Cancelled–Novotny Lawrence selected to deliver LAS Dean’s Lecture

March 26, 2020, 8:00pm | Great Hall, Memorial Union

Unfortunately this has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 partial shutdown

Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, selected Novotny Lawrence, associate professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and the Department of English, to deliver the spring 2020 LAS Dean’s Lecture.

Lawrence, who studies African American research in film and media, will present, “White Mansions, Black Bodies: Jordan Peele’s Get Out and the New Age Slave Plantation,” on Thursday, March 26, 2020 in Iowa State University’s Memorial Union Great Hall.

This lecture will discuss Jordan Peele’s horror thriller “Get Out,” demonstrating the ways in which the director employs traditional filmmaking storytelling tropes to examine contemporary racial politics. Peele uses the cinema as a tool for social activism, working to help create a future in which citizens will potentially be more informed about, attuned to, and concerned with fighting against systemic racism.

“There is an overwhelming societal perception that movies are “just entertainment,” said Lawrence. “While films are certainly entertaining, they also play a role in socialization, regularly promote certain images over others, and can tell us a great deal about the world in which we live. I hope that people who attend the lecture begin to develop or further expand their understandings of the ways that filmmakers use cinema to critique pressing social issues, and that it will also encourage them to consider historic and contemporary U.S. racism.”

Lawrence’s research primarily centers on African American cinematic and mediated experiences and popular culture. He is the author of “Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s: Blackness and Genre,” the editor of “Documenting the Black Experience,” and the co-editor of “Beyond Blaxploitation.” He has also published journal articles and book chapters on the comedy of Dave Chappelle; the films “Black Dynamite” and “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America;” and about African American religious iconography in the television series “Good Times.” His current research project, a co-authored book on Oscar and British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA)-winning screenwriter and director Kevin Willmott, will be published by Wayne State University Press in 2021.

Lawrence earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from the Theatre and Film Department (now Department of Cinema and Media Studies) at the University of Kansas. Before joining Iowa State, he was an associate professor in the Radio, Television and Digital Media Department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where he taught courses such as Media and Society, Film History and Analysis, Race and the Media and History of African American Images in Film.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Lecture Series highlights faculty excellence in learning, discovery, and engagement in Iowa State’s largest college. Each semester the dean invites exceptional LAS faculty to present lectures from their own areas of expertise on topics of interest to the general public, designed to stimulate high-quality, intellectual discussion among faculty, staff, students, and community members.

The lecture begins at 8:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.