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Columbia College Chicago
2011/2012 Series
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2011/2012 Series


All events are free, open to the public, and take place at 624 S Michigan Ave., Collins Hall, Room 602 (unless otherwise noted. Information below is subject to change).


September 29 - 4:00 pm

Tom Oates

Assistant Professor of Communication, Northern Illinois University

"Reading the 'Identity Politics of the Dominant': Neoliberalism, New Media and Professional Football"

The National Football League (NFL) is one of the most visible presences in contemporary popular culture, and one of its most potent hegemonic forces. As a mediated cultural form, it is an important repository for conservative ideologies and is continually adapting to cultural challenges and shifting market pressures. This talk highlights the underappreciated dynamism and complexity of the NFL's cultural, economic and political impact, focusing on shifting presentational strategies ushered in by new media entertainments.

Tom Oates is Assistant Professor of Communication at Northern Illinois University, where he teaches courses on media history, law, and contemporary sports media. He is co-editor (with Zack Furness) of a forthcoming collection from Temple University Press of critical/cultural studies essays on the National Football League. He is currently working on a book about sports, new media and neoliberalism.

Pre-Reading Article:
"New Media and the Repackaging of NFL Fandom" Sociology of Sport Journal, 2009, 26, 31-49.


October 20 - 4:00 pm

Pancho McFarland
Associate Professor of Sociology, Chicago State University

"Food Justice in the City: Problems and Pedagogical Possibilities"

Professor McFarland is associate professor of sociology in the fields of race, gender and culture at Chicago State University. In 1999, he received his PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. His current work examines Chicana/o rap music and Chicana/o and Latina/o cultures. His writings on Chicana/o culture have appeared in Aztlan, Callaloo, Race, Gender and Class, Meridians, and Bad Subjects, as well as in several books and encyclopedias. His book, Chicano Rap: Gender and Violence in the Postindustrial Barrio was published by the University of Texas Press in 2008. His second book, New Millenial Mestizaje: Hip Hop and Chicano Identity, will be published in 2012. Currently, Dr. McFarland is active in the food and environmental justice movements and writes about food justice issues in Chicago for The Environmental and Food Justice blog.

Visit http://ejfood.blogspot.com and search for "Food Justice in the City"
Please read: "Key Concepts" (1/14/2010); "Feeling Like a Slave" (9/9/2011); and "Garden Pedagogy, Pt. 1" (12/19/2010)


November 3 - 4:00 pm

Rebecca West
Lecturer in Cultural Studies, Columbia College Chicago

"I'm Not 'Just Like You': The Serious Business of American Girl Doll Collecting"

While dolls are beloved play objects, they also have been the subject of social critique for many years. From the generic "baby" to the sexualized Barbie, they have been alternately praised and vilified for their role in forming the behaviors and identities of the children who play with them. However, such criticism overlooks a key component of doll play: the element of the adults who purchase the dolls, for children as well as themselves, and the ways in which such toys are used to express engagement with larger social structures. In this investigation, I use both online ethnographic and survey methods to explore how American Girl dolls become a site of construction of racial perception.

"American Girl and the Brand Gestalt: Closing the Loop on Sociocultural Branding Research," Journal of Marketing, May 2009, 73, 118-134.


December 8 - 4:00 pm

Kate Kane, Ph.D.
Instructional Associate, Women's and Gender Studies, DePaul University

"Queer Looks, Neoliberal Ideology and Popular Culture: Cultural Studies Approaches to Queer Representation"

"The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy," Lisa Duggan, 2003



February 9 - 4:00 pm

Anthony J. Nocella II
Professor, Hamline University, School of Education

"Social Justice, Anarchist Economics, and a Challenge to Systems of Domination"

Anthony J. Nocella II prominent author, educator, and organizer, is a professor at Hamline University in the School of Education. Nocella regularly writes and speaks in the areas of disability studies, anarchist studies, hip hop studies, queer studies, social justice, critical urban education, environmental justice, critical race theory, and critical animal studies. Nocella has worked in prisons and youth detention centers for over ten years and is co-founder of Save the Kids a national movement to create alternatives to incarceration of youth. Nocella the editor of the Peace Studies Journal, has published more than ten books and has co-founded more than fifteen active political organizations, including the Institute for Critical Animal Studies.


