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FTVM Speaker Series

2016-2017 Speaker Series Guests

NYU Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis Andrew Ross

“High Culture/Hard Labor: Looking Beyond the Creatives”
Friday, April 7, 2017, 1:30 p.m. -- Room 250 Hutchins Hall, Law School


Recent writing about “creative labor” has helped us to understand how “working for exposure” has become a central economic principle of the media and knowledge industries. But this focus on the attention economy has neglected how the “groundstaff” are employed to construct and maintain our brand-name institutions. How can arts and media activists turn such institutions into communities of conscience where the rights of all workers are upheld?


Currently a Professor at NYU, Dr Ross has been a leading figure in cultural studies, sociology and labor, and labor conditions in transnational networks for nearly 3 decades.  His recent work, which he calls “scholarly reporting,” is an innovative meshing of ethnography, sociology, and investigative/activist journalism.  Most of his activist work concerns issues surrounding labor and labor justice, Recently, he was denied entry into the UAE for his expose of an NYU construction project there. A longtime editor of SOCIAL TEXT, he was a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship.  In addition to his writing for various newspapers, Ross is the author or editor of nearly 20 academic books. 

UC Berkeley Professor Kristen Whissel 

"Parallax Effects: Stereoscopic 3D and the Postwar Uncanny in House of Wax (André de Toth, 1953)and Dial M for Murder (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)"
Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 4:30 p.m. - Osterman Room, Thayer Building

Stereographic 3D cinema is best known for its transformation of the dimensionality of the moving image through the production of positive and negative parallax (“immersion” and “emergence” effects). Scholars tend to critique the use of negative parallax in 3D films of the 1950s, especially, as a gimmick that doomed the format to failure by disrupting narrative and and disturbing the spectator’s absorption into the fictional world of the film by foregrounding the screen as surface and threshold. This paper departs from prevailing scholarship on 3D films by situating positive and negative parallax effects along a continuum that aligns the first with the epistemological drive - the desire to see and know - and the second with an affective charge that is irreducible to the provocation of shock and surprise. The association of positive parallax and negative parallax with knowledge and affect, respectively, made stereoscopic 3D an ideal format for the cinema’s investigation into the uncanny culture and experience of technological modernity in the postwar era in 3D films such as Dial M for Murder (1953) and House of Wax (1953). 

Kristen Whissel is Professor and Chair of Film & Media at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of two books, Spectacular Digital Effects: CGI and Contemporary Cinema (Duke IP) and Picturing American Modernity: Traffic, Technology and Silent Cinema (Duke UP) and co-editor (with Charlie Keil) of the anthology, Editing and Special/Visual Effects (Rutgers UP). She is currently writing a book titled, Parallax Effects: Epistemology, Affect and Stereoscopic 3D.

Author Harlan Lebo 

Monday, January 30, 2017, 5:00 p.m -- Hatcher Galllery, Room 100

In conjunction with the library’s exhibition It’s Still Terrific: CITIZEN KANE at 75, currently on display through February 5, 2017, in the Audubon Room, author Harlan Lebo presented an historical overview of the film’s production, history, and cultural significance in his lecture "Harlan Lebo and Citizen Kane: A FIlmmaker's Journey." Using previously unpublished materials from studio files and the Hearst organization, Lebo’s recently published book charts the fascinating tale of how a then twenty-three-year-old Orson Welles reinvigorated Hollywood but suffered for it the rest of his life. 

Harlan Lebo is a non-fiction author who has written books for St. Martin's Press, Doubleday, and Simon & Schuster. Lebo is also a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Lebo has written four books on the making of a trio of America’s finest films: a coffee-table book on Citizen Kane (Doubleday), Casablanca: Behind the Scenes (Simon & Schuster), and The Godfather Legacy (Simon & Schuster). Lebo’s latest book, a text-focused book on the making of Citizen Kane, was published by St. Martin’s Press in April 2016. 

This event was sponsored by the Special Collections Library, U-M Library, and the Department of Film, Television, and Media. 

Professor Dudley Andrew of Yale University

"At Sea with 3D: Cinema's Changing Dimensions and Horizons" 
Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 12:30 p.m. -- Osterman Common Room, Thayer Buidling

The relative success of 21st c. 3D, after its failure in the 1950s (examined via Bazin), encourages a closer look at the intervening years for indications of changes in film style that address the relation to the spectator. The talk moves all too swiftly across several decades searching fordevelopments and comes to rest, surprisingly enough, on the 1970s when 3D had disappeared. But new forms of camera vision had been introduced. Those forms, associated with marine photography, ultimately find their champion in Ang Lee and his Life of Pi.

Dudley Andrew studied English and Philosophy, then learned filmmaking before getting in on the ground floor just as Film Studies was taking off in the USA. His dissertation on film theorist André Bazin has funded several of his books, and has taken him frequently to France where he wrote two large histories of 1930s culture during the Popular Front era.   Andrew taught Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies at Iowa for years, directing the dissertations of many of today’s leaders in Film.  

This talk was sponsored by the Departments of Film, Television, and Media and Romance Languages and Literatures and the Institute for the Humanities. 

Jazz Scholar and Columbia University Professor Krin Gabbard

"Playing the Clown: Charles Mingus, Jimmy Knepper, and Jerry Maguire"
Thursday, November 17, 2016, 11:30 a.m. -- FTVM Conference Room, 6360 NQ

In his talk “Playing the Clown,” Gabbard will explore the delicate, somewhat unexpected racial dynamics of Jerry Maguire in relation to the music of Charles Mingus in the film’s iconic “show me the money” scene.

Krin Gabbard’s most recent books are Better Git It in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus and Hotter Than That:A Cultural History of the Trumpet. He has written several other books, most of which focus on jazz and American Cinema. Dr. Gabbard taught cinema studies and comparative literature for over 30 years at SUNY in Stony Brook. He currently adjuncts at Columbia University in NYC teaching jazz studies and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Cinema and Media Studies portion of Oxford Bibliographies