Thursday, October 23, 2014

Evolution of a Criminal

Soka University of America presents...

A Community Cinema Event

October 23rd 7-8:30 PM

Pauling 216

FREE & open to the public

Evolution of a Criminal
a film by Darius Clark Monroe

In this gripping blend of documentary, true crim
e, and personal essay, a filmmaker confronts his past, dissecting the circumstances that led him to commit a bank robbery as a young man, and his journey since that act.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Outdoor film festival, Soka University of America


Frederick Marx discussing scriptwriting with Allana Joy Bourne, Soka University of America

Hoop Dreams (1994)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Path Appears

Soka University Presents...

A Community Cinema Event

November 6th 7-8:30 PM

Pauling 216

FREE & open to the public

A Path Appears

a film by Maro Chermayeff

A Path Appears goes to the USA, Colombia, Haiti, and Kenya to reveal the incredible adversity faced every day by millions of women and girls, while also presenting glimpses of hope and change. From the team that brought you the groundbreaking Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Visible Evidence XXI, New Delhi, India

New Delhi, India, December 11th to 14

India International Centre 40, Max Mueller Marg. Conference is Co-hosted by Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia.

DECEMBER, 13th, 2014
Seminar Room 3

Time :11.30am-1.00pm

 Documentary/Violence: Trauma, testimony, index, performance and memory

Communities and trauma in South American documentary films about political militancy and state terrorism

Dr Clara Garavelli, University of Leicester (UK)

Regarding the Pain of Others: Short Experimental Argentine Documentaries on
the Dictatorship and its Aftermaths

Since the end of the military dictatorship in Argentina at the beginning of the 1980s,
there has been a vast amount of cultural production devoted to raising awareness of
the human rights abuses that occurred during those dark years. Whereas many of
these productions have been widely studied, there are yet areas of study and works
still waiting to be analyzed and discussed. Such is the case of those productions
located at the interstices of art and cinema: short experimental videos that employ
documentary modes and do not recur to narrative structures. Their ways of dealing
with the representation of violence and the traumatic past are partly connected with the
proliferation of new technologies and with the growth of new ways of experiencing the
moving image beyond the traditional film theatre. Bearing this in mind, this paper aims
to briefly explore how the works of Graciela Taquini, Gabriela Golder, Julieta Hanono,
Andrés Denegri, Alejandro Gómez Tolosa, Carlos Trilnick and Gustavo Galuppo
explore new ways of dealing with memory and with the violence generated by the
repressive past whilst attempting to challenge the traditional documentary mode.

Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli, Soka University of America

Community activism and documentary film in Argentina: documenting the disappearance of victims of state terrorism in street flagstones.

Since the late 1950s Latin American political documentary film has been at the forefront of innovation. Argentine filmmaker, Fernando Birri, of the Santa Fé Documentary School, presided over his students as they carried on their fieldwork, photographing the living conditions of working class families in the slums. The Santa Fé School photographs became a visual script for the filming of the influential film Tire Dié (1958). The nature of Birri’s collaboration with his students, informed the production strategies of other important film collectives that followed (such as Grupo Cine Liberacion and Cine de la Base). Shortly after the popular revolt of 2001 in Argentina, documentary filmmakers returned to these collaborative models to document demonstrations in the country and the prosecution of perpetrators of genocide. In my presentation, I will analyze Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina's El futuro es nuestro [The future is ours] (2014), a documentary series that reclaims the history of the forced disappearances of high school students during the dictatorship. The second film under consideration is Eran de colores [They were made of colors] (2012), a video project directed by students of the Nicolás Avellaneda High School in Buenos Aires that exhumes the identity and life stories of members of the student union that were
disappeared. This short film concludes with flagstones being installed in the sidewalk in front of the school made by students and volunteers from the community. The flagstones mark the birth, and disappearance of alumni. To conclude, I will discuss Carmen Guarini's Calles de la memoria [Streets of memory] (2012), a film that delves into the social significance of the labyrinth of repression, torture, and disappearance that the flagstones represent, and the efforts of activists and the community to memorialize the lives of political activists.

