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?
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.
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.