19 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Can the end of the world as we know it bring about new ways of living? In this broadcast of Severance Radio, host Heidi Kyser interviews expert speculative fiction writers and creative writing professors Christopher Coake and Claire Vaye Watkins on the imaginative work of starting over after disaster. Christopher Coake is the author of You Came Back (Grand Central Publishing, 2012), as well as the collection of short stories We're In Trouble (Harcourt 2005), which won the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship. In addition, Coake was listed among "Granta's Best of Young American Novelists" in 2007. His stories have been published in several literary journals and anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories 2004 and the Best American Noir of the Century. A native Hoosier, he received his MFA in fiction from Ohio State University. Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Battleborn, winner of the Story Prize, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Battleborn was named a Best Book of 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Time Out New York, and Flavorwire, and a Best Short Story Collection by NPR.org. In 2012, the National Book Foundation named Claire one of the 5 Best Writers Under 35. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Best of the West 2011, Best of the Southwest 2013, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno and the Ohio State University, Claire has received fellowships from the Writers’ Conferences at Sewanee and Bread Loaf. An assistant professor at Bucknell University, Claire is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.
18 minutes | Sep 21, 2020
In this episode, Severance Radio host Heidi Kyser interviews Professor Shelley Kelley and Natalie Pennington on the effects of a solitary life amid a pandemic. Shelley Kelly is a professor, reader, music lover, motorcyclist. She is one of the little people who makes things happen. She has a true belief in the notion that every problem can be solved with a long ride on a motorcycle. Her motto is “You live more in 5 minutes on a motorcycle than most people live in a lifetime”. Natalie Pennington is an expert in interpersonal communication within the context of communication technology. An assistant professor of communication studies, she examines how private topics become public on social networking platforms and the resulting impact on relationships. Her research looks at how users of social media build and maintain relationships, the potential benefits and harms associated with technology use, and social support and grieving online. Pennington’s work has been published in several academic publications, including New Media & Society, Social Media + Society, Computers in Human Behavior, and the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media. DISCUSSED Solitude, a motorcycle trip, technology, the broken iPhone, comfort in routine, contracts, money, family, the mother, the unknown, disconnecting for survival, loneliness within a group, the ex-boyfriend.
21 minutes | Sep 14, 2020
Memory, Loss, and the Politics of Forgetting
In this episode, Hugh Shapiro and Claytee D. White talk about memory, loss, the politics of forgetting our past when we look for ways to live during a pandemic. Hugh Shapiro is Associate Professor of East Asian history at the University of Nevada. He works on the history of disease in comparative context. The analysis of bodily experience is a powerful tool for grappling with historical transformation, and his archival and fieldwork in China, Japan, and Taiwan focuses on how cultural practice, environment, and ideas inflect the way people experience illness, in particular neuropsychiatric distress. His recent work appears in volumes published by Harvard University Press, Brill, Rowman & Littlefield, Kluwer, and globalyceum. Hugh has enjoyed visiting appointments at Princeton University, at universities in China, Japan, and Taiwan, and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Hugh’s other research and teaching interests include Sino-Russian-Central Asian relations and the history of de-colonization and authoritarianism. As a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, he has lectured in 20 countries in Eurasia. During his years of study and research in East Asia, he enjoyed diverse extracurricular experiences, such as working on an innovative Sino-Japanese television production for NHK. He received the Li-Qing Prize for the History of Chinese Science and won his university’s highest teaching award. Hugh earned his B.A. from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Claytee D. White is the inaugural director of the Oral History Research Center for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries. She collects the history of Las Vegas and the surrounding area by gathering memories of events and experiences from longtime residents. Her projects include early health care in the city, history of the John S. Park Neighborhood, The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project, and a study of musicians who played with some of the greats in the entertainment field. As one of five founders of the Las Vegas Black Historical Society Inc., she chronicles the history of the Las Vegas black community that was established in 1905. Her published writings on the subject include a book chapter, encyclopedia entries, and several articles. White received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles, master’s degree in history from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has completed work toward a doctorate at the College of William & Mary. White currently serves on the Board of Women of Diversity, the UNLV Presidential Debate Planning Committee, and the Historic Preservation Commission. White has also served on the Historic Preservation Commission for the city of Las Vegas, Nevada Humanities executive board, and is the past president of the Southwest Oral History Association. Discussed: imprisonment without trial; freedom; willingness (to submit); cities being zones about death; late 19th century global epidemic neurasthenia; stigmas; shopping and gambling; malls; commodity in capitalism; voting rights & John Lewis; Black community; Fuzhou night market; existentialism; last survivors on Earth.