Kristi M. Wilson, Soka University of America

Force and Meaning: Political Hauntings in three contemporary Brazilian films

According to Avery Gordon, sociological hauntings can take on a range of forms
from lost personal artifacts, to decaying archival material, to people who live in the
wake of deprivation and repression. This essay explores the idea of memory and hauntings from the political past in three 2012 Brazilian films Neighboring Sounds / O Som Ao Redor (directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho), Dino Cazzola: a filmography of Brasília (directed by Andrea Prates and Cleisson Vidal), and Elena (directed by Petra Costa). This trio of films represents collisions between the force of the past and its meaning in the present across a range of Brazilian chronoscapes. Dino Cazolla was the Dzviga Vertov of Brasilia; a man with a movie camera whose cinematic eye documented the rapid creation and life of the nation’s new capital, including the traumatic rupture from democracy to dictatorship. Dino Cazzola: a filmography of Brasilia documents his life addresses the problem of preserving the type of expansive memory embodied in his decaying film archive. Neighboring Sounds explores notions of past and present violence under the surface of the increasingly privatized and policed urban landscape of Recife, a Portuguese settlement with a painful history of slavery and sugar barons. Elena is a poetic documentary about loss, memory and exile (from home and self). Born in hiding at the tail end of the dictatorship to Marxist activists, Costa uses her own personal archive of diaries, home-videos and voice recordings to conjure the inconsolable memory of her sister’s suicide in New York. These films artfully explore ways in which the Brazilian homeland has become unfamiliar -- through obsessive fears about “security” and class conflict in Recife; anxiety over a decaying film archive and the potential loss of Brasilia’s tumultuous history; or the inconsolable memory of a family that surfaces in exile.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Saint Mary's College Conference

Teachers, Teaching and the Media Conference

October 16th to 18th

Alternative Communities, Alternative Stories: Experimenting with Moocs, Community Television, and Cinema

Friday, October 17th

Session Three: 1:15 P.M. to 2:45 P.M. 

ITVS (Independent Film and Video Service) Community Cinema: state-sponsored documentary film festivals, community engagement and pedagogy

By: Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli and Kristi Wilson

In an age where states like California have seen their once cutting-edge public university systems falter under the weight of financial crisis and fiscal mismanagement, smaller private institutions have seen admission application numbers rise. Individuals who opt to attend small private institutions, often feel isolated and removed from the type of civic dynamism and engagement that larger public institutions offer. This essay explores the merging of state-sponsored media (Independent Television Service's Community Cinema Program Festival, funded by the Public Broadcasting Service [PBS]) and the private educational institution with the goal of fostering community engagement and debate around public issues, political activism, and the preservation of a communal public viewing space in a world where such spaces are rapidly diminishing.

For the last five years, Soka University of America, a small, private liberal arts university with a large concentration of international students, has hosted Independent Television Service's Community Cinema Program Festival on their campus. Community Cinema is a yearlong documentary film festival organized by ITVS that features films about social and cultural conflicts around the globe emphasizing issues related to civil rights, grassroots movements, indigenous rights struggles, gender issues, and poverty. During the academic year, an ITVS associate producer (usually a faculty member) is responsible for screening between 6 and 8 documentary films, promoting the screenings, and organizing a panel of experts for post-screening discussions .

The authors will analyze the Community Cinema Festival as an ongoing pilot program of community building in the isolated "exopolis" of Aliso Viejo, California, through spectatorship and multi-faceted pedagogical film events. As part of this program, students, rather than watching clips or sequences of documentary films in the classroom, are invited to form part of a community of viewers (which includes the entire campus, local community members and invited guest speakers), and participate in post-screening discussions. After the screenings, students are asked to engage with some of the pedagogical materials created by ITVS, and to form written and visual arguments of their own using the films as evidence. The authors will elaborate on the results of using documentary evidence as a primary jumping off point for argumentative exploration in the classroom, and visual representation as an entryway into understanding contemporary civic discourse and politics.

