The Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts began the 2022-2023 academic year with a series of lectures about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the performing arts.
This series began on September 26 with Matthieu Chapman, an Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz and the Literary Director of NY Classical Theatre.
Chapman’s research focuses on ontological structures of Blackness in the Early Modern World and how they exist in a continuum with today.
Relying heavily on contemporary critical race theory, his work seeks to expand the geographical and temporal framework of Afro-pessimism to reveal the ways in which Blackness occupied a position of Social Death prior to the chattel slave trade. In doing so, he aims to reveal how anti-Black racism existed in the English psyche prior to encounters with Black bodies.
Then on October 10, the department hosted Guillermo Avilés-Rodríguez, who is currently a lecturer in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
A Los Angeles native who was born and raised in Watts, Avilés-Rodríguez’s research and teaching exist in the intersection of indigenous mythology, mobility studies, and visual and performing arts.
He has collaborated with Spanish-speaking theatre groups in and beyond the United States, including Grupo de Teatro Malayerba from Ecuador, Yuyachkani from Peru, and Teatro de los Andes from Bolivia.
Lastly, on October 21, the department welcomed Christopher Harris, who is currently F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor and Head of Film and Video Production at the University of Iowa.
Harris makes films and video installations that read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema.
His work employs manually and photo-chemically altered appropriated moving images, staged re-enactments of archival artifacts and interrogations of documentary conventions. His current project is a series of optically-printed 16mm experimental films in conversation with canonical works of African-American literature.