10 Questions: What is a University? | KCET
10 Questions: What is a University?
"10 Questions" is a collaboration with UCLA and is an interdisciplinary course/public event series featuring conversations with leading scholars that provides both students and the public a special opportunity to experience the conversations that drive innovation at the university.
Every Tuesday for ten weeks UCLA faculty members from disciplines as diverse as dance, medicine, photography, astrophysics, athletics, Chicana and Chicano studies, law, philosophy and religious studies will join UCLA Arts Dean Brett Steele to explore a fundamental question such as: What is space? What is failure? and What is freedom? The goal is to stimulate dialogue and exchange, and to seed a greater understanding of the profoundly interdisciplinary nature of knowledge production in the 21st century. We present a discussion primer for each week's session to get the conversation started.
Art&Arc100: 10 Questions sessions will be held on Tuesdays through December 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Glorya Kaufman Hall theater (room 200). Free and open to the public (RSVP required). Pay by space parking available on campus adjacent to Kaufman Hall (Structure 4).
This week, Bryonn Bain, Jerry Kang, David Schaberg and Robert Watson will join Brett Steele, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts & Architecture to explore the question, "What is a University?"
Bryonn Bain, performing artist and scholar
Associate Professor in the Department of World Arts & Cultures/Dance and Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies
Bryonn Bain is a hip-hop theater innovator, spoken word poetry champion, prison activist, actor and educator, and has been described by political activist and intellectual Cornel West as an artist who "...speaks his truth with a power we desperately need to hear.” Bain's widely-known theater productions, “Lyrics from Lockdown” and “What It Iz” critique what race, prisons, poverty and privilege mean in America today and the increasingly visible injustices in the U.S. criminal system. Bain began teaching in the fall of 2015 in African-American Studies with a course on “Hip Hop and Spoken Word.” The classes in his teachings also include “The Revolutionary Politics and Poetry of Malcolm X” and “Narratives of Change.” He studied at Columbia University.
A short film on the community-inclusive approach for the UCLA course "Narratives of Change." Watch the video.
Among the artists-in-residences is Dale Brockman Davis, a multidisciplinary artist, curator, activist, and educator. His work has been displayed in numerous exhibitions, galleries and contemporary art spaces that include the Hammer Museum, the Watts Tower Arts Center, and the California African American Museum. Yet, Davis may be best known for his contribution to Leimert Park with the historic Brockman Gallery — a cultural institution that lasted 20 years and provided a platform for African American artists and other artists of color. Read more.
Two studies attest to the rehabilitative value and other benefits that the AIC and programs like it provide to participating inmates. A more recent paper on the subject, Qualitative Study of the California Arts-in-Corrections Program (2012), asserts that "rehabilitation is possible if [prison inmates] are given opportunities to realize their humanity" and that AIC has helped inmates to "earn self-respect, human dignity and self-esteem... [which] only a very few [had] felt that they possessed... before their incarceration and participation in the program." Read more.
Jerry Kang, legal scholar
UCLA Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor in the School of Law
As a leading scholar on implicit bias and the law, Jerry Kang has published more than a dozen articles on the subject in leading journals. He regularly collaborates with leading experimental social psychologists on wide-ranging scholarly, educational and advocacy projects. Recognized by both the UCLA law school and the entire University as the best teacher of the year, Prof. Kang is widely sought after as a speaker. Prof. Kang graduated magna cum laude from both Harvard College (physics) and Harvard Law School, where he was a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. After clerking for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, he started his teaching career at UCLA in 1995 and has visited at Georgetown, Harvard and NYU law schools.
"Free speech is critical to every democracy's health and longevity. The same goes for higher education, where freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry form bedrock principles central to our mission to pursue knowledge and understanding. But translating theoretical principles into real-world practice is messy..." Read more.
"It’s almost impossible to stop thinking about what we just witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia, where White nationalists marched in favor of White supremacy. The responses from local city officials, University administrators, state politicians, all the way up to the President were in some sense predictable — both good and bad. And universities beyond Virginia, all around the country, are now wondering about what to say, whether to say it, to whom, and how..." Read more.
In Los Angeles, adult education could also be called immigrant integration. That's what I found out while covering one of the largest non-teacher protests I'd seen outside the L.A. Unified School District headquarters. Read more.
David Schaberg, scholar of comparative literature
Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
As the past chair of Asian Languages & Cultures and Co-Director of the Center for Chinese Studies, David Schaberg has published articles on early Chinese literature, historiography and philosophy, as well as Greek/Chinese comparative issues. He is the author of "A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography," which was awarded the Association for Asian Studies 2003 Levenson Prize for Books in Chinese Studies (Pre-1900 Category). Schaberg was a translator, along with Stephen Durrant and Wai-yee Li, of "Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan" (University of Washington Press, 2016), which won the Association for Asian Studies 2018 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation. His most recent work addresses the history of oratory and ritual speech genres in early China. Schaberg received his BA from Stanford and his PhD from Harvard.
"According to the system of ancient teaching, for the families of (a hamlet) there was the village school; for a neighborhood there was the xiang; for the larger districts there was the xu; and in the capitals there was the college. Every year some entered the college, and every second year there was a comparative examination..." (Note: This will download as a Word document.) Read more.
Millions take China’s college entrance exam but only a few may attend its two most prestigious universities. Paula Marantz Cohen, Distinguished Prof. at Drexel Univ., interviews students there about their beliefs about family, country, and the future. Watch the feature.
As I hiked the Great Wall I did find some graffiti that spoke out against the government. I asked my Chinese friend why someone hadn't painted over it. She said that because we were in such a remote part of the Wall the officials probably hadn't even seen it. Read more.
Robert Watson, Shakespeare scholar and poet
Neikirk Distinguished Professor in the Department of English
Robert Watson taught at Harvard before coming to UCLA, where he’s served as Associate Dean of Humanities, Associate Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation, Chair of the Faculty of UCLA’s College of Letters and Science and is now Distinguished Professor of English. Besides edited volumes, his books explore Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, fear of death, the Renaissance roots of modern environmentalism and Japanese cinema. A study of the role of arts and humanities in cultural evolution is forthcoming. He’s won Guggenheim, NEH and ACLS fellowships, visiting fellowships at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and awards for distinguished teaching and service. Watson earned his BA at Yale and his PhD at Stanford.
Across the world, universities are more numerous than they have ever been, yet at the same time there is unprecedented confusion about their purpose and scepticism about their value. What Are Universities For? offers a spirited and compelling argument for completely rethinking the way we see our universities, and why we need them. Stefan Collini challenges the common claim that universities need to show that they help to make money in order to justify getting more money. Instead, he argues that we must reflect on the different types of institution and the distinctive roles they play. (Note: This is a pdf document.) Read more.
Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma divulges the inspiration and unintended effects of an interactive art piece created for the Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth-inspired "The Nightmare Floor." Read more.
When the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities issued its letter of resignation in response to the President’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, it was the final move in a long chess game to protect and advance the arts under a changing administration. Read more.
Top Image: Students and faculty assemble outside the California State Normal School in 1904. The School eventually transformed to become the San José State University and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
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