Wednesday, September 3, 2008

UIS political art series resumes for fall with documentary on 1908 riot

The University of Illinois at Springfield series Political Art and the Public Sphere resumes for the fall semester with a screening of the documentary "Springfield Had No Shame" at 6 p.m. Monday, September 15, in Brookens Auditorium, lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. Both the film and the discussion session that follows are free and open to the public.

Written and produced by David Antoine, staff member in the Office of Electronic Media at UIS, this film examines Springfield's August 1908 race riot through historical photographs, dramatic readings, and re-enactments of original newspaper accounts. Comments from historians and eyewitnesses are also included.

Political Art and the Public Sphere is a monthly event on the UIS campus; each program features a showing or performance of some kind of "political art," followed by a group discussion of the issues it raises. "The basic idea is to consider how 'art' raises provocative social and political questions," said series facilitator Richard Gilman-Opalsky, UIS assistant professor of political philosophy.

This fall the PAPS series will focus on questions of race and class in 20th century American politics. Topics for subsequent programs will include the Black Panther Party and the disenfranchisement of black voters in the 2004 elections.

"Public spheres are the places where people come together to communicate, to evaluate, and to circulate ideas and arguments," said Gilman-Opalsky. "In the public sphere, people form a collective political opinion and will. Ultimately and ideally, the public sphere brings the interests and demands of the public to bear on those who hold power."

The presentation of "Springfield Had No Shame" is also co-sponsored by the ECCE Speakers Series at UIS – events that aim to exemplify engaged citizenship as part of the university's effort to foster appreciation for and practice of diversity and the active effort to make a difference in the world.

The next PAPS event will be a showing of the film "What We Want, What We Believe" at 6 p.m. Monday, October 13, in Brookens Auditorium. For more information about the PAPS series, contact Gilman-Opalsky by phone at 206-8328 or by e-mail at