13th Dealing with Difference Institute
May 22 - 23, 2006
University Union, Western Illinois University
Jackson Katz is the creator, co-writer and narrator of Tough Guise, and with Jeremy Earp, wrote the Media Education Foundation's Study Guide for that videotape. His most recent publication is The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. For the DWDI, he will make two presentations. At 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 22, he will discuss "Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity" and at 1:00 p.m. that day, he will present "Men, Women, Sex, and Violence."
Recognized nationally for his sometimes irreverent, always provocative, and ultimately enlightening presentations, Katz is a former all-star football player, co-founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention, a program that focuses on the prevention of gender violence in college and professional athletics, and the first man at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to earn a minor in women's studies. He is currently a doctoral student in cultural studies at UCLA. As one of the leading anti-sexist male activists in the U.S., he has done groundbreaking work in gender violence prevention education, especially with men and boys in the sports culture and the military.
Ed Guerrero, also a featured presenter, is a professor of Africana Studies and Cinema Studies at New York University. His publications include Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film and an in-depth study of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. He has written extensively on black cinema for such journals as Sight and Sound, Cineaste, Film Quarterly, Discourse, Journal of Popular Film and Television, Callaloo, and Ethnic and Racial Studies.
For the DWDI, Professor Guererro will present "The Dark Age: Black Stardom and Double Consciousness," an examination of "some of the deeply complex, tangled, and ironic ways that black stars are structured into, and simultaneously against, the grain of America's entertainment and sports, star, celebrity system." He will argue that even though black stars are among the most broadly popular and celebrated entertainment and media icons in the USA, as well as the most "media hyped embodiments of black social progress and equality," they exist in a state of "contradictory doubleness and perpetual ambivalence" in relation to the dominant star system.
Dr. Guererro not only suggests that black stars must navigate a world in which every Tiger Woods superhero is countered by a super-villain like O. J. Simpson, but he also contends they must play to a double audience, one black and one white. And, though they live lives of celebrity privilege and wealth due to their cross-over appeal, they are still "compelled to identify with and articulate the aspirations of an oppressed social formation," their primary African American audiences. Guerrero will explore these phenomena and the contradictions and tensions that result on Monday, May 22, in a session that begins at 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Monday afternoon beginning at 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., Sterling Macer, producer, director, and actor, will discuss his experience as an African American male in Hollywood's film and television industries. Complementing Ed Guerrero's academic perspective and analysis of African American representations in film and television, Macer will focus more on what he has experienced and observed while actually working in various segments of the industry. Since, as he indicates, "there's no hiding from color," he will offer ideas about how an African American man can survive in the deeply competitive, and often biased, environment of the entertainment industry.
Macer acted and directed for the stage and screen and made one short film before writing, producing, and directing Park Day, a film that chronicles twenty-four hours during which several adolescents confront situations that will determine the direction they take as they move toward adulthood. Described as "an updated African-American variation on American Graffiti," the film is set in Macer's hometown, Springfield, Missouri, and revolves around the city's commemoration of a 1906 public lynching that effectively undercut the gains the black community had made in Springfield up to that time. Park Day won the Audience Award at the Urban World Film Festival and was shown on Starz Cable Network.
As an actor, Macer has appeared in a range of films and television programs, including Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and The Beast, "Harts of the West," "Homefront," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "NYPD Blue," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigaion," " 24," and "Navy NCIS."
Charles Ramiriz Berg, whose books include Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, and Resistance and Cinema of Solitude: A Critical Study of Mexican Film, 1967-1983, will also speak on Monday afternoon. In a presentation to begin at 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., he will give DWDI participants an historical overview of Latino film representations before discussing some of the more complex and more progressive images that are beginning to emerge in the work of Latino directors, and, to his surprise, even in commercials. In Latino Images in Film, Dr. Ramirez Berg indicates that studying stereotypes has significant benefits, not least among them "the fact that studying stereotypes takes one back to the social sciences, and that provides a way to connect film criticism with lived experience." Understanding films within social and historical contexts makes sense since "images of Latinos in American film exist not in a vacuum but as part of a larger discourse on Otherness in the United States.... Stereotypes are part of a social conversation that reveals the mainstream's attitudes about Others."
Dr. Ramirez Berg has written many articles on Latinos in U.S.A. films in addition to Latino Images in Film; he has also written screenplays and has published fiction and poetry. With Chicana poet Pat Mora, he wrote a children's book, The Poinsettia. A University Distinguished Teaching Professor, he has received multiple teaching awards, including the 2004 Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching at the University of Texas at Austin where he teaches film history and criticism courses as well as courses in screenwriting and narrative.
All of the DWDI presentations will be given in the Grand Ballroom of the University Union. (Click here for registration information.)
DWDI Planning Committee members include: J. Q. Adams, Western Illinois University; Richard Hazley, Trinity Higher Education Corporation; Nancy Kwang Johnson, Western Illinois University; Frances Murphy, Eastern Illinois University; Joyce Reed, Lincoln College; William O. Miller, Principia College; and Janice R. Welsch, Western Illinois University.