Why do racial stereotypes change over time? How do they develop? According to author Shilpa Dave, the movies play a huge role. This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with her about her new book “Indian Accents: Brown Voice and Racial Performance in American Television and Film.”
Growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, Shilpa Dave loved going to the movies. Her father was a self-proclaimed film “buff,” and Dave loved every minute of it. Her parents immigrated to the US from India before she was born, and as she grew older, she started to wonder why there were no people who looked like her in the movies she went to see with her father. This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with American Studies Professor and author Shilpa Dave about her new book “Indian Accents” recently published by the University of Illinois Press. In it, she examines Indian culture and its portrayal in American popular film. We’ll talk about why there were very few prominent Indian or South East Asian characters until the late 1990’s and the affect Bollywood’s growing success is having on casting in Hollywood films.
During this episode of Focus, we’ll hear about an MTV cartoon that caused a hunger strike in New Dehli and forced the network to release a formal apology because of its animated depiction of Gandhi and will talk about “Raj,” the popular character from “The Big Bang Theory” and Apu, the Indian convenience store owner from “The Simpsons.”
Are you a fan of AMC’s “MadMen”? Who do you think is the best James Bond? Is it time for the US to end the war on drugs? Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.
Coming up next week on Focus, we’ve got a little something for everybody – from James Bond to gardening, we welcome you to join our conversation!
Have you ever used writing as an outlet? Today on Focus, we examined stereotypes about Arab women with Professor Miriam Cooke, who studies how Islamic women empower themselves through writing. Then, Mariam Sobh, a native of Champaign and the founder of the fashion blog Hijab Trendz joins the program.
During this hour on Focus, we talk with Professor Miriam Cooke about how she got started studying Muslim women and their writing and why their writings are important. She talks with us about women who inspired the feminist movement in the Middle East and why it became important during the 1990’s. Cooke is a Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University and the Director of the University’s Middle East Studies Center. She’s been a visiting professor in Tunisia, Romania, Indonesia, and Qatar and is one of the foremost scholars on Islamic Feminism and Arab Culture.
Then during the second half of the hour, we talk with Mariam Sobh. She’s the founder and editor-in-chief of Hijab Trendz, a fashion blog for Muslim women. Host Jim Meadows talks with Sobh about her decision to cover her hair, what it means and how some Muslim women are choosing not to.
An elementary school in Urbana is piloting a dual language program teaching kindergarten classes almost entirely in Spanish.
Describing himself as "more than a filmmaker," Byron Hurt is an anti-sexist activist who provides cutting-edge male leadership, expert analysis, keynote addresses, and workshop facilitation in the field of sexual and gender violence prevention and education. His latest film "Soul food Junkies," looks at the links between African-American identity and "soul food," much of which is high in fat and calories. Hurt's father died of pancreatic cancer, and this type of high-fat diet is a risk factor for the illness.
Since the beginning of his career in journalism eight years ago, Jose Vargas has written hundreds of stories — including covering the 2008 presidential campaign for The Washington Post; profiling Al Gore for Rolling Stone and Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker; writing and producing a documentary on the AIDS epidemic in the nation's capital; and winning a Pulitzer Prize for helping cover the Virginia Tech massacre. A little over a year ago, Vargas wrote a groundbreaking essay in the New York Times Sunday Magazine revealing his "undocumented immigrant" status. Since then, he founded Define American and has worked to facilitate dialogue about the DREAM Act and immigration issues.
This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, October 26, 2012, 10 am
Born in 1948, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tamim Ansary is a writer, lecturer, editor, and teacher based in San Francisco. He directs the San Francisco Writer’s Workshop, teaches through the Osher Institute, and writes fiction and nonfiction about Afghanistan, Islam-and-the-West, democracy, current events, social issues, and as he says, "my cat, and other topics as they come up."
For years, Frederick Hoxie asked students to name three American Indians and almost universally, the names mentioned were the same: Geronimo, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Many Americans see Indians as occupying a position outside the central narrative of American history. It’s almost a given that Native history has no particular relationship to the conventional story of America. Indian history may be seen as short and sad, one that ended a long time ago.
In This Indian Country, Hoxie creates a counter-narrative; Native American history is also a story of political activism, with victories in courts and campaigns rather than on the battlefield. For more than two hundred years, Indian activists have sought to bridge the distance between their cultures and the republican democracy of the United States through legal and political debate. Over time their struggle defined a new language of “Indian rights” and created a vision of American Indian identity, engendering a dialogue with other activist movements.
Among the people discussed in “This Indian Country” is Sarah Winnemucca, who was the first American Indian woman to publish a book in the U-S. Follow the link below to read Winnemucca’s “Life Among the Piutes.”
Living Color investigates the social history of skin color from prehistory to the present, showing how our body’s most visible trait influences our social interactions in profound and complex ways. Nina G. Jablonski begins with the biology and evolution of skin pigmentation, explaining how skin color changed as humans moved around the globe. She explores the relationship between melanin pigment and sunlight, and examines the consequences of rapid migrations, vacations, and other lifestyle choices that can create mismatches between our skin color and our environment. This book explains why skin color has come to be a biological trait with great social meaning— a product of evolution perceived by culture. It considers how we form impressions of others, how we create and use stereotypes, how negative stereotypes about dark skin developed and have played out through history—including being a basis for the transatlantic slave trade. Offering examples of how attitudes about skin color differ in the U.S., Brazil, India, and South Africa, Jablonski suggests that a knowledge of the evolution and social importance of skin color can help eliminate color-based discrimination and racism.
A radio documentary special by Urbana University Laboratory High School students.
Growing up in Champaign as one of a handful of Jewish children in town, Ruth Kuhn Youngerman enjoyed friendships with people from a variety of faiths. The Jewish community was small and close-knit, led by Jewish storeowners such as the Sterns, Lowensterns and Kuhns who helped develop commerce in downtown Champaign and Urbana.
Yet Jewish residents were integrated and accepted in the community, said Youngerman, who was born in 1914, the same year that the first Jewish temple was built at State and Clark streets. When her grandfather, Kuhn’s Department Store founder Joseph Kuhn, died, they called him the best “Christian” in the community, Youngerman said. “In other words, they were saying he was like them, that they (Jews) were good people.”
Urbana University High School students interviewed Youngerman and 13 other leaders of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish community for a new radio documentary, The 20th Century Exodus: The Triumphant Life and Journey of the Jewish in Our Community.
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