Episode 1.15 Rethinking Podcasts with THIS GUY (Points at Self)

Welcome to the end of the beginning! By which I mean, it’s time for a wee little break in this here podcast while we sort a few things out, most especially how we’re going to go about peer reviewing it (surprise! this podcast is going to be peer reviewed! maybe! somehow!). If you’d like to be part of the amazing process of helping me to develop new forms of public, feminist, community accountable peer review, here’s your chance. Just comment on this post. Here are some questions you might consider:

  • What do you think of the format? Do you like the length? Do you wish the interviews were longer or shorter? What about the intros?
  • What are your thoughts on the guests/topics thus far? Are there specific people you’d like me to invite or topics you’d like me to tackle?
  • What’s one thing that’s really working for you? What’s one thing you’d change, if you were the boss of me?
  • If you’re a scholar, or have opinions on scholarship: what makes Secret Feminist Agenda scholarly, or not scholarly, in your opinion?

Don’t feel limited by these questions if you have totally different things you’d like to write about. Oh, and don’t worry: there’s still a self-care corner on this mini episode.

The podcast theme song is “Mesh Shirt” by Mom Jeans off their album “Chub Rub.” Listen to the whole album here or learn more about them here.

28 thoughts on “Episode 1.15 Rethinking Podcasts with THIS GUY (Points at Self)

  1. Personally I would dance for joy if it was twice as long, but it makes sense to stop the conversations getting too long, because I think it’s important to listen to it all in one go. That being said, if a conversation did go on for longer and have more material worth including, I think the occasional longer episode would be fine.
    The guests have been amazing! I don’t want to suggest any topics, because I love being made to think about things that might not have crossed my mind otherwise.
    I think the podcast ties together really nicely when the secret feminist agenda for that week has come from the conversation you had.
    I’m afraid I don’t have anything else particularly helpful to say, just keep doing what you’re doing!

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  2. Format: I like the structure but I think it could be a little longer, sometimes I feel like many important things are left out ir like we’re left right un the middle of the conversation. I felt this specially in EP. 1.13
    Guests: great so far! I’ve followed many of them and expanded the learning experience this podcast provides. Very interested un hearing more about food, mental health and fatness!!!
    Really working for me: Kaarina’s self care corner
    Thing I would change: make Kaarina’s self care corner longer 😍
    In general, I love that these very important discussions are accesible at the level of language and that they’re treated from your personal experience, which makes listening to the podcast a source of comfort, empathy and strenght for women. Keep up the good work!!!

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  3. I may have literally squealed out loud when I heard you say the words “podcasts as scholarly communication.” I am so very very excited about this. I’m an academic librarian with two graduate degrees and I love this idea so much and I can see so much application for myself and for the faculty and students I work with. Did I mention I’m excited?!

    What do you think of the format? Do you like the length? Do you wish the interviews were longer or shorter? What about the intros?
    My ideal podcast length is about an hour, though I do like having some 20-30 minute podcasts when I have less time to listen. I’m torn with this podcast I recognize the utility of a 20-30 minute podcast and in a way I see the limiting of length as a feminist statement of boundary setting and self care, on the other hand every time and interview ends on this podcast my immediate thought it “wait, that’s it? I want more!” I do also think a longer format has the benefit of allowing for more in depth conversations, which from a scholarly perspective is I think desireable.

    What are your thoughts on the guests/topics thus far? Are there specific people you’d like me to invite or topics you’d like me to tackle?
    So far I’ve really just been enjoying the ride. Almost all of your guests/topics have been things that I didn’t know I wanted or needed, but found myself nodding and fist pumping along to each episode. I love the work your doing and as a woman with academic interests it is really making me feel seen in profound ways.

    What’s one thing that’s really working for you? What’s one thing you’d change, if you were the boss of me?
    I love the intros they really set the mood, I love the recommendations of works by women of color and other marginalized groups, I definitely went and bought the audio version of “We Are Never Meeting In Real Life” as a direct result of your recommendation. If I’d change anything it would be as I said above to give more time to the interviews which are always so fascinating I want to hear more. A possible solution could be multi part episodes like you did once before, this would allow you to keep the 20-30 minute format, but also give listeners more time with your guests.

    If you’re a scholar, or have opinions on scholarship: what makes Secret Feminist Agenda scholarly, or not scholarly, in your opinion?
    Overall I would say that the podcast does have a scholarly vibe to it and your interest in trying to carve out a space for scholarly communication through podcasts makes so much sense. As someone who is in the scholarly environment, but does not have to seek tenure in the way faculty do I’ve often wished that more creative things like podcasting were recognized within the scholarly community because I’m really interested in the ways that we use media to engage with the things that we love and share them with others.

    As for what doesn’t feel scholarly….it really really pains me to say this, but Kaarina’s Cozy Self-Care Corner, not scholarly. I love her, I love the segment, but I feel like this is the part of the podcast that would be the hardest for “The Academy” to swallow. I don’t think that means you should take it out, but I do think that is something you will need to consider/address going forward with this project.

    Thank you so much for everything that you do.

