Writing and literature podcasts
Chris Rock, “It’s a white industry” - references to movies like Zoolander and Beverly Hills Cop II

Chris Rock, “It’s a white industry” - references to movies like Zoolander and Beverly Hills Cop II

June 23, 2021

Chris Rock's essay "Its a white industry" (2014) - I discuss some of the movie references Rock makes. Transcript available on BlackBoard.

A petting zoo of nightmares - The Oatmeal and visual argument

A petting zoo of nightmares - The Oatmeal and visual argument

June 22, 2021

Sasha and I discuss this comic - You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you - by The Oatmeal. We cover topics including controversial ideas, resistance to new ideas, pathos, visual argument, and comics as a form of communication. Transcript available through BlackBoard.

“Sex, lies and conversation” - an analysis - Discussion about the Deborah Tannen article

“Sex, lies and conversation” - an analysis - Discussion about the Deborah Tannen article

May 30, 2021

Sasha Mozzafari and Emma Gorst discuss the Deborah Tannen article, "Sex, lies and conversation." This article was published in the Washington Post in 1990. [45 minutes] Transcript available through BlackBoard and Screencastomatic.

Love as the pursuit of the good

Love as the pursuit of the good

May 13, 2021

In this lecture, given on 12 May 2021 for the members of East and West Learning Connections, I discuss Plato's idea of love as the pursuit of the good in The Symposium. I focus on speeches by Eryximachus, Agathon, Aristophanes, and Socrates and briefly mention speeches by Pausanias and Phaedrus. Topics include parties and conversation; love as a creative force; love as self-improvement; love as a pursuit of one's soulmate; and love as the pursuit of "the good." (37 minutes)

Addiction and trauma - Gabor Maté’s “Embraced by the title”

Addiction and trauma - Gabor Maté’s “Embraced by the title”

May 3, 2021

We discuss Gabor Maté's article "Embraced by the needle" which is an assigned reading for my courses this term. Maté discusses the emotional factors in cases of addiction to hard drugs. The topic needs a trigger warning, we decided - the article touches on sensitive topics relating to family trauma and violence. Sasha is a former student of mine who read this article in her first semester. She was in my ENG106 class; however, this article is read in all my COM courses as well. We discuss: what is it like to read something that is not in your subject area? what it's like to read something "extreme" - do we need a trigger warning for this reading? What are the relevant points in the reading - what makes sense? And how can we disagree with it? What is disagreeing like, when, often, we're encouraged to agree all the time with our elders and our profs? 

The Book of John and the story of Orpheus

The Book of John and the story of Orpheus

May 3, 2021

In this lecture I’m going to talk about the book of John in the New Testament, and the story of Orpheus as it appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The idea to discuss these books together comes from a class run by Suzanne Akbari about ten years ago at the University of Toronto – this class was an introduction to literatures that have an influence on English.

The Book of John begins by saying “In the beginning was the Word.” This sounds like language learning, doesn’t it? When you learn a language, you begin by learning the words.

In fact, though, what the author of the book of John seems to be talking about is a deeper, much more complex story. He is not just talking about learning words. He’s talking about the creation of the world and he is using a metaphor. John is saying that the ideas of the world and of Jesus appeared in God's mind before they were created. Creation is in fact a kind of mystical speech or language, then - a manifestation of God's love. Similarly, in the story of Orpheus, there is a miraculous song that is life-giving - that is - it somehow brings Orpheus's wife back to life--for a while, anyway. ...

Prepping for the critical response essay exam

Prepping for the critical response essay exam

April 12, 2021

Prepping for the critical response essay exam (15 mins). PowerPoints available through BlackBoard.

The world is too much with us

The world is too much with us

March 26, 2021

[12 mins] William Wordsworth's sonnet, romanticism, anaphora, and pathos. 

Alex+Ada introduction

Alex+Ada introduction

March 25, 2021

[20 mins] Alex+Ada (Volume 1) - I discuss the plot of this graphic novel, some of the visuals, and topics that are relevant to us, including loneliness, connection, romance, and sentience.

How to find sources - newspaper articles and subject guides

How to find sources - newspaper articles and subject guides

March 24, 2021

For Seneca COM students - How to find sources - newspaper articles and subject guides [10 mins]

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