Past Faculty Showcases

Faculty Showcase 4.1
Thursday, September 19, 2019
4:00- 5:30 p.m., Reception to follow
109 Hokin Lecture Hall, 623 S. Wabash

“Media Literacy, Social Justice and International Students”

Most first-year studies have public speaking anxiety, and for international students there is an additional cultural shock coming to study at a foreign country. In this presentation, Ellen Yeh, Assistant Professor in English and Creative Writing, and Yonty Friesem, Assistant Professorin Communication, discuss their work in introducing issues of social justice and promoting Columbia’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by applying critical lens of media texts, and digital engagement. Friesem and Yeh will showcase how easy-to-use instructional strategies can help promote the intercultural understanding of social justice.  They will share students’ reflections and feedback on the efficiency of the media literacy pedagogy. By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to understand and apply the process of designing the class and tools to engage the students to explore diverse issues of social justice in the US.

Faculty Showcase 3.4
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
5:00- 6:30 p.m., Reception to follow
101 Ferguson Hall, 600 S. Michigan 

“Scapegoat and the Horror of Identification”  

Susan Kerns, Associate Professor in Cinema and Television Arts, will discuss Scapegoat, a 3D stereoscopic VR horror experience she is producing, and for which she received a faculty development grant in Spring 2018. Much has been said about how VR, by putting the player into the point of view of an unseen person, encourages empathy in ways unprecedented by older mediums. Based on the idea that villages once chose a single person for sacrifice to cleanse the community’s sins, Scapegoat immerses the player in an intimate story that invests the body both via its horrific and romantic elements while also toying with the player’s perception of “sin.” With American society currently quite fraught, it is the perfect time to remind players they can be manipulated by their own desires and perceptions into believing something that is not true, and missing what else is going on. In this game, the player makes inquiries, gathers clues, asks questions, follows flirtations and confrontations wherever they lead, and arrives at conclusions that deliver alternative endings. While you, the unknowing scapegoat, try to solve one mystery, you realize you have been chosen—and you may not get out alive. 

“Translating Intimacy and Inequality:  A Window into the Unique Experience of Translating Poetry”  

Yudit Shahar’s prizewinning poems about the true lives of women and the lingering effects of extreme economic inequality are both a challenge and a pleasure to translate. How can a translator move such intimate poems— a cry for justice for low-wage workers, artists, single mothers, and women who are just trying to survive as themselves—from one language to another? 

Aviya Kushner, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, will present both the original Hebrew poems and her English translations as she offers a window into the translation process, and the many decisions involved in transporting poetry from one language to another. Kushner will describe how she wove input from elderly ladies and young baristas into these translations, how she conveyed neighborhood lingo, and how the in-person collaboration between the poet and the translator made these translations possible. 

Faculty Showcase 3.3
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
5:00- 6:30 p.m., Reception to follow
101 Ferguson Hall, 600 S. Michigan 

"Lady Parts Justice in the New World Order - A Docu-series Work-in-Progress"

Associate Professor of Cinema and Television Arts Ruth Leitman will screen a trailer and selected scenes from her upcoming reproductive rights documentary series. The series follows The Daily Show’s co-creator Lizz Winstead and her renegade organization Lady Parts Justice League as they barnstorm the country with a boots-on-the-ground strategy to support reproductive rights, and bodily autonomy for all, using comedy as the ultimate weapon. Leitman will discuss the process of creating the series with several Columbia College Chicago students, alum and women faculty. Reproductive access and rights have been severely under reported in our media. Today women (and all people with uteruses) face the greatest risk of abortion being eradicated at both the state and federal level since 1973’s Supreme Court passing of Roe v. Wade.

"Playing Matchmaker: Facial Symmetry and Female Mate Choice in the Endangered Black-Footed Ferret" 

What if the current human population was started by only 8 individuals? This is the case for the breeding population of the highly-endangered black-footed ferret. Associate Professor of Science and Mathematics Michelle Rafacz will share details of her research investigating the role of facial symmetry in mate choice in the black-footed ferret, which was completed with support from a faculty development grant. Dr. Rafacz will discuss how more symmetrical males may make better partners and how understanding female mate choice could potentially improve breeding success and the overall conservation of this species.

