Humanities


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Ernst Lubitsch's controversial anti-Nazi political satire "To Be or Not To Be" is celebrated as one of the most subtle meditations on power, politics, and performance to emerge from Hollywood during the war. Professor Emily Carman (Film and Media Arts, Chapman University) joins Carsey-Wolf Center Director Patrice Petro for a discussion about the original ambivalent reviews and how perceptions have changed since its 1942 release. Recorded on 10/19/2017.

Cosmologist and author of "Losing the Nobel Prize" Brian Keating tells the inside story of BICEP2's mesmerizing discovery and the scientific drama that ensued in this interview with science fiction author David Brin. Keating describes a journey of revelation and discovery, bringing to life the highly competitive, take-no-prisoners, publish-or-perish world of modern science. Along the way, he provocatively argues that the Nobel Prize, instead of advancing scientific progress, may actually hamper it, encouraging speed and greed while punishing collaboration and bold innovation. In a thoughtful reappraisal of the wishes of Alfred Nobel, Keating offers practical solutions for reforming the prize, providing a vision of a scientific future in which cosmologists may, finally, be able to see all the way back to the very beginning. Recorded on 04/25/2018.

"I use art to start conversations about something that is serious and complex." Shaney jo Darden, Founder and Global Creative Chief of The Keep A Breast Foundation, shares her journey in the world of art and activism. As someone who has carved out a career path focused on community and compassion, she stresses the importance discovering your unique talents and finding a place for them in your everyday work. Recorded on 03/12/2019.

The film Blade Runner was set in a dystopian 2019 Los Angeles. A timely gathering is in order. Three futurists sit down for a conversation on the film's legacy and its relevance to Southern California. The guest speakers are David Brin, Paul Sammon and Mike Davis. They discuss the film's influence and compare its vision with today's 2019. Blade Runner initially underperformed in theaters when it was first released in 1982; some praised its thematic complexity and visuals, while others were displeased with its slow-paced narrative and unconventional plot. However, by 1992 it had become a cult classic and was re-released in newly edited versions. Why did it take a decade to find — or create — its audience?

Yale University professor and filmmaker Charles Musser explores the historical and contemporary perspectives of race relations in German and American cinema from the 1920s by examining The Ancient Law (1923) and The Jazz Singer (1927). He evaluates how each film addresses anti-Semitism as well as the burning question of the history of blackface as a theatrical convention. Recorded on 10/24/2019.

In April 1903, 49 Jews were killed, 600 raped or wounded, and more than 1,000 Jewish-owned houses and stores were ransacked and destroyed during three days of violence in Kishinev. Steven Zipperstein, Stanford University, discusses how the attacks seized the imagination of an international public, quickly becoming the prototype of what would become known as a pogrom. Recorded on 05/13/2019.

By virtually any measure, prisons have not worked. They are sites of cruelty, dehumanization, and violence, as well as subordination by race, class, and gender. Prisons traumatize virtually all who come into contact with them. Abolition of prison could be the ultimate reform. Georgetown Law Professor Paul Bulter explores what would replace prisons, how people who cause harm could be dealt with in the absence of incarceration, and why abolition would make everyone safer and our society more just.

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 benefits of set fires, the strenuous work of puppetry on film, and the magic of practical film effects are all explored in this energetic discussion between The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance director Louis Leterrier and Carsey-Wolf Center associate director Emily Zinn. The two explore the strengths and challenges of working with puppets and practical effects while reviving the magical world of Jim Henson's classic. Recorded on 10/10/2019.

A discussion of constructive and effective ways to bring youth, community leaders, and organizations together to overcome divisiveness and polarization and build a stronger, more tolerant, and inclusive society. Recorded on 10/19/2019.
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