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Podcasts

The Project Narrative podcast, launched in November 2021, is a monthly series in which a scholar selects a short narrative, reads it aloud, and then discusses it with a host. The discussion is organized around the questions, “what is this narrative doing, how is it doing it, and why do both of those things matter?”

We are in the process of creating/cleaning up episode transcripts: some of the audio files on this page do not yet include a transcript, and others have only an automatically generated transcript. Finalized transcripts will be posted as they are completed; in the meantime, if you need specific transcripts in order to access this material please email Kayla Goldblatt at goldblatt.14@osu.edu.

Episodes 

Episode 30

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Brian Richardson discuss Ilse Aichinger’s short story, “Spiegelgeschichte,” translated to English as “Mirror Story,” originally published in German in Austria in 1949. Brian Richardson is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland. Richardson has long been a stalwart member of the International Society for the Study of Narrative, and served as the Society’s President in 2011. Richardson has done extensive and influential work on modernism, postmodernism, drama, and narrative theory. Some of Richardson’s most influential publications include Unnatural Voices: Extreme Narration in Modern and Contemporary Fiction, which launched “unnatural narratology” as an approach to narrative, A Poetics of Plot for the Twenty-first Century: Theorizing Unruly Narratives, Essays on Narrative and Fictionality: Reassessing Nine Central Concepts, Unnatural Narratology: Extensions, Revisions, and Challenges, co-edited with Jan Alber, and his forthcoming book The Reader in Modernist Fiction. Richardson was also the prime mover behind the publication of the widely adopted collaborative book entitled, Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates, co-authored by Brian, David Herman, Robyn Warhol, Peter J. Rabinowitz, and Jim Phelan.

Listen to Episode 30

 

Episode 29

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Dorothy Hale discuss the first chapter of Henry James’s The Ambassadors, which was published as a novel in September 1903 after its previous appearance as a serial narrative in the North American Review. Dorothy Hale is a professor in the graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has held the Rachel Anderson Stageberg Chair in English. Hale has made important contributions to two fields within the larger territory of narrative studies: the Anglo-American novel and the theory of the novel. Hale is the author of Social Formalism: The Novel in Theory from Henry James to the Present, which won the Narrative Society’s Perkins Prize for the Best Book on Narrative, published in 1998. Hale is also the author of The Novel and the New Ethics, published in 2020. In addition, Hale has done prodigious work as an editor and an authorial guide in the volume, The Novel: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory, 1900-2000.

Listen to Episode 29

 

Episode 28

In this special crossover episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Matt Seybold, executive producer and host of The American Vandal Podcast, discuss chapter eighteen of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Matt Seybold is Associate Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, as well as Resident Scholar at the Center For Mark Twain Studies. He is also the founding director of the Media Studies, Communications, & Design program at Elmira College, and founding editor of MarkTwainStudies.org. He is co-editor (with Michelle Chihara) of The Routledge Companion to Literature & Economics and (with Gordon Hutner) of a 2019 special issue of American Literary History on “Economics & Literary Studies in The New Gilded Age.” His work has appeared in dozens of publications, notably the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Mark Twain Annual.

Listen to Episode 28

 

Episode 27

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Sarah Copland discuss Bernardine Evaristo’s 2005 short story, “ohtakemehomelord.com.” Sarah Copland is Associate Professor of English at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada and a former Visiting Scholar at Project Narrative. Copland works on literary modernism and on narrative theory, with particular attention to rhetorical narratology. Copland has published important essays on modernist prefaces, on the form of the short story, on politics and form, and on narrative ethics. Jim Phelan worked with Copland on her essay, “The Ideal Narratee and the Rhetorical Model of Audiences.”

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Episode 26

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Lindsay Holmgren discuss Ursula Le Guin’s 1973 short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” Lindsay Holmgren is an Associate Professor in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, where she also directs the Laidley Centre for Business Ethics and Equity. Holmgren is a Past President of the International Society for the Study of Narrative, and she currently serves the society, along with Dan Punday, as Conference Liaison. Holmgren has published on a variety of issues of narrative studies, including work on narrative telepathy in late 19th and early 20th century Anglo-American fiction and on metalepsis. Holmgren has also contributed to conversations in narrative medicine and especially in narrative and economics.

