Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 28, 2020

Biagetti, Samuel A. "The Road to Civil War: Class Conflict and Constitutional Crisis in Stuart England, 1603-1650." Historiansplaining (September 28, 2019) ["Struggles between chief executives and legislatures are dominating the news on both sides of the Atlantic, as Americans debate impeachment and the UK is engulfed by a Brexistential crisis. Most of the terms and precedents for these struggles go back to the 1600s and King Charles I's efforts to govern without the support of Parliament, which led to political backlash, civil war, and social upheaval from the halls of Westminster to the smallest peasant farmsteads."]

Collins, K. Austin, et al. "Ballad of the Coen Brothers." The Film Comment Podcast (September 26, 2018) ["“In their films—especially Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn’t There, No Country for Old Men, A Serious Man, and Inside Llewyn Davis—there’s always the sense that the deck is stacked against us and that we’re the authors of our own misery, a doubly discomfiting, Camusian view that perfectly matches their aesthetic approach, an overwhelming omniscience that results in a kind of bravura melancholy,” Michael Koresky writes in his feature about Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs in our September/October issue. This week, Koresky, FSLC Editorial and Creative Director, moderates a special Film Comment Podcast featuring three more Coeniacs in conversation about the brothers’ dazzling 30-year-plus body of work, from greatest hits to lesser-known ballads: K. Austin Collins, film critic at Vanity Fair; Aliza Ma, head of programming at Metrograph; and Adam Nayman, Toronto-based critic and author of the new book The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together (Abrams)."]

Critchley, Spencer. "Patriots of Two Nations: Why Trump Was Inevitable and What Happens Next." New Books in Politics and Polemics (October 19, 2020) ["America is in a Cold Civil War, between people who see each other as threats to the country — but themselves as patriots. How can that be? They are patriots of two nations. In Patriots of Two Nations: Why Trump Was Inevitable and What Happens Next (McDavid Media), national media commentator and presidential campaigns veteran Spencer Critchley shows why our current hyper-partisan division has been inevitable since the founding of the United States, as has the election of Donald Trump or someone like him. That's because America is actually two nations occupying the same territory. The two nations have different worldviews: cultures, values, and ways of understanding reality itself. One nation — the dominant one — is descended from the Enlightenment, and the establishment of reason as the ultimate source of authority. But the other is nation is descended from the Counter-Enlightenment, and it has never stopped believing in the primacy of faith, tradition, culture, ties to the land, and ethnic identity. Because the Enlightenment worldview is so dominant, the Counter-Enlightenment largely has been forgotten by history. But as Critchley reveals, in many ways it's more active now than ever — and the failure of many of us to understand it is a crucial source of our division. Uniting the two nations will require that they finally do see and understand their different realities. This book shows how we might still be able to make that happen — and why we must, if democracy is to survive. Spencer Critchley is a writer, producer, and communications consultant with experience in journalism, film, digital media, public relations, advertising, and music. He is the Managing Partner of communications consulting agency Boots Road Group."]

Dano, Paul and Richard Ford. "Wildlife." The Film Comment Podcast (October 29, 2018)

Espaillat, Adriano, Maggie Mueller and Jaromy Floriano Navarro. "'They Wanted to Take My Womb Out': Survivor of Medical Abuse in ICE Jail Deported After Speaking Out." Democracy Now (October 26, 2020) ["An independent medical review team has submitted a report to Congress on a lack of informed consent and “disturbing pattern” of questionable gynecological surgical procedures at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, after an account from a nurse whistleblower in September prompted congressional and federal investigations. At least 19 women, most of whom are Black and Latina, have come forward to allege they were pressured into “unnecessary” gynecological treatment and surgeries — including procedures that left them sterile — while they were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We speak with Jaromy Floriano Navarro, a survivor of medical abuse and neglect at Irwin who was the original source of the information about medical abuse by Dr. Mahendra Amin that was eventually included in the whistleblower report. “From day one that I met Dr. Amin, he said, 'OK, you need surgery,'” Navarro says. “They were really trying to do the surgery on me, for whatever reason. They wanted to take my womb out.” We also speak with Dr. Maggie Mueller, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern Medical Center who was part of the independent medical review team that produced the new report, and Adriano Espaillat, Democratic congressmember from New York who visited the Irwin County Detention Center in September as part of a delegation from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus."]

McAfee, Noëlle. "Feminist Philosophy." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (June 28, 2018) ["After a brief account of the history of feminist philosophy and various issues regarding defining feminism, the entry discusses the three main sections on (1) approaches to feminist philosophy, (2) feminist interventions in philosophy, and (3) feminist philosophical topics. Feminists working in all the main Western traditions of contemporary philosophy are using their respective traditions to approach their work, including the traditions of analytic, Continental, and pragmatist philosophy, along with other various orientations and intersections. As they do so, they are also intervening in how longstanding basic philosophical problems are understood. As feminist philosophers carry out work in traditional philosophical fields, from ethics to epistemology, they have introduced new concepts and perspectives that have transformed philosophy itself. They are also rendering philosophical previously un-problematized topics, such as the body, class and work, disability, the family, reproduction, the self, sex work, human trafficking, and sexuality. And they are bringing a particularly feminist lens to issues of science, globalization, human rights, popular culture, and race and racism."]

