college of liberal arts

Activist and former presidential candidate David Cobb gives annual peace lecture on April 24

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Activist David Cobb, who ran for United States president in 2004 on the Green Party ticket and has made his life’s work battling corporate power, will give the 2012 Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Memorial Lecture for World Peace on Tuesday, April 24, at Oregon State University.

The free, public event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium of LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. The title of his talk is “Corporate Personhood:  The Legal Doctrine that Perverts the Promise of Democracy.”

Cobb is national projects director at the community organizing group Democracy Unlimited and is a spokesman for Move To Amend, a national coalition calling for a constitutional amendment to abolish “corporate personhood,” or the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, which asserts that corporate entities have the same rights under law as people.

He was born in San Leon, Texas, and worked as a laborer before going to college. Cobb graduated from the University of Houston Law School in 1993 and maintained a successful private law practice in Houston for several years before devoting himself full-time to activism.

In 2002, Cobb ran for Attorney General of Texas, pledging to use the office to revoke the charters of corporations that violate health, safety and environmental laws. In 2004, he ran on the Green Party presidential ticket and successfully campaigned for a recount of ballots in Ohio.

Now in its 29th year, this annual lectureship honors Linus Pauling, an OSU graduate and two-time Nobel Prize laureate, and his wife, Ava Helen Pauling, a noted peace activist. It is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts.

Story By: 

Richard Clinton, 541-737-2811

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David Cobb

Documentary about Nazi resistance group shows April 3; workshop also offered

CORVALLIS, Ore. – German filmmaker and artist Stefan Roloff will visit Oregon State University on Tuesday, April 3, for a workshop on his documentary film from 10 to 11:20 a.m. in Owen Hall Room 103.

That same night in downtown Corvallis, he will screen the film, "The Red Orchestra," which chronicles a resistance group of ordinary citizens who fought the Nazis, and paid the price. Roloff’s father, Helmut Roloff, was a member of this resistance group.

The screenings will begin at 6 p.m. and at 8 p.m. at the Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St. The filmmaker will introduce his film and answer questions after the showings. All events are free and open to the public.

In the workshop, Roloff will talk about the historical background of the group, his motivations to make this film, and will give insights into how to approach making a documentary. He will also demonstrate his technique of computer-assisted picture photo-shopping; Roloff is considered a pioneer of manipulating images digitally.

The Red Orchestra” features the stories of surviving members of the resistance group. Their tales are imaginatively re-created by a pioneering animation technique that resembles moving black and white drawings. The reenactments are used for scenes that were described in interviews but could not be documented, such as the Gestapo agents interrogating the resistance fighters.

The Red Orchestra was a resistance group that fought against the Third Reich within Germany from 1933 to 1942. The Gestapo labeled them as Communists and traitors for their efforts to put an end to Hitler. Historians now officially recognize their work as that of one of the largest and most efficient anti-Nazi resistance efforts. Together, the resisters represented a broad range of German society with diverse political beliefs and backgrounds.

The review of the film in the New York Times can be viewed here: http://movies.nytimes.com/2005/03/02/movies/02red.html

Stefan Roloff is an independent artist and filmmaker working in Berlin and New York. In 1984, he was invited to experiment on prototypes of digital video and imaging computers at the New York Institute of Technology where he produced videos with Peter Gabriel and Suicide. He received a 1989 fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts for his pioneering digital work.

The workshop and screenings are sponsored by the German Program in the School of Language, Culture, and Society and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

Story By: 

Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957

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Stefan Roloff, Portrait
Stefan Roloff Red Orchestra, Arrest
Film still from "The Red Orchestra," a documentary about the Nazi resistance group, with re-creations of the stories told by survivors visualized in black and white animations. Image courtesy of WHEN 6 IS 9 PRODUCTIONS.

New member of forensics team takes multiple awards in recent tournament

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Cody Connolly, a new member of the Oregon State University’s forensics team, received awards in both individual events and debate in a recent tournament in Spokane, Wash.

OSU Forensics attended the Spokane Falls Voices on the River/Pi Kappa Delta Great West Regional Forensics Tournament. The event featured more than 12 schools from the Northwest Forensics Conference.

“The team looks forward to Spokane every year,” said Mark Porrovecchio, director of the team. “It is a great diagnostic of what needs to be done as we approach nationals.”

Connolly, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, took fourth place in novice impromptu speaking. He also was a semifinalist and was recognized as the eighth best speaker in novice debate.