The Cinema Migration Project: Ethnography, Film Studies, and Teaching Media

By Laura E. Ruberto

This essay explores the possibility of using cinema as a tool for teaching the history and culture of immigrants and immigration in the U.S. as well as larger questions around issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and class identities. I propose an experimental interdisciplinary pedagogical approach which combines ethnography with film studies, while attempting to be mindful of the disciplinary boundaries of both approaches. Using my own experiences teaching film studies at an urban community college (Berkeley City College) I map out how students can better understand the nuances of mediated images through tapping first-hand resources. This essay details my use of a Cinema Migration Project, a semester-long assignment which asks students to explore histories of migration which are personal and knowable through conventional ethnographic interviews and to reflect on assumptions held about those experiences by attempting to understand them better vis-à-vis cinematic representations of similar narratives. This is not film-as-anthropology but rather an attempt to teach students the degree to which our own memories and life narratives are formed within and against mediated (cinematic) narratives. Students are led to gather a short ethnographic study of an individual’s history of migration (their own or someone else’s) and to consider the role cinema and other mediated images have in shaping the recollection of that history. This essay reflects on the challenges and surprises of such an approach and uses the example to consider new ways teachers might adapt the study of cinema across disciplinary boundaries.

Laura E. Ruberto co-chairs the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at Berkeley City College where she teaches film studies and general humanities courses. She received her Ph.D. from UC San Diego and her M.A. from San Francisco State University. She authored Gramsci, Migration, and the Representation of Women’s Work in Italy and the U.S., co-edited Italian Neorealism and Global Cinema, and translated Such Is Life, Ma la vita e’ fatta cosi: A Memoir. Her research has been supported by a Fulbright Faculty Research grant and an NEH summer grant. She co-edits the book series Critical Studies in Italian America (Fordham University Press) and is the Film and Digital Media Review Editor for the Italian American Review.

MOOCS and Social Media

By Fabian Banga

Online education has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, spurred by a combination of technological innovations, economic drivers, and changing demographics. Today, more than one third of the nation’s college students take courses online. According to the latest survey by the College Board and Babson Survey Research Group, Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States (2013), over 6.7 million students at four-year institutions in the United States were taking at least one online course during the fall of 2011, an increase of more than half a million, or 9.3 percent, over 2010 (Babson, 2013).

In this context we have experienced the rise of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). But what are MOOCs? Can we consider MOOCs a phenomenon associated with online education or just a continuation of the space associated with social media? Are they products of our neoliberal society? We will have a discussion about MOOCs and question of what the “C” means. Are MOOCs courses or online events? We will discuss how to teach in the open internet without learning outcomes. Finally, we will question the word “course” or at least demand a clarification of what constitutes a course. We will discuss an example of a MOOC I offered in spring 2013 at Berkeley City College.

Fabian Banga is the Chair of the Modern Languages Department and Distance Education Coordinator at Berkeley City College in Berkeley, CA. He holds a Ph.D. (2004) and M.A. in Hispanic Languages & Literature (2000) from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Foreign Language Association of Northern California since the year 2000.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Martes | 3 de junio 2014

Presentación del libro:
Doncella roja
Autora: Eve Gil
En esta última entrega de la trilogía de Sho-shan, las aventuras de las hermanas Cho y Murasaki llegan a su punto culminante. Al lado de Kunikida sama, su mentor y mangaka más famoso del mundo, viajan clandestinamente a China. Su objetivo es desentrañar la serie de misterios acerca de la vida de su madre, quien fue acusada de ser una espía y quedó en estado de coma durante los trágicos sucesos de la plaza Tiananmen, cuando los jóvenes que salieron a protestar públicamente fueron reprimidos brutalmente por el ejército chino.
Presenta: Elizabeth Cazessús.
Sala de lectura, 3:00 pm.
Editorial: Santillana.
Coordina: IMAC.

Presentación del libro:
El 27 y El topo
Autor: Enrique Saint Martin.
Dos obras de teatro con algo en común: el sobreponerse a la adversidad para lograr tus objetivos. “El 27” evoca a la memoria, tanto a la individual como a la colectiva, evocando la frase “no olvidaremos”. “El Topo” narra la historia de un muchacho con retraso mental y deformidades físicas que no son un obstáculo para lograr su objetivo.
Presenta: Juan Carlos Rea.
Sala de lectura, 4:00 pm.
Editorial: ICBC.
Coordina: IMAC | ICBC.

