Humanities


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Jacqueline Rose, University of London, examines the film Niagara, its star Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood, and what Rose terms the "loving cruelty of cinema in relation to women." Rose is welcomed to UCSB by Professor of Film and Media Studies Constance Penley. Niagara is a unique specimen of baroque Technicolor film noir, starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten. The film tells the story of a pair of couples at Niagara Falls -- one honeymooning, the other disintegrating -- and explores desire, insanity, and the drive toward fatal attraction. Recorded on 10/20/2015.

Arthur Szyk often said, "Art is not my aim, it is my means." In this talk, Irvin Ungar exposes the viewer to the breadth and depth of the power, purpose, and persuasion of the artist Arthur Szyk who saw himself as a fighting artist, enlisting his pen and paintbrush as his weapons against hatred, racism, and oppression before, during, and after World War II. Recorded on 04/10/2019.

In the United States, privacy is considered a fundamental right. Yet today our activities are followed to a degree unfathomable not long ago by way of cell phones, online behaviors, and more. As genomic technologies continue to expand, another avenue now exists by which we may potentially be scrutinized: DNA sequence. Our genetic information contains our most private details, but we leave it everywhere and share the sequence closely with dozens or even hundreds of relatives. Laura Rivard, PhD, professor of biology at the University of San Diego, discusses ways in which our DNA may "escape" from our control, what can actually be done with the sequence, and whether there is cause for concern.

Opera News has called UC San Diego Music Professor Anthony Davis A National Treasure, for his pioneering work in opera. His six operas include works centered on recent historical figures & events, including Malcolm X and Patty Hearst. Davis' latest opera The Central Park Five, an exploration of the wrongful conviction of five teenagers of color in NYC in the 1980s, premiered at Long Beach Opera in 2019 to international acclaim. In this conversation with UC San Diego Music Professor Emeritus Cecil Lytle, Davis explains the genesis of The Central Park Five, and the challenges that ensue when art collides with current events. Recorded on 12/7/2019.

Digital tools including mobile apps, wearable sensors, and social network platforms offer unprecedented opportunities in health research and healthcare. However, this rapidly emerging sector is outpacing existing regulatory structures and challenging norms for ethical practice. Camille Nebeker, EdD, MS, Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine & Public Health at the UC San Diego School of Medicine describes how technologies, including wearable sensors and artificial intelligence, are leveraged to capture personal health data and infer health status. Nebeker presents the ethical considerations specific to informed consent, risks of harm and potential benefits while underscoring the role that funding agencies, policy makers, researchers, ethicists, and editors have in creating the infrastructure needed to advance safe digital health research and practice.

Jeremy Prestholdt examines how Che Guevara, Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, and Osama bin Laden are major "dissenters" who have represented challenges to the world order. Prestholdt explores the appeal of these four figures over five decades, in part revealing two aspects of an increasingly interconnected world: the tension between shared global symbols and their local interpretations, and the intersection of political vision and consumerism.

What defines consciousness? Can it develop in a petri dish? Patricia Churchland reviews the current state of brain organoid research and shares her views on how conciseness and physical structures within the brain intersect. She also cautions the media on the tendency to "over hype" new research advances. Recorded on 10/04/2019.

Tying together the Infinity War saga, crafting emotionally satisfying sendoffs to beloved superheroes and dispatching supervillain Thanos all arise as topics in this conversation about Avengers: Endgame (2019) between screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and Pollock Theater director Matt Ryan. McFeely and Markus also discuss their extensive contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe including previous work on Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014). Recorded on 10/12/2019.

Dangerous stunts, actor injuries, how to build a twister, and the technicolor production process all arise in this bright and deep conversation about The Wizard of Oz (1939) between UW Milwaukee professor Jocelyn Sczepaniak-Gillece and graduate student Hannah Garibaldi. Professor Sczepaniak-Gillece introduces and describes the gradual formation of the film's enduring legacy as a nostalgic, family television tradition after its initial box-office disappointment. Recorded on 10/05/2019.

The difficulties of low-budget documentary filmmaking, strategies for first-time political candidates, and the importance of new voices in Congress all arise in this inspiring conversation between producer Sarah Olson, documentary subject (and Missouri congressional candidate) Cori Bush, and Emily Zinn (UC Santa Barbara). In the video, Olsen and Bush share the remarkable energy that arose from a group of insurgents who ran for US Congress against incumbents in 2018. Recorded on 10/22/2019.

A much-abused wig, the ad-libbing of Michael Keaton, and the gender imbalance in 1980s film makeup departments arise in this conversation about Beetlejuice (1988) between award-winning makeup artist Ve Neill and Rachael Ball (Film and Media Studies, UCSB). In this video, Neill shares a series of illuminating and entertaining anecdotes from many of her iconic film projects including Mrs. Doubtfire, The Lost Boys, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Recorded on 12/05/2019.
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