Connolly was joined at the tournament by Kelsey Irish of Williams, Ore. and Michael Walters of Gresham. The team was coached by graduate assistants Kori Thornburg of Kennewick, Wash., and Forest Ledbetter of Sheridan, Ore.

In two weeks, the three students will attend the final tournament of the season: the PKD National Comprehensive Tournament in Overland Park, Kan.

Celebrating its 119th season, OSU Forensics is one of the oldest clubs on campus.  The team is open to all students in good academic standing. For more information, contact mark.porrovecchio@oregonstate.edu

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Mark Porrovecchio, 541-737-8230

OSU neuropsychologist receives prestigious NSF Career Award

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Oregon State University neuropsychologist has received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award designed to support emerging influential scholars and educators.

Sarina Saturn, an assistant professor of psychology, will use the funding to investigate how naturally occurring variations in the oxytocin hormone (also known as the “love hormone”) influence the experience and expression of uplifting emotional states and altruism in young children, young adults and older adults.

The CAREER award is the NSF’s most prestigious award for new faculty members, designed to recognize and support the early career-development activities of the academic leaders of the future.

An integral component of Saturn’s research involves forming a partnership between the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and the Cross-Cultural Mentorship Program at OSU in order to introduce underrepresented and first-generation college students to a variety of scientific research opportunities on campus.

Saturn holds a doctoral degree from New York University and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an expert on the link between genetics and empathy, and is particularly concerned with how oxytocin impacts social connections and behavior.

Story By: 

Sarina Saturn, 541-737-1366

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Sarina Saturn

OSU students contribute to online archive of the American Film Institute

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A group of students at Oregon State University is contributing to a project that has been heralded by filmmaker Martin Scorsese as “the most complete and accurate” online archive of American films.

Twelve University Honors College students are cataloging more than 40 movies from the 1980s this term as part of a special project in the class of OSU film professor Jon Lewis. Their work is part of a larger effort on behalf of the American Film Institute (AFI) to document every American feature-length film produced from 1893 through 2011.

The AFI Catalog Academic Network utilizes “the best and brightest” scholars from around the country to provide plot summary and production note information to help flesh out the records of American movies.

OSU is one of the only universities participating in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films project that does not have an established film studies program or major. Lewis teaches in the proposed School of Writing, Literature, and Film at OSU, formerly known as the Department of English.

“This is really a cool honor,” Lewis said. “And if we do it right, it could be something that honors students at OSU might continue to do in future classes.”

Lewis was contacted last year by the AFI catalog’s editor Bob Birchard about the project, which already has completed listings for films made through 1975. Birchard was aware of Lewis’ work as a nationally known American film scholar and offered OSU students the chance to help document American film history.

“Most of the really obvious films from the ’80s like ‘E.T.’ had already been taken,” Lewis said. “I thought this could be an interesting learning experience for the students, a way to introduce them to movies in that era that are overlooked.”

Each student was assigned up to four films to catalog. A typical entry includes an exhaustive list of details, such as the complete cast and crew, a detailed plot description and an examination of the history of the making of the film. The American Film Institute provides a packet, including a DVD of the film, for the student.

Films as diverse as Brian De Palma’s 1981 thriller, “Blow Out,” starring John Travolta, and Ross McElwee’s 1986 documentary, “Sherman’s March,” were assigned to the OSU students, some of whom have never taken a film studies class before.

“It is one of the reasons I wanted this to be an honors class,” Lewis said. “They are dedicated students who know how to do diligent scholarship and work.”


About the OSU College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts includes the fine and performing arts, humanities and social sciences, making it one of the largest and most diverse colleges at OSU.  The college's research and instructional faculty members contribute to the education of all university students and provide national and international leadership, creativity and scholarship in their academic disciplines.

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Jon Lewis, 541-737-1647

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AFI class
Student Dane Heiss presents on the 1979 movie "Hardcore" in Professor Jon Lewis' University Honors College class, which is contributing to the American Film Institute Catalog Academic Network this term. Feb. 2012. Photo credit: Theresa Hogue

Physician adviser for TV show ‘House’ to speak on medical mysteries on March 13

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A physician whose column was the inspiration for the hit television series “House,” will speak on medical mysteries and the art of diagnosis in a lecture at Oregon State University on Tuesday, March 13, at LaSells Stewart Center.

Dr. Lisa Sanders is speaking as part of the OSU Program in Medical Humanities lecture series. The free public event includes a public reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the talk at 7 p.m.

Sanders’ monthly "Diagnosis" column in The New York Times Magazine was an inspiration for the Fox TV series “House,” which has been on the air since 2004. She is also one of the show’s technical advisers.