Listen to Episode 26

Episode 25

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Rita Charon discuss George Saunders’ short story, “Puppy.” Rita Charon is Bernard Schoenberg Professor of Social Medicine and Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics at Columbia University. Charon also inaugurated and teaches in the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine graduate program at Columbia. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness and is co-author of the Perkins Prize winning Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine with Sayantani DasGupta, Nellie Hermann, Craig Irvine, Eric R. Marcus, Edgar Rivera Colón, Danielle Spencer, and Maura Spiegel. Charon was chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities to deliver the 2018 Jefferson Lecture, “the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.”

Listen to Episode 25

Episode 24

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Henrik Zetterberg-Nielsen discuss Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Henrik Zetterberg-Nielsen is Professor of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University in Denmark. Zetterberg-Nielsen has published widely in both Danish and English and has made his mark in numerous sub-fields of narrative theory, including unnatural narratology, rhetorical narratology, and fictionality studies. Zetterberg-Nielsen’s most recent works in English are the co-edited collections Fictionality and Literature: Core Concepts Revisited and Dangers of Narrative and Fictionality: A Rhetorical Approach to Storytelling in Contemporary Western Culture (forthcoming). Zetterberg-Nielsen is currently working on several projects, including a study of the interrelations between fictionality and sexuality.

Listen to Episode 24

Episode 23

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Susan Lanser discuss Sayed Kashua’s 2005 short story, “Herzl Disappears at Midnight.” Susan Lanser is Professor Emerita in three departments at Brandeis University: English; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; and Comparative Literature. Lanser has done groundbreaking and influential work in multiple fields: narrative theory and the novel (with particular interest in women writers), 18th century European studies, and gender and sexuality studies. In narrative theory, Susan Lanser and Robyn Warhol launched what is now one of the most important post-classical approaches to feminist narratology. Lanser’s influential books include The Narrative ActFictions of Authority, and The Sexuality of History, and she co-edited with Robyn Warhol Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions. Lanser is currently working on several projects, including one on narratives of Jerusalem (in collaboration with Shlomith Rimmon Kenan, Professor Emerita at the Hebrew University in Israel).

Listen to Episode 23

Episode 22

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Erin James discuss the opening chapter of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, “A Fable for Tomorrow.” Erin James is a Professor of English at the University of Idaho and is the current Past President of the International Society for the Study of Narrative. James has done important and influential work in econarratology, especially on narratives about the climate crisis. Her 2015 book, The Storyworld Accord: Econarratology and Postcolonial Narratives, won the Narrative Society’s Perkins Prize for best book in narrative studies. Her 2022 book, Narrative in the Anthropocene, asks what narrative can teach us about the current geological epoch, which is marked by the effects of human activity on the planet, and what that epoch can teach us about narrative.

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Episode 21

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Yoon Sun Lee discuss the opening narrative from The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston. Yoon Sun Lee is the Anne Pierce Rogers Professor in American Literature and Chair of the English Department at Wellesley College. Lee is also the first Vice President of the International Society for Study of Narrative. Lee has offered important research contributions to multiple fields, including British Romanticism, Asian-American Literature, Theory of the Novel, and Narrative Theory. Lee is the author of three books: Nationalism and IronyModern Minority: Asian American Literature and Everyday Life, and Natural Laws of Plot: Objectivity in the Novel.

Listen to Episode 21

Episode 20

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Paul Dawson discuss the proliferation of the term “narrative” in public discourse. Paul Dawson is an Associate Professor in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Dawson currently serves as President of the International Society for the Study of Narrative. A poet as well as a narrative theorist, Dawson is the author of several books, including Creative Writing in the New HumanitiesImagining WinterThe Return of Omniscient Narrator: Authorship and Authority in Twenty-first Century Fiction, and the recently released The Story of Fictional Truth: Realism from the Death to the Rise of the Novel. In 2024, his new book of poetry will appear. In addition, Dawson has co-edited with Maria Mäkelä The Routledge Companion to Narrative Theory, which just came out last year.

Listen to Episode 20

 

 

 

Episode 19

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Marco Caracciolo discuss Charles Yu’s 2020 short story, “Systems,” which was commissioned by the New York Times for the collection, The Decameron Project: 29 New Stories from the Pandemic. Marco Caracciolo is an Associate Professor of English and Literary Theory at Ghent University in Belgium, and he currently serves as the second Vice President at the International Society for the Study of Narrative. Caracciolo is the author of numerous books, including The Experientiality of Narrative: An Enactivist ApproachStrange Narrators in Contemporary Fiction: Explorations in Readers’ Engagement with CharactersA Passion for Specificity: Confronting Inner Experience in Literature and Science (co-authored with Russell Hurlburt), With Bodies: Narrative Theory and Embodied Cognition (co-authored with Karin Kukkonen), and Narrating the Mesh: Form and Story in the Anthropocene.