28 minutes | Sep 8, 2020
In this episode, artists Brent Holmes and Lance Smith delve into art as a vehicle for imagining a new world and the current social order. How does the apocalypse inspire their art? Brent Holmes is a multi-disciplinary artist with a deep affinity to words- historical, epistemological and ontologically themed creative projects. His primary objective is to nudge others into a conversation he finds interesting and then become distracted and walk away. His most recent work has centered around the philosophical, and cultural consequences of Hellenistic hegemony, and representations of antiquity within the modern era. Lance Smith is a multidisciplinary artist, illustrator, and teacher based in Las Vegas, NV. Their work often explores themes of loss, distortion, and liberatory practices. Smith is the Artist Manager of the Rogers Art Loft. Smith has been featured in multiple local and national group exhibits as well as solo exhibitions past and forthcoming. Smith has been awarded two residencies at the Arquetopia Foundation International Artist Residency program most recently as a part of their Mentorship Program in Puebla, Mexico. Discussed: use of the bible, gendered conversations, routines, nostalgia, characters of color rendered invisible, spirituality, ancestral veneration, slavery and the apocalypse, capitalism and materialism, public health, displaced people, masks, covid-19 hospital ward
14 minutes | Sep 3, 2020
Navigating Immigration and Acculturation in America
In this episode, Nasia Anam interviews writer Bonnie Chau about navigating cultural backgrounds in a capitalist society. Nasia Anam is an assistant professor of English literature and global Anglophone literature at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research examines representations of migration between Europe, South Asia, North Africa and the United States in the colonial, postcolonial and contemporary eras. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature at UCLA and has since taught at Princeton University, Williams College and California Institute of the Arts. Bonnie Chau is from Southern California, where she ran writing programs at the nonprofit 826LA. She received her MFA in fiction and translation from Columbia University. A Kundiman fellow, she works at an independent bookstore in Brooklyn and is an editor at Poets & Writers and at Public Books. She is the author of the short story collection All Roads Lead to Blood, published by SFWP/2040 Books. Discussed: capitalistic tendencies, immigrant stories, genre, modern conveniences, idealistic rejection of capitalism, bond of common language, mobility, survival, agency, object importance
22 minutes | Aug 27, 2020
Humor in a Time of Crisis
In this episode, novelist and twitter comedian Kristen Arnett and Desert Companion editor Scott Dickensheets discuss the value of satire in the middle of a pandemic. Kristen Arnett is the NYT and Los Angeles Times bestselling author of the debut novel Mostly Dead Things. She is a queer fiction and essay writer. She was awarded Ninth Letter‘s Literary Award in Fiction and is a columnist for Literary Hub. Her work has appeared at North American Review, The Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, Electric Literature, McSweeneys, PBS Newshour, Bennington Review, Tin House Flash Fridays/The Guardian, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her story collection, Felt in the Jaw, was published by Split Lip Press and was awarded the 2017 Coil Book Award. She was recently a Shearing Fellow at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Black Mountain Institute. Her next two books (Samson: A Novel and With Foxes: Stories) will be published by Riverhead Books. Scott Dickensheets is the deputy editor of Desert Companion, the magazine of Nevada Public Radio. Before that, he top-edited the alt-weeklies Las Vegas CityLife and the Las Vegas Weekly, served as managing editor of Las Vegas Life magazine, and worked in a number of positions at the Las Vegas Sun. Dickensheets has edited, co-edited, or contributed to eight volumes of the Las Vegas Writes anthology series, and was an assistant editor of Nevada: 150 Years in the Silver State, the official book of the Nevada sesquicentennial. DISCUSSED Diminutive explainers, timing, absurdity, unconnected events, survival instincts, grief, funerals, Trevor Noah (comedian), coping mechanisms, contrast, humorless people, dinner parties, missing old routines
17 minutes | Aug 20, 2020
Work and The Millennial Condition
In this episode, two voices in academics and publishing, Karen Gu and Jean Munson, trace connections between Candace's experiences and the millennial struggles to break into an industry and survive in the workplace. Karen Gu is a writer whose fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly, Paper Darts, and The Margins. She is a Kundiman Fellow and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Jean Marie Munson is founder of local comics company Plot Twist Publishing. She is an alum of UNLV in 2009 and has spent the last decade after graduating in activism, art, and teaching. Her primary role on campus is being the Women's Research Institute of Nevada's Program Manager running the National Education for Women's Leadership Nevada Program that was piloted from Rutgers. She is passionate about being a resource and supporter of all levels leadership in student activism. DISCUSSED The Asian American experience, doubt, parents, publishing, arts, capitalism, blogging, content creation, struggling, cringe-worthy moments, consumer culture, work culture, guilt, routines
24 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