Faculty Showcase 3.2
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
5:00- 6:30 p.m.
Rm 203, 623 S. Wabash, Reception to follow in Haus (1st floor)

"The Consequence of Stars"

David Berner, Associate Professor Radio/Communication will read from his memoir manuscript scheduled to be published in the summer of 2019 by Adelaide Books (NY, NY). The Consequence of Stars is a memoir in essays on the concept of home. Not only the physical place, but the emotional one, representing peace, solace, and well-being, and on our eternal search for whatever we call home. The book was one of several projects during his spring 2018 sabbatical leave.

"Radical Indian Realism" 

As part of her larger project to investigate the aesthetics of political work, especially of Indian writer and activist Mahasweta Devi, Associate Professor Madhurima Chakraborty (English and Creative Writing) will discuss the arguments from the chapter of her book project on the radical potential of realism, especially in the Indian context. Chakraborty will look at the charges that are usually laid against this literary genre and argue that Mahasweta’s fiction models for us how this form, generally understood as conventional and resisting innovation, is nonetheless an effective way to do the radical work of political emancipation.

Faculty Showcase 3.1
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
5:00- 6:30 p.m., Reception to follow
Stage Two (2nd Floor), 618 S. Michigan (Updated) 

"The 'Fourth Teacher': Designing Multi-modal Interactive Books for the iPad"

Kevin Henry, Associate Professor (Design and Fashion Studies), will present his ongoing research and work designing and developing multi-modal interactive books for the iPad. In this talk, he will share some of the challenges as well as opportunities that come with defining, developing, and deploying interactive media-rich learning resources. The "fourth teacher” is the confluence of two bigger ideas. The first comes from the Reggio Emilia pedagogy which believes that a well-designed physical space for teaching/learning acts as a "third teacher." The second comes from the shared screen "space" that mobile devices provide sometimes referred to as a "fourth space." When artfully combined, the result is a kind of fourth teacher or virtual teaching aid that enables students to engage and interact with materials in a manner in which they are both familiar and comfortable. The presentation will include a live demo of some prototypes.
"Discourses of Disorder: Fashion, Fatness and Figure Flattery, 1915-1930"

Lauren Downing Peters, new Assistant Professor in Fashion Studies, will present a portion of her doctoral dissertation, which she successfully defended in May 2018 at the Centre for Fashion Studies at Stockholm University. In this talk, she will explore the concept of "figure flattery” as an enduringly neglected concept within the field of fashion studies. She will discuss how so-called “stoutwear” was not merely made to fit the bodies of fat, female consumers, but to also help wearers to fit in—ideas that endure in plus-size design discourse to this day. 

Faculty Showcase 2.4
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
5:00- 6:30 p.m., reception to follow
101 Ferguson Hall (Reception to Follow in 811)
600 S. Michigan

“Displacement: Public Video Projections and Animal Spectatorship”

Colleen Plumb, part-time faculty in Photography, will discuss Thirty Times a Minute, her video project about captive elephants that has been injected into public spaces in cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Portland, Los Angeles, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Toronto, Los Angeles, and most recently, in Reykjavik, Iceland. The video records dozens of captive elephants caught in unending cycles of movement, bearing the weight of an unnatural existence in their small enclosures. Plumb will discuss how installing these guerilla projections creates spontaneous interference on the street where strangers connect as witnesses, and generates discussions about the normalization of captivity.

"Atokoro sęe Nokwapem (Twi language) 'One falsehood spoils a thousand truths'"

Robert Hanserd, PhD, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Humanities, History and Social Sciences will present a selected reading from and discussion of his forthcoming manuscript: Identity, Spirit and Freedom in the Atlantic World: The Gold Coast and the African Diaspora. Hanserd highlights local cosmology and perceptions of freedom and enslavement for coastal and interior West Africans. He also points to identity and spirituality in reactions to enslavement by maroons, free blacks and captives in the Americas. These topics are centrally influential to African, Atlantic and American history and diaspora memory. 