She will discuss some of the key messages from her new book, “Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis.” An interview and excerpt from her book on National Public Radio can be found here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111844063

Kirkus Reviews described Sanders book as: “A doctor’s insightful reflections on the disconnect between how physicians should practice and how they actually practice.”

Sanders is a board-certified internist on the faculty at the Yale University School of Medicine.

The lecture is sponsored by the Hundere Endowment for Religion and Culture, the OSU Program in Medical Humanities, Horning Program for Humanities Scholarship, Office of Vice Provost for Student Affairs, and University Honors College.

Story By: 

Courtney Campbell, 541-737-6196

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Dr. Lisa Sanders

Student contest calls for writing and video entries on ways to prosper on Earth

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A contest for Oregon State University students invites written works or videos that tell hopeful stories about new ways for humans to prosper on Earth.

“The Great Work: Re-imagining Humanity as the Planet Changes” is sponsored by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, with support from the Student Sustainability Initiative. Winning written entries will be published in an insert in the Daily Barometer, and winning videos will be screened at a special event in the spring. Winners also receive $100 awards.

The deadline for submissions is March 5.

“Turbulent times are coming, bringing climate change, declining cheap energy, and many other environmental, economic and social disruptions,” said Charles Goodrich, director of the Spring Creek Project. “We are looking for new stories that bring our values and aspirations together with our best scientific and social information to create meaningful options for embracing the future.”

The contest takes its title from cultural historian Thomas Berry who wrote that “the Great Work” is for the human species to transform itself from destructive forces into co-creators of the planet’s ecological abundance.

The Great Work is open to written and video entries in any genre: documentary, essay, opinion, and creative. “We want to hear from students in engineering and agriculture, music and creative writing, fisheries, pharmacy, every field,” Goodrich said.

Contest guidelines and submission information can be found on the Spring Creek website: http://springcreek.oregonstate.edu/

Story By: 

Charles Goodrich, 541-737-6198

OSU class on Occupy Wall Street explores the philosophy, history behind the movement

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new class offered this term at Oregon State University puts the Occupy Wall Street movement into a broader context of social movements, historical events and philosophical ideas.

Titled “Political Philosophy of Occupy Wall Street,” the class is the brainchild of OSU faculty members Joseph Orosco and Tony Vogt, who are co-teaching the credited course together.

Both have been involved with the local Occupy Corvallis movement, but Orosco said the course is less about activism and more about educating students about the political, cultural and social underpinnings of social movements like Occupy Wall Street.

“We are really less concerned about what is going on in the Occupy movement itself and more interested in exploring how this is related to American social movements such as the labor and Civil Rights movements, but also global movements,” Orosco said, pointing to the Arab Spring demonstrations of 2010, the workers’ factory cooperatives in Argentina in 2001, and the Zapatistas in Mexico in 1994.

“What social movements can and often do is change the way societies and cultures talk about themselves – they can change the dialogue,” Orosco said. “And we already see that happening with Occupy, because now Americans are talking about issues of class, about inequality and framing it as ‘We are the majority’.”

Orosco, an associate professor of philosophy and director of the OSU Peace Studies program, gave the example of the feminist movement in the United States, which will be discussed in the class. He said people often ask what the Occupy Wall Street movement wants to “accomplish,” but he said such sentiments miss the broader perspective.

“Social movements often don’t change anything politically, at least in the short term,” he said. “Look at the feminist movement – they were not successful in getting an Equal Rights Movement passed. But did that movement change the way we talk about gender and power dynamics? Absolutely there was a cultural shift.”

Vogt said he is excited as an academic to be teaching a class on a subject that is still evolving, and is happening now. Vogt teaches classes both in philosophy and sociology.

“It’s a pretty rare thing to study something as it is happening,” he said. “We’re really interested in the kinds of ideas and philosophies that animate this movement.”

There are about 20 students, both undergraduate and graduate, in the class and they come from a broad range of backgrounds. Sophomore Zack Lee said he is from a privileged background, having attended exclusive private schools in his native city of Bangkok. He said he chose to go to a public university because he wanted to interact with a greater diversity of people.

“I really want to understand more about people from other backgrounds and perspectives,” he said. “I feel like you can’t really know how other people live unless you have tried to put yourself in their place.”

While some of the students expressed solidarity with the Occupy protesters, others said they signed up for the class just to learn more and be better informed.

“Protest is a barometer for a certain point in society where people have really reached their limit,” said senior Natalie Rich. “Even though they may be on opposite ends, both the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement are, I think, saying that something is not right.”

