The Spouter-Inn: A Podcast Exploring the World’s Great Books

Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, with Chris Piuma, hosts The Spouter-Inn, a MegaphonicFM podcast that explores major works of literature from antiquity to modern times. Akbari and Piuma—avid readers with a penchant for sharing the joy of reading with others—create a welcome space for listeners of all ages to discover, analyze, and appreciate books across different cultures and spanning the ages.

The podcast frequently features special guests with expert insight to elicit deeper meaning in texts. In March, Nahir I. Otaño Gracia, current Member in the School of Historical Studies and Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Mexico, joined to discuss women’s agency in Laxdæla Saga, and what reading the Icelandic sagas in multiple languages and from a Puerto Rican perspective reveals about them.

In 2020, shortly after the pandemic began, special episodes on “Reading During Crisis” Part I and Part II featured IAS scholars Cord Whitaker (2019–20) and Carissa Harris (2020–current) respectively, among other guests.

In an episode that considers the Mahabharata, an enormous Sanskrit epic of ancient India, incoming IAS Member Luther Obrock talks about Robert Oppenheimer’s love for that work and for Sanskrit literature more generally.

This one-of-a-kind podcast views fundamental literary works through the lens of various disciplines and—much like IAS—fosters open-ended conversations guided by curiosity.

Listen to the latest episodes or catch up on the classics at MegaphonicFM. You can also follow The Spouter-Inn on Twitter @TheSpouter.

Listen to more podcasts featuring IAS scholars here.