August 23, 2010

Two Professors Weigh In On NPR

There have been lots of Vassar professors in the media lately. Last week, film professor Mia Mask did a piece on orientalism and Julia Roberts' Eat Pray Love. For Mask, some of the film's eastern characters are "stereotypes" and "caracitures." According to Mask, films like EPL, as well as the recent Cairo Time and Sex and the City 2 "don't teach you anything new about Asia or the Middle East. They rely instead on the stereotype that the East is someplace timeless, otherworldly, incomprehensible, waiting to be discovered by Westerners in search of self."

This reminds us of a 2007 Slate article on race in Wes Anderson's films. (Excerpt: "It's surprising how many white-doofuses-seeking-redemption-in-the-brown-skinned-world clich├ęs Darjeeling Limited inhabits.")

Mask did a similar piece for NPR last December on the treatment of race in Disney's The Princess and the Frog.

Also in NPR is psychology professor Randy Cornelius. In an article today on crying, Cornelius says, "You can imagine there'd be a selection pressure to develop a signaling system that wouldn't let predators in on the fact that you're vulnerable." Cornelius believes that unlike other animals, humans have evolved to cry based on emotional responses as opposed to just physical ones.

As we previously posted, another professor in the media lately is Amitava Kumar, who first had his book reviewed in The New York Times and then did an online piece for Vanity Fair on the Cordoba House/"Ground Zero Mosque."

Images via Ask Banner.

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