Listen to Episode 19

 

 

 

Episode 18

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Amy Shuman and Mary Hufford discuss an oral narrative Hufford collected at the Headwaters of Southern West Virginia’s Big Coal River Valley. Mary Hufford is Associate Director of the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network. After twenty years as a folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, she was on the graduate faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where she directed the Center for Folklore and Ethnography. She has been a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley and the Ohio State University and an Adjunct Professor at Goucher College. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and the author or editor of dozens of articles, monographs, and books, including: “Waging Democracy in the Kingdom of Coal: OVEC and the Struggle for Social and Environmental Justice in Central Appalachia,” Conserving Culture: A New Discourse on HeritageChaseworld: Foxhunting and Storytelling in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, and The Grand Generation: Memory, Mastery, Legacy.

Listen to Episode 18

 

 

 

Episode 17

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Faye Halpern discuss Edgar Allan Poe’s 1843 short story, “The Black Cat.” Faye Halpern is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Calgary and is the author of Sentimental Readers: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of a Disparaged Rhetoric as well as of numerous articles. Halpern has recently signed a contract for her second book, The Afterlife of Sympathy: Reading American Literary Realism in the Wake of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Halpern is co-editor with Michael T. Clarke of the journal ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature and is co-editor with Katra Byram and Jim Phelan of Theory and Interpretation of Narrative.

Listen to Episode 17

 

 

 

Episode 16

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Amanpal Garcha discuss Salman Rushdie’s 1997 short story, “The Firebird’s Nest.” Amanpal Garcha is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Ohio State University’s English department, and he has recently become a member of the Core Faculty of Project Narrative. Garcha specializes in nineteenth-century British literature, the theory and history of the novel and literary theory. Garcha is the author of From Sketch to Novel: The Development of Victorian Fiction as well as numerous essays and reviews about Victorian literature and culture. Garcha’s current project is about narrative and choice.

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Episode 15

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Simone Drake discuss two oral narratives by Scotia Brown, which were told as a part of an ongoing research project on African American women’s stories of everyday racism. Simone Drake is the Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio State and a Core Member of the Project Narrative faculty. Drake is a faculty affiliate at the Moritz College of Law, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Department of African American and African Studies and the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Drake is the author of When We Imagine Grace: Black Men and Subject Making and Critical Appropriations: African American Women and the Construction of Transnational Identity. She co-edits with Dwan Henderson Are You Entertained?: Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century and numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is the editor of The Oxford Handbook on African American Women’s Writing, which is currently in progress.

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Episode 14

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Jared Gardner discuss Chris Gethard’s 2017 stand-up comedy special, Career Suicide, which is currently available on HBO. Jared Gardner is the Joseph V. Denney Designated Professor of English and Director of Popular Culture Studies at the Ohio State University, as well as a Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative. In addition to being a narrative theorist, Jared is a print and media historian, and he has made valuable contributions to our understanding of American literary history, film, graphic narrative, including graphic medicine, and popular culture. Gardner is the author of Master Plots: Race and the Founding of an American Literature, 1787-1845Projections: Comics and the History of 21st-century Storytelling; and The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture

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Episode 13

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan sits down with Sarah Iles Johnston to read and discuss her own retelling of the myth of Arachne and Athena from her new book to be published later this year by Princeton University Press, Gods and Mortals: Ancient Greek Myths for Modern Readers. In Gods and Mortals, Sarah retells an incredible 140 Greek myths. Sarah Iles Johnston is college of arts and sciences Distinguished Professor of Religion at the Ohio State University and a Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative. Sarah also holds an appointment in the department of Classics.

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Episode 12

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan and Leigh Gilmore read and discuss the first chapter from Maggie O’Farrell’s 2018 memoir, I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes with Death, entitled, “Neck.” Leigh Gilmore is a Visiting Professor of English at the Ohio State University and a Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative.

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Episode 12 of the Project Narrative podcast

Episode 11

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Frederick Luis Aldama reads Julio Cortázar’s two-paragraph short story and discusses it with our host, Jim Phelan. Frederick Aldama, also known as @ProfessorLatinx, is the Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas, Austin, where he is also founder and director of the Latinx Pop Lab. Frederick is an award winning author, coauthor, editor, and coeditor of over 48 books, and is a founding member of Project Narrative.

