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The American Vandal, from The Center for Mark Twain Studies

History Podcasts

An ever-growing collection of conversations and presentations about literature, humor, and history in America, produced by the premier source for programming and funding scholarship on Mark Twain's life and legacy.

An ever-growing collection of conversations and presentations about literature, humor, and history in America, produced by the premier source for programming and funding scholarship on Mark Twain's life and legacy.


United States


An ever-growing collection of conversations and presentations about literature, humor, and history in America, produced by the premier source for programming and funding scholarship on Mark Twain's life and legacy.




Reconsidering Mark Twain Among The Indians with Herman Fillmore & Drew Lopenzina

In the concluding episode of our series on Kerry Driscoll's field-shaping book, Mika Turim-Nygren seeks reception of the work in Native Studies and from Native communities. For more about this episode, including a bibliography, please visit


Talking Mark Twain Among The Indians with Kerry Driscoll

This seminal book in Twain Studies was a decades-long undertaking. Kerry Driscoll explains how she became "an accidental Twain scholar," and discusses with Mika Turim-Nygren the multifold archival discoveries - "good instincts and good luck" - which took Mark Twain Among The Indians from a short paper to a magnum opus. For more about this episode, including a bibliography, please visit


Reviewing Mark Twain Among The Indians with John Bird, Susan K. Harris, & Ann Ryan

A new series hosted by Mika Turim-Nygren premieres with a discussion of Kerry Driscoll's 2019 book, "Mark Twain Among The Indians & Other Indigenous Peoples," featuring three established scholars in Twain Studies, all of whom regard in as one of the most important works in the field in the past quarter century. For more about this episode, including an extensive bibliography of works discussed, please visit


Ministry For The Future (Worldwide Climate Teach-In Special Episode) with Sheri-Marie Harrison, Anna Kornbluh, & Min Hyoung Song

Produced in observance of and solidarity with the Worldwide Teach-In On Climate & Justice taking place on many campuses today, including Elmira College, we host discussion of a CliFi novel by Kim Stanley Robinson which helps us get "Beyond Climate Despair." For more about this episode, include a complete bibliography, please visit


Bullshit Jobs, Fuck Work, & The Legacy of David Graeber with James Livingston & Corey McCall

Is is possible to imagine a world without work? Or, at least, a world in which work is not romanticized, is not treated as defining element of social and individual achievement? James Livingston has predicted that we need to prepare for a postwork world, and David Graeber has challenged us to imagine alternatives to organization by bureaucracy, credit, and corporations. This episode features Livingston talking to Matt Seybold and Corey McCall about Graeber's posthumous book (The Dawn of...


Working For The New Yorker: Putting The Historicity Back In The French Dispatch with Nora Shaalan & Dan Sinykin

Wes Anderson's acclaimed new movie, The French Dispatch, draws inspiration from the Golden Age of The New Yorker magazine, a period from roughly the early 1940s to the mid 1970s. This episode features two scholars researching that period in the publication's history. They are uniquely situated to consider the selections from the magazine's back catalog which make Anderson's cut, as well as what he chooses to leave out. For more about this episode, including a bibliography, please visit...


Decommodified Labor, Selling Out, & Other Compromises of The Great Resignation with Leigh Claire La Berge & Rachel Greenwald Smith

How do we explain the Great Resignation? Or, for that matter, other mysteries of the contemporary economy, like the high price of culture work and the low wages of culture workers? Two scholars of Post45 literature and culture discuss the work of art and the art of work. For more about this episode, visit


Bootstrapping Across Dystopia: Autofiction, Autotheory, Autoeverything with Merve Emre & Anna Kornbluh

A conversation about the personal essay boom, iterations of the memoir in other literary genres, the constructive use of social media, the style of "too late capitalism," and other means of self-indulgence with two decorated literary critics and theorists. For more about this episode, visit


Are We All Porn Workers Now?: Gigwork & Radical Flexibility with Heather Berg & Michelle Chihara

A ranging conversation with two scholars - Heather Berg (Porn Work: Sex, Labor, & Late Capitalism) and Michelle Chihara ("Radical Flexibility: Driving for Lyft & The Future of Work in The Platform Economy") - about platform capitalism from the perspective of gigworkers. For more about this episode, including a bibliography, please visit


A Hedge Fund with A Drone Fleet: EdWork in 2022 with Annie McClanahan & Asheesh Kapur Siddique