Faculty Showcase 2.3
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
5:00- 6:30 p.m., reception to follow 
109 Hokin Lecture Hall
623 S. Wabash

“Controlled Feeding Status: Sustenance as Punishment”

Taylor Hokanson, Associate Professor in Art and Art History, will discuss Controlled Feeding Status (CFS), a new sculptural work completed during his sabbatical with the support of a faculty development grant. CFS is a series of 3D printed, sterling silver forks, that exhibit a progressive array of tumor-like growths. These nodules increase in size and number until the original function of the last implement is almost completely defeated. The work was inspired by Nutraloaf, a “behavior modification” tool used in some prisons. Nutraloaf is engineered to be nutritious and profoundly bland - so bland that a group of Illinois prisoners sued to have it classified as cruel and unusual punishment (they lost). Using the recipe found in the court case, Hokanson invites his audience to experience Nutraloaf firsthand as they reflect on flawed American food culture at both ends of the economic spectrum.

“Don’t Forget Me”

Jackie Spinner, Associate Professor in Communication, will show the trailer and discuss the documentary, titled “Don’t Forget Me,” she is producing from her sabbatical in Morocco. The filming was supported through a faculty development grant and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The documentary follows three Moroccan boys with autism spectrum disorder to explore how the children are educated in a county with virtually no disability rights outside of vague protections granted in the constitution. The documentary was inspired by Spinner’s two Moroccan-born sons, who also are autistic. The boys attended a private French-language school in Morocco while Spinner was working on the film. Their story offers a comparative arc for showing the stark difference between Morocco and America. Unlike the United States, where children with disabilities have the right to a free, public education through the Individuals with Disabilities Act, children with disabilities in Morocco do not have a right to attend school. There also is no government-funded intervention in Morocco, few therapeutic resources, virtually no awareness and no special education support.

Faculty Showcase 2.2
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
5:00- 6:30 p.m., reception after
Film Row Cinema
1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor

"Access and Aesthetics in Accident, MD"
Dan Rybicky introduced and screened his recently completed short documentary about healthcare titled (and filmed in) Accident, MD. He discussed what inspired the film's formal rigor and darkly comedic tone, as well as examined the process of structuring nonfiction work and engaging with real people to compel conversations both on- and off-screen.

Faculty Showcase 2.1
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
5:00- 6:30 p.m., reception after
Ferguson Theater
600 S. Michigan 

“Voice of Performers: Psychoacoustics for Beginners”
Peter Xinya Zhang, Associate Professor of Audio Arts and Acoustics, spoke about his research on human voice for stage performance. Actors use various voice timbres for various art forms on stage. However, especially for acoustic performances, there are technical requirements for voice timbres. With video and audio demos and demos by himself, Dr. Zhang introduced the psychoacoustic aspects of human voice, and discussed how he suggests improvements for performers.

“Collaborative Models for Artistic Inquiry in Dance”
Lisa Gonzales, Associate Professor of Dance, discussed and performed in all its confining glory, a solo that explores the interweaving of language and movement and their emergent layers of meaning. Her focus was the collaborative methodologies she engaged in during the process of making in all its confining glory, as well as Place(No)Place, a piece that contains elements of dance, Japanese-inspired puppetry, set and video design.   

Faculty Showcase 1.1

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
5:00- 6:30 p.m., reception after
Music Center Concert Hall
1014 S. Michigan Ave.

“Drawing to See: Documenting What’s Gone”
Andrew Causey, Associate Professor of Anthropology (HHSS) spoke about his book, Drawn to See: Drawing as an Ethnographic Method (University of Toronto Press, 2016). He presented ideas related to capturing in drawn lines the ephemerality of things in movement. Attendees participated in a short drawing exercise to explore how we can use drawing as a way to see more clearly and deeply.

“What Really Matters When It Comes to Professionally Networking: A Scholarly Analysis”
Anne Marie Mitchell, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Innovation (CMI), presented her research on professional networking, focusing on what professionals seek in new hires and provided an overview of how this research might help us mentor our students.

“Classroom Challenge in Real Life”
Tania Richard, part-time faculty in Cinema Arts and Science discussed how a challenge to her students prompted her to write, produce and star in her own original web series, Mom in Real Life, and how this work led to opportunities as a practicing artist.

“Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities”
In this presentation, Fo Wilson, Associate Professor in Art and Art History, discussed her exhibition Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities, a long-term sculptural installation at the Lynden Sculpture Garden in Milwaukee. The full-scale structure imagines what a 19th-century woman of African descent might have collected, catalogued and stowed in her living quarters.