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  4. Dear Hannah,

    I’m so grateful for your work, both on this podcast and “Witch, Please.” It has made me reconsider my involvement in academic pursuits (largely abandoned in 2010 after a grueling 1-year MA program). But hearing you, Marcelle, and other scholars, such as your guest Brenna Clarke Gray, have professional success along with fulfilling lives, shows me that there are many ways to be an academic. This episode, where you announced your project of developing podcasts as a more public-facing type of scholarly publishing, crystallizes the way you’re forging new spaces in academia and rethinking what it can be and do. (Dobedobedo….) Ahem.

    Anyway, some more concrete feedback on the format of Secret Feminist Agenda:

    Mostly dig the structure of your episodes: your stream-of-consciousness on a topic, followed by a conversation with another feminist or two, capped with Kaarina’s self-care corner. If there’s one segment I’m not always into, it’s the last one, but that has more to do with my aversion to what I perceive as “New Age-y-ness.” Oftentimes, I do find that segment enlightening, and I recognize that it is valuable to other people despite my occasional “no thanks” reaction. That’s what the fast-forward button is for. As for topics, I’m happy to be along for the ride and appreciate the variety of discussions you’re having. I am curious about your professional research, but understand that perhaps you’d rather leave work at work. And if you ever want to turn your analytical feminist lens on Barbershop (yay, singing!) I think that would be fascinating. Thank you for introducing me to new feminist ideas (such as rest as a right, not a reward) and better articulating some I was already familiar with. All in all, please keep doing what you’re doing for as long as you find it fulfilling. Have a wonderful hiatus!

    -Rachel

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  5. I find this podcast is really useful for my continued understanding of the world and feminism and how it impacts our lives. I’ve found myself constantly relating things I’ve learned from Hannah and the guests to all sorts of people in my life. Feminist theory and scholarship being more easily accessible has hugely improved my outlook and impact in my community. Keep it up and I’ll keep passing it on.

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  6. Hi Hannah! I’m loving your podcast! I’ve been listening since the beginning and have throughly enjoyed the insight into feminism and the world of academia in general. I’m dipping my toe into a graduate program in library sciences and your discussions on scholarship (especially your research into podcasting as a medium for distribution of scholarly material) has energized me in my own pursuits! One of my favorite parts of your show is Kaarina’s Cozy Corner and I regularly am able to implement her suggestions into my week. A possible suggestion for future topics is to take a current news story or event and trace it back showing his feminist history. Like a feminist history lesson for some of us newbies to the subject material.

    Thanks for all the effort you put into this and keep up the awesome work!

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  7. Things I love about secret feminist agenda:
    *Being given language and academic background to understand things I inherently know from my lived experience but couldn’t articulate
    *Being given a task/homework and reading. Most other podcasts I listen to are passive, I sit and listen on the train and forget most of what was said. This element feels active, interactive and inclusive
    *How accessible it is. It feels very academic and like I’m learning academically and being challenged to learn and grow, but the barriers that exist between me and academic learning are not there. I think the feeling of being talked to as a peer is nice. The humour, currency, language and joy of the podcast helps with my learning.
    *The balance between being topical and timeless. I like that the present moment is often discussed as an entry to broader issues.
    *Everyone getting their own theme song.
    *I feel very included, as someone who feels exculded from most feminist discussions because of class and transness. I feel invited to learn.

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  8. Hi Hannah! I absolutely love this podcast (and Witch, Please as well) and have definitely been “passing it on”. I find it very comforting and inspiring and I have been sharing a lot of the info I’ve been hearing with other people in my life. I agree with a lot of the previous commenters that sometimes I wish the interviews would go on a bit longer..but only as needed. It wouldn’t matter to me if some episodes were longer than others.

    I love the variety of topics you’ve covered and I appreciate when you speak to people from different fields who maybe have different language or a different way of expressing their ideas on feminism. I was recently listening to Jeremy Scahill’s podcast “Intercepted” and I love the way he often includes music from progressive political bands into the episodes. Perhaps you could consider bringing some cool artists into the conversation? Hearing some music and interviews with musicians would be great. I also realize that they may not be easy to get a hold of!! Just a suggestion. Even maybe talking to some dancers, theatre people? I am contemporary dance artist in Vancouver so I have a few names of cool dancers if you’re ever interested.

    Love Karina’s self-care corner. And really appreciated your conversation with her.

    Thank you so much for everything that you do!

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  9. Hi Hannah!
    Every time I listen to a new episode, I think “THIS IS MY NEW FAVOURITE EPISODE” and then proceed to recommend it to at least two rad feminists in my life. I often cry while listening to it, because I’m overjoyed at feeling understood and hearing my politics reflected and articulated back at me. The podcast pushes me to think about how to enact my politics on the daily, which is all I ever want.

    Your intro is my favourite part, especially as you weave your week and what’s going on in the world into how you want to make change. I could listen to you talk FOREVER. But also your guests are rad, and I’m excited by the idea that you’re interviewing cool people in your life doing cool things, as it helps bust down those pedestals that are so common in social justice circles. It’s a reminder that we are those cool people doing those cool things too!

    In terms of the podcast as scholarly….A THOUSAND TIMES YES! I’m a current grad student, and I love me some critical theory. And you deliver. You’re also making me a better academic, as I get to apply the frameworks I love so dearly to everything.