Story By: 

Joseph Orosco, 541-737-4335

Film series celebrating women comes to OSU campus

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new film series commemorating the centennial of women’s suffrage in Oregon kicks off Tuesday, Jan. 17, at various locations at the Oregon State University campus.

The Woman Citizen Film Series is part of “Woman Citizen: Past, Present, and Future,” a series of events to commemorate the centennial of suffrage in Oregon (1912-2012) by promoting education about women’s history and women’s issues and by encouraging civic and political involvement.

The screenings, all held on Tuesdays through March 6, include:

Jan. 17, Construction & Engineering Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

  • 7 p.m.: “Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai”: This drama tells the story Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Muta Maathai who set out to fight both women’s poverty and environmental degradation. Kathleen Dean Moore, distinguished professor of philosophy at OSU, will lead a post-film discussion. This film is co-sponsored by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word.

Jan. 24, Owen Hall 101

  • 6 p.m.: “One Woman, One Vote”: Narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, this documentary chronicles the 70-year battle for woman suffrage in the United States. Kim Jensen, professor of history and gender studies at Western Oregon University, will lead a post-film discussion.

Jan. 31, Owen Hall 101

  • 6 p.m.: “Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women”: Media scholar Jean Kilbourne examines the distorted ideals of femininity found in American print and television advertising and asks critical questions about popular culture’s explicit and implicit messages about sex and gender. Dwaine Plaza, professor of sociology and ethnic studies, will lead a post-film discussion.

Feb. 7, Owen Hall 101

  • 6 p.m.: “Medieval Lives: The Damsel”: “Monty Python” star Terry Jones examines the surprising lives and roles of women in medieval Europe, shattering stereotypes about the “damsel in distress.” Tara Williams, associate professor of English, will lead a post-episode discussion.

Feb. 21, Owen Hall 102

  • 6 p.m.: “Maya Lin: A Strong, Clear Vision”: This Academy Award-winning documentary tells the story of sculptor and architect Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. amidst great controversy. Flo Leibowitz, professor of philosophy, and Trischa Goodnow, professor of speech communication, will lead a post-film discussion.

Feb. 28, Owen Hall 102

  • 6 p.m.: “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears”: An Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, this dramatic comedy follows three Russian women struggling to make it in the big city in the 1960s and 1970s. Bill Husband, professor of history, will lead a post-film discussion.

March 6, Owen Hall 102

  • 6 p.m.: “Autumn Gem: A Documentary on China’s First Feminist”: The remarkable life of Qiu Jin, the “Chinese Joan of Arc,” a champion of women’s rights who defied traditional gender roles and led an armed uprising against the Qing Dynasty, is documented in this film. Shiao-ling Yu, associate professor of foreign languages and literature, will lead a post-film discussion.

The Woman Citizen project is sponsored by the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, OSU Women’s Giving Circle, the Horning Endowment for the Humanities, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

Story By: 

Marisa Chappell, 541-737-1266

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Wangari Maathai
Pictured: Wangari Maathai, star of "Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai" which shows Jan. 17, 2012. Photo credit: Martin Rowe

Autumn Gem
Pictured: Qiu Jin from "Autumn Gem: A Documentary on China’s First Feminist" which shows March 6, 2012.

Pictured: Maya Lin, star of "Maya Lin: A Strong, Clear Vision" which shows Feb. 21, 2012. Photo credit: Adam Stoltman

Lectures on Shakespeare held Jan. 17 and 19 on OSU campus

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Patrick Spottiswoode, education director for the Globe Theatre in London and the president of the Shakespeare Theatre Association will be at Oregon State University on Jan. 17 and 19 presenting two public lectures. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Spottiswoode will give a talk on “Around the Globe: Shakespeare’s Words and His Theatre” at the Center for Humanities on 8th and Jefferson in Corvallis. And on Thursday, Jan. 19, he will speak about “Creating a Chink in the Wall,” at the Lab Theatre in Withycombe Hall on the OSU campus.

Both presentations are free and open to the public, and begin at 4 p.m.

Spottiswoode joined Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 1984 and became founding director of Globe Education in 1989. In 1995 he initiated a 30-year project to stage readings and record actors performing all surviving plays written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

Other projects include the first Globe Master of Arts in Shakespeare Studies with King’s College London, a two-year program celebrating Shakespeare and Islam and, more recently, a “Shakespeare is German” series of events including the launch of a book of translations, “Goethe on Shakespeare.”

Spottiswoode is also president of the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

Story By: 

Charlotte Headrick, 541-737-4918