Second Nature explores issues related to culture, identity, artifice, habit, ideology, and everyday life. It is produced by George Mason University's Cultural Studies PhD Program and highlights key works and topics in the field, student and faculty research, special guest interviews, and other discussions of cultural studies.
Episode 10: Spring 2022 Colloquium Series w/ Dr. Amaka Okechukwu
As part of GMU's Cultural Studies colloquium series in Spring 2022, second-year PhD student Carl Leak interviews Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University., Dr. Amaka Okechukwu. Dr. Okechukwu’s research agenda concerns the intersection of collective action and racial justice, as well as urban spatial politics. In this interview, Dr. Okechukwu talks about her work surrounding the historiography of Freddy "Fab Five Freddy" Brathwaite, an American visual artist, filmmaker, and hip hop pioneer, and what tracing his genealogy reveals about Black urban life in the twentieth century.
Episode 9: Faculty Spotlight w/ Dr. Hatim El-Hibri
In another Faculty Spotlight on Second Nature, we speak with Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies, Hatim El-Hibri, about his 2021 book, Visions of Beirut: The Urban Life of Media Infrastructure. In this interview, Dr. El-Hibri discusses the themes of his book, his research process, the idea of concealment and how it relates to visual culture and politics, and what he hopes his book inspires other scholars to investigate within their own fields.
Episode 8: Spring 2022 Colloquium Series w/ Dr. Julietta Singh
As part of GMU's Cultural Studies colloquium series in Spring 2022, first-year PhD student Aparna Shastri interviews Associate Professor of English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Dr. Julietta Singh. Her first academic book, Unthinking Mastery: Dehumanism and Decolonial Entanglements has emerged as a vital theoretical touchstone for global scholars and artists grappling with the politics of mastery that drive our professional, political, and personal pursuits. Her second book, No Archive Will Restore You turns theory into creative praxis through an experimental meditation on the body as a plural and porous archive. In her newest work, The Breaks, Dr. Singh pens a long letter to her young daughter about race, inheritance, and queer mothering at the end of the world. In this interview, Dr. Singh talks about her work and its important contextualization in decolonial studies.
Episode 7: Faculty Spotlight w/ Dr. Paul Smith
In the first of our Faculty Spotlights on Second Nature, we speak with Cultural Studies Professor Paul Smith about his upcoming book on vaccines. He is the author of Pound Revised, Discerning the Subject, Clint Eastwood: A Cultural Production, Millennial Dreams: Culture and Capital in the North, and Primitive America: The Ideology of Capitalist Democracy. In this interview, we discuss Dr. Smith's unique approach to the discussion of vaccines across society and popular culture, particularly through a cultural studies lens.
Episode 5: Alum Spotlight w/ Dr. Deborah Willis
In the first of our Alum Spotlights on Second Nature, we speak with University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Dr. Deborah Willis. Dr. Willis graduated from the Cultural Studies program in 2000 and ever since, she's been a trailblazer in the arts, focusing her work on Black iconography, photographers, and issues with the archive. Dr. Willis released The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship this year through New York University Press. In this interview, we discuss Dr. Willis' body of work at-large as well as lessons she gained from being in the program.
Episode 4: Social Justice Educators Roundtable
In this episode of Second Nature, Cultural Studies PhD candidate Eric Ross takes the lead as host. He congregates various social justice educators within the student body of Cultural Studies, including Shauna Rigaud, Mariah Wakefield, Luma Asem, Ian Sinnett, and Ayondela Mcdole. In this roundtable, they discuss the successes and tribulations of teaching courses centered around the concept of social justice, particularly as students and researchers themselves.