Con Juan Alberto Apodaca y Adriana Trujillo

Presentación del libro:
Vencedores en la derrota
Autora: Alice Hentzen.
Basada en una historia de la vida real, Vencedores en la derrota narra una historia de amor, en el que dos personajes provenientes de situaciones distintas, buscan mantener un amor, durante una época tan dolorosa como lo fue la segunda guerra mundial.
Presenta: Rocío Galván.
Sala de video, 4:00 pm.
Editorial: Ilcsa.
Coordina: IMAC.

Presentación del libro:
Artes plásticas y visuales Frontera y arte, acercamiento discursivo a obras producidas por artistas mexicalenses
Autora: Karla Paulina Sánchez.
Este libro invita a reflexionar, a través de algunas piezas de artistas mexicalenses en la característica fronteriza, sabiendo que desde el arte se pueden encontrar otros discursos y formas de comprender la realidad.
Presenta: Juan Alberto Apodaca.
Sala de lectura. 5:00 pm.
Editorial: ICBC.
Coordina: IMAC/ICBC.

Presentación del libro:
Orfeo en el Caribe
Autora:Teresa Dovalpage.
Orfeo Vázquez, mulato bien plantado, toca la tumbadora en un grupo de salsa pero sueña con dedicarse a la música clásica. Se enamora de Eury, chica peso completo y lectora de Charlotte Brontë. Las cosas se complican cuando la hermana de Eury, pelirroja de sensualidad agresiva, se empeña en llevarse a la cama al músico.
Presenta: Vianett Medina.
Sala de video, 5:00 pm.
Editorial: Atmósfera Literaria.
Coordina: IMAC.

Presentación del libro:
Autor: Carlos Altamirano
La historia aborda la problemática de los periodistas al ejercer su profesión. La historia se entrelaza con la vida de un niño sicario que crece hasta adulto al servicio del mejor postor. Narra la situación actual de la libertad de expresión, el poder político, el dinero y sus medios por conseguirlo sin importar la vida del otro para lograrlo.
Presenta: Carlos Fabián Sarabia.
Lobby Vestíbulo Sala Carlos Monsiváis, 5:00 pm.
Coordina: IMAC.

Proyección del Documental:
Días Terrenales. Testimonio de José Revueltas
Realizador: Julio Pliego.
Repaso biográfico de Revueltas, desde su temprana militancia de izquierda hasta su muerte. Se brinda particular atención a su presencia en el movimiento de 1968 y la literatura de compromiso. Una serie de entrevistas aportan información acerca de la disidencia del Partido Comunista, en la llamada Liga Espartaco.
Sala Carlos Monsiváis/Cineteca Tijuana, 6:00 pm.
Coordina: IMAC | TV UNAM.

Presentación del libro:
Bordocs y fronteras: Cine Documental en el Norte de México
El cine filmado en la frontera o que tiene a la frontera como escenario, es un vasto capítulo cultural de nuestra realidad. En este contexto, la producción de documentales tiene una importancia significativa. Bordocs ha sido a través de los años un festival de documentales que presenta una visión integral de las tendencias, corrientes y expresiones de lo más novedoso en este ámbito.
Participan: Adriana Trujillo, Juan Alberto Apodaca, Tomas Crowder.
Sala de video, 6:00 pm.
Coordina: IMAC.

Ver Programación Completa de la Feria del Libro de Tijuana:

Thursday, May 8, 2014




Date: 05.08.2014

Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: Pauling 216


A once-booming community beset by a crippled economy and a dwindling population is the setting for this documentary following a down-but-not-out varsity basketball team over a season. The team's struggle to compete parallels the town's own fight for survival.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dr. Kristi M. Wilson
Dr. Tomas Crowder-Taraborrelli
Soka University of America

International Sociological Association

Yokohama, Japan
13-19th of July, 2014
Facing an unequal world: challenges for global sociology

A Walk Through Memory: urban interventions and the sensual battle against oblivion 

In the years following the Latin American military dictatorships of the 1970s and 80s, historians and activists noticed a disappearance of documentary evidence that paralleled the disappearances of human beings. Decades of activism by the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, human rights groups, and political administrations that value human rights, has fueled an archive of memory; an ongoing city-wide network of projects and museums dedicated to remembering the Dirty War years throughout Buenos Aires.

