March 2015

Announcing Big Ideas @ TU



As part of its expanding array of programming, the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities is delighted to announce a new program called Big Ideas @ TU. Once each semester, the Center will host a public discussion of a single book, film, exhibition, or performance led by an expert. The first participants to sign up will receive free books or tickets, though everyone is welcome to attend the discussion itself.

“The idea,” said OCH Director Sean Latham, “is to encourage debate about the kind of complex, often unsettling issues that art, literature, and history can raise. We typically think better when we think together, and these bi-annual events here at the Center will give us a way to create a public seminar where we practice the art of civil debate and critical analysis.” By giving away books or tickets, the Center hopes to lower some of the barriers to participation, while the public aspect of the event is meant to link TU’s campus to the larger community. As Latham notes, “when we read a book, see a play, or visit an exhibit, we often want to talk about it—to share our own ideas and to be surprised by what others have seen or thought.” This new program will provide an opportunity for just this kind of exchange with the helpful moderation of both local and visiting experts.

Big Ideas @ TU kicks off with Associate Professor of English and Humanities Research Fellow, Robert Jackson, leading a discussion of Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel, The Circle. Set in a California technology company that links its users together through promises of sharing and openness, the novel follows the career of an idealistic young woman who seems to land the ideal job. As the company’s utopian promises grow increasingly frightening, the book becomes both a thriller and a mediation on our rapidly changing ideas about privacy, technology, and identity.

Big Ideas @TU: The Circle will take place on Monday, April 6 from 5:00-7:00pm in McFarlin Library’s Faculty Study. It is free and open to everyone, though you are urged to reserve a space by emailing

Save the Date for the Second Annual Arts and Humanities Festival at TU


Join us for a day of music, fiction, film, performance, and much more Tuesday, April 28, at the Lorton Performance Center. The event will kick of with a 10:00 a.m. keynote address honoring the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will be followed by a reception and a day of celebration! Enjoy Lunch on the Lawn with some of Tulsa’s favorite food trucks, and stay for the day! Watch for a complete program and more details to come.

TU Spring Film Festival Awards

On February 23, the Department of Film at the University of Tulsa held their seventh annual Spring Film Festival, featuring six student-produced shorts. This lively evening became a local version of the Academy Awards, with prizes given for Best Film, Best Original Score, Best Actor, and Audience Choice.

The most striking film on display was Once Upon Time in Wasteland, directed by Grant Goodner. This half-hour piece, set in a post-apocalyptic world, was inspired by the Fallout video game franchise and paid homage to the many films that have helped shaped this distinctive contemporary genre. The film ran away with all the awards, including Best Score (created by Steven McDonald) and Best Actor (for the work of recent TU alum, Anna Bennett).

You can find many of the films from the festival on YouTube or purchase a DVD directly by contacting the department. Once Upon a Time in Wasteland and many other student works will also be featured at this year’s TU Arts and Humanities Festival on April 28th. The event begins at 10:00am and runs throughout the day in the Lorton Performance Center on TU’s campus. It’s free and open to everyone, so stop by and see the extraordinary work of our students artists, filmmakers, poets, and performers.


The Art of Privacy: Karmic_Lapse, 2014

In our inaugural year, the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities has been examining the topic of privacy from a variety of critical, cultural, and artistic angles. Through conferences, lectures, film screenings, and public discussions (like the upcoming Big Ideas @ TU event), the Center and its guests have raised questions about how privacy shapes our democracy, how it has changed over time, and how digital technologies might now be redrawing its boundaries.

In addition to this public programming, the Center’s research fellows have also been examining the idea of privacy, drawing on their varied expertise in law, literature, art, cinema, history, technology, and journalism. In the next few weeks, the results of this research will be shared publicly and we’re happy to highlight first the work of Aaron Higgins, Assistant Professor of Art at TU. Continue reading “The Art of Privacy: Karmic_Lapse, 2014”

CITIZENFOUR Film Screening

Join us Friday, April 17th, for the documentary film screening of Academy Award-winning CITIZENFOUR at the Circle Cinema at 7:30 p.m.. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring TU professors John Hale, Computer Science, and Tamara Peity, Law, and the Tulsa World’s editorial pages editor Wayne Greene. The Circle Cinema is located at 10 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa. For ticket information please call 918-585-3504.