Decolonization and Dystopian Literature
In this episode, Jenna Hanchey and Erica Vital-Lazare – two scholars who study language – talk about the new voices needed to imagine new worlds. Jenna Hanchey is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research focuses on the neocolonialism of aid and volunteer work in Africa, and she is currently working on a project examining how Afrofuturist and Africanfuturist sci-fi imagines development in anti-colonial ways. Erica Vital-Lazare is a writer and a professor of creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada, where she teaches Marginalized Voices in Dystopian literature, and she is the editor of a forthcoming series revisiting classic Black works in literature titled Of the Diaspora with McSweeney’s Press. DISCUSSED Anticolonialism, “A Colonized Mind” (song) by Prince, Frantz Fanon (psychiatrist), oppression, colonialist structures, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (scholar/author), psychological effects of colonization, home, materialism, nostalgia, old systems, M Archive: After the End of the World (book) by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Andrea Hairston (author), chaos, new worlds, Toni Morrison (author)
13 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
Dynamics of Race & Privilege Amid a Pandemic
In this episode, a long-time Las Vegas community partner Dana Lee and experimental writer Vi Khi Nao discuss how a pandemic brings out familiar–and unsettling–ways of talking about race. Dana Lee has been a long-time Las Vegas community partner, supporting education, the arts, and social services. She holds a B.A. in Art History from Brown University and a Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Vi Khi Nao is the author of four poetry collections: Human Tetris (11:11 Press, 2019) Sheep Machine (Black Sun Lit, 2018), Umbilical Hospital (Press 1913, 2017), The Old Philosopher (winner of the Nightboat Prize for 2014), & of the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture (winner of the 2016 FC2's Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize), the novel, Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016). Her work includes drawings, poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. She was the Fall 2019 fellow at the Black Mountain Institute. vikhinao.com DISCUSSED Pandemic, desert animals, cancel culture, racism, Trump, otherness, American patriotism, George Floyd, misinformation spread online, Trader Joe’s, mistaken beliefs, flowers
16 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
The Construction of Otherness
In this episode, two scholars Tim Gauthier and Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan delve into the Us/Them paradigm that reveals itself throughout the story. How do we decide who is human, and who is not? What are the dangers of Othering in times of crisis? Tim Gauthier is currently serving as Director of the Multidisciplinary Studies and Social Science Studies programs in the Department of Interdisciplinary, Ethnic, and Gender Studies at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). His research focuses on contemporary fiction and spans post-colonial concerns and artistic reactions to social and personal trauma experiences. He is the author of Narrative Desire and Historical Reparations – a study of A. S. Byatt, Ian McEwan, and Salman Rushdie (Routledge, 2006), and 9/11 Fiction, Empathy and Otherness (Lexington Books, 2015). Additionally, he has published articles on Colson Whitehead’s Zone One and Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. For the last three years he has taught a class entitled “Community and Immunity,” focusing on the discourse of contagion. Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan is Assistant Professor of English and Vice Chair of the graduate interdisciplinary program in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory at the University of Arizona. She works at the intersections of South Asian Anglophone and Asian/American literatures and cultural production, and is currently completing a manuscript on the diasporic registration of the New India discourse. Srinivasan is also an award-winning journalist and former magazine editor with bylines in over three dozen scholarly and public venues. Her most recent (2018-2019) work can be found in ARIEL, Interventions, Comparative Literature Studies, GLQ, Oxford Research Encyclopedia, The New Yorker, boundary2online, Popula, Zócalo Public Square, Politics/Letters, and Public Books. Writing is forthcoming in journals including Feminist Formations, The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, and Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, as well as the edited volumes The Critic as Amateur, Teaching Anglophone South Asian Women’s Writing, and the Handbook of Anglophone World Literature. Before joining UA, Ragini taught at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a PhD in 2016. She is Co-Chair of the Academic Council of the South Asian American Digital Archive. DISCUSSED Residual humanity, well/sick binary, creatures of habit, “we”, identity/collective identity, complicity
19 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
Tracing the History of Zombies