    One thing that’s been on my mind: I have some important Deaf and Hearing Impaired folks in my life, and I’d love to be able to share the podcast with them. I imagine some amazing folks (possibly yourself!) have already thought a lot about podcasting and accessibility….any ideas around making the podcast more accessible, through transcription, or other methods? I know that time, resources, and energy are not infinite either, so would love to hear your take.

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  10. I’m a huge fan of this podcast. Love love love it. In general, I think that it’s great that you have episode notes and I’ve really enjoyed every single episode of this podcast and don’t think there’s anything I could suggest for you to improve on. Another reviewer mentioned the lengths of the episodes so I’ll say something about that: I’d be happy if they were longer or had 2 segments (with different guests). I could also listen to you talk for practically forever so more of you talking is also good. The reason why I think this makes an excellent study for a scholarly podcast is because it’s in a format that I think will be somewhat easily accessible to scholars? I know that you’ve done work interviewing writers and then publishing those interviews. This is the same? Good luck with this process and thanks for taking on this important (and pioneering) work so that eventually others may be recognized for their labour as well.

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  11. My partner and I love this podcast! The structure works for me. I really enjoy the “this week’s agenda” opening segment. This podcast has introduced me to so many fantastic people, literature and resources and I’m incredibly thankful for that!

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  12. This podcast has been so dear and meaningful to me, and I am SO excited to hear about the new developments! Below are some thoughts about my interaction with this podcast. Quick shoutout to Episode 1.6 “Taking Up Space” for being my favorite episode of all time (“Whiteness is inherently violent”, “My feminism has ample space for violence”, etc.)

    Aspects about the podcast that I love:
    – The fact that Hannah’s personal secret feminist agenda (SFA) does not necessarily correlate with the topic of the later conversation. To me the fact that they are not necessarily related makes the introduction feel very personal, like perhaps Hannah’s SFA is even secret to her guest, and she’s only sharing it with the listeners. The non-correlation also offers two distinct feminist insights per episode which I appreciate because I’m learning so much from this podcast. Then again, when they do correlate it’s also super great!
    – The types of conversation. I’m learning a lot, especially about topics that I did not question in my own life before hearing it on SFA (ex. the ambivalence in being able to buy my own things – both loving it and realizing its implications among capitalism).
    – Echoed from above: the stream-of-conciousness format. I love hearing Hannah actively pick apart her own ideas / thoughts / assumptions regarding feminism, because it helps me to identify with her feminist journey and also to accept my own journey.
    – That the guests (so far) are mostly Hannah’s friends. It makes me feel connected to my own friends with whom I share these types of conversatIions and gives me hope that I can find more and more people with whom to share such conversations. I also love that it feels so casual, not like a rigid interview, but a genuinely dear and fiery conversation.
    – Kaarina’s Cozy Self-Care Corner. Please keep this around. Somehow I always forget that it’s coming and then I hear the sound effect and exude an audible “YES!” because I’m so excited to hear about her self-care advice. The segment about the gloomy octopus has been really impactful in my personal journey and learning to accept my contradictions. I echo / agree with above sentiments that the “Academy” will give it side-eye but also fuck that. It enacts real change just as much as the rest of the podcast. I would love for it to stay.
    – That Hannah offers ample resources for her listeners to investigate, including books (I just started reading Basic Witches and I loooove it, can’t wait to order We Are Never Meeting in Real Life), articles, people to follow on Twitter, and music (echoed from above: I love that each guest has a personalized theme song – it really channels the energy from the conversation).

    I wish the podcast did differently:
    – Echoed from above: length, of course. I consistently feel like the conversations end too soon and would loooove longer episodes. I love that Witch Please episodes can be so long (hours), and would love to hear the same length with SFA (if possible!).
    – Reference Patricia Hill Collins’s “Toward an Afrocentric Feminist Epistemology” when discussing communal knowledge / knowledge that women KNOW to be true in the face of academia telling them that it is false / not proven / etc. I think about that piece every time they discuss the dynamic between femme Twitter epistemology and white male “scholarly” epistemology and I wish Hannah would reference it directly. (Link: http://www.woldww.net/classes/Principles_of_Inquiry/Collins-AfrocFemEpistemology+.htm).
    – Using the word “blindspot” in reference to peoples’ feminism being not-intersectional. Using that word makes me feel uncomfortable, like it may be problematic. I am not blind or low vision, so I would of course appreciate correction if I’m on the wrong track, but it seems suspiciously ableist. NOTE: I listen to both WP and SFA on repeat so sometimes their language blends together. I might be channeling this feeling from Witch Please, so maybe Hannah doesn’t do it as much anymore, and I would again appreciate correction if this has already been resolved.

    Scholarship:
    One of the things that makes me feel that this podcast is scholarship is that it enacts real change. My feminism has become all-around better (more intersectional, more radical, more of a daily practice) through listening. This work is clearly making an impact and it deserves to be recognized as such by the governing bodies that dictate which information is ordained legitimate.

    Conclusion:
    This is my favorite podcast of all time, and I cannot wait to witness the impending developments!

