What Are You____?

Posted
March 13, 2020

As we are all adjusting to this new normal, we are asking our faculty, graduate students, and staff three questions: What are you reading? What podcast are you listening to? What are you watching? We hope this gives you some ideas for your free time during this period of self-isolation.


Prof. Julian Zelizer

Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School

What are you reading?
"Here I Am" by Jonathan Foer

What podcasts are you listening to?
"Fiasco" by Leon Leon Neyfakh 
"LBJ and the Great Society" by PRX 

What are you watching?
Better Call Saul (AMC) 
Narcos (Netflix) 
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

 


Jennifer Loessy

Manager, Center for Collaborative History
 
What are you reading?
 
What podcasts are you listening to?
I am not really a podcast person, but I am looking for recommendations!
 
What are you watching?
I am looking forward to Season 3 of "Ozark" starting soon.

Kristy Novak

Graduate Program Administrator

What are you reading?
"Little Fires Everywhere" (Celeste Ng)

What podcasts are you listening to?
Criminal (Phoebe Judge)  
Lovett or Leave It (Jon Lovett)

What are you watching?
Schitt's Creek (Netflix), for some levity (or some levy-ty)!


Prof. Marina Rustow

Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East
Professor of Near Eastern Studies and History

What are you reading?
    •    Ahmed El Shamsy, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition
    •    Simon Mills, A Commerce of Knowledge: Trade, Religion, and Scholarship between England the Ottoman Empire, c. 1600-1760
    •    The New York Times and Arabic manuscript catalogues, equally obsessively and in alternation
    •    Fatimid tax receipts, painfully slowly
    •    Susan Choi, Trust Exercise

What music are you listening to?
Lana Del Rey  |  Radiohead  |  Mercan Dede

What are you watching?
Fleabag (Amazon)
Russian Doll (Netflix)
Killing Eve (Hulu/BBC America)
Babylon Berlin (Netflix)


Pablo Pryluka

Doctoral Candidate

What are you reading?

Silesian Station, by David Downing
La Casa de los Conejos, by Laura Alcoba
One Nation Under God, by our very own Kevin Kruse

What are you listening to?

Theme Time Radio Hour, podcast by Bob Dylan
The Complete Piano Duets, by Ella Fitzgerald

What are you watching?

Babylon Berlin (Netflix)
Narcos: Mexico (Netflix)
The Irishman (Netflix) - yes, it took me three days!

Liane Hewitt

Doctoral Candidate

What are you reading?
Yannis Varoufakis, And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe’s Economic Crisis and America’s Economic Future (2016)
Isser Wolloch, The Postwar Moment: Progressive Forces in Britain, France and the United States after World War II (2019)
Louis Aragon, Le collaborateur et autres nouvelles (1980)

What music are you listening to?
"The Dig" Podcast (Jacobin Mag)

What are you watching?
Chernobyl (HBO)
Babylon Berlin (Season 3, Netflix)
Unsere wunderbaren Jahre (ARD Mediathek)

Genie Yoo

Doctoral Candidate

What are you reading? 
Kristen Arnett, Mostly Dead Things
John D. Gimlette, Malay Poisons and Charm Cures
Malay-language Prayer books
Rudolf Mrazek, The Complete Lives of Camp People: Colonialism, Fascism, Concentrated Modernity

What music are you listening to?
Pod Save America
This American Life
The Bill Simmons Podcast

What are you watching?
Curb your Enthusiasm (HBO)
MSNBC 
Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
Ugly Delicious (Netflix)
 


Jaime Sanchez, Jr.

Doctoral Candidate

What are you reading?
Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima

What are you listening to?
Antônio Carlos Jobim (bossa nova is perfect for productivity)

What are you watching?
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix)


Geneva Smith

Doctoral Candidate

What are you reading?

  • This fascinating NYT article that manages to capture all of my worst fears about academia. 
  • And with the newfound free time of social distancing, I am slowly working my way through Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014)

What are you listening to?

  • A 4-part series on the assassination of JFK by The Last Podcast on the Left (one of my favorite true crime podcasts).
  • Music wise, lots of Lizzo and powerful female vocalists who can tell me I will survive

What are you watching?


