Cultures, Intellectuals, and Conflicts

Intellectuals—academics, writers, artists, and creative performers, have been moved and sometimes shaken by the wars and conflicts that have consumed the bodies, treasury, and spirit of their nation. MU History Professor Ted Koditschek has written a book on English intellectuals as they attempted to reconcile their liberal culture of freedom with the British empire as it evolved in Scotland, Ireland, and India. 

Writers in Spain were torn as their society was split by the fierce warfare between the loyalists to Generalissimo Franco and those who fought for a democratic republic. Professor Michael Ugarte teaches a course Peace Studies 2320 – Literature of the Spanish Civil War, centering around the key literary texts  Homage to Catalonia, Requiem for a Spanish Peasant, Time of the Doves, and Field of Honor.  This course is being offered online in Spring 2014.

Ugarte’s own book, Shifting Ground: Spanish Civil War Exile Literature (Duke Univ. Press 1989), completed with a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, deals with exile not only as a specific historical consequence of the Spanish Civil War, but also as a human condition. Ugarte’s concerns with exile have developed into a broader concern with Spanish speaking immigrants moving from Mexico to the United States, and from Africa to Spain. See the Immigration Initiative.

The experience of World War II had a profound effect upon writers and artists in Germany, who had to come to terms with the rise of fascism in their country, and the division of their nation during the Cold War between the US and the USSR.  MU History PhD Kyle Mlller returns to Mizzou again in Maymester 2014 to teach Peace Studies 2004 Germany in War and Peace: Division and Unity during the Cold War.

In the Peace Perspectives Lecture of 2012, “Cheap Grace and the American Way of War,” Professor Andrew Bacevich of Boston University continued the theme of intellectuals coming to terms with their nation’s wars. Discussing German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, killed by the Nazis in 1945, Bacevich argued that the disproportionality of the sacrifice made by soldiers fighting the War on Terror creates a morally flawed “cheap grace” for the untouched spectators of war.

Dr. Daria Kerridge, the inspiring lecture in art appreciation courses, also teaches a Peace Studies course during Winter Intersession, Peace Studies 3140 - Art of War and Peace.


McClennen’s lecture prompted MU professor Demetrio Anzaldo to write:

From Counter-Cultural Movements to Global Cultural Dissonances
Talking with a serene and, at the same time, intense voice, Dr Sophia McClennen initiates a remarkable disquisition about the socio-political and cultural tendencies in some of the latest Latin American Films produced/exhibited in the last two decades.  Her study of the effects of Globalization in the Latin American Cinematography is a very plausible exercise of literary and philosophical concepts and images explaining the socio-economical and cultural repercussions on these artistic productions in both the local and international arena. 

Dr McClennen has uncovered the economical impact, the socio-cultural tensions, the unexpected social receptions and tentative tendencies between the films production and their impact in the dynamic societies of our age; likewise, she is seeking/proclaiming the necessity of new theoretical concepts and frameworks to learn/ apprehend  the increasing metamorphoses of Art and Sciences in our confrontational and chaotic time.  Along her presentation, there is a call to bring Ethics into the Aesthetics in cultural productions.  She has observed the paradoxes and ironies in the fact that “Neoliberalism likes Diversity” in the Latin American Cinema; however, the results of that preference has not deterred the discrepancies not the social problems in our globalized planet.

She, clearly, has pointed that despite social and counter cultural movements since the 60, social needs and changes still remain unresolved.  The presence of the US domination of the film industry is also debated in her research.   With the selected images from different films from all over Latin America and her energized invitation to dialogue, you will be able to observe and understand more of the masked social confrontations and inequalities in the Latin American Cinema and, as she says, “What Latin American Cinema Teaches Us About Globalization”.  Let's continue the presentation/conversation...vale...MM

Amnesty International is one of the many groups that works to gain the release of writers and others imprisoned by dictatorial regimes around the world. French Algerian novelist, poet, journalist, and mathematician Anouar Benmalek spoke at MU on September 19, 2012. He is co-founder of the Algerian Committee against Torture, and is author of Les amants désunis and Tu ne mourras plus demain, among other books.

Ugarte book cover

Dr. Sophia McClennen, Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature, and Director of the Global Studies Center, Pennsylvania State University was funded by the Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program to give two lectures at MU.  The October 18, 2013 lecture on her book-in-progress, Globalization and Latin American Cinema, focuses on the ways that films from Latin America reflect the shifts in production and consumption of cinema and changing identity constructions.