Film and Culture Series
Now in its sixth year the Doyle Film & Culture Series endeavors to work closely with student groups and to integrate its events directly into relevant courses. Events also incorporate discussions led by Georgetown faculty, exploring diversity-related themes and their relevance to campus life and society. In the past this series has included film screenings, dinners with faculty, and theater events.
On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, the Doyle Program Event Series co-sponsored a screening of Generation Revolution with the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. This feature-length documentary follows a new generation of young activists in London including the London Black Revolutionaries, or “Black Revs”, th eR Movement, and The Black Dissidents--organizations intent on furthering the fight against oppression along the lines of race, class, and gender. Following the screening, the filmmakers Usayd Younis and Cassie Quarless held a Q&A session with the audience. The discussion focused on issues that affect young black and brown communities in the UK, particularly in London, as well as the history of activism and the documentation of such efforts over time.
Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years
On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the Doyle Program collaborated with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, German Department, African American Studies Department, the Women’s Center, and the Black House to host a screening and discussion of the film, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years. This film chronicled the impact of the award winning African-American lesbian poet, Audre Lorde, in her years living in West-Berlin in the 1980s. The film shares the story of and reflections from those influenced by Lorde, who served as a mentor to many and as a catalyst for the Afro-German movement. Lorde challenged all women, including white women, to acknowledge positions of privilege and how to deal with these head-on. Following the film, Professor You-Me Park and student Mia Campbell (COL ‘18) discussed some of the film’s key themes and encouraged audience reflections. Participants discussed the contemporary significance of Lorde’s call for inclusive, intersectional approaches to social justice work. As a special historical treat, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program concluded the event by playing an excerpt of an original audio recording of Audre Lorde speaking at a 1989 Women’s and Gender Studies event at Georgetown.
On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, the Doyle Program collaborated with the Department of Sociology, Department of African American Studies, IDEAA, Division of Student Affairs, McCourt School of Public Policy, Office of the Provost, Program on Education, Inquiry, and Justice (EDIJ), CMEA, and the Center for Social Justice to host a screening and discussion of the documentary, Tested. The film follows a dozen racially and socio-economically diverse eighth graders in New York City Public Schools as they prepare to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) for a spot in the city’s top public high schools. Tested explores issues such as access to a high-quality public education, affirmative action, and the model-minority myth. The director, Curtis Chin, was in attendance and answered attendee questions about public education in New York City in a post-film discussion.
Wind Me Up, Maria!: A Go-Go Musical
On Sunday, November 6, 2016, the Doyle Engaging Difference Program co-sponsored a Post-show Chili Hour with the Groove Yard Band following the matinee performance of Wind Me Up, Maria!: A Go-Go Musical. The play, a collaboration between the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program, Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society, and Black Theatre Ensemble, follows a Georgetown senior grappling with decisions about her future work and love of Go-Go music. Created and directed by Professor Natsu Onoda Power (Performing Arts) along with producer/educator/ lead singer of one of DC's premier Go-Go bands Rare Essence, Charles “Shorty Corleone” Garris, this play kicked off the Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 2016-17 season (“Discover and Celebrate”) with a vibrant groove. The post-show event on November 6 featured live music, food from iconic DC landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl (a location also featured in the show), and conversation with the band, cast members, and faculty. The conversation, guided by Professors Leslie Hinkson (Sociology), Maurice Jackson (African American Studies), and Sylvia Önder (Anthropology), covered key themes in the play, including the diversity of Washingtonians, gentrification in D.C., building community through music, cultural tension, and violence. Participants asked questions about the role of Go-Go music in D.C.’s history while Washingtonians in the audience shared their experiences growing up with Go-Go music. A strong message from the event was the power of community spaces and cultures--how to honor, celebrate, and strengthen them.
Twelfth Night, or What You Will
On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the Doyle Film & Culture Series collaborated with the Theater & Performance Studies Program and the Black Theatre Ensemble for a post-show talkback and reception following their production of Twelfth Night, or What You Will. Audience members were joined by Director Maya Roth (Performing Arts), Artist-in-Residence Deb Sivigny (Performing Arts), as well as actors Mar Cox (COL’16) and Caleb Lewis (COL’16). The discussion opened with Professors Roth and Sivigny detailing their journey to staging this iteration of Twelfth Night, or What You Will. The panelists answered questions from the audience that asked how they translated the humor of the play into the physicality of the performers. Panelists also discussed how the cast’s improvisations at rehearsals ended up in the performance, expanding on the ebb and flow of their work as students and performers.