"The World's Work" begins with a discussion of student debt, faculty deskilling, outsourcing, adjunctification, EdTech, and the financialization of U.S. higher education. Special theme music: "Work Song" by Dan Reeder For more information, visit


Showtime's Billions & COVID Form with Anna Kornbluh & Devin William Daniels

The season finale of Billions aired exactly 17 months after the season premiere. This was not by design. In this episode, scholars of finance and popular culture discuss the popular Showtime series and how its handling of the pandemic disruption is represented in both content and form. For more about this episode, please visit


Antiracism In The Contemporary University with Amanda Bailey, Tita Chico, & Emily Yoon Perez

A discussion of the Antiracism project sponsored by University of Maryland's Center For Literary & Comparative Studies with three faculty members heavily involved in the project, as well as their insights into the Netflix original series, The Chair, which dramatizes a contemporary university English department.


The Shush (& The Chair) with Michelle Chihara & Kyla Wazana Tompkins

In her recent PMLA essay, "The Shush," Kyla Wazana Tompkins writes, "The future of the English department cannot be the same as its past." The recent Netflix original series, "The Chair," offers one vision of that past and thus serves to generate conversation about "The Shush," the state of literary studies, and higher education. To learn more, including an episode bibliography, visit


A Chair On The Chair with Karen Tongson

The new Netflix original series, The Chair, focus on the first woman of color to Chair the English Department at fictional Pembroke University. Dr. Karen Tongson (University of Southern California) can empathize with this character, played by Sandra Oh, but she is also an exceptional media critic. She talks with Matt Seybold about the reception of The Chair, its representation of literary studies, and where it fits in the history of the U.S. sitcom. For more about this episode, visit...


The Invisible Home of Frederick Douglass, John W. Jones, & Mark Twain with Jill Spivey Caddell & Shirley Samuels

On a special Emancipation Week episode, three scholars with both personal and professional ties to the Southern Tier of New York, discuss the recently-reconstructed speech by Frederick Douglass which was part of the Emancipation Day celebration which took place in Elmira in August of 1880. For more information about this episode, visit To read Frederick Douglass's "Lessons of Emancipation To The New Generation" & other Emancipation Week materials, visit...


Why Trust In Antitrust? with Sanjukta Paul & Marshall Steinbaum

With a series of recent events indicating bipartisan interest in antitrust reform from Congress and the Supreme Court, host Matt Seybold speaks with Law Professor, Sanjukta Paul, and economist, Marshall Steinbaum, about the history of antitrust movements in the United States from Mark Twain's Gilded Age to the New Gilded Age, as well as why they advocate for antitrust as a mechanism for improving worker welfare, reducing inequality, and protecting democracy. For more about this episode,...


Generation Z, Mark Twain's Poetry, & Teaching English From East Texas to Harvard with Jocelyn Chadwick

The coordinators of the 2021 Summer Teachers Institute sponsored by the Center For Mark Twain Studies converse about the upcoming event, the state of U.S. education, the resonance of Mark Twain for contemporary students, and much more. For more about the Institute, please visit


Teaching With Tension & The Illusion of Postracialism with Philathia Bolton, Cassander Smith, & Lee Bebout

The co-editors of a new collection on "Race, Resistance, & Reality in The Classroom" discuss the "flash point" of 2008 for American education, the recent Critical Race Theory panic, pedagogical strategies for teaching with tension, and Mark Twain's 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.' For more information about this episode, visit To Register for the 2021 Summer Teachers Institute, visit


Mark Twain, Journalism, & the Search for Genus Americanus with Loren Ghiglione, Alyssa Karas, & Dan Tham

The authors of Genus Americanus (2020) join host Matt Seybold to discuss their 2011 road trip. Inspired by Mark Twain, they went looking for American identity through interviews with other journalists, scholars, immigrants, and nomads. What did the find? And how has it shaped their understanding of the decade which followed? For more information, please visit


Exterminate All The Brutes with Sheri-Marie Harrison, Andrew Hoberek, & Ignacio Sanchez Prado

The recent HBO documentary series, directed by Raoul Peck, offers a grand narrative of European colonialism and American imperialism which is broadly sympathetic with the works of Mark Twain from the final decade of his life. In this episode, a diverse group of scholars discuss Peck's film, as well as where it fits in global cinema, the U.S. media ecosystem, and postcolonial scholarship.