This paper explores the roles of mural art and street flagstones in the production and reception of two post-conflict memory projects in Buenos Aires. The Olimpo museum (a former clandestine torture facility) and the Barrios x Memoria y Justicia collective flagstones project (traversing upper and lower-class neighborhoods, to form a city-wide visual map of disappearance) both represent attempts to inscribe memory onto public spaces. 

The Olimpo project began in 1995 in the City Council of Buenos Aires. The building housed the automobile registration office of the Federal Police before being converted into a torture facility. Many Argentines wanted the facility razed to the ground once democracy returned. The museum owes its existence to an ongoing local community struggle to manifest the identities and experiences of individuals made abject and invisible by the military dictatorship. The Flagstones project, created by the Barrios x Memoria y Justicia collective began as an ongoing endeavor to replace parts of sidewalks with small, colorful plaques, in front of places where victims of state terrorism were born, lived or were kidnapped. 

We consider two-decades of historical data reflecting the struggles to establish memory projects that bring into conflict state authorities, human rights organizations, neighborhood groups and university students. These concrete visual reminders of state-sponsored violence are both memorials and fuel for the battle against forgetting and/or rewriting history.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The New Black


The New Black

Date: 04.17.2014

Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: Pauling 216

Centering on the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland, The New Black takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Community Cinema event: Las Marthas

Community Cinema screening event-- featuring Las Marthas, with guest speaker Ryan Caldwell.

Fulfilling Community Needs

The target audience for this film was perhaps most specifically young women and latino americans, and for the general American audience. We had several young women attend the screening, and our guest speaker was Ryan Caldwell-- a professor at Soka University of America and an expert in gender and sexuality studies. Caldwell also hails from Texas, the same state that the film is set in. The young women that attended were all of some ethnic background other than "white" -- and after the film within discussion the girls were able to easily identify with the females in the film and therefore were apt in discussion.

The Power of Why

As Las Marthas portrayed the pressures of being a competitive beauty pageant queen, a latino-American in a borderland community (Laredo, Texas), and a participant of a massive community event-- we thought that Ryan Caldwell would be a fantastic discussion leader as she not only hails from Texas but very experienced in the world of the social sciences. We were hoping to address the multifaceted stresses and pressures that the young women in the film experienced, the social structures within the community featured in the film, as well as the ethnic strains and cultural paradigms present in the town of Laredo.

Impact & Action

One of the young women participating in discussion after the screening was very concerned with the long term effects of what kinds of pressures the film's main characters experienced. She was perturbed by the thought that the young women's lives were centered around their participation in Laredo's celebration of George Washington's birthday-- and that the participants put so much meaning into the grandeur of their dresses, make up, etc. Our discussion leader Ryan Caldwell was very excited to talk about the ideals of beauty present in Texas and how Texan standards of beauty are very specific. Ryan expressed that the Texan standard of beauty was almost tangible it was so present. This changed the perspectives of our small audience, as although we may not all identify with California, our University is situated in a Southern Californian town-- close to the ocean (therefore surrounded by "beach bums" and people who differ greatly in both style and displays of beauty). This film enlightened members of the audience with the knowledge that even within our own country standards of beauty vary and can be a central factor to the lives and social structures of certain communities. We also discussed the racial/ physical borders present within the work. Although there is literally a physical border, “an actual wall”, between Laredo, TX and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico—the border is crossed every day. Discussion of the differences in conceptualizations of the term “border” in reference to Mexico—as we all live in Southern California, we think of the border as a somewhat far off, dangerous place. In all reality it’s about an hour away. Citizens of Laredo refer to crossing the border as “crossing the bridge”—for it really is as simple as driving across a bridge for Mexicans to enter US soil. This notion of an "easy access" border was surprising to the audience.

