01/26/2015 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Location: Weill Hall, Annenberg Auditorium
Speaker: Llewellyn Smith, Martha S. Jones, and Joy Rohde
The Center for Public Policy in Diverse Societies at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy presents a screening of American Denial, followed by a discussion with producer/director Llewellyn Smith, Martha Jones (link is external), and moderated by the Ford School’s own Joy Rohde.
The film will begin promptly at 5:00pm and runs approx. 55 minutes. The discussion will begin at 6:00pm.
About the film:
American Denial follows the story of foreign researcher and Nobel Laureate Gunnar Myrdal whose study, An American Dilemma (1944), provided a provocative inquiry into the dissonance between stated beliefs as a society and what is perpetuated and allowed in the name of those beliefs. His inquiry into the United States’ racial psyche becomes a lens for modern inquiry into how denial, cognitive dissonance, and unrecognized, unconscious attitudes continue to dominate racial dynamics in American life. The film’s unusual narrative sheds a unique light on the unconscious political and moral world of modern Americans. Archival footage, newsreels, nightly news reports, and rare southern home movies from the ’30s and ’40s thread through the story, as well as psychological testing into racial attitudes from research footage, websites, and YouTube films.
Hear from experts — historians, psychologists, sociologists and Myrdal’s daughters — all filmed directly to camera. Witnesses work to exhume unconscious feelings Americans have about themselves and others — fascinated by the Myrdal question, and by how much true thinking and feeling unfolds in social contexts in an unconscious mode. What are the implications for individual responsibility and social justice in democracies like America’s?
Read more about American Denial here: http://itvs.org/films/american-denial (link is external)
From Llewellyn Smith’s bio:
Llewellyn M. Smith served as Story Editor for PBS’ American Experience from 1987 to 1995, where he helped originate, develop and acquire more than 70 programs. From 1995 to 1997, he was Project Director for the Peabody and Emmy award-winning series Africans in America and producer of the final episode, Judgment Day. Mr. Smith has also produced episodes of such PBS series as Eyes On The Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years (1985), From Jumpstreet, A Story Of Black Music (1980), and Jazz: An American Classic (1979). Smith was Senior Producer for Eye on Education, a WGBH-Boston Globe multimedia look at state education reform, and is currently senior producer for the forthcoming American Experience series, Reconstruction.
From Martha S. Jones’ bio:
Martha S. Jones is Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican Studies, and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Jones holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University (2001) and a J.D. from the CUNY School of Law (1987). She currently serves as a 2008 Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the National Constitution Center. Jones has been a fellow with the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, a recipient of the AHAs Littleton-Griswold research grant (2002), and a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, in Paris (2006 and 2007). She directs the Law and Slavery and Freedom Project, an international research collaborative with Rebecca J. Scott (Michigan) and Jean Hébrard (EHESS) and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Women’s History. Jones is the author of All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900 (2007), which examines nineteenth-century debates over the rights of women. Her current work includes two book projects: Overturning Dred Scott: Everyday Life at the Intersection of Race and Law in an Antebellum City and Riding the Atlantic World Circuit: One Household’s Journey Through the Law of Slavery and Freedom, a comparative study of slavery and law in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century French Caribbean and United States.