Category Archives: News

Webinar with Thomas Picketty

image1-23 copyThe Department of Humanities’ French Program, in collaboration with the University of Chicago, present a webinar called “Inequality and Capital in the 21st Century” with Thomas Picketty, Friday, November 6 at 7-8:30 pm in Walker 120A.

Picketty is a French economist and professor at the Paris School of Economics whose work focuses on wealth and income inequality. He is the author of the best-selling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Focusing on wealth concentration and distribution over the past 250 years, he argues that the rate of capital return in developed countries is persistently greater than the rate of economic growth, and that this will cause wealth inequality to increase in the future. Picketty considers this to be a problem, and in order to address it, he proposes redistribution through a progressive global tax on wealth.

This program is possible thanks to our Marianne Midwest partners: the Cultural Service of the Consulate General of France in Chicago, the France-Chicago Center and the French Club of the University of Chicago. The Marianne Midwest’s series Live broadcast debates on contemporary topics bring together American and French points of view to a network of Midwest partners.

On the Road: L. Syd Johnson Presents Paper at ASBH

SydL. Syd Johnson (HU) presented a paper, “The Vulnerability of Non-human Animals Used in Research” as part of the “Minding Animals: Ethical Implications for Research” panel session at The American Society For Bioethics and Humanities Annual Meeting, in Houston Texas last Thursday, and last Saturday she led the Neuroethics Affinity Group Meeting at ASBH.


(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)

Gaming and Social Advocacy Workshop

The Humanities Department will be hosting an afternoon, hands-on, workshop for Michigan Tech students on gaming and social advocacy. Students will play games, design aspects of a digital game, and discuss how gaming might be used to promote active participation in social issues and citizenship.

This event is Free and open to the public! Space is limited!
Register by October 31st at

When: Friday, November 6 12:30-3:30pm
Where: Walker Arts and Humanities Center, 120C

Gaming and Social Advocacy Workshop

On the Road

Last Friday, three Michigan Tech faculty attended TeachingWorks, sponsored by the University of Michigan. Shari Stockero (CLS), Amy Lark (CLS) and Evelyn Johnson (HU) represented Michigan Tech’s Teacher Preparation program. These convenings will continue for three years and are aimed at developing 19 high leverage teaching techniques practiced across the curriculum. TeachingWorks aims to raise the quality of beginning teaching through partnering with teacher preparation programs.

(This article originally appeared in TechToday.)

On the Road

SydL. Syd Johnson (HU) was in Chicago for the International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting, last week. She presented a poster, “What can neuroscience contribute to the problem of neonatal pain?” co-authored with Adam Shriver (Penn).

(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)

From Meru to Mavis: Something for Everyone at the 41 North Film Festival

A shot from Jimmy Chin's film, Meru.
A shot from Jimmy Chin’s film, Meru.

Mountaineer and photographer Jimmy Chin will present the opening night film at this year’s 41 North Film Festival with his award-winning film Meru. The festival runs from October 23 to the 25th in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and will showcase 17 independent films from all over the world, two featured filmmakers, and an Oculus Rift exhibition. “I travel to film festivals during the year and try hard to keep up with what’s happening in independent cinema,” said festival director Erin Smith. “I pay particular attention to what the community here would be interested in, as well as to programming films that are receiving critical acclaim.”

The opening night film Meru tells a captivating story about risk, determination and friendship, following the efforts of three internationally famous climbers (Chin among them) to reach the Shark’s Fin summit of Mount Meru in the Himalayas. Smith said, “This is the biggest event we’ve ever organized for the festival.” Chin is an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured regularly in National Geographic, and his film won the 2015 Sundance Audience Award. Meru will be shown at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23. Chin will speak after the film, answering questions and meeting with students.

Another festival highlight is a new documentary about the Taser Corporation, Killing Them Safely. With significant implications for engineering ethics and marketing, this documentary investigates how a weapon marketed as “safe” has become responsible for scores of deaths each year. The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24 with director and journalist Nick Berardini present.

How and Why Films Get Made

Smith, who is also director of the Humanities Digital Media Zone and teaches digital media and film, said the festival was started eleven years ago to help film students consider the context of film viewing and how and why films get made outside of the dominant Hollywood system. “A festival setting is a much different experience than watching a movie at home or even in a multiplex theater,” she said. As the festival has evolved, it has come to involve more of the Michigan Tech and surrounding community each year.

“I think it’s a unique opportunity for students to view films that we really don’t get access to up here,” said Daniel Grayvold, a fourth-year sound design student. “There’s something for everybody.”

On Sunday, Oct. 25, Drone will be shown at 3:30 p.m. with a panel discussion following about drone use in the military. Help Side will be shown at 6:30 p.m. A documentary premiere for recent Michigan Tech graduate and former basketball player Jillian Ritchie, it is a compelling coming-of-age story that takes on the serious subject of sexual assault.

Among some of the other films screening during the weekend are The Wanted 18, King Georges, Here Come the Videofreex, and T-Rex. Closing the festival is the uplifting and inspiring documentary Mavis! about legendary gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples.

Virtual Reality

The festival will also offer festival goers a chance to try out Oculus Rift virtual reality technology. Projects featured include Herders, which provides an immersive cinematic look into the lives of Mongolian yak herders, and Ferguson Firsthand, which recreates the location of last year’s Ferguson, Missouri shooting and allows users to encounter different perspectives on the event.

Festival sponsors include the Michigan Tech Departments of Humanities and Visual and Performing Arts, the Van Evera Distinguished Lecture Series at the Rozsa Center, Student Affairs and Advancement, the College of Sciences and Arts, Pavlis Honors College, University Marketing and Communication, Career Services, Institutional Equity and Inclusion, the Departments of Social Sciences and Computer Science, the Indigenous Issues Discussion Group, Downwind Sports, and the Continental Fire Company. “The amount of support is really great and a sign that the festival is valuable to our culture here,” said Smith. “I’m grateful for all of it.”

All events are free and open to the public. The festival website with the full schedule and program is online at For more information about the festival and its events, contact Erin Smith at

(This article by Monica Lester originally appeared in Tech Today.)

French-Canadian Heritage Week in Michigan

French-Canadian Heritage WeekIn celebration of French-Canadian Heritage Week in Michigan, the following events are planned:

  • Children’s Story Time—Wednesday, Sept. 30, 10:45 am, Portage Lake District Library
  • Dance—Wednesday Sept 30, 7-9 pm, Finnish American Heritage Center
  • Children’s Story Time—Thursday, Oct. 1, 10:45 am, Portage Lake District Library
  • Concert—Thursday, Oct. 1, 7-8 pm, Chassell Heritage Center
  • Children’s Story Time—Saturday, Oct. 3, 11 am, Portage Lake District Library
  • Music at Farmers Market—Saturday, Oct. 3, 11 am-1 pm, Lake Linden Farmers Market

(For further  information, please click the image.)

French Director Agnès Varda Webinar

The French director Agnès Varda will be in residence at the University of Chicago in October. We have an exciting event scheduled to celebrate her work and life.

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, Café Francais will host a look at Varda’s work in Walker 134 at 5 p.m. And, thanks to the French Embassy, Michigan Tech is one of nine universities selected to participate in a webinar with the renowned director. It will take place on Friday, October 9 at 8 pm in Walker 120A.

Humanities to Host International Conference

Michigan Tech’s Humanities Department will host an international conference, the bi-annual meeting of the American Society of Exile Studies, Friday and Saturday.

Guy Stern, former German professor and Provost of Wayne State University, will be the guest of honor. His keynote address will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Great Lakes Research Center, and will focus on the “Future of Exile Studies.”


(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)