Modern Language Association

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Established in 1883 to promote the study and teaching of the modern languages and literatures, the MLA seeks to enhance public understanding of the ways that language and literature enrich people’s lives. The MLA is a not-for-profit membership organization with 28,000 members, most of whom teach in colleges and universities in the United States. Through its radio program, What’s the Word? the MLA has served a national audience of public radio listeners who have an interest in reading and talking about language and literature. In April 1997, the first thirteen What’s the Word? programs were made available to public radio stations.  After producing 305 programs, the series ceased production in 2010. What’s the Word?'s half-hour programs were written, produced, and hosted by Sally Placksin. They feature scholars and writers speaking about everything from Shakespeare and other classics to contemporary fiction, from detective novels to the lyrics of the blues, and from learning a foreign language to slam poetry.

Pieces

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An exploration of writers and characters of mixed race

  • Added: Sep 02, 2010
  • Length: 29:00
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Three novels that explore Trujillo's influence on life in the Dominican Republic and in the diaspora

  • Added: Sep 02, 2010
  • Length: 29:00
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An exploration of the African novel

  • Added: Sep 02, 2010
  • Length: 29:00
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Three writers whose work explores the intersection of religion and the state

  • Added: Sep 02, 2010
  • Length: 29:00
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Three members of Ojibwe communities, which reach from Michigan to Montana in the United States and from Quebec to Saskatchewan in Canada, share the...

Bought by KMXT, KZYX, KFAI, Bois Forte Tribal Community Radio, KWIS 88.3 FM and more


  • Added: Oct 20, 2009
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 11

  • Added: Oct 09, 2009
  • Length: 29:10
  • Purchases: 20

  • Added: Aug 19, 2009
  • Length: 28:58
  • Purchases: 6
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A look at how the events of September 11th changed the way we read Shakespeare's plays about politics and leadership.

Bought by KFOK-LP, KSFR, WTIP, and WCAI / WNAN


  • Added: Aug 06, 2009
  • Length: 28:58
  • Purchases: 4
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How do those who have experienced the direct presence of God capture this heightened state in words?

Bought by KUT, Marfa Public Radio, CKMO, WFIU, and KSJD


  • Added: Mar 04, 2009
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 5
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The poetry we hear—and create—as children teaches us about the power of words.

Bought by KGNU, KHNS, Marfa Public Radio, WRNC-LP, KUT-HD and more


  • Added: Mar 04, 2009
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 10
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How did slaves resist their oppression? Three works explore what it means to resist and to survive.

Bought by WFIU, WRNC-LP, WMNF, 90.5 WSNC, and KFAI


  • Added: Jan 07, 2009
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 5
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Explores issues of national and cultural identity central to Puerto Rican literature

Bought by KHNS, WFIU, and WGCU


  • Added: Aug 05, 2008
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 3
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During the early and mid-twentieth century, many Latin American writers engaged with international literary and cultural movements.

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRNC-LP, and WGCU


  • Added: Aug 05, 2008
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 3
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Rhyme in Arabic, English, and French poetry

Bought by KMXT, KISU, KHNS, WFIU, 90.5 WSNC and more


  • Added: Mar 14, 2008
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 6
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Three poets share their work and discuss contemporary language poetry.

Bought by 90.5 WSNC and Marfa Public Radio


  • Added: Mar 14, 2008
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 2
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Three powerful films about American veterans returning home.

  • Added: Oct 30, 2007
  • Length: 29:45
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A look at three landmark Amercian plays dealing with the AIDs crisis

Bought by WRNC-LP and KPFA


  • Added: Sep 17, 2007
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 2
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Hip-Hop in Cuba, South Africa, and the Islamic world

Bought by KMXT, KISU, 90.5 WSNC, KXOT Public Radio, WMFO and more


  • Added: Sep 17, 2007
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 6
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Carmen, Eugene Onegin, Falstaff, and their literary predecessors

Bought by KHNS, WFIU, and WRNC-LP


  • Added: Sep 17, 2007
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 3
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American road trips in literature and film

Bought by WBEZ, KDUR, and KTNA


  • Added: Jul 23, 2007
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 3