Animation - Fall 2009

Engendering Crisis

Crisis—  • noun (pl. crises) 1 a time of intense difficulty or danger. 2 the turning point of a disease, when it becomes clear whether the patient will recover or not.

ORIGIN Greek krisis ‘decision’, from krinein ‘decide’.
(Oxford English Dictionary)

Crisis refers to both the temporal condition of social calamity and in its original Greek usage, a moment of decisive intervention. This series will explore the construction of crisis in popular discourse. Who gets to name and define the nature of crisis within a given historical juncture? How is crisis engendered? How are gendered lives and identities transformed by and through crisis? How do prevailing discourses of epidemiology shape societal responses to crisis? In this age where terrorism, disaster, pandemic, peak-oil apocalypse and ecological frailty have stirred public fears, are we beginning a unique historical epoch of meta-crises— an era of permanent states of emergency and chronic “hysteria”? Are we entering a cultural and historical moment where the pursuit of social justice and the defense of the public good require ever-constant vigilance? We will examine the political uses of crisis. In other words, we will think through how progressive and reactionary social forces create opportunity amidst crises. As well, this series will contemplate the relative value of those decisive interventions undertaken by artists, activists, politicians and citizens during times of social uncertainty and danger. The lectures and other events in this series will explore the deeply personal and collective costs of environmental, social and market crises. The events in this series will consider these and other questions of crisis in global, domestic and local contexts.

January 27-28

The Women of Brukman

Lester Spence

“Constructing Pookie: The Neoliberal Politics of the Black Male Crisis”

Lester K. Spence is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include studying the impact of black power on black political behavior, developing models that predict the effect of media narratives on black public opinion, and examining the interplay between dominant mainstream political ideologies such as conservatism, liberalism, and neoliberalism, on black political action and thought. His first book Stare in the Darkness: Rap, Hip-hop, and Black Politics examines the politics of the production, circulation, and consumption of rap and hip-hop in black discursive spaces and will be published with the University of Minnesota Press. His work has been published in a variety of academic and popular fora including The American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, The WEB Dubois Review,, NPR, and Black Voices. He is currently at work on a project examining the neoliberal turn in black politics. 


February 17-18

Graciela Monteagudo and Marcelo Vieta

Dorit Naaman

“From Mr. Baum to Waltz with Bashir: New Masculinity in Contemporary Israeli Cinema”

(cosponsored with the Media & Society Program, the International Relations Program and the Religious Studies Department)

Dorit Naaman is a film theorist and documentary filmmaker from Jerusalem, teaching at Queen’s University, Canada. Her research focuses on Palestinian and Israeli cinemas and media, primarily from postcolonialist and feminist perspectives. She is currently working on a book on the visual representation of Palestinian and Israeli women fighters, Angels, Monsters, and Heroes: The Visual Representation of Palestinian and Israeli Women Fighters (Austin: University of Texas Press, forthcoming). Her documentary work is about identity politics and the politics of representation; her format of short videos is titled DiaDocuMEntaRY. Naaman is also an activist for a just solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.


March 24-25

Richard Bernstein

Andrea Tone

“Elusive Elysium: Women, Men and Anxiety Over Time”

(supported in part by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities)

Andrea Tone is the Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine. A professor of history, she holds joint appointments in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine and the Department of History at McGill University. Her scholarship explores women and health, medical technology, sexuality, psychiatry, and industry, particularly the intersection between patient experience, cultural contexts, and technological and economic change in nineteenth and twentieth-century America. She is the author of several books and edited volumes, including Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America, which was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and, most recently, Medicating Modern America: Prescription Drugs in History, with Elizabeth Siegel Watkins. She has just finished a book on the history of tranquilizers (forthcoming with Basic Books) and is beginning research on a project on Cold War psychopharmacology funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her work has been featured on ABC News, PBS, National Public Radio, the CBC, the History Channel, and in the New York Times.


April 14-15

Andrea Tone

Johan Grimonprez

“Maybe the Sky Is Really Green and We’re Just Colorblind”

Johan Grimonprez was born in Roeselare, Belgium in 1962. He studied at the School of Visual Arts and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York.

Grimonprez achieved international acclaim with his film essay, Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. With its premiere at Centre Pompidou and Documenta X in Kassel in 1997, it eerily foreshadowed the events of September 11th. The film tells the story of airplane hijackings since the 1970s and how these changed the course of news reporting. The movie consists of recycled images taken from news broadcasts, Hollywood movies, animated films and commercials. As a child of the first TV generation, the artist mixes reality and fiction in a new way and presents history as a multi-perspective dimension open to manipulation.

Grimonprez's Looking for Alfred, 2005, plays with the theme of the double through simulations and reversals. The point of departure is the film director Alfred Hitchcock and his legendary guest appearances in his own films. Innumerable Hitchcock doppelgangers act out a mysterious game of confusion in which Hitchcock meets Hitchcock. This puzzling game of confusion also pays tribute to the pictorial cosmos of the Surrealist painter René Magritte. Looking for Alfred won the International Media Award (ZKM, Germany) in 2005 as well as the European Media Award in 2006.

Grimonprez's productions have traveled the main festival circuit from Telluride, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, to Tokyo and Berlin. Curatorial projects were hosted at major exhibitions and museums worldwide such as the Whitney Museum in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich and the Tate Modern in London. Grimonprez's work is included in numerous collections such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Kanazawa Art Museum, Japan, the National Gallery, Berlin and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. Grimonprez is currently a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts (New York).

Johan Grimonprez lives and works in Brussels and New York.




All presentations are held at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library, on Pulteney Street, on the HWS campus, unless otherwise noted.


Morning roundtables are held the following day, 9 to 10 a.m. in Room 212, Demarest Hall, the Fisher Center.

Film Screenings:

Israeli Film Festival (in anticipation of Naaman Lecture)

Monday February 15, 7-10 pm Walk on Water (2004)
Sanford Room

Tuesday February 16, 7-10 pm Waltz With Bashir (2008)
Sanford Room

Screening in anticipation of Grimonprez Lecture

Wednesday April 7, 7-10 pm Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1998)
Sanford Room

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.