-present for many people. But can art help us reckon with that history? On this episode, we talk to the people behind the current exhibitions on display at the College’s Faulconer Gallery. First, we discuss Reckoning with the Incident: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural, which brings together the preparatory studies and sketches of John Wilson’s 1952 mural, The Incident, which depicts the scene of a racial terror lynching at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan while a young African-American family looks on. Then we take a look at Dread and Delight: Fairy Tales in an Anxious World, curated by Emily Stamey ‘01, who brought together the work of 19 artists whose work grapples with and reinvigorates early-modern European fairy tales. If you think you know fairy tales, think again. Finally, we end with a story about the alumni care packages sent to students before spring break. </p>
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Breaking the Fourth Wall: Neo-Futurism and Twelfth Night
<p>We rupture the infamous "fourth wall" of theatre, going behind the scenes with Rob Neill '91, founding member of the <a href='http://www.nyneofuturists.org/'>New York Neo Futurists</a>, to discuss their unique brand of performance, which lies somewhere between improv, sketch comedy, and avant-garde theatre. We also talk with Ellen Mease about the more traditional theatrical world of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, which Mease directed this semester. She shares what Grinnell's theatre has meant to her, 40 years after she first directed her first production of the show.</p>
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See It Feelingly
<p>On this episode, we talk with Ralph Savarese, professor of English at Grinnell, about his new book, "See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor." Over the course of many years, he read novels with autistic people, including his son, DJ. This book compiles those experiences and challenges commonly accepted notions about autism, and encouraged us to reconsider how we think about literature and the world around us.</p> <p>We also feature music from Seth Hanson '17, whose new album, "Not Too Deep," wrestles with the tension of remembering and saying goodbye to a special place. </p>
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Digging Deep: Iowa Agriculture
<p>On this episode, we take a look at how Jordan Scheibel '10 became enthralled with local agriculture and decided to plant his roots here in Grinnell after graduating. Scheibel now runs <a href='https://www.middlewayfarm.com/the-farm'>Middle Way Farm</a>, an organic farm on the outskirts of Grinnell. His time at Grinnell as a student helped shape his interests in local food, as he worked in the Grinnell College Garden garden and helped found the Community Garden at Miller Park in Grinnell. </p> <p>We also talk with Jack Mutti, emeritus professor of economics, about the impact of tariffs and trade disputes on the economy, with a particular emphasis on Iowa agriculture. Escalating trade disputes have hit hard for many farmers, as foreign countries have targeted agriculture and livestock exports with recent tariffs.</p>
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Sustainability in Action
<p>On this episode of All Things Grinnell, we dig into the Grinnell College Garden, talking with some of the workers and volunteers who've contributed to the garden's improved production the past two years. Then we talk with Heather Swan, beekeeper, poet, and lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about her book, Where Honeybees Thrive, which creatively explores efforts to ensure a sustainable future for honeybees – and ourselves.</p>
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An Abundance of Katherines
<p>On this episode of All Things Grinnell, we talk with two of the speakers from this fall’s Scholars’ Convocation Series. First, we talk with Kathryn Lofton, professor of religious studies at Yale University, about pop culture and what religious studies can tell us about the music, tv, and products we consume. Then we talk with Kathy Cramer, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about the politics of resentment among rural voters in Wisconsin.</p>
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Off the Field Part 2
<p>On this episode of All Things Grinnell, we continue to explore the theme of this year's Rosenfield Symposium: the inextricable relationship of sports and politics, economics and society. First we talk with Sarah Fields, professor of communication at the University of Colorado in Denver, about the intersection of law, gender, and sports. Then we talk with Nola Agha, associate professor of sport management at the University of San Francisco, about the impact of public stadium subsidies.</p>
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Off the Field Part 1
<p>On this episode of All Things Grinnell, we explore the inextricable relationship of sports and politics, economics, and society. We talk with Juliet Macur, the Sports of the Times columnist for the New York Times, about her experience covering stories that transcend the field of sports. Then, we talk with Louis Moore, associate professor of history at Grand Valley State University, about athlete activism – past, present and future.</p>
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Saints Rest
<p>On this episode of All Things Grinnell, it’s a Saints Rest Special! We talk with Noga Ashkenazi ’09, who directed the movie Saints Rest, filmed and set in the iconic Grinnell coffee house, about how she fell in love with Grinnell and the challenges and joys of making the movie. Then, we talk with Saints Rests’ former owner Jeff Phelps '71, and the current owner, Sam Cox, about the origins of Saints, how the coffee shop has become a home for so many in the Grinnell community.</p>
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Around the Country in 79 Days
<p>On this inaugural episode of All Things Grinnell, we talk with <a href='https://pioneers.grinnell.edu/coaches.aspx?rc=401'>Will Freeman</a>, Grinnell Track and Field Coach and professor of physical education, about his summer road trip across all 48 contiguous states at the helm of a Morgan Three-Wheeler. We also talk with Mithila Iyer ’19, who explored minority theatre productions across the country over the past year.</p>
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