Quiroga, Rodrigo Quian. "Neuroscience Fiction." New Books in Neuroscience (September 10, 2020) ["In NeuroScience Fiction (Benbella Books, 2020), Rodrigo Quian Quiroga shows how the outlandish premises of many seminal science fiction movies are being made possible by new discoveries and technological advances in neuroscience and related fields. Along the way, he also explores the thorny philosophical problems raised as a result, diving into Minority Report and free will, The Matrix and the illusion of reality, Blade Runner and android emotion, and more. A heady mix of science fiction, neuroscience, and philosophy, NeuroScience Fiction takes us from Vanilla Sky to neural research labs, and from Planet of the Apes to what makes us human. The end result is a sort of bio-technological “Sophie’s World for the 21st Century”, and a compelling update on the state of human knowledge through its cultural expressions in film and art. Dr. Rodrigo Quian Quiroga is the director of the Centre for Systems Neuroscience and the Head of Bioengineering at the University of Leicester. His research focuses on the principles of visual perception and memory, and is credited with the discovery of "Concept cells" or "Jennifer Aniston neurons" - neurons in the human brain that play a key role in memory formation."]

Rippon, Gina. "Gender and Our Brains: How New Neuroscience Explodes the Myths of the Male and Female Minds (Vintage 2020)." New Books in Gender Studies (October 27, 2020) ["For decades if not centuries, science has backed up society’s simple dictum that men and women are hardwired differently, that the world is divided by two different kinds of brains—male and female. However, new research in neuroimaging suggests that this is little more than “neurotrash.” In Gender and Our Brains: How New Neuroscience Explodes the Myths of the Male and Female Minds (Vintage, 2020), acclaimed professor of neuroimaging, Gina Rippon, finally challenges this damaging myth by showing how the science community has engendered bias and stereotype by rewarding studies that show difference rather than sameness. Drawing on cutting edge research in neuroscience and psychology, Rippon presents the latest evidence which finally proves that brains are like mosaics comprised of both male and female components, and that they remain plastic, adapting throughout the course of a person’s life. Discernable gender identities, she asserts, are shaped by society where scientific misconceptions continue to be wielded and perpetuated to the detriment of our children, our own lives, and our culture. Gina Rippon is a British neuroscientist and feminist. She is a an honorary professor of cognitive neuroimaging at the Aston Brain Centre, Aston University in Birmingham, England. In 2015 she was made honorary fellow of the British Science Association. Rippon has also sat on the editorial board of the International Journal of Psychophysiology, and is a member of the European Union Gender Equality Network, belongs to WISE and ScienceGrrl, and the Inspiring the Future intiative."]

Subissati, Andrea and Alexandra West. "Violent Visage: Eyes Without a Face (1960)." Faculty of Horror (March 30, 2019) ["Andrea and Alex unmask Georges Franju’s 1960 masterpiece Eyes Without a Face and peer into the damaged landscape of a post-World War II France, body modification and why sometimes, father doesn’t know best."]

Walzer, Michael. "A Foreign Policy for the Left (Yale University Press, 2018)." New Books in Intellectual History (October 20, 2020) ["In my old age, I try to argue more quietly, though I still believe that sharp disagreement is a sign of political seriousness. What engaged citizens think and say matters; we should aim to get it right and to defeat those who get it wrong. I understand the very limited impact of what I write, but I continue to believe that the stakes are high. – Michael Walzer (2018) These thoughts, from the preface of A Foreign Policy for the Left (Yale University Press, 2018), reflect the understated wisdom of a highly regarded 85-year old political theorist, Michael Walzer. His many books include the influential Just and Unjust Wars, and others mentioned in this interview including: Thick and Thin – Moral Argument at Home and Abroad, Spheres of Justice – A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, and Obligations: Essays on Disobedience, War and Citizenship – the last one being published in 1970 at the height of the divisive Vietnam War era when Walzer was teaching at Harvard. Much of the material for Michael’s books derives from his long affiliation with Dissent magazine – he apprenticed as a young leftist partisan under the prolific Irving Howe whose writing, social role and politics helped shape the young Walzer. Evidence of Michael’s current and ongoing political engagement, as well as the clarity of his thought and seriousness of his message can be seen here: ‘A Note on Racial Capitalism’ from Dissent in July 2020. In his note Michael references K. Sabeel Rahman’s Dissent article ‘Dismantle Racial Capitalism’ in his first paragraph; a month later two scholars write ‘A Reply to Michael Walzer’ from which comes: ‘A Reply to Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò and Liam Kofi Bright’. Professor Walzer published his first Dissent article in 1956 which provides some timeline context for one of the first questions in this interview about whether the Hiss-Chambers testimonies before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (1948) might represent the opening confrontation of our polarizing culture wars. As you will hear, Michael thinks it could date back further; and shares a few thoughts on teaching at Harvard in the sixties, and pivotal moments in his career as a young leftist partisan. He comments about scholars like Rawls, Nozick and Geertz; and offers opinions related to our current polarization including a recent Rolling Stone article, the origins of resentment, engaged citizenship and voting, 9/11 and its aftermath, justice, ‘complex equality’, ‘formative’ books and a poet. An overview of Michael’s life and work, Justice is Steady Work – A Conversation on Political Theory (Polity Press 2020) with Astrid von Busekist at SciencesPo (originally published in French) out soon. Michael Walzer is professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and editor emeritus at Dissent magazine. Professor Walzer studied on a Fulbright Fellowship at Cambridge and completed his PhD in government at Harvard University."]

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