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  13. Hi Hannah – First I should say that I’m an academic as well (I’m a historian). I think this is a really interesting project and will be fascinated to hear further about podcasts as a new way of disseminating research and facilitating scholarly debate. I think the podcast works really well in the current format. The intro allows you to frame the main discussion and also to reflect on current events that have influenced your thinking. I can see that others have said they’d like longer podcasts and I agree that a longer discussion might be good for going more in depth on a topic, but I also enjoy a shorter podcast as it is easier to fit into my day! A shorter length might make it easier to revisit topics or guests and could be an interesting and transparent way of showing the development of ideas? (I suppose in a similar way to academic journals that allow people to post responses to articles – but that doesn’t take months/years!) My only extra suggestion would be to try and widen the guests to include international perspectives if you thought that was doable. I’m based in the UK and one of the ways research excellence is assessed is to ask if it is world-leading or internationally significant, so broadening out to include international guests might help to fit that criteria. This is probably the same in Canada but thought it was worth mentioning as something that occurred to me. I hope that’s useful. Really looking forward to seeing how the podcast evolves!

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  14. I love that this podcast makes me think about the world and my place in it in completely new ways. I also love the academic approach, if you wanted to go even further in that direction I would happily follow.

    Like a lot of the other commenters I would like longer interviews if possible.

    I came to Witch, please for Harry Potter and stayed for the feminism, so it was an easy decision to move onto SFA.

    I would love if possible more international guests (can’t remember if you’ve had (m)any, need to re-listen). I don’t live in North America and it would be lovely to hear from feminists from all over the world.

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  15. “format? length? intros?”
    I like that the episodes are shorter than many podcasts that i listen to. I think that is both because th author spends time in editing it well (which is real and appreciated work) and because the topics can be heavy.

    I sometimes feel overwhelmed during or after an episode. I learn so much, and i also wonder if more oportunifor breaks, levity, ridiculousness, etc could be explored further. For myself, i downloaded “The Patriarchy!!” jingle from @bufferingcast and intersperse it while you talk. I mean, i get that this is bigger than the patriarchy and all, but sometimes i need the airhorn ringingout a warning that this is hard, and its not for me to take on all at once, and reminding myself of that during the episodes with a loud obnoxious jingle just feels like the right way to break that shit up. Perhaps #secretfeministagenda can offer their own ColonialCapitalistHeteroCisGoddamnoppessiveShit jingle. That would b rockin.

    guests/topics thus far? Are there specific people you’d like me to invite or topics you’d like me to tackle?

    Like others, i enjoy a lot the rapport in the episodes btwn people who know and like each other. Love this so much. Good conversation that is based in actually liking th other person is too rarely modelled in our interview culture, and i think the podcast ethos shows us another way.

    The other side to that is that i sometimes feel like i came late to a goddamn awesome party, forgot to learn how to dance, and am wearing a handmedown dress that i thought was cool but now seems not at all right. Tres willow season 2. Put in another way, i dont ncessarily have access to the same knowledge that you all seem to, and im happy to be at the party at all, but i could also use some friendly basic operating instructions. Much of the time, things are really well explained and i can follow along with few dunce-hat feelings, but sometimes it would be cool to have a dictionary or repository of quick knowledge available and you can be all, “ if youre confused about this part, go ofer to BodyOfBaseKnowledge and check out ThisCoolPrimerOnWhatTheHellWeareTalkingabout. Since i cant raise my hand in class…

    What’s one thing that’s really working for you? What’s one thing you’d change, if you were the boss of me?

    Love the intro update of your secret feminist agenda this week
    Change /add/ increase: mental floss breaks, digestion pauses, HolyShitLetsAllSitWithThis moments , humor segments that are r regular and expected so that i know if i am having a rough time or its heavy or hard following along, there will be a humor break in 5 minutes and I can make it till then.

    Scholarly?
    When i read a journal article, i very often end up using the cited articles as my next source of imformation. The cited works in a printed article form part of the context of the thoughts of the author, so in order to understand them, to critique them, or to engage more deeply with them, I as a scholar then follow the thought-trail that the author has made visible.

    This podcast offers the same experience, and I make use of it when i engage with the podcast. I almost always listen to the audio and thn continue along my normal scholarly imvestigations by following the links to articles or to the online contributions and presences of th invites guests. Although each episode may take only 30 minutes, I am spending a few hours to follow the thought-trails on a given episode release. Additionally, i often end up following the invited speakers on twitter, and thereby integrate their ongoing work into my day. This is immersive scholarship, and it is far more involved than most articles I read while researching in my own field. It impacts me in my life, in my conversations (scholarly or informal), and in my research work. Because the episodes can have wide ranging topics with deeply intertwined areas, I dont always know where i will end up when i follow the thought-trails curated by the podcast author. In this way, it is immensely satistfying scholarly work. It brings joy back into my work, and i am grateful for it.

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  16. Hello!

    I have been THIRSTING for the content you are putting out into the world. I LOVE this podcast (and Witch Please). I am looking for academic thinkers who might give me insight into symbolic understanding, chance operations in art, and non-patriarchal spirituality.

    I feel your work is the closest I have come to reconnecting to a community I had in grad school in the early 1990’s. My artist-friends and I formed a collective we called “The Tea Group” which was central to my process for about ten years. But without them, I’ve been lonesome for some critical analysis of culture and some down-home-feminism. Your voice and apparent comfort with speaking personally makes for a very engaging format. It also reminds me of the very difficulties some of my women friends in the visual arts had in grad school, being criticized for doing autobiographical work and work that was “sentimental”. Ugh!! We needed you then as we need you now!