In this episode, two scholars of English literature, Katherine Fusco and Stephen Pasqualina, investigate one of the most unsettling signs of the apocalypse in popular culture: the rise of the undead. Join us for a conversation about the mythology of zombies and the zombie trope in Severance. Katherine Fusco writes about the way different media forms shape identity and encourage us to be either cruel or kind to one another. After completing a Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, she spent several years working as the assistant director of the Vanderbilt Writing Studio. Since arriving at the University of Nevada, Reno, she has been proud to have her teaching honored by the Crowley Distinguished Professorship in the Core Humanities. She teaches courses on film, theory, and 19th and 20th century American literature at the University of Nevada, Reno. Katherine also writes about pop-culture for a number of national outlets. Stephen Pasqualina is a postdoctoral fellow in the Core Humanities Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He completed his Ph.D. in the department of English at the University of Southern California. While working toward his Ph.D., he attended the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University and the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College. His research focuses primarily on modernist literature and visual culture, transnational American studies, science and technology studies, critical race studies, and 20th century historiography and historical theory. His current research is focused on how Zora Neale Hurston's writing, film, and photography mediates the long history of colonial slavery. This work is part of a larger book project that examines the relationship between second-stage industrialization and the U.S. historical imaginary from 1880 to 1945. DISCUSSED Haitian zombie myth, French colonialism, slavery, The Serpent and the Rainbow (film) by Wade Davis, White Zombies (film) by Bela Lugosi, The Magic Island (book) by William Seabrook, 1915 - 1934 US occupation of Haiti, The Walking Dead, Tell My Horse (book) by Zora Neale Hurston, Night of the Living Dead & Dawn of the Dead (films) by George Romero, Get Out (film) by Jordan Peele, Dawn of the Dead (2004 film) by Zac Snyder
12 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
Public Health Amid a Pandemic
In this episode, Severance Radio host Heidi Kyser interviews two public health experts, Jennifer Carson and Marya Shegog, as they examine who is most vulnerable in a pandemic. Jennifer Carson works to envision and develop opportunities for individual and collective growth to combat ageism and ableism, and improve the inclusion and well-being of elders, with a particular interest in persons living with dementia. Jennifer is Director of the Dementia Engagement, Education and Research (DEER) Program in the School of Community Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno. Jennifer also partners with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine’s Sanford Center for Aging on a U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant. Her role is to provide comprehensive education for care partners of persons living with dementia and to conduct statewide outreach for the Improving Care of Elders through Community and Academic Partnerships (ICECAP Nevada) initiative, which includes interprofessional geriatrics and dementia care training for primary care providers, health professions students, long-term care professionals and family care partners. Marya Shegog joined The Lincy Institute in September 2012 as its Director of Health Programs. She has worked as a research scientist for several federal and corporate entities and as director of a unique after-school program for children and emerging adults in urban, low-income communities. An advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness in minority communities, she has increased capacity among community-based organizations throughout the U.S. to better meet local needs while respecting each organization’s mission and vision. In addition to UNLV, she has held faculty/teaching positions at Hampton University, the University of South Carolina, and Cincinnati State College. She is a frequent speaker and facilitator at conferences, forums, and classes where she helps cultivate cultural competency among health care professionals. Her teaching and research interests focus on effectively identifying and addressing health disparities in order to eradicate them, developing cultural competency in health care, and shaping healthy communities through policy, programming, planning, and evaluation. DISCUSSED Loneliness, homelessness, mental health, ableism, the dehumanization of the “fevered”, rituals, structural oppression in public health, working conditions, economy vs human lives
14 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
The Beginning of Severance Radio
For 14 weeks, Severance Radio will dissect a single book: Severance, the satirical, dystopian novel by Ling Ma. This book is a mixture of immigrant family story, corporate satire, and global health crisis. In this episode, producers Stephanie Gibson, Kathleen Kuo, and Sara Ortiz discuss how Severance Radio came to be, and how we relate to each other during a pandemic.
1 minutes | Jul 10, 2020
Introducing Severance Radio
Severance Radio is an on-air book club dissecting Ling Ma’s satirical, dystopian novel Severance. The novel is a moving family story that explores loneliness, corporate monotony, and survival in the midst of a global health crisis. Severance Radio: A Nevada Reads Book Club is jointly produced by Nevada Humanities and the Black Mountain Institute, and is part of Nevada Reads, a statewide program of Nevada Humanities. This program is made possible with the support of Nevada Humanities, Black Mountain Institute, Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records, The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Nevada Center for the Book. The Nevada Center for the Book is a program of Nevada Humanities and is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.