Spring Colloquium 2020

In this lecture series, MCLA faculty members from across campus share their current research or creative projects and benefit from questions and discussions. Events are free & open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Travis Beaver, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology.Monday, March 9th, 12pm: Travis Beaver, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Location: Murdock 218

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”: Anxious Masculinities and Gendered Homophobia 

While there is evidence of decreasing social acceptance of homophobia in the US, surveys show that significant numbers of LGBTQ individuals have experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender presentation. Public discourse and social science research about homophobia tends to focus exclusively on LGBTQ individuals. Drawing on life history interviews with straight-identified men who are perceived as gay, I explore how straight men experience and make sense of being targets of homophobia. Despite optimistic claims about the declining significance of homophobia, Beaver argues that homophobia continues to be a useful concept for examining the social construction of gender and sexuality.

Travis Beaver is Assistant Professor of Sociology at MCLA. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. His research on women’s roller derby is published in International Review for the Sociology of Sport and Journal of Sport and Social Issues. His current research explores how heterosexual masculinities have been transformed by feminist and LGBTQ activism and will appear in the forthcoming edited volume, Male Femininities (NYU Press).

Wednesday, April 1st, 12pm: Hannah Noel, Assistant Professor of Multiethnic Studies & the Digital HumanitiesO06415 Hannah Noel
Location: Murdock 218

 “Trash Music: Class and Strategic Whiteness in Bro-Country and Country-Rap” 

Using the video sharing app TikTok, black country-rap artist Lil Nas X created a meme out of his song “Old Town Road” that helped catapult it to three of Billboard’s charts: Hot 100, Hot Country, and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop. Using this historical moment as a touchpoint, this presentation studies the rhetoric of contemporary country songs and the online fan community of bro-country, country-rap, and hick-hop music. As a common theme in country music, a discussion of what is or what is not “country” references a musical genre, racialized geography, social class, and way of life. Although much has been written about country music, there are markedly few publications on contemporary country music and hick-hop. The research builds on current country music scholarship through foregrounding the ways that fan communities police and interpret lyrics and star personas in mediated spaces. 

Hannah Noel is Assistant Professor of Multiethnic Studies and the Digital Humanities at MCLA. She holds a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan. The research presented at this colloquium is part of her monograph, Deflective Whiteness: White Identity Politics in a Post-Race Era, under contract with The Ohio State University Press for inclusion in their Race and Mediated Cultures Series.


Monday, April 13th, 12pm: Mark Miller, Professor of English & Communications
Location: Murdock 218

 “Life Birds: A Life’s Work, in Progress

Life Birds: An Ornithological Autobiography is a mixed-genre work based on the author’s life-list, the list a birder keeps of all the different species of birds they see during their lifetime. Life Birds has always been informed by an awareness of ecology, as it used to be called, but recently, the issue of our relationship to the environment has become increasingly urgent, and Life Birds reflects this. It also reflects our increasing awareness that Earth justice and human justice go hand-in-hand. This presentation will consist of a brief description of the project, followed by a reading of some representative poems.

Mark D. Miller has taught in the English & Communications Department at MCLA since 1986, and also served as department chair for nine years. He is a Robert Penn Warren scholar and past editor of Robert Penn Warren Studies, where his latest essay on Warren, “Race and S.O.B.-ism in All the King’s Men,” is set to appear in the forthcoming issue. Over the years, portions of Life Birds: An Ornithological Autobiography have been published in The Mind’s Eye (and elsewhere), and Miller has presented selections of his work-in-progress in several public readings at MCLA, the first of these in 1987.

Friday, April 24th, 12pm: David Lane, Artist-In-Residence & Guest Lecturer of Fine and Performing Arts 
Location: The Design Lab at 49 Main Street


 “SOPHIE AND THE MUMMERS — Building Bridges of Empathy With Silent Narrative

The next great American play might not be written on a laptop. Devised theatre practices are opening up new avenues for play development which move beyond traditional playwright-centered structures. Following in the footsteps of 1960s practitioners like Jerzy Grotowski and Richard Schechner, War Horse, Sleep No More and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time are just a few examples where engaging in a high risk (and sometimes unproven) development process has led to groundbreaking work. This talk will discuss trends in theatrical devising practices and share the collaborative journey of the artists creating SOPHIE AND THE MUMMERS, a wordless mask and puppet play. The lecture will include a 20 minute showing of this work-in-progress.

David Lane is an interdisciplinary artist and guest director and lecturer in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at MCLA. He is a two-time Jim Henson Foundation grant recipient for his original play THE CHRONICLES OF ROSE. His original clown play THE PAINTING, was selected to be presented at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region One. He is the co-Director of the New England Puppet Intensive/Berkshire Lantern Walk, and teaches a yearly workshop in wood carving at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). http://www.davidlane-theatre.com

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