Film Series

The program chairs have selected a number of films related to the theme to run throughout the meeting. All films will be in Marriott, Salon 2. A panel discussion will follow each film.

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Knock Down the House
Rachel Lears, Sarah Olson, and Robin Blotnick

When tragedy struck her family in the midst of the financial crisis, Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts in a restaurant to save her home from foreclosure. After losing a loved one to a preventable medical condition, Amy Vilela didn’t know what to do with the anger she felt about America’s broken health care system. Cori Bush was drawn into the streets when the police shooting of an unarmed black man brought protests and tanks into her neighborhood. Paula Jean Swearengin was fed up with watching her friends and family suffer and die from the environmental effects of the coal industry.

At a moment of historic volatility in American politics, these four women decide to fight back, setting themselves on a journey that will change their lives and their country forever. Without political experience or corporate money, they build a movement of insurgent candidates challenging powerful incumbents in Congress. Their efforts result in a legendary upset.

Thursday, August 29, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Film Panel Discussion:
Dara Strolovitch, Princeton University
Celeste Montoya, University of Colorado, Boulder
Nadia Brown, Purdue University
MIchael Minta, University of Minnesota
Vanessa Tyson, Scripps College
Sarah Roberts Allen Gershon, Georgia State University

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Searching for Andreas: Political Leadership in Times of Crisis
Harris Mylonas

The documentary Searching for Andreas is an independent production about the pitfalls of charismatic leadership and the limits of democratic politics under the pressures of economic globalization. Charismatic leaders often build personalistic parties and undermine political institutions, while their succession is fraught with difficulties. Searching for Andreas explores peoples’ reliance on such leaders. It examines the life and legacy of one of Europe’s most controversial leaders, Andreas Papandreou. Was he a socialist reformer or a populist manipulator? Regardless of what one believes about Andreas’ politics, Greece won’t emerge from the crisis until it confronts his legacy.

Friday, August 30, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Film Panel Discussion:
Erin Jenne, Central European University
Tarik Abou-Chadi, University of Zurich
Simona Guerra, University of Leicester
Matthias Matthijs, John Hopkins University

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What Is Democracy?
Astra Taylor

Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we too often take for granted. Director Astra Taylor’s idiosyncratic, philosophical journey spans millennia and continents: from ancient Athens’ groundbreaking experiment in self-government to capitalism’s roots in medieval Italy; from modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse and a mounting refugee crisis to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor. Featuring a diverse cast—including celebrated theorists, trauma surgeons, activists, factory workers, asylum seekers, and former prime ministers—this urgent film connects the past and the present, the emotional and the intellectual, the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means.

Friday, August 30, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Film Panel Discussion:
Erin Pineda, Smith College, Chair
Jodi Dean, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Bonnie Honig, Brown University
Ainsley LeSure, Occidental College
Lida Maxwell, Boston University

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Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower
Roxana Walker-Canton

Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower examines the intersection of race, class and gender for Black women professors and administrators working in U.S. colleges and universities today. Through their diverse narratives, from girlhood to the present, Black women from different disciplines share experiences that have shaped them, including segregated schooling as children, and the trials, disappointments and triumphs encountered in Academia. Though more than 100 years have passed since the doors to higher education opened for Black women, their numbers as faculty members are woefully low and for many still, the image of Black women as intellectuals is incomprehensible. And while overtly expressed racism, sexism and discrimination have declined, their presence is often still often unacknowledged. Through frank and sometimes humorous conversations, this documentary interrogates notions of education for girls and women and the stereotypes and traditions that affect the status of Black women both in and out of the Academy.

Saturday, August 31, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Film Panel Discussion:
Melanye Price, Prairie View A&M University, Chair
Pearl Dowe, Oxford College, Emory University
Niambi Carter, Howard University
Shayla Nunnally, University of Connecticut
Andra Gillespie, Emory University