On Monday, March 21, the Doyle Film & Culture Series co-sponsored a documentary screening as part of the annual Environmental Film Festival. The screening was held in the ICC Auditorium, and drew a crowd of well over 100 attendees ranging from students, faculty, and staff. The documentary, Stink!, is directed by Jon Whelan and focuses on the regulation (and lack thereof) of the fragrance industry and the cost to consumers given the large uptick in chemicals. The documentary questioned the United States’ overall approach, which has bred a lack of regulation and increased secrecy around products. One result is that the United States has become a global “dumping ground” for toxic chemicals, while other countries are implementing a “precautionary or preventative” approach – to prove chemicals safe before use. The screening was followed by a panel and audience discussion, featuring Professor James Olsen (CNDLS and Philosophy) who teaches Environmental Ethics; Carol Day, Director of Health Education Services at Georgetown; Jasmina Bojic, Founder and Executive Director of the United Nations Association Film Festival; and Professor Edd Barrows (Biology), Director of the Center for the Environment. The conversation focused on what each person can do to contribute to awareness and activism related to this issue – from highlighting safe/unsafe products and urging companies to disclose information, to calling on the government to further regulate. Professor Olsen noted that it takes an average of 14 years for scientific discovery of harm to be followed by related policy changes. Many in the audience commended the importance of investigative journalism to spreading awareness.
A Conversation on Higher Education and Race
On Monday, February 22, 2016, the Center for Social Justice partnered with the President’s Office, the Doyle Program, CMEA, and IDEAA to hold a lunchtime conversation on higher education and race - with special guests Dr. Benjamin Reese of Duke University and his daughter, GU alumna Lauren Reese. The event drew a packed house of Georgetown students, faculty, and staff eager to hear the reflections and experiences of the guest speakers. Dr. Reese, Vice President of the Office for Institutional Equity at Duke University, opened the event by sharing reflections spanning from his youth to his experiences in higher education. Lauren offered reflections on her time as a Georgetown undergraduate as well as her current experiences as a graduate student and teaching assistant at American University. Candidly sharing personal stories and perspectives, Dr. Reese and Lauren emphasized the importance of self-awareness, self-reflection and inter-group dialogue as practices of social justice and foundations for open, difficult conversations. In discussing topics of diversity in the classroom, Lauren highlighted the importance of not only diverse content, but even more the critical need for effective pedagogy and the creation of “safe” spaces for students to have opportunities to express and explore their ideas, difficulties, and needs with trusted peers and mentors. Additional topics of conversation in response to audience questions included complex intersectionalities of identity and the difficult question of balancing desires to create space for associations based on identity versus working toward collective unity.
GU Alumnus Conversation: Diversity in the Classroom
On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, the Doyle Film & Culture Series co-sponsored an event with the American Studies Program. Doyle faculty fellow Professor Erika Seamon hosted a lunchtime conversation with Georgetown alumnus Zack Zappone (COL’13). After graduating from Georgetown as an American Studies major, Zappone spent two years in the Teach for America program and now teaches 8th Grade English and History at a school in Washington State. The vast majority of Zappone’s students are not proficient in English and deal with an array of socio-economic and other challenges. Zappone shared his experiences trying to engage his diverse classroom and employ the Jesuit value of cura personalis in order to help his students develop as critical thinkers. His approaches included home visits to get to know his students’ families and context better, the Stanford Technique for teaching history, and incorporating provocative extra-curricular materials. During the event, discussion topics ranged from his personal experience becoming a member of the town’s larger community to media buzz over his teaching methods. Student attendees posed questions that made it clear they could see themselves in Zappone’s shoes—only a few years removed from where they sit and working to make a positive difference.