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Episode 11 of the Project Narrative podcast

Episode 10

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Ashley Hope Pérez sits down with Jim Phelan to read and discuss Silvina Ocampo’s four-paragraph short story, “Report on Heaven and Hell” first in its original Spanish and then in its English translation. “Report on Heaven and Hell” is included in Thus Were their Faces, a 1968 compilation of Ocampo’s stories. Ashley Hope Pérez is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University and a Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative. She is both an accomplished literary critic and an award-winning novelist.

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Episode 10 of the Project Narrative podcast

Episode 9

In this month’s episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan sits down with Sean O’Sullivan to read and discuss “Black Box,” a short story by Jennifer Egan that was originally published as a series of tweets before being published in the New Yorker in June of 2012. Sean O’Sullivan is Associate Professor of English at the Ohio State University and a Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative. Sean’s expertise includes Narrative Theory, Victorian Studies, and Film and Television Studies.

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Episode 9 of the Project Narrative podcast

Episode 8

In this month’s episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, our faithful host, Jim Phelan, finally finds himself in the guest chair! Alongside today’s host, Brian McHale, Jim reads and discusses “Chicxulub” by prolific American author, T.C. Boyle. Jim is a Distinguished University Professor of English at the Ohio State University, Director of the Medical Humanities Program, and co-founder and Director of Project Narrative. To borrow Brian McHale’s words, Jim “has a keen eye for stories that invite and reward the narrative theorist’s close attention. The story he selected for today is case in point.”

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Episode 8 of the Project Narrative podcast

Episode 7

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Julia Watson and Jim Phelan read and discuss a particularly moving piece of life writing, Alice Walker’s “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self,” first published in Ms. Magazine and then in Walker’s collection of nonfiction, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens in 1983. Julia Watson is an Academy Professor Emerita of Comparative Studies and a former Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at the Ohio State University and a Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative.

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Episode 7 of the Project Narrative Podcast

Episode 6

In this month’s episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Karen Winstead and Jim Phelan read and discuss two excerpts from Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, “How Arthur was Born” and “The Knight with the Two Swords.” Karen Winstead is Professor of English and Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative at the Ohio State University. She is a Distinguished Teacher, repeat winner of various teaching awards, and is the author of four monographs.

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Episode 6 of the Project Narrative Podcast

Episode 5

In this month’s episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Amy Shuman, Professor of English at the Ohio State University and Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative, joins Jim Phelan for a conversation about two stories of “waiting” from Charles Rutenesha’s memoir in progress about his experiences in Rwanda in the early 1990s and then later as a refugee. The stories are entitled, “Waiting to Be Arrested” and “Waiting to Be Released.”

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Episode 5 of the Project Narrative podcast

Episode 4

In this episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Jim Phelan sits down with Angus Fletcher, Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative with joint appointments in the Department of English and the Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts at the Ohio State University, to read and discuss Tim O’Brien’s 1990 short story, “The Things they Carried.”

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Episode 4 of the Project Narrative podcast

Episode 3

In this month’s episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Robyn Warhol, Distinguished Professor of English at the Ohio State University and Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative, joins Jim Phelan to discuss Zadie Smith’s 1999 short story, “The Waiter’s Wife,” which Smith also incorporated into her award-winning novel, White Teeth, published the following year.

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Episode three of the Project Narrative podcast

Episode 2

In this month’s episode of the Project Narrative Podcast, Brian McHale, Distinguished Professor of English at the Ohio State University and one of the founders of Project Narrative, sits down with Jim Phelan to discuss a series of poems that contain significant narrative gaps. The poems discussed include a Hebrew nursery rhyme entitled, “Yonatan Hakatan,” a British border ballad called “When I Was on Horseback,” a Spanish poem by Federico García Lorca called “Rider’s Song,” and Bob Dylan’s lyric, “All Along the Watchtower.”

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Episode two of the Project Narrative Podcast

Episode 1

In episode one, Katra Byram, Associate Professor of German Language and Literature at Ohio State University and Core Faculty Member of Project Narrative, sits down with Jim Phelan to read and discuss a text from a slam poetry performance called, “Hinter uns, mein Land,” or “Behind Us, My Country,” by Babak Ghassim and Usama Elyas.  Since it is a narrative poem for two voices, Katra and Jim read it together before addressing the what, how, and why questions mentioned above. 

Listen to episode one

Episode one of the Project Narrative Podcast

 

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