The Authority File Round-Up: December 2023

In TAF's final series of the year, our guests explored the life and legacy of Leonard Cohen and his impact on modern music.

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As 2023 ended, last month’s episodes brought us back to November 2016. Marked by the presidential election of Donald Trump and loss for Hillary Clinton, it also coincided with the death of the beloved artist and public figure Leonard Cohen. Our December TAF series took an in-depth look at Cohen’s life and legacy as coeditors of The Contemporary Leonard Cohen: Response, Reappraisal, and Rediscovery Kait Pinder and Joel Deshaye traced the genesis of their book to Cohen’s death and its intersection with a major political inflection point in North America. Our guests detailed the lens of contemporaneity they used to frame the text and Cohen’s relevancy in social and popular culture. They dove into their respective book chapters, with Kait examining Cohen’s book of poetry, Flowers for Hitler, and Joel discussing the role of gossip in Cohen’s songwriting. They further explained Cohen’s legacy both within and beyond Canada, explored his image as a “secular saint,” and considered Cohen’s impact on today’s musical artists.

Here’s a quick round-up of the episodes, in case you missed them. We hope you find the conversations enjoyable, insightful, and engaging. Thanks for listening, and Happy New Year!

The Contemporary Leonard Cohen

The Contemporary Leonard Cohen: Response, Reappraisal, and Rediscovery book cover

Last month’s series featured Kait Pinder (Acadia University) and Joel Deshaye (Memorial University), coeditors of The Contemporary Leonard Cohen: Response, Reappraisal, and Rediscovery. Taking a holistic approach to Leonard Cohen, Kait and Joel assessed his creative works—music, literature, visual art—and personal life and politics. Reflecting the critical lens of the book, they surfaced the thornier aspects of Cohen’s life and career, in addition to Cohen’s own criticism of Canada in works like Beautiful Losers. Our guests also highlighted the ways Cohen can “speak to the moment,” as evident in Kate McKinnon’s 2016 SNL performance of “Hallelujah” following Cohen’s death and the election of Donald Trump. Further, Kait and Joel discussed how modern artists like boygenius and Lana Del Rey allude to Cohen in their songwriting and the Cohen estate’s plans for collecting Cohen’s archives. Brought to you by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Listen to episode one: The 2016 US Elections, SNL, and Applying Contemporaneity
Listen to episode two: Exploring Nietzsche and Gossip
Listen to episode three: Reappraisal and Criticism in Canada and Abroad

Listen to episode four: Secular Sainthood, the Archives, and boygenius

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The Authority File Wrap-Up 2023

To mark the end of 2023, we gathered together the most listened to episodes of The Authority File podcast in the past year. Here’s a peek at the list:

In addition, make sure to check out our list of 2023’s staff picks!

Missed November’s episodes? We’ve got you covered.

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TAF’s November series delved into the intersection of critical thinking skills and artificial intelligence with perspectives from a dean and professor, tech philosopher and author, and publisher. Our guests underlined the benefits of hands-on experiences for educators and students and the need for widespread guidance on the use of generative AI. The speakers also addressed AI flaws including bias and the expanding digital divide, along with the importance of transparency from publishers using the technology. Listen to the series here.

You can find more episodes of the Authority File here on our websiteApple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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