    It sounds like little has changed and that it is this same academic framework that makes it hard to receive institutional credit and authority for your podcast. Please know you have a grateful audience and that your goal of reaching beyond the readership of academic journals is DEEPLY needed and appreciated.

    I would disagree with the folks above that the episodes should be longer. One option might be to do what Krista Tippet does for “On Being” and release uncut versions for the folks who want more. But I do think the editing down is important.

    I myself am really looking for a community of people who are thoughtful and smart feminists and who are interested in non-patriarchal spirituality, art, and the role it can play in people’s lives. (Kiki Smith!!! Kara Walker!!!). I am a visual artist in the Boston, MA area. I have been working for several years on reinterpreting tarot cards as abstract paintings. I struggle to describe my work to people who will immediately dismiss it because Tarot is kitsch and non-scientific. These are some of the very reasons I was drawn to it as an art form. And yet, I struggle with the internalized hatred of fringe spirituality and nonobjective ways of knowing. (Plus I do believe in the scientific process, so that’s tricky.)

    What you are doing is vitally important to my intellectual nourishment, and my sense of connectedness. My main request is that you find more people to do more work like this. You have introduced me to so many wonderful thinkers! (My older daughter is a Dr. Who fan, so obviously I passed on “Woke Dr. Who”.) Also, I made my husband and teenage daughters listen to the episode “Teenage Girls are Magic” this summer driving to Cape Cod. They LOVED it.

    I wish you all the best for your hiatus. If you are ever in Boston for a live show I would love to come. If you have any interest in performance art and would like to collaborate, please do let me know.

    With Gratitude,
    Caroline Rufo

    http://www.rufoart.net

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  17. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this podcast. I have been looking for content like this in a podcast for a very long time and this podcast is so important for the community is creates and the ideas that it addresses. I was so excited when I heard that you were going to work on peer reviewing the podcast as an academic work because for too long this important media and outreach work has been unappreciated and is seen as being on the outside of Higher Ed when it is very very much a part of the work that academics do.

    To answer your questions.

    What do you think of the format? Do you like the length? Do you wish the interviews were longer or shorter? What about the intros?
    I think the format and length and great. 30-45 minute episodes are very accessible in terms of time and allow for a more direct focus. The intros to your speakers are good and your secret feminist agenda is the most crucial dialogue producing part of the podcast in my opinion. You always bring up great topics that relate to what is going on socially, culturally, and historically.

    What are your thoughts on the guests/topics thus far? Are there specific people you’d like me to invite or topics you’d like me to tackle?
    The guest and topics have been really good and super informative while also always being super accessible which I think is so valuable. I love that you had Brenna on because she is my college loving sistah so maybe go from there and look at how these secret feminist agendas are being positioned in different parts of higher ed and academe?

    What’s one thing that’s really working for you? What’s one thing you’d change, if you were the boss of me?
    I am going to be honest, I am very much an advocate for self care, and I talk about it all the time with my students, but the self-care corner is not really working for me. It may be the loon sound? Seriously I think that is some sort of trigger for me that doesn’t allow me to focus on what Kaarina is saying. Reflection and advocacy within a feminist framework is super important and I love that you do that but maybe this needs to be revisited? Also please more astrology because I laugh at how you get it so right every.time.

    If you’re a scholar, or have opinions on scholarship: what makes Secret Feminist Agenda scholarly, or not scholarly, in your opinion?
    I teach in an Assaulted Women and Children Counsellor/Advocate college program and I have often suggested your podcast as a scholarly secondary source to my students for their papers. You and your guests usually do an excellent job of framing the discussion theoretically which certainly makes it scholarly, while also keeping in accessible. You provide secondary sources for further reading, which I think you can easily argue work as your Work Cited or References for the podcast.

    I am super excited to see how this develops and please accept my thanks and gratitude for all that you do, Dr. McGregor!

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  18. What do you think of the format? Do you like the length? Do you wish the interviews were longer or shorter? What about the intros?
    I honestly could listen to a never-ending stream of smart, funny, conversations led by Hannah. I’d love if the podcast were longer, perhaps a mix of 30min, 45min, and special 1 hr episodes. Or like folks said above, I would absolutely listen to an uncut version. The intros are my favorite part. I wonder if there could be an episode where Hannah is the “special guest” who gets interviewed? Thank you for sharing your experience. I appreciate your vulnerability, sass, and critical thinking skills, among other qualities.

    What are your thoughts on the guests/topics thus far? Are there specific people you’d like me to invite or topics you’d like me to tackle?
    I love the guests and topics! Can we talk about the age of online dating? Especially for queer femme-identified folks. Everyday feminism enacted while navigating the challenges presented by technology. Topics I’m also interested in hearing more about include: challenges with the institution of higher education (see what’s been going on at The Evergreen State College, where I work: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evergreen-state-college-another-side_us_598cd293e4b090964295e8fc), SEX! (i.e. people’s experiences with kink culture, consent training, polyamory/monogamy), how people without PhDs are enacting their own feminisms.

