Department News

Lindsay Livingston attended the annual meeting of the American Studies Association conference (ASA) in Denver on November 17-20. There, she presented a paper titled “Picking Up the Gun: Public Performances of Self-Defense and Firearm Ownership” as part of the panel No Duty to Retreat: Defense and the Home/Land, which she convened. Her favorite part of the conference was meeting up with old and new friends from across the country and spending four rejuvenating days discussing the privileges and perils of living in the United States and studying its history.

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The Media Arts program hosted Bill Nichols, “arguably the most significant documentary scholar in the world,” last Thursday and Friday. Bill was on Scott Christopherson’s graduate committee, and Scott was able to arrange for the visit.  Media arts faculty and recent alums joined Bill for dinner at Communal on Thursday night and then current students and faculty joined him for lunch on Friday at the Skyroom.  Friday morning, Bill spoke to about 20 documentary students along with documentary faculty members Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson, about his career.  Bill asked the students what they wanted to be doing in five years.  He gave some examples of his unusual career path and encouraged students not to worry too much about the direction their careers go; their careers will unfold in unexpected ways if they work hard. On Friday afternoon, Bill made a presentation to over 50 media arts students and faculty in the Nelke Theatre.  His presentation was on the “fictional nugget at the core of documentary film:  Reenactments.”  He talked about some of the purposes cinema fills in recreating the past, including vivifying memory, facilitating mourning, or coming to terms with trauma.  Cinematic recreations give us a sense of mastery as well as a sense of magic.  Bill analyzed different types of re-enactments and showed film clips for each of the types.  After his presentation, Bill fielded questions from the students, acknowledging that his strongest skill was using words to talk about film.   We’re grateful to the Non-fiction area for bringing a scholar of this caliber to BYU.

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Bill Nichols, center, with Scott Christopherson and non-fiction students

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The Vocal Point 25th Anniversary Mashup Video, directed by Jeff Parkin, received two nominations in the Contemporary A Cappella Society Music Video Awards, an international organization dedicated to creating a community between signers and fans of contemporary a cappella.  The nomination categories are for the Best Male Collegiate Video, and the Best Costume/Makeup.  The winners will be announced on February 4 at a live awards ceremony at the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival [LAAF].  For a complete list of nominations, go to http://www.casa.org/ava2017n   Congratulations to Jeff, his producer Jared Cardon, and the many media arts students and alums who were part of the production team. Below is the music video and the Behind the Scenes video.

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