War with the Newts
On Thursday, November 19, 2015, the Doyle Film & Culture Series collaborated with Georgetown’s Theater and Performance Studies Program and the Davis Performing Arts Center to host a post-show reception and dialogue following the War with the Newts production. The play, adapted and directed by Professor Natsu Onoda Power, is based on Karel Čapek’s satirical 1939 science fiction classic. Following the performance, Professor Power and the cast joined Georgetown faculty and audience members to discuss key themes in the play, including racial discrimination, labor inequality, animal welfare, and environmental issues. Georgetown faculty Colin Hickey (Philosophy), Leslie Hinkson (Sociology), and James Olsen (Philosophy) facilitated the discussions. Participants raised important questions about the antagonistic newt-human relationship depicted in the play, noted exceptions to that antagonistic dynamic, as well as what the play can teach us about the cycles of colonization, oppression, activism, and uprising in history.
Sound of Torture
On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, Sound of Torture was screened as the first fall event of the Doyle Film & Culture Series for the 2015-2016 year. Sound of Torture, a documentary by Keren Shayo, chronicles Meron Estefanos' work as a human rights activist. Estefanos journeys to Israel and Egypt to meet Eritrean refugees who fled their military dictator-ruled country and have been held hostage by Bedouin smugglers in the Sinai desert. Professor Lahra Smith (African Studies, SFS) led a post-film discussion contextualizing the history of Eritrean diaspora, Eritrean legal status as refugees in Israel, and North African instability that affects migratory patterns. Professor Smith also answered questions on how current social and political issues have changed since the filming of the documentary in 2013 and offered resources to students to learn more about Eritreans who seek asylum abroad.
On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, CNDLS co-sponsored a screening of the documentary Wrenched as part of the 23rd Environmental Film Festival in DC, and a collaboration with the Georgetown University Center for the Environment, the Science, Technology and International Affairs program, the Department of Biology, and the Georgetown Environment Initiative. Wrenched focuses on Edward Abbey, a colorful pioneer in eco-activism during the 1970s and '80s and author of the The Monkeywrench Gang, a novel that continues to inspire an irreverent style of environmental civil disobedience.
Following the screening, there was a post-film panel discussion with Jasmina Bojic (Founder and Director of the United Nations Association Film Festival), Edward M. Barrows (Director of Georgetown University Center for the Environment), James C. Olsen (Philosophy Department and Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship), Colin Hickey (Philosophy Department) and Cosima Dannoritzer (documentary filmmaker with Twin Time TV).
On Thursday, March 19, we screened the documentary Crenshaw as the third spring event in the Doyle Film & Culture Series. The event was a collaboration with the Film and Media Studies Program (FMST) at Georgetown. Crenshaw, a graduate thesis project by Lena Jackson (SFS '07), focuses on the reconstitution of Crenshaw High School in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in South LA. Jackson's documentary follows a community's struggle to maintain stability for students at Crenshaw High. The film uses a combination of archived videos, interviews, and GoPro footage from students after Jackson was barred from filming on the campus. After the screening, Lena Jackson led a post-film discussion that included updates on the students, teachers, and parents interviewed in the film. FMST seniors who attended the film asked about the different types of educational models that had been implemented at Crenshaw High prior to the reconstitution, including the Extended Learning Cultural Model used to restructure curriculum into units that focused on interdisciplinary approaches to neighborhood problem-solving.
Flexibility and Its Discontents: Rethinking Disability in Academic Spaces
On Monday, March 2, 2015, Professors Stephanie L. Kerschbaum (English, University of Delaware) and Margaret Price (English, Spelman College) gave a talk titled Flexibility and Its Discontents: Rethinking Disability in Academic Spaces. This was the second spring event in the Doyle Film & Culture Series, and a collaboration with the Engelhard Program, the Georgetown University Lecture Fund, the Lannan Center for Poetics & Social Practice, the Georgetown University Department of English, the Lecture & Performance Series on Disability Justice, Leaders in Education About Diversity (LEAD), and the Academic Resource Center. The talk focused on "universal design" approaches to accessibility in higher education. They emphasized that to focus solely on accessibility issues limits us to one dimension that neglects the arts and community of disability culture. Professors Kerschbaum and Price noted the work of Lydia Brown (C' 15), other students, faculty, and staff to create a Disability Studies minor and Disability Cultural Center at Georgetown.