    What’s one thing that’s really working for you? What’s one thing you’d change, if you were the boss of me?
    The whole concept really works for me. As an aspiring public intellectual, I am so excited to learn from your work every week. I would think about interviewing people with a broader educational background. Definitely include the experts. But I’d be curious to hear what dynamic the “non-accredited” experts bring to the conversation. If this is a route you go, I volunteer. 🙂 (Although, I’m in the process of pursuing my MPA, so I’m not sure I count.)

    If you’re a scholar, or have opinions on scholarship: what makes Secret Feminist Agenda scholarly, or not scholarly, in your opinion?
    Oral history has a fraught relationship with legitimacy. Despite the podcast’s ability to be ‘officially’ peer reviewed, I find this work to be scholarly. In the same way we are using interviews to gather data this quarter, the podcast illuminates truth. It shouldn’t matter how that material is presented. Thank you for stretching the confines of academia.

    Please keep doing this work. Thank you for it.

    Yours,
    Megan

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  19. What do you think of the format? Do you like the length? Do you wish the interviews were longer or shorter? What about the intros?
    – I would LOVE for them to be longer, I feel so fulfilled when listening to the conversations you have with other amazing feminists. I also completely understand that the longer the show, the more editing you have to do and you’re a busy person so if longer isn’t an option I’m still going to listen and be happy doing so.

    What are your thoughts on the guests/topics thus far? Are there specific people you’d like me to invite or topics you’d like me to tackle?
    – I have loved all of the guests, I think you bring on a lot of different people who have interesting things to say on varying topics. Each one has taught me something different or made me think about topics more thoroughly.

    What’s one thing that’s really working for you? What’s one thing you’d change, if you were the boss of me?
    – Working for me: literally everything, Hannah, I hear your voice in my head all the time “have you had enough water today?” and my good friend Leah and I discourse on the topics you talk about often and it makes me actively think about my feminism in a way I didn’t before. The show has also made me ask my boyfriend about a lot more feminist topics to start an active conversation within our household about topics we would not have really discussed about otherwise.

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  20. Hi Hannah,
    Thank you for creating Secret Feminist Agenda! I started listening to Witch Please this summer and then followed you over to Secret Feminist Agenda. I really love both podcasts -they remind me of how much I miss being in school and having a community of creative, intellectual, intersectionally feminist peers and mentors.

    Format:
    I like the three segments of the podcast (Secret Feminist Agenda intro with Hannah, Interview, Kaarina’s Cozy Self-Care Corner). The interview section could go a little longer for me (30min).

    Guests/Topics:
    I’ve enjoyed all the guests so far. I particularly enjoy hearing from WoC and women academics/writers who are not necessarily the one famous public intellectual known for talking about X identity (for instance, I love Roxane Gay’s work and hearing her talk on other podcasts, but it’s great to hear from other working academics/writers. It makes me feel like I can also offer valuable contributions to public discourse without being Roxane Gay). I would like to second Megan Rosenburg’s topic suggestions (challenges of working in higher education, kink and polyamory, ways people practice feminism and produce feminist knowledge outside of academic institutions). I also have enjoyed your conversations on astrology and would be interested in talking more about other ways people categorize themselves (I’m a huge fan of personality quizzes and tag yourself memes).

    One thing that’s really working for me:
    I really like the blending of theory and sharing personal experiences (with respect for whatever you choose to disclose/ not disclose). I also like the episodes with children in the background -it’s not something I hear on other podcasts, and I like how there’s an audio record of the feminist practice of acknowledging child care as an important part of a lot of your guests’ lives.

    One thing I’d change:
    I appreciate Kaarina’s Cozy Self-Care Corner for its manageable, practical advice. I wish that this section could expand (or possibly that there would be another section?) to include advice on how to practice compassionate accountability -how to hold yourself accountable for your actions, but also how to hold people who are close to you accountable. You have talked about apologizing/ calling out people in other parts of the podcast, but I would particularly appreciate a focus on how practicing accountability can work in close personal relationships, as the stakes are raised by an emotional investment in the relationship.

    Scholarship:
    I think Secret Feminist Agenda can be theorized as scholarly practice because it is creating and documenting a conversation space for people to discuss ideas based on a mix of theory and lived experience. I like how considering Secret Feminist Agenda as a scholarly practice rejects scholarship as a pristine, isolated (yet public) practice of producing and sharing knowledge that is unaffected by personal, everyday life. However, I’ve also been wondering whether anything is lost in trying to expand scholarship to include spaces/practices like Secret Feminist Agenda (which I believe is super valuable, whether it is classified as scholarship or not). On a material level, I totally understand that you need to get paid and want to build a career as a professor and a public intellectual. But I also want places of public discussion to exist that are not interested in (or at least, not dependent on) getting the stamp of scholarly recognition. Having been an undergrad at a university that was new and pedagogically experimental (particularly my department), I have mixed feelings about how well feminist and other anti-oppressive work can be done within institutions that are structurally patriarchal and oppressive, and I worry about what those institutions gain by possibly co-opting the work and spaces of people who are critical of the institutions within which they work. I don’t have a conclusive opinion on this (I still believe we should work to build better institutions), but it is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, and I’d be interested to hear your take on it.

