Off the Syllabus Podcast

Episode #1: Prof. Desirée Martín - This is the inaugural episode of the limited series Off the Syllabus. In this series Prof. Matthew Vernon interviews professors in the English department about a movie they love. This is an opportunity for them to explore a topic that is not necessarily something they study, but that they are nevertheless excited about. This first interview is with Prof. Desirée Martín about the 2023 film Barbie by Greta Gerwig. We talk about toxic masculinity, Los Angeles, and Matchbox 20. 

Episode #2: Prof. Margaret Ronda - On this episode of Off the Syllabus, I talk to Prof. Margaret Ronda about the 2021 film Petite Maman. We talk about fairy tales, enchantment, mother-daughter relationships and uncanny encounters in the woods, so listen on even if you haven’t seen the film.

Episode #3: Prof. Sal Nicolazzo - In this podcast I talk to Professor Sal Nicolazzo about Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd (1950). We discuss the gothic genre, queer coding, and strangely enough, public transportation. Stay tuned and get ready for your close-up.

Episode #4: Prof. Matthew Stratton - In this episode I talk to professor Matthew Stratton about the 1979 cult classic, The Warriors. This is one of those films that you don’t know that you know, but trust me, you have seen or heard references, in particular it influenced a whole raft of 80s movies about cities in decline and young people in revolt. This one is the best of the bunch. We discuss urban utopias/ dystopias, cinematic realism,  rap, and the use of the classics in cinema. Stay Tuned!

Episode #5: Prof. Kathleen Frederickson - In this episode, I talk to professor Kathleen Frederickson about the  1972 musical Cabaret directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minelli. If you are like me and are not really sure you like musicals, give this one a try and listen to this episode; I think that this is a good starter musical and this conversation might orient you. Also, if you have never seen Liz Minelli perform, it is worth watching just to see her talent on display. We talk about the power of music to move, which is much more sinister than it sounds.

Episode #6: Prof. Claire Waters - In this episode, I talk to professor Claire Waters about  Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And yes, this episode breaks the rules a little bit, because we are both medievalists, but it is a fun conversation nonetheless and we only mention Chaucer once. Or maybe twice. Three times, max...Seven times. But it's totally worth it each time.

Episode #7: Prof. Elizabeth Miller - In this episode I interview Prof. Elizabeth Miller about the film Young Adult (2011). We discuss black comedy, the Midwest, gender expectations and Prof. Miller also provides some book recommendations.

Episode #8: Prof. Michael Ziser - In this episode Prof. Michael Ziser and I explore the magnificent Cléo 5 to 7 by Agnès Varda. If you liked the Barbie movie, you will like this one. We discuss the director’s role as an experimental filmmaker, some relationships between gender and artistic practice, and the director’s work on films about the environment.  Even if you haven’t seen this movie, I would encourage you to listen and discover this underappreciated filmmaker.