Prof. Jeremy Adelman  

Henry Charles Lea Professor of History

What are you reading?
Abdelrahman Munif, Cities of Salt
 
What are you listening to? 
When I walk the dogs and do the dishes, I listen to several podcasts aside from NPR (thank goodness for Terry Gross!). I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s great series on music called Broken Record and David Runciman’s Talking Politics.
 
What are you watching?
Babylon Berlin (Netflix)
War of the Worlds (Epix) - Series not the Tom Cruise movie
I have The Stranger (Netflix) queued up!

Prof. Kevin M. Kruse 

Professor of History

What are you reading?
Nick Bryant, The Bystander 
Ready Classroom’s Third Grade Mathematics (home schooling!) 
 
What are you listening to?  
Otis Redding, Otis Blue
Nina Simone, I Put a Spell On You
Radiohead, In Rainbows
Questlove’s nightly DJ sessions (Instagram) 
 
What are you watching? 

Leanne Horiko

Graduate Program Assistant

What are you reading?
 
What are you listening to?  
The District’s new album, You Know I'm Not Going Anywhere, and Margret Glaspy’s new album, Devotion.
 
What are you watching? 
Bon Appétit’s Gourmet Makes. (Gourmet Makes Ramen, is one of my favorites.)

Prof. Sean Wilentz

George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History

What are you reading?
After a jag finishing the complete works of Albion Tourgée, the novelist, lawyer, and heroic Carpetbagger, I tried to get my bearings with pertinent titles like Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year. On my nightstand now is the translation of Manzoni's The Betrothed, where a plague figures in passing but is just a great read.
 
What are you listening to? 
My friend Jim Floyd laid on me an amazing album from 2004 by the Flamenco singer Diego Salazar ("El Cigala") and the Cuban pianist Bebo Valdez, Lagrimas Negras, which has been more or less on permanent CD-play, though it's also on Spotify, if you like that kind of music. You can also hear the wondrous Joyce Di Donato-led cast of Handel's Agrippina on Spotify. (I don't think it's coming up on the Metropolitan Opera's free online streaming service; but that's worth checking out as well, a different opera every night, weekends included.)   And, naturally, I've given more than one listen to Dylan's new seventeen minute plus release, "Murder Most Foul."
 
What are you watching?
My stepson Sam has a film appreciation assignment, so we've settled on Jim Jarmusch's Paterson for tonight. On tv, like almost everyone else I've spoken with, we devoured Unorthodox (Netflix). The grownups' tv viewing is now in the middle of the second season of Babylon Berlin (Netflix), which I can't believe we missed until now: required for all historians and not just!  And, yes, we're keeping up with Plot Against America (HBO), a harrowing adaptation, the first time a Philip Roth novel has made it to the screen successfully.
 

Robert Yee 

Ph.D. Candidate
 

What are you reading?
Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960
Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology

What are you listening to?

What are you watching?
Dirty Money (Netflix)
The Crown (Netflix)

Niharika Yadav  

Ph.D. Candidate

What are you reading? 
For my dissertation, an assortment of writing on modernism in South Asian literatures and art: the collected works of the Hindi poet and journalist Raghuveer Sahay; Geeta Kapur, When was Modernism
Toral Gajarawala, Untouchable Fictions
My current bedtime reading is Phanishwarnath Renu's Maila Aanchal (The Soiled Border).
 
What are you listening to? 
A podcast by the historian Lata Mani on "Tantra and the COVID 19 Pandemic", as part of an on-going conversation about Mani's captivating intellectual and spiritual trajectories; Kishori Amonkar; Ali Akbar Khan; the Silver Jews.
 
What are you watching?
I am re-watching films I love, so a lot of Abbas Kiarostami and late-career Bill Murray; I saw Grey Gardens recently, something about these times reminded me of it.