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  21. First, this is the podcast I get most excited for every week. I love the self-care corner, the weekly agendas inspire me to be more self-aware and to push myself out of my comfort zone and look for ways to be better… it’s enjoyable right down to the theme music for the podcast and the individual themes for the guests. However, coming into the podcast as a fan of Witch Please, which engaged extensively with theory during the first season especially, I was expecting something a little bit more theory-heavy. I can see where it would obviously be difficult to give lectures about feminist theory with your guests every week, and I do really enjoy the guest segments the way that they are, but maybe if the intro were longer and included a little bit more theory? Sometimes by the time that the guests get introduced and the topic gets introduced it feels like there isn’t as much time to actually talk about feminism, and while it’s a great way to hear marginalized voices talking about the feminism that matters to them, the end of the guest speakers section always feels abrupt. There were a couple (really, maybe two?) guests that felt less like a discussion about feminism than a group of friends hanging out. Which isn’t bad per-say, (especially since I use both of your podcasts as an alternative when I can’t hang out with my friends) but it keeps me from automatically classifying this podcast as scholarly work.

    I do particularly enjoy the guests who talk about an issue near and dear to me and the ones who talk about something I hadn’t been paying enough attention to. The episode about self-defense was really enjoyable for me because it talked about things that I was already interested in, but the first episode had a line in it about feminism meaning embracing feminine things that was really eye-opening for me in a way that it probably shouldn’t have been at this point, and that cemented my love of this podcast early on. I like the variety of things you talk about with the guests, and I hope that, whatever changes you make for the new season, you continue to cover a broad spectrum of topics from a feminist point of view.

    As far as a wish list for improvements, aside from some way of incorporating more theory I only have two. I wish the podcast could be a little bit longer, but understand if that’s not feasible with your schedule. And I know that you post a reading list each week, with links, but as someone who really prefers a paper trail when I read, I wonder if you could recommend more books or movies occasionally, like you did the week that your agenda was to support more WOC.

    Thank you for all of the hours of enjoyment your podcasts have provided. There’s really no way to thank you properly, except by going out and being the best damn feminist I can be, is there?

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  22. Dear Hannah,
    This podcast and also Witch Please have between them radically shifted my thinking on so many subjects. I am a 28 year old nonbinary queer person with two degrees (BFA and MFA) and yet before your podcasts I did not identify as a feminist. I think in school I was just so stressed by the word “femme” being in “feminism” that I (struggling to break free of an AFAB identity which felt like a trap) was unwilling to even spend time trying to understand the true goals and nature of feminism. I am so, so grateful to have had your wit and wisdom in my ears. As Witch Please was the Harry Potter literature course I never got to take in college, so Secret Feminist Agenda feels like the intersectional feminism course I also never took. I have listened to some of the episodes multiple times and I often pause them to write down quotes to ponder later. I bring up subjects from the episodes with friends, so that we can continue the discussions and relate them to our own lives. I have gotten at least two more people hooked on the show with my constant recommendations of it!

    One passage that has really stuck with me is the story which Kaarina related about telling her mother not to wait until her work task was done to take a bathroom break. I was guilty of that same habit. I now regularly repeat to myself “Your body is not a reward” and it helps me remember that my work will still be waiting for me, and that I should go to the bathroom when I need to and eat when I need to.

    Additionally, your conversation with Xine Yao in episode 1 about immanence verses transcendence was deeply affecting. I had never before heard the word immanence, but have found it extremely relevant to my life. I was raised by spiritual/pagan parents and had never before been able to describe in a word the sacredness of the mundane, of daily life, of care for the world as it exists in our own time, that was imparted to me growing up. The more I think about the idea of a queer, pagan, immanence based spirituality practiced in physical actions in the world (from eating well, self-care, community service, activism, protest, voting, to defending civil rights and defending the environment) the more revolutionary it seems.

    Your podcasts have made me more aware and more thoughtful as I navigate the world and for that I cannot thank you enough. ~Maia (aka redgoldsparks on instagram)

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  23. Hello Hannah,

    I love this podcast so so much! I have really bad anxiety and simply just hearing your voice discussing subjects and opinions that I agree with make me feel instantly calm and validated. I love your sense of humour and your ability to share stories from your own personal life that really add to the conversation. I love the variety of speakers you bring in each week and the diversity of topics you discuss on the program.

    I was wondering if you could talk a little about #MeToo movement that is happening right now, as well as this whole insidious pattern of white powerful men sexually harassing and assaulting people in marginalized groups. Maybe have a discussion about it from a sociological perspective? I know it might be a bit over done in media, but if at all possible I’d love to hear your opinion about this if this is something that interests you!

    Also, I know this isn’t your supreme area of focus, however, it could be interesting if you created an episode about historical manifestations of women’s art. I took a course during university about women in Western Art which I thought was quite interesting. Some of the topics that I sometimes consider are:
    1. Who set the standard for “high art” vs “women’s art” (like tapestry, calligraphy)? Is there even a standard?
    2. Why is western art considered the standard universally?
    3. Who are some queer , poc, and/or woman-identifying artists in past history that have created beautiful artwork that we should know about and share with others?
    Maybe chatting with an art historian or curator could be cool?

    I also loved your astrology talk! I knew basically nothing about astrology beyond my star sign, so I found your talk very illuminating haha! Finally, I really love Kaarina’s Self Care Corner. She provides some wonderful food for thought and is a lovely anecdotal ending to your podcast. I would maybe consider changing the intro sound though because its a tad bit distracting.

