USC Panels in Hoffman Hall

Saturday, April 12

10:30 to 11:30 am

Race, Justice and the Law

Join us for a thoughtful and provocative discussion about the realities of racism in today’s world. Panelists include author and law professor Jody Armour, who studies the intersection of race and legal decision-making; Ange-Marie Hancock, author of Solidarity Politics for Millennials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression Olympics; and Daria Roithmayr, whose book Reproducing Racism considers “how everyday choices lock in white advantage.” The panel will be moderated by Dan Simon, author of In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process.  

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12:00 to 1:00 pm

Degrees of Fictionality: Representing “Truth” Across Genres

Novelists, a documentary filmmaker, a memoirist and a scholar of film and literary history will come together to explore the truths of fiction and the fictions of “truth.” Best-selling novelist Janet Fitch (White Oleander) will moderate a discussion with Leo Braudy, author of the memoir Trying to Be Cool: Growing Up in the 1950s; documentary filmmaker and children’s novelist Mark Jonathan Harris (Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport); and novelist Dana Johnson (Elsewhere, California).

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1:30 to 2:30 pm

Let’s Get Together and Feel All Right: Music, Spirit, Community and Politics

Throughout human history, music has been integral to spiritual and political movements and communities. A discussion of the harmonious relationship between music, spirit, community and politics will feature Josh Kun, author of Songs in the Key of Los Angeles; Ron McCurdy, musician and professor in the USC Thornton School of Music; Shana Redmond, author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora; and Varun Soni, author of Natural Mystics: The Prophetic Lives of Bob Marley and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

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3:00 to 4:00 pm

The Future of Reading: New Technologies in Playing and Learning

A forward-looking discussion will explore new technologies that are changing the ways we read, play and learn. Panelists include Tracy Fullerton, director of the USC Game Innovation Lab and co-creator of Walden, a game, which allows players to walk in Thoreau’s virtual footsteps; Samantha Gorman, whose app novella Pry challenges conventional notions of narrative; Henry Jenkins, author of Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the English Classroom; USC professor of engineering Gisele Ragusa; and University Professor William G. Tierney (moderator).

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4:30 to 5:30 pm

Make Me Laugh! Humor Writing Across Genres

A rollicking roundup of humor writing will feature Emmy Award–winning director and author Mary Lou Belli (The NEW Sitcom Career Book); author, performer and radio host Sandra Tsing Loh (The Loh Life); Simpsons writer/producer Michael Price; and moderator M. G. Lord (The Accidental Feminist).

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Sunday, April 13

10:30 to 11:30 am

Living with Mental Illness: Support and Survival

A panel of experts in law and mental health will illuminate the challenges of living with mental illness, as well as the opportunities for connection in support systems. Panelists include professor of psychiatry David Baron; Elyn Saks, a law professor and the author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey through Madness; Shannon Mayeda, a social work professor and author of the forthcoming Listening with Psychotic Ears; and moderator Tory Cox of the USC School of Social Work.

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12:00 to 1:00 pm

Are We What We Eat? The Culture of Food

Join us for a rich conversation about the relationships between identity, culture and cuisine with beloved Southern California food writers Gustavo Arellano (Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America); Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold; and New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear, author of Anything that Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture. The panel will be moderated by USC Executive Vice Provost Michael Quick.

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1:30 to 2:30 pm

L.A. Lives: Making, Mapping and Imagining Southern California

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse, complex cities in the world—and also one of the most mythologized and misunderstood. Panelists Ken LaZebnik (Hollywood Digs: An Archaeology of Shadows), George Sanchez (Bridging Borders, Remaking Community: Racial Interaction in Boyle Heights and Beyond Alliances: The Jewish Role in Reshaping the Racial Landscape of Southern California), David Sloane (Planning Los Angeles) and Alison Trope (Stardust Monuments: The Saving and Selling of Hollywood) will explore some of the many ways of understanding and imagining L.A.

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3:00 to 4:00 pm

Sitcoms, Dramas and Blockbusters: Creating for the Screen

A distinguished group of television and film writers, professors, producers and entertainment-industry executives will discuss writing for the big and small screens, from comedy to drama and from prime-time series to box-office blockbuster. Panelists include Gene Del Vecchio (Creating Blockbusters), Pamela Douglas (Writing the TV Drama Series), David Isaacs (Cheers, Frazier, Mad Men) and Michael Napoliello (The Last Samurai, Runaway Bride, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Riddick), with moderator Georgia Jeffries, a Writers Guild Award–winning writer/producer. 

Read more about the panelists.