Prof. D. Graham Burnett  

Professor of History
 
What are you reading?
While I was sick this past month, I started reading in the bath, and I made my way through a few non-reading-for-class things while soaking in the tub.  The first was Longinus's "On the Sublime." Then I flipped around for a while in Steven Connor's The Matter of Air, but it wasn't the right thing for the moment (the sirens outside at all hours, the vague sense of dread).  So, like Sean Wilentz, I went back to Manzoni's The Betrothed, which I first read about 15 years ago.  It was amazing to re-read in the wake of teaching "The Poetics of History" with my friend Jeff Dolven. The novel is so deeply about history and historical recovery. Bedside reading these days is the Hodgson critical edition of the anonymous 14th-century mystical text The Cloud of Unknowing.  I love this book, and am trying it for the first time in the original Middle English.  I have also been part of a couple of Zoom reading groups in these last few weeks, one of which deals with "Attention."  For that, I led a discussion on a a passage from Bernard Stiegler's Taking Care of the Youth and the Generations, a section from James Elkins's How to Use Your Eyes, and the classic essay on dichotic listening and "The Cocktail Party Problem": E. Colin Cherry, "Some Experiments on the Recognition of Speech, with One and with Two Ears," from The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 25, no. 5 (1953): 975-79.  And for the last session we read part of Adam Phillips's new book, Attention Seeking.
 
What are you listening to? 
Bobby Timmons, Chun-King (1964)
Thelma Houston's cover of "Me and Bobby McGee" (1972)
Dick Gregory, Live at Kent State (1971)
Anything by Moses Sumney (especially the live version of "Everlasting Sigh")
 
What are you watching?
Chris Marker, Sans Soleil 
The original "Eyes on the Prize" PBS series
 


Dr. Randall Pippenger 

Lecturer in History
 
What are you reading?
Prof. William Chester Jordan's latest book: Servant of the Crown, and Steward of the Church: The Career of Philippe de Cahors (2019) -- available in paperback!

What are you listening to?
S-Town - reminds me of where I grew up.

What are you watching?
Tiger King (Netflix) -- also, strangely, reminds me of where I grew

Judith L. Miller

Undergraduate Program Administrator
 
What are you reading?
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by John Meacham
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski
 
What are you listening to?
The British History Podcast, host Jamie Jeffers
The Daily from The New York Times
Hidden Brain, host Shankar Vedantam; a recent guest was Michael Gordon discussing Albert Einstein
Stuff You Missed in History Class, hosts Holly Frey and Tracy Wilson
Infectious Historians, hosts Merle Eisenberg and Lee Mordechai, just started listening to this new podcast with some familiar names
Personology, host Dr. Gail Saltz
Sidedoor, from the Smithsonian Institute
Something You Should Know, host Mike Carruthers
NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour
WTF, host Marc Maron
 
What are you watching?
I spend much of my free time doing jigsaw puzzles and playing solitaire or backgammon on my iPad while listening to podcasts, but I try not to miss Jeopardy every week night at 7pm. My guilty pleasure is Midsomer Murders, I’m on season 11 out of 21 available so far.
 

Julia Marino

Ph.D. Candidate
 
What are you reading?
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett 
 
What are you listening to?
"The Argument" (The New York Times Podcast)
 
What are you watching?
Mrs. America (Hulu)
Fleabag (Amazon Prime)

 

Prof. Margot Canaday

Professor of History

What are you reading?

I’m reading Iris Murdoch’s novel, The Black Prince.  And because my sister is insisting on a family Zoom book group, I’m about to start Emily Wilson’s (apparently amazing?) new translation of The Odyssey.  If that goes well, we will follow it with Meredith Miller’s Circe.

What are you listening to?

For podcasts—it was Ezra Klein’s interview with Meredith Miller (and her discussion of Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey) that made me want to join family Zoom book group, so yes, I like the Ezra Klein Show.  I also love The Daily and Fresh Air.

For music—I am listening to all sorts of music (cd and vinyl) on Kingwood Warren Limited Edition Falcon Acoustics Ls3/5a speakers.  These beauties are faithful recreations of the BBC’s brilliant 1970s monitor, which was originally designed for outside broadcast vans and other small studios.  But they became hugely popular for home audio too and have had a cult following ever since.  Amplification by Vinnie Rossi.  Sublime! 