    Anyways, thank you so much for putting your time and energy into creating this wonderful podcast! You are a wonderful person!

    All the best,

    Priscilla

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  24. First, I want to say how much this podcast has meant to me as a graduate student (and as an often-confused human trying to exist in the world). It is wonderfully sustaining to hear all the different ways that people are figuring out (and struggling with) how to live out feminist values.
    I like that the podcast has an intimate quality to it — both Hannah’s intros and the self-care corner feel like they are talking directly to me (even when the subject isn’t personally relevant to me), and the interviews often feel like listening in on a conversation between friends (which of course they sometimes are, effectively). In a way that intimacy feels also like it is “scholarly”-informed, like you’ve spent time thinking about big, abstract ideas, but in this moment are bringing them to a personal level of day-to-day experience. I like the range of guests so far, although I’m sure I would enjoy and benefit from an even wider range of people and topics (across fields, geographically, etc.). I would definitely listen to longer interviews, but I don’t think the podcast necessarily needs to be longer in order to effectively do what it does.
    In my personal experience of academia, it often feels like there is a disconnect between scholarly research and the personal, embodied experience of doing that scholarly work. Or more precisely, it feels like everyone around me knows that there is a connection between those things, but it can be hard to talk about or really engage with the full complexity of that connection. And so I appreciate how the podcast works to demystify that space of personal-scholarly intersection and expand the conversation around it. Whether or not this makes is “scholarly” in any formal sense, I think it is definitely bridging a gap in an important way.
    Thank you so much for the work you do, Hannah!

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  25. First of all, I absoutely adore this podcast (and you, Hannah!) and have listened to it on repeat ever since I found it via Witch, Please. As for notes on the format, I do wish it was longer. I agree that it often feels cut off and just when I’m getting really into it, suddenly it’s over. That said, I understand the desire to keep it shorter since it’s an easier format to incorporate into your daily life, both for the editor and for the listener. Someone above commented that a possible solution could be to release one edited and shorter episode along with an uncut version for those who would like more content, and I audibly squealed at that idea because I have never listened to one of your podcasts and been relieved when it ended. I am /always/ craving more, so an uncut version would be perfect.

    On topics you could cover, I’m really interested in your views on the word “queer” and whether or not it should be used as an umbrella term for the LGBT community. I’m personally very fond of it and use it to label myself, but I know more people who hate it than love it so I’ve stopped using it as an umbrella term out of respect for those who find it hurtful. In my circles it’s very much frowned upon to use it as an umbrella term because of its origin as a slur as well as its continued use as such. So while I don’t use it as an umbrella term anymore, it still doesn’t sit entirely right with me to disavow a word that so many people fought to reclaim. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, maybe along with interviews of queer/LGBT feminists?

    Keep up the good work! I can’t wait to see what this incredible podcast turns into. xx

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  26. Hi Hannah,

    I’ve loved this new podcast series and am looking forward to hearing more from you! A lot has been said that validates my personal experiences and has given me language to express things in a way I might not have been so articulate about before, particularly with regards to current events that tend to get me riled up beyond the point of being able to do more than scream into a pillow.

    *Format & length: Love the format and the individual intros (although Karina’s is a bit creepy!) I also really like the length – it is good for a commute or for when you’re trying to snatch some time for yourself. Anything longer than 40 minutes and I usually need to listen in stages which is irritating and can make me lose the thread of a conversation. I see a lot of people want it to be longer; other podcasts have ‘secret episodes’ where there’s extra content with interviewees or can hear extended versions of interviews on the website rather than the podcast itself, which seems to balance the best of both worlds.

    *I think I might be answering your other 3 questions in one go…I was honestly not surprised when you said this was an experiment in podcasting as a scholarly format, because so many of your guests are scholars and there were moments when I caught myself thinking that this podcast was more geared towards the part of me that enjoys academia rather than ‘just’ my lived and shared experiences as a woman in the world. There was at least one moment (and I can’t recall when but I think it was nearer the start of the series) where I wondered, if I didn’t have some background studying critical theory at degree level, would I really be understanding the conversation properly?

    One of the reasons Witch, Please, works so well is because the discussion is around a text that is accessible to all people, and you and Marcelle made a point of defining things like adaptation theory so that everyone could follow the conversation with the same level of understanding. I think SFA has had more of an assumed base level of scholarly knowledge that may or may not be there (but understandably it would interrupt the flow of your conversations to interject with a ‘by the way’ to the listeners!) Podcasts are accessible in a way that most scholarly work is not – the language and the institutions exclude people. Podcasts are far more inclusive – they invite discussion and community in a way that doesn’t really happen around academic papers – just look at the vast array of intelligent discussions happening over on the Witch, Please Twitter page!

    Whilst podcasts as scholarship is exciting and I would say I have experienced listening to SFA as a scholarly activity, I feel a bit wary of it becoming another ivory tower. Reading over the other comments here I can see I’m playing devil’s advocate a little bit. Maybe having more conversations with people who aren’t scholars, who just exist as people and have opinions on feminism and their experiences and what it means to them would make it feel more balanced. I don’t know. What I do know is that however this podcast manifests in the future I will continue to listen to it because I have gained a lot from it and am very grateful for you creating this!

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