The conversation

There was a general consensus in the audience that the girls' mental health was put at stake for the over-the-top community event . This was a concern for the whole audience and we discussed in depth the implications of the greatest event in these girls' lives occuring at only the age of 15. Ryan probed "what more do these girls have to look forward to in life?" This question struck a nerve in the audience. One girl pointed out that this event must even trump these young women's wedding day.

Community Cinema Event: The Trials of Muhammad Ali

Community Cinema screening event-- featuring The Trials of Muhammad Ali and guest speaker Imam Ali Siddiqui. Soka University had a great turn out for the screening, and wonderful student/ panelist discussion engagement post-screening.


Fulfilling Community Needs

The target audience of The Trials of Muhammad Ali was for the general student body, community members, and some Muslim community leaders taht attended the event. We had students from all different backgrounds attend, as well as a few faculty and older community members.

The Power of Why

We wanted to facilitate a discussion specifically in regards to Ali's Muslim/ Nation of Islam affiliation and how that affected his life. We selected Imam Ali Siddiqui-- a well established poet, writer, community leader and a member of the Muslim Community Center in Orange County, California. We knew Siddiqui would provide great discussion points in reference to Ali's religious associations, struggles, and sucesses. Siddiqui had actually met Ali on several different occassions, and this provided for great post-screening discussion.

Impact & Action

The film enlightened the community on the general life history of Muhammad Ali-- as although many students (people of a younger generation) know of Ali as the greatest boxer to ever live, it was clear that many audience members knew little to nothing about Ali's undertaking of the Muslim religion, nor his battle with the US Government to evade the Draft and Vietnam War. Our community was provided with a new light of Ali, perhaps a new lens. The audience gained a better understanding of what a prolific political figure and speaker Ali was, as well.

Our guest panelist Imam Siddiqui provided great post-screening thoughts for discussion. He gave the audience a general background of Muslim beliefs and told a little of his time spent with Muhammad Ali. Siddiqui gave the audience a greeting of peace before speaking. Siddiqui spoke to the fact that Ali was used for his "talent, fame and money" but that such people that were exploiting Ali couldn't deal with the fact that Ali was also "open-minded and open- mouthed--they couldn't stand him". Siddiqui went on to address the racial aspects of the film, saying that even today "we still face racism, it has simply become more sophisticated and subtle-- but it still exists". In regards to Ali's affiliation with the Black Muslim movement, Siddiqui comments that "they wanted a way out from the white racism" and that "Elijah Muhammad did not know much of Islam". This general talk of the Muslim community and actual Muslim beliefs was very enlightening to the general audience, as it appeared that most members of the audience had very little knowledge of the Muslim religion. During our Question and Answer segment, a professor and historian at SUA named James Spady asked about Siddiqui's experience with teaching social justice within the Nation of Islam. Siddiqui's response was that when he teaches social justice, he stresses on the concept of "Unity--the Unity of God" and how "God creates alll but does not hold our hands" and the "unity of all human beings--we are all equal and from the same creation or design-- we are brothers and sisters-- so we KNOW each other". Siddiqui then talked about the rights and obligations of humanity to "fulfill the obligation of protecting the rights of others" and he then spoke to the "history of the treatment of blacks in the US" and how that "would not be tolerated in Islam". This shed quite a bit of light on the film for the audience, and gave us a better, deeper understanding of Muhammad Ali's understanding of being and affiliation to the Black Muslim movement.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cursos online

Núcleo Educativo Cine Documental
(aún a precios 2012) 

La chica del sur (2012)

Investigación y guión para el desarrollo de documentales
8 clases - Workshop - Clínica de guiones - Fragmentos de documentales  - Textos complementarios y entrevistas con los cineastas - Campus virtual con Foro y chat (no requiere la instalación de ningún programa) - Se otorgan certificados

Dictado por: Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli y Javier Campo
Cierre de inscripción: 14 de marzo de 2014.
Comienzo: 17 de marzo de 2014.
Informes e inscripción:
Historia del cine documental argentino
(Actualizado 2014)

En 8 clases durante 2 meses.
Cierre de inscripción: 14 de marzo de 2014.
Comienzo: 17 de marzo de 2014.
Se entregan certificados.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Soka Education Conference 2014

10th Annual Soka Education Conference
Soka University of America
Aliso Viejo, California

The Soka Education Student Research Project (SESRP) is a student-initiated and student-run project at Soka University. Project members engage in the study, research, and exhibition of Soka Education as a unique educational philosophy.

