The Loft Cinema

Celluloid Desert: Tucson in Cinema History

Just 15 years after the birth of the moving image, the first film was shot in Tucson. Sunshine, railroad access, and exotic flora, fauna, and faces made Tucson an ideal movie location. Images of the frontier, the Old West, and the New West have been shaped in the public imagination by our celluloid desert. This course will look at some of the many iterations of film in Tucson, including early silent films; Hollywood westerns, melodramas, and mysteries; television series; commercials; and homemade films about the region.

To Boldly Think?: The Philosophical Conundrums of Star Trek

Science fiction at its best confronts us with situations so new and outside our ordinary ways of thinking about the world that it is a natural source of puzzlement and questioning. In this course, we will wrangle with a range of philosophical questions prompted by both classic and recent stories from Star Trek. Can artificial beings (like Data, or Voyager’s Doctor) really count as people in the same way that biological beings (like humans, Vulcans, and Klingons) are? When Riker gets split in a transporter accident, which of the two resulting people – or neither – is really Riker?

Keeping Tabs on a Mad World: A Correspondent's Guide to Global News That Matters

This news-literacy course will help you make sense of a world that is fast overheating, figuratively and literally. Lectures will examine how the media cover conflicts in different parts of the world.  As tower of babble with a catchall label, the news media can confuse us as much as it informs. While delivery systems are evolving at an accelerating rate, the essence has not changed since Caesar’s letters from Gaul. What matters is the message. Despite wondrous new ways to disseminate information, we often get it wrong at the speed of light. 

Guns in America: Can We Have a Better Gun Debate?

This course will provide a