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Columbia College Chicago
Spring 2009
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Intersections Spring 2009

February 2009: "The Ambiguous Aura: Re-examining Manga in The United States"

March 2009: "Africa in Film: Presenting The Lioness of Lisabi"

April 2009: "Consciousness: Philosophy, Science and Art"

May 2009: "Notes on U. S. Empire: New Imperialism, and Global Capitalism Today"

February 11, 2009
"The Ambiguous Aura: Re-examining Manga in The United States"

Elizabeth Marks examines the ubiquity of Japanese illustrated media in the American marketplace and explores the marketing of its 'Japaneseness' to Americans. Her presentation will draw parallels between a 1960s market climate that facilitated Marvel's success and the stagnant American comics market at the turn of the millennium. If there is common ground between manga and comics, it can be found in their shared history and visual indebtedness to one another. This also suggests that the appeal of manga may be more than simply about projections of fantasy onto Japan, but also about certain recognition of common storytelling tropes.


Elizabeth Marks is a "Visiting Faculty member in Cultural Studies" at Columbia College Chicago. Her research is in the anthropology of media with a focus on American and Japanese media. She holds a Master's degree in Media Studies from The New School and a Master's in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.

March 4, 2009
"Africa in Film: Presenting The Lioness of Lisabi"

The representation of Africa in film continues to be problematic. Animated films consistently present animal characters, Hollywood films use Africa as backdrop to focus on European or American heroes, and even the films emerging from the Nigerian-based Nollywood industry create new paradigms that are disturbing. This presentation expands on these spheres of representation and will present an excerpt and discussion of "Lioness of Lisabi," a 25 minute film written and produced by Stephanie Shonekan and directed by Vlady Oszkiel. The film is inspired by the life of Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Nigerian women's rights activist and mother of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, musician and creator of afrobeat.

Dr. Stephanie Shonekan teaches at Columbia College Chicago and directs the Black World Studies program there. Most recently, Shonekan has been researching and writing about the influence of Fumilayo Ransome-Kuti on the music and politics of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Vlady Oszkiel recently graduated from the Film Department of Columbia College Chicago.

April 8, 2009
"Consciousness: Philosophy, Science, and Art"

A wide-ranging discussion on the state of contemporary society's understanding of Consciousness. The four speakers will explore consciousness through their respective fields of study: Philosophy, Psychology, Evolutionary Theory, and Art History. Stephen T. Asma will analyze the possibility of self-awareness in non-human animals, computers, and (the dreaded) zombies. Rami Gabriel will discuss the successes and limits of the scientific brain approach to consciousness. Tom Greif will discuss the importance of self-reflection, freedom, meaning, and insight within the context of evolutionary history and the scientific study of Consciousness. Debra Riley Parr will discuss the relationship between aesthetics and consciousness.

Stephen T. Asma is the author of 5 books and teaches courses on Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago. He is also a musician.

Rami Gabriel teaches "The Psychology of Consciousness," "Self and Identity: The Mind Brain Problem," at Columbia College Chicago. He is also a musician.

Tom Greif teaches "Self and Identity: The Mind Brain Problem" at Columbia College Chicago. He is also a social activist.

Debra Riley Parr is a professor of Art History at Columbia College Chicago. Her research focuses on Surrealism, Semiotics, and Gender Issues.

May 6, 2009
"Notes on U. S. Empire: New Imperialism and Global Capitalism Today"

Imperialism is a complex economic, political, cultural, and ideological phenomenon. Aksikas interrogates the very notion of 'empire' and 'imperialism' and examines the latter's fundamental features, structure, logic, contradictions, and implications. He explores some of the new forms that contemporary U.S. imperialism (and empire building) assumes at all social levels - economic, political, cultural, and ideological, and what role contemporary U. S. imperialism plays and is likely to play in the current condition of global capitalism.

Jaafar Aksikas is an assistant professor of Cultural Studies in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of Arab Modernities: Islamism, Nationalism, and Liberalism in the Post-Colonial Arab World (Peter Iang, 2008) and The Sitar of Antar: An Islamic Interpretation of Arab-Islamic History (Aui Press, 2002).