Out in the Night
On February 19, 2015, Out in the Night was screened as the first spring event of the Doyle Film & Culture Series. This screening was co-sponsored with the LGBTQ Resource Center. Out in the Night, a documentary by blair dorosh-walther, covers the story of four African American lesbians, labeled as "The Gang of Killer Lesbians" by the media, who fought back against street harassment. The documentary explores their lives after being charged with gang assault and attempted murder in 2006. Following the film, Professor Michelle Ohnona (Women's and Gender Studies) led a discussion that focused on gendered language of law and policy, as well as media representation of gender and sexuality in the face of intersectional diversity.
Two Days in October
On November 3, 2014, Two Days in October was screened as the third fall event of the Doyle Film & Culture Series. Joining us for the screening was Professor Katie Benton-Cohen (History), and her colleague, David Maraniss. Maraniss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote the book They Marched into Sunlight that this documentary is based on. In the film Two Days in October, we follow the story of two events in October of 1967—a U.S. battalion ambushed in Vietnam, and a student protest turned violent at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Benton-Cohen introduced the film, and its historical context. Following the screening, David Maraniss discussed how he got involved investigating the story of this U.S. Battalion and its soldiers during his time at The Washington Post, as well as how he weaved the protests at the University of Wisconsin into the narrative. Part of the discussion focused on how the details surrounding the ambush were intentionally suppressed for many years to make the Battle of Ong Thanh appear like a victory. Maraniss shared his experience as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin campus the year the protest took place, and then answered attendees' questions about social justice, history, and journalism.
The Central Park Five
On October 23, 2014, The Central Park Five was screened as the second fall event of the Doyle Film & Culture Series. In The Central Park Five, we follow the story of five black and Latino teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of assaulting a white female jogger in Central Park in April of 1989. The film follows the lives of these men and their families before and after their exoneration, including interviews, news articles, and testimony from early 1990s. Professor Marc Howard (Department of Government) led a post-film discussion discussing the personal experience of a childhood friend who was wrongly incarcerated, and his volunteer work with education in prisons. Professor Howard answered questions from students about the issues of social justice and wrongful incarceration highlighted in the documentary.
On October 6, 2014, the Doyle Film & Culture Series screened Loving Lampposts. In Loving Lampposts, we witness the debate between the "recovery movement" that prioritizes a search for a cure, and the "neurodiversity movement" movement that seeks to provide support and acceptance for neurodiverse individuals. Lydia Brown (C'15), president of the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective, led a post-film discussion centered on the controversies in autism explored in the documentary. Brown also discussed plans to develop a Disabilities Cultural Center on campus amidst a recent administration proposal to consolidate the LGBTQ Center, Women's Center, and CMEA into a single general diversity center.
Precious Knowledge was shown November 7, 2013 and was co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) and the Student of Color Alliance (SOCA). This documentary investigates the controversy surrounding ethnic studies programs in Arizona. Despite the unparalleled success of the Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School--with 93% graduation and 85% college attendance rates--it became the center of a political storm, ultimately resulting in a state legislative ban on ethnic studies programs. Following the film Dr. Ricardo Ortiz (English), Professor of US Latino Literature and Culture, helped generate discussion ranging from immigrant rights to the state of cultural studies at Georgetown.
At the River I Stand
In collaboration with Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice, At the River I Stand was shown on January 23, 2014 as part of the “Teach the March” initiative celebrating this year’s Martin Luther King Day. The screening was also integrated with Dr. Sarah Stiles’ (Sociology) course “Race, Society & Cinema.” Covering the dramatic events surrounding the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, this documentary details the final months of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. The film emphasizes the relationship between economics, dignity, and civil rights in U.S. society and explores the means for social change. Afterward Professor Stiles discussed with students their own opportunities and obligations to work toward a more just and equitable society.
Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Equality
GUSA co-hosted the screening of Cracking the Codes on April 3, 2014. The film interviews racial justice leaders in America and is activist in its aims, intending to engage the broader public in a conversation about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity as well as the link between moral ideals and democratic action. Associate Dean Dr. Dennis Williams (English) led students in thinking through racial inequity and the multiple layers of privilege experienced by students here on campus. Attendance and participation helped fulfill student requirements in multiple classes on campus.