Mark Evan Bonds, “Breaking Music’s Fourth Wall”

In this podcast, Mark Evan Bonds (NHC Fellow, 1995–96; 2021–22) examines what it means to “break the fourth wall” in classical music composition and performance. Exploring the way that composers like Franz Joseph Haydn used their compositions to subvert audience expectations can help us to understand the ways that styles of music appreciation have changed from the Enlightenment to the present day.

Jacob M. Baum, “Disability and Autobiography in the Sixteenth Century”

In this podcast, Jacob M. Baum (NHC Fellow, 2021–22), associate professor of history at Texas Tech University, discusses how the autobiographical notebooks of Sebastian Fischer, a deaf sixteenth-century shoemaker, can enhance and challenge our perspective on early modern disability studies. Fischer’s manuscript not only describes what life was like during this period for an artisan with hearing impairment, but also provides a window into the way that major historical events like the Protestant Reformation were experienced by individuals who lacked economic status and political power.

Fresh Off the Press: Furnace Creek: A Novel

Taking its inspiration from Great Expectations, Furnace Creek teases us with the question of what Pip might have been like had he grown up in the American South of the 1960s and 1970s and faced the explosive social issues—racial injustice, a war abroad, women’s and gay rights, class struggle—that galvanized the world in those decades. Deftly combining elements of coming-of-age story, novel of erotic discovery, Southern Gothic fiction, and detection-mystery thriller, Furnace Creek offers a contemporary meditation on the perils of desire, ambition, love, loss, and family.

Fresh Off the Press: Freedomville: The Story of a 21st Century Slave Revolt

Freedomville is the story of a small group of enslaved villagers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, who founded their own town of Azad Nagar—Freedomville—after staging a rebellion against their slaveholders. But Laura T. Murphy (NHC Fellow, 2017–18), a leading scholar of contemporary global slavery, who spent years researching and teaching about Freedomville, found that whispers and deflections suggested that there was something troubling about Azad Nagar’s success.

Fresh Off the Press: Mother Tongues: Poems

Zimbabwean poet and scholar Tsitsi Ella Jaji (NHC Fellow, 2017–18) discusses and reads selections from Mother Tongues: Poems, her award-winning second book of verse, in which she explores our relationships with language, from the first words we learn to the vows we swear, examining how generations of love and loss are inscribed in our every utterance.