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All Things Grinnell tells stories of Grinnell – past, present, and future. Host Ben Binversie interviews students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and visiting speakers, discussing research, campus life, and current issues of cultural, economic, social, and political significance. The podcast is available to listen and download here on the website and on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify. New episodes will be available every other Thursday.

If you have comments about the podcast, or want to share ideas for future episodes, please email

  • Mike Latham and others look to crowd on second story during his farewell event.

    Episode 15

    Grinnell Farewells

    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.

  • Amy Tan

    Episode 14

    Amy Tan: Commencement 2019

    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.

  • Death and the Maiden

    Episode 13

    It’s Lit(erary)! Shakespeare, the Afterlife, and Reconciliation

    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. Dijkhuizen and Garrison worked together as research fellows at the Folger Shakespeare Library in D.C. in 2016 and became friends and collaborators. 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.

  • Stand with Standing Rock protest in San Francisco

    Episode 12


    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 Herrick Chapel on April 3.

  • Squirrel Flower at the Stew

    Episode 11

    Squirrel Flower

    Ella Williams ’18 graduated from Grinnell in December with a degree in gender, women’s and sexuality studies, and 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. She’s returned stateside and is working on finishing up a new record before she starts touring again this summer, all over the country. Ella was born into a musical family, and the apple didn't fall far from the tree. By the time she got to Grinnell, she 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. She released another EP under her alias, Squirrel Flower, and one of her songs, "Conditions," gained recognition on NPR’s All Songs Considered. 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 get a preview of Will Bennett’s ’13 new album, “All Your Favorite Songs,” from his band, Will Bennett and the Tells. Bennett grew up in Grinnell and his music is heavily influenced by his hometown.

  • frayed rope on stump

    Episode 10

    Reckoning with the Faulconer Gallery

    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. The exhibition challenges viewers to think about the legacy of racism in this country. Then we take a look at Dread and Delight: Fairy Tales in an Anxious World, curated by Emily Stamey ‘01, who worked in the Faulconer Gallery as a student when it first started. Stamey 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.

  • New York Neo-Futurists

    Episode 9

    Breaking the Fourth Wall: Neo-Futurism and Twelfth Night

    We rupture the infamous “fourth wall” of theatre, going behind the scenes with Rob Neill ’91, founding member of the New York Neo-Futurists, to discuss their unique brand of performance, which lies somewhere between improv, sketch comedy, and avant-garde theatre. The Neo-Futurists were on campus this semester to perform their show, “The Infinite Wrench,” which features a race against the clock of 30 plays in 60 minutes. We also talk with Ellen Mease about the more traditional theatrical world of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which Mease directed this semester. She shares her memories about what Grinnell’s theatre has meant to her, 40 years after she first directed her first production of the show.

  • Brain

    Episode 8

    See it Feelingly

    On this episode, we talk with Ralph Savarese, professor of English, about his new book, See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor. For years, researchers have claimed that autistic people struggle to understand literature. Savarese's experience reading books with his own adopted son, DJ, made him question the prevailing assumptions about autism. Over the course of many years, Savarese read novels with autistic readers from across the spectrum, immersing himself in their intellectual and sensory worlds as they immersed themselves into literature. Savarese, an English professor with a neuroscience background himself, turned these experiences into his book, which is part scientific research, part ethnography, and presents a compelling case for rethinking how we conceive of autism. Before relegating autistic children to segregated learning spaces, Savarese believes we should seek to include them whenever possible. These readers engaged deeply with the novels, revealing profound insights which emerged from the way their different bodies and brains reacted to the stories, but also from their experiences of stigma and exclusion.

  • Corn plants sprout with large dark storm clouds overhead

    Episode 7

    Digging Deep: Iowa Agriculture

    On this episode of All Things Grinnell, we talk with Jordan Scheibel '10, whose transformative experience with local agriculture as a student at Grinnell encouraged him to plant his roots here after graduation. He now runs Middle Way Farm, an organic farm on the outskirts of Grinnell. We also talk with Jack Mutti, emeritus professor of economics, about the impact of trade disputes and tariffs on Iowa's agricultural sector. 

  • Close up view of student's hands planting a seedling in the college garden

    Episode 6

    Sustainability in Action

    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.

  • Kanye West in white grill glasses singing at a concert

    Episode 5

    An Abundance of Katherines

    On this episode, 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.

  • Aerial view of Rosenbloom Field with a rainbow honor G at midfield

    Episode 4

    Off the Field Part 2

    On this episode, we talk with more speakers from this year’s Rosenfield Symposium, which explored 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.

  • San Francisco 49ers football players kneel during the national anthem

    Episode 3

    Off the Field Part 1

    On this episode, we talk with speakers from this year’s Rosenfield Symposium, which explored the inextricable relationship of sports and politics, economics, and society. First 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, such as workplace harassment, sex abuse, brain trauma, doping and international corruption. Then, we talk with Louis Moore, associate professor of history at Grand Valley State University, about athlete activism – past, present and future. 

  • Saints Rest Coffee Mug

    Episode 2

    Saints Rest

    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 and how the coffee shop has become a home for so many in the Grinnell community.

  • Will Freeman sits in his Morgan-Three Wheeler, named The Spirit of Grinnell, as the sun sets behind him

    Episode 1

    Around the Country in 79 Days

    On this inaugural episode of All Things Grinnell, we talk with Will Freeman, Grinnell Track and Field Coach and Physical Education Professor, 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, the recipient of the Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship, who explored minority theatre productions across the country over the past year.

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