SUNDAY, February 16th, 3 p.m.

Banned Books and the Social Control of Knowledge

WITH Ryan Caldwell, Aneil Rallin, Kristi Wilson, Esther Chang and Tomas Crowder-Taraborrelli

Banned books during the last Argentine dictatorship

Book Burning Centro Editor de America Latina

Education makes us free. The world of knowledge and of the intellect is where all people can meet and converse. Education liberates people from prejudice. It frees the human heart from its violent passions

Daisaku Ikeda

Just this October, 2013, in Randolph County, North Carolina, Ralph Ellison’s historic award-winning novel The Invisible Man was banned by the Board of Education and labeled as “filthy” and devoid of “literary value.” Fortunately, in less than 48 hours, grassroots organization Color of Change created an online petition denouncing Randolph County’s local decision-makers for their complicity in the erasure of Black stories from the American literary landscape. The language of the petition stated that “the marginalization of Black stories in America’s schools will not be tolerated” and pointed to the dangerous fact that book banning is alive and well in many parts of the country: “ignorant, unjust policies that harm our communities are enacted by local decision makers all the time, often beneath the radar of national media and avoiding the scrutiny they deserve.” Color of Change pointed out that literary superstars like Toni Morrison and Richard Wright have also come under attack. This workshop explores the ongoing phenomenon of banned books from a theoretical perspective that engages with notions of power, ideology, knowledge creation and erasure at all levels of education from grade school to the university (where “banning” might take subtler forms like censorship). In addition, practical examples will be applied.

Many critical theorists have argued that knowledge creations are associated with power ideologies stating that modernist theory paradigmatically rests upon a foundation of reason and rationality as the privileged locus for both objectivity and claims of universal truth. Within this theoretical canopy, ideas of justice, fairness, and liberty have been conceptualized as products of the Western Enlightenment Project. As a part of this modernist paradigm, reason is defined as a coherent and healthy balance within society, where it is argued that rationality itself allows for the organism of society itself to function properly. This paradigm of modern thought, which directly informs foundational modern theoretical presuppositions, in turn comes to define notions of the "good," and thus serves to both reify and maintain given modernist social constructions of reason and rationality. Furthermore, these modernist presuppositions instruct social conceptual schemes from which society is understood and organized. It is in this way that modernist notions of reason and rationality become the symbolic measure for theorizing and conceptualization, and subsequently the associated social constructions of knowledge that spring forth. These constructions themselves come to represent and function as the standard for thought, order, and the very basis of what some consider "respectable science”-- and as applied to this workshop, “respectable book reading” and the further suppression of educational materials.

However, many have argued that modernist grand-narrative schema serve to facilitate an oppressive and privileged position that is justified with reference to only certain conceptions of reason and rationality, namely those conceptions of the socially powerful. Feminist and queer theorists, for example, argue in different ways that the voices or perspectives of those with little social power are silenced within modernist conceptual schemes ordered around patriarchal societies. This line of argument rests upon the idea that those with social power are able to dictate the standard of reason itself, thereby delineating its benchmark. This grand-narrative of reason serves as the basis for theory construction and informs feminist examinations of how science is done or understood, how knowledge is created, how gender is done, how sex categories are understood, how sexuality comes to be understood, among many other modes of feminist conjecture. Nonetheless, this kind of power can be used to socially construct oppressive schema for knowledge construction using race/ethnicity, capitalism, nationalism, and other forms of discriminatory theorizing.

Daisaku Ikeda warns, “Education should not be based on or limited by a nationalist agenda. Education must cultivate the wisdom to reject and resist violence in all its forms. It must foster people who intuitively understand and know—in their mind, in their heart, with their entire being—the irreplaceable value of human beings and the natural world. I believe such education embodies the timeless struggle of human civilization to create an unerring path to peace” ( It is this kind of warning about the agenda to ban books, surveillance around educational materials, educational censorship and erasures that we will discuss in this hands-on workshop.