What are you watching?

I am really enjoying Ozark, which is a wonderful escape.  Justin Bateman and Laura Linney really carry it.  I am also enjoying Better Things—no real plot to speak of, but the whole show is just a Pamela Adlon delivery system.  I think she’s brilliant.  I also like the PBS arts/culture series, American Masters.  We just watched the most recent episode on Miles Davis (“Birth of the Cool.”). Great! 


Will Theiss  

Ph.D. Candidate
 
What are you reading?
Das achte Leben (Für Brilka) (The Eighth Life, for Brilka) by Nino Haratischwili
 
What are you listening to?
John Prine
 
What are you watching?
The Last Dance (ESPN)

David A. Bell

Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the Era of North Atlantic Revolutions; Professor of History
 

What are you reading?
Maurice Samuels, The Betrayal of the Duchess: The Scandal that Unmade the Bourbon Monarchy and Made France Modern
Yannick Bosc, Le peuple souverain et la démocratie: Politique de Robespierre
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Robert Harris, An Officer and a Spy

What are you listening to?
Cheryl Wheeler, Half a Book
Alison Krauss, A Hundred Miles or More
The Beatles, Rubber Soul

What are you watching?
The Bureau (Sundance Channel)
Fauda (Netflix)
Bosch (Amazon Prime)


Xin Wen

Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and History
 
What are you reading?
I am on leave this academic year at NYU, and have been self-isolating in my apartment in Brooklyn since March 6. This terrible situation nonetheless gave me some time to read things that I have wanted to but somehow never had the chance to read. I went through the Harry Potter series, which I never read when I was younger. At a time of social-distancing, I also read Call Me by Your Name and Brideshead Revisited to access some human connections. I reread Walden (which was a favorite of mine in College), and found Thoreau’s message resonating with another recent favorite: Why Buddhism is True. More painfully, I am also working through reports on the early years of the AIDS epidemic in And the Band Played On and found uncanny parallels of the toll of governmental apathy with our current pandemic.
 
What are you listening?
I have switched my news source from online viewing of news-sites to podcasts. The Daily by The New York Times (released daily around 6am) and the Post Reports by The Washington Post (released daily around 5pm) provide me with healthy doses of news and human stories. Then, when I walk or jog (always with a mask on) in the Prospect Park, I pump myself up with pop songs in Chinese from the 90s and 2000s, from bands like Mayday.
 
What are you watching?
As the reality is so grim, I am gravitating to comedies or other light-hearted shows, such as Dead to Me (Netflix), Special (Netflix), Tales of the City (Netflix), Insecure (HBO) and Big Little Lies (HBO).

Judith Hanson

Department Manager

What are you reading?
I just finished The Library Book by Susan Orlean, and am making my way through Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout and The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski. After that I have The Overstory by Richard Power and Call Them by Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit lined up.
 
What are you listening to?
Right now - A collection of Adagios by Albinoni, Bach, and Beethoven (my background music during the day). Diana Krall - anything of hers.
 
What are you watching?
PBS and old movies on TCM

Prof. Erika Milam

Professor of History
 
What are you reading?
 
What are you listening to?
 
What are you watching?
Giri/Haji (Netflix), The Expanse (Amazon Prime), and, given the times, rewatching Contagion seemed in order but in retrospect was probably a bad idea. 

Hannah Stamler

Ph.D. Candidate

 
What are you reading?
Mostly reading fiction in my spare time. Just finished Jenny Offill's Weather, now on Anna Karenina. (I figure it's the time for epics!)
 
What are you listening to?
Brian Lehrer, NTS Radio, and the new Caribou album, Suddenly.
 
What are you watching?
For good classic films, the Criterion Channel. For escapism, Mrs. Maisel or re-watching Mad Men
 
I've also bought passes to stream new releases through independent/arthouse theaters––it's a nice way to see new movies and support small theaters. Next week, I might try the documentary The Booksellers: https://booksellersdocumentary.com/screenings.

 

Kim Worthington

Ph.D. Candidate
 
What are you reading?
Harry Potter
 
What are you listening to?

What are you watching?