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Columbia College Chicago
Spring 2011
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Spring 2011

Intersections Spring 2011

March 2, 2011

“Grieving and the Politics of Immigration: The Case of Melquiades Estrada” 

As the political debate over immigration and border security becomes increasingly impassioned, the figure of the undocumented migrant laborer looms ever larger in the American public’s imagination. Engaging recent work on the question of grievability—that is, whose lives matter enough to be mourned when lost—Dr. Robert Watkins will analyze the 2006 feature film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (directed by Tommy Lee Jones), arguing that it sheds new light on the immigration debate by daring to grieve the death of an undocumented Mexican cowboy.

In charting the journey of Melquiades’ body through three different burials, the film emphatically challenges the dominant understanding that the undocumented migrant in the U.S. today is ungrievable. As a political intervention in the American debate over immigration and border security, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada seeks to make Melquiades’ life—and by extension, those of millions of others like him—matter.

Robert E. Watkins, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Cultural Studies in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago. Having previously published work on the political theory of Edmund Burke, Michel Foucault, and Judith Butler, he is currently working on a book that uses contemporary films to explore the limits of the myth of American individualism—specifically, how individuals are always seeking independence in a world inescapably built on dependence and perpetually exercising their free choice in circumstances not of their own choosing.

April 6, 2011

“Love & Relationships in Changing Times”

In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck captures something of the promise and the test of relationships when he writes: “Human beings are challenged to the limit of their capacities to extend themselves to develop genuinely loving relationships with their spouses and children alone. Indeed, if one can say that one has built genuinely loving relationships with a spouse and children, then one has already succeeded in accomplishing more than most people accomplish in a lifetime.”

Relationships and love are among life’s most treasured pursuits and gifts. Yet, at the same time, to experience enduring love in the context of a relationship is to embark on a life journey also filled with conflict, disappointment, hurt, and sorrow. This often results in separation from self and others rather than union. And while a heart comes with the potential to love, our hearts do not come with instructions.

Join us for a thoughtful discussion of the promises and work entailed in crafting loving relationships.

Cynthia Lund
holds an MEd in Counseling from DePaul University. She is the former Director of Counseling for Linden Oaks Hospital and has taught women's studies and human sexuality at Columbia College Chicago and Roosevelt University.

Louis Silverstein, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Columbia College Chicago. He teaches the courses “Peace Studies,” “Death & Dying,” “Education & Culture,” and “Social Problems in American Society.” He is the author of Deep Spirit & Great Heart, and Encountering Life’s Endings.

May 4, 2011

"Property in Crisis: Labor and Intellectual Property Rights in the Global, Digital Age"

From news articles condemning the piracy of music and movies to multinational treaties attempting to stem the flow of counterfeit goods, the issue of intellectual property rights has become a growing concern among consumers and corporations, artists and arts lovers, citizens and governments.

In this engaging presentation, Dr. Sean Johnson Andrews will examine the rising concern within U.S. culture over intellectual property rights in our increasingly global and digital age. He finds that the current discourse about intellectual property rights accompanies and legitimizes an increase in the scope of protection and the scale of enforcement of a regime of intellectual property rights defined by the United States of America.

Situating the current discussion of intellectual property rights in a larger historical context, Dr. Andrews also finds the rising concern to be indicative of a crisis in a culturally specific definition of property rights—and the labor that constitutes them—which is undermined by the dual processes of globalization and digitization.

Join us for the final Spring 2011 Intersections lecture—a stimulating and visually engaging discussion about a timely and sensitive issue.

Sean Johnson Andrews, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at Columbia College Chicago. He received his PhD from George Mason University. His dissertation, The Cultural Production of Intellectual Property Rights, focused on the central issues of history, ideology, law, economics, and the production of value in the intellectual property question.