In 2018 we recorded episodes 4-13 of our podcasts series. Our guest colleagues, artists, and scholars spoke about their projects on literature, cinema, photography, music, languages, cultures and politics. With them we traveled from Morocco to Peru, Mali, Canada, and the United States; from Japan and Korea to Russia; from Taiwan to France and the world of puppets. We also recorded our first podcast in Chinese–and its English version and spoke about the experience of Dreamers at MSU.
Episode 13: Passing to the Other’s Side in Russian Cinema (December 2018)
In this podcast Catherine Ryu (Japanese and Korean Studies), Camelia Suleiman (Arabic Language and Cultures), and Jason Merrill (Russian Literature and Film) talk about the notion of “passing” in Zainichi cultural production, Arab culture, and Russian cinema. Tied to ideas of racial, ethnic, and cultural identity, “passing” takes place when an individual of a racial/ethnic group is accepted as a member of a group different from their own. In this context Prisoner of the Mountains (1996), the story of two Russian soldiers who are held prisoners by their enemies during the Chechen war offers an example of “passing” in Russian film.
Episode 12: (English) Taiwanese Cinema: “Dear Ex“ (November 2018)
Welcome to our podcast about 2018 cinematic success “Dear Ex.” MSU Professors Tze-lan Sang (Chinese Studies) and Catherine Ryu (Japanese and Korean Studies) hold a lively conversation with Filmmaker Chih-yen Hsu, one of the two Co-Directors of “Dear Ex” along with Mag Hsu. Winner of Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, and Best Actress at the 2018 Taipei Film Festival; nominated to 8 Golden Horse Awards, and Official Selection at the 2018 Asian Pop-Up Cinema, “Dear Ex” delves into the lives of Song Zheng-yuan, his wife (and later widow) San-lian, their teenage son Cheng-xi, and Zheng-yuan’s lover Jay. Gender roles, sexual identity, motherhood, communication, and love are some of the themes we discuss in this podcast. Watch the film trailer here.
Episode 12 (Chinese) Taiwanese Cinema: “誰先愛上他的” (November 2018)
Welcome to our first podcast in a language other than English! MSU Professor of Chinese Studies, Dr. Tze-lan Sang, Taiwanese Filmmaker Chih-yen Hsu, and Sophia Wong Boccio, Executive Director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema (Chicago) joined us to talk about Taiwanese cinema and “誰先愛上他的,” film co-directed by Chih-yen Hsu and Mag Hsu. The visit of our guests and the MSU screening of 誰先愛上他的 on November 7, 2018, has been possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of Asian Pop-up Cinema, Asian Studies Center, Center for Gender in Global Context, Chinese Program, Film Studies Program, Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities, LBGT Resource Center, Ministry of Education of R.O.C. (Taiwan), Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago. Watch the film trailer here.
Episode 11: Legacies of the Enlightenment (October 2018)
Thanks to a generous support from the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities Without Walls program, “Legacies of the Enlightenment” is a research initiative jointly developed by faculty and graduate students from MSU and Penn State University, Valentina Denzel, Professor of French Studies, and Ellen McCallum, Professor of English, both at MSU, join us today to talk about this collaborative initiative, why studying the Enlightenment matters today, and their forthcoming interdisciplinary workshop.
Episode 10: Puppet Power (September 2018)
Between May 14 and September 14 this year our MSU colleagues, Pia Banzhaf, Professor of German Studies, and Steve Baibak, Preparator for the Look Out! Gallery in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities organized the exhibit “Panoply of Puppets” in collaboration with the MSU Museum. Puppets from different parts of the world were featured. In this podcast, Banzhaf and Baibak talk about the power of puppets and how they integrate them in their projects and, in collaboration with MSU Abrams Planetarium, their classes. Visit: http://kaleidoscopia.ca/
Episode 9: Locating Muslim Cinema(s) (May 2018)
In April 2018, Michigan State University held the Muslim Studies Program 11th Annual Conference and Film Fest with a special focus on “Locating Muslim Cinema(s): The Politics of Cultures and Identity.” MSU faculty Camelia Suleiman, Marc Bernstein, and Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai talk about the festival, films “The Nightingale’s Prayer” (Egypt 1959), “Close Up” (Iran 1990), and “Firaaq” (India 2008), and how 60 years of Muslim cinema(s) contribute to our understanding of Muslim cultures and society.
Episode 8: Picturing Others: Photography, Representation, and Identification (April 2018)
Mary Vogl (Colorado State University), Candace Keller (Michigan State University), and Rocío Quispe-Agnoli (host) share their approaches to study indigenous photographic practices from Morocco, Mali, and Perú. Who were/are their viewers? for whom and why did/do they take photographs? what agendas are activated when building representations of others and themselves? How did these photographers and the subjects they photographed want to be represented? For more information: www.picturingothers.com
Episode 7: Picturing Others: Indigenous Photography and Archive (April 2018)
Jorge Coronado (Northwestern University), Laura Smith (Michigan State University) and Erika Nimis (University of Quebec, Montréal) share their reasons to study indigenous photographers of Perú, the United States and Mali and the construction of photographic archives by native people of these nations. The construction and preservation of photographic archives bring the stories of indigenous peoples and their (self)representations to the center of interdisciplinary studies. For more information: www.picturingothers.com
Episode 6: Migration Studies and the Humanist Perspective (March 2018)
What does the censorship of bilingualism signal about how we construct our world? Is popular culture depicting or misrepresenting migration communities? How are the refugee crises presented in social media? Evelyn Alsultany, Madelaine Hron, Ana Celia Zentella, and Miguel Cabañas, guest presenters and organizer of this symposium meet to talk about human rights and refugees including their right to practice their religions, use their language, and retain their own features. Humanities research in these areas can inform the law and transform policy to create a conversation on the impact of migration policy on human experience.
Episode 5: What Happens to a Dream Deferred (February 2018)
What Happens to a Dream Deferred is an intimate portrait of a day in the life of José Adrián Badillo Carlos and Osvaldo Sandoval, two DREAMers who are graduate students at Michigan State University. Scott Boehm, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Film Director, and Peter Johnston, Cinematographer and Film Editor, join José Adrián and Osvaldo to talk about the making of this short film and the impact on their lives after the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. The film was first released at the MSU Latinx Film Festival.
Episode 4: Latinx Film Festival. 40 Years of Mexican-American Music (January 2018)
A conversation with Charlie Vela and Ronnie Garza, directors of As I Walk Through the Valley, and Scott Boehm, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Global Studies at Michigan State University and Director of the MSU Latinx Film Festival. Featured at the MSU Latinx Film Festival, As I Walk Through the Valley is the first comprehensive look at rock music in the Rio Grande Valley. Vela, Garza, and Boehm talk about documenting 40 years of musical history and Mexican-American culture.