|Arts and Sciences Speaker Series to host talk on architects in film|
The College of Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary Speaker Series and the Department of English will host Elizabeth Birmingham, associate professor of English, North Dakota State University, who will present "Architects in Film: What Americans Always Think They Know About Architects, Even if They Don’t Know Much about Architecture," at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, in 116 Merrifield Hall.
Popular film does much to shape our cultural perceptions of professions. As Stuart Hall writes, “popular culture, commodified and stereotyped as it often is, is not at all . . . the arena where we find who we really are, the truth of our experience. It is an arena that is profoundly mythic . . . .where we are imagined, where we are represented, not only to audiences out there who do not get the message, but to ourselves, for the first time.” Film presents viewers with not a profession of architecture as a career path open to anyone, but as a mythic category—one that is raced, classed, and gendered. Using film clips as a place to begin conversation, this presentation examines the mythic features of architects in film, guiding the audience through a discussion of five well-known films featuring architects: The Fountainhead, Fearless, The Towering Inferno, Indecent Proposal, and There’s Something About Mary. This presentation asks us to consider the power of these representations to shape cultural beliefs about gender, race, and class, and how we might both enjoy movies and develop a critical framework to question the assumptions they promote.
All are welcome!
-- Rebecca Weaver-Hightower, Assistant Professor, English, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7-6391