March 6 - 4:00 pm - Hokin Lecture Hall

Lawrence Grossberg
Interim Department Chair; Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies; Adjunct Distinguished Professor of Anthropology; Director of the University Program in Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Is There a Place for Intellectuals in the New Radicalism?"

In recent essays, some notable left intellectuals (e.g. Latour, Ranciere, Hardt) have questioned the value of "critique." They seem to suggest that political acts of insurrection and experimentation displace the necessity for both analyses that might dis-cover "what's going on," and various projects of education. In this presentation, leading Cultural Studies scholar Larry Grossberg seeks to do three things: first, to engage with the logics of this internecine war; second, to place this event into a geneology of 20th century, anti-capitalist intellectual formations; and third, to put forth cultural studies as a unique formation that offers a vision of countercultural, counter-hegemonic politics. 

This lecture is co-sponsored by a mini-grant from the Critical Encounters initiative at Columbia College Chicago. 

March 22 - 4:00pm

Eric A. Stanley and Chris Vargas
Eric A. Stanley works at the intersections of radical trans/queer politics, theories of state violence, and visual culture. Eric is finishing a PhD in the History of Consciousness department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and along with Chris Vargas, directed the films Homotopia (2006) and Criminal Queers (2012). A coeditor of Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, Eric's most recent writing can also be found in the journals Social Text, American Quarterly, and Women and Performance.

Chris Vargas is a film & video maker based in Oakland, CA whose areas of interest include queer/transgender history, tabloid biography, and radical politics. In 2011, he earned his MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. His solo video work includes Have You Ever Seen a Transsexual Before? (2010) and Liberaceon (2011). With collaborator Greg Youmans, he creates the sitcom series Falling in Love...with Chris and Greg, and with Eric Stanley, he is the co-director of the movie Homotopia (2006) and the feature-length sequel Criminal Queers (2012).

Criminal Queers: A Film Screening and Discussion with Directors Eric Stanley and Chris Vargas

Criminal Queers visualizes a radical trans/queer struggle against the prison industrial complex and toward a world without walls. Remembering that prison breaks are both a theoretical and material practice of freedom, this film imagines what spaces might be opened up if crowbars, wigs, and metal files become tools for transformation. Follow Yoshi, Joy, Susan and Lucy as they fiercely read everything from the Human Rights Campaign and hate crimes legislation to the non-profitization of social movements. Criminal Queers grows our collective liberation by working to abolish the multiple ways our hearts, genders, and desires are confined.


April 19 - 4:00pm

Huey Copeland, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor of Art History, Northwestern University

Huey Copeland is Director of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor of Art History, with an affiliation in African American Studies, at Northwestern University. His work focuses on modern, contemporary, and African American art with an emphasis on articulations of blackness in the visual field. A regular contributor to Artforum, Copeland has also published in Art Journal, Callaloo, Qui Parle, and Representations as well as in several international exhibition catalogues and edited volumes, including Modern Women: Women artists at the Museum of Modern Art. Most notable among his forthcoming publications is Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America (University of Chicago Press, 2012), which was awarded a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant in 2009. Recently, Professor Copeland was a residential fellow at Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, where he continued to work on a new manuscript exploring the constitutive role of black in femininity Western art from the nineteenth century to the present.

"Solar Ethics"
In this talk, Copeland aims to chart Sun Ra's evolving import as icon, model, and prophet for a range of visual artists. Ultimately, he contends that a critical re-examination of the jazz musician's work allows us to freshly understand the ethical stakes involved when contemporary practitioners turn to the past in conjuring utopian visions of the future.     

Please watch the film "Space is the Place" prior to this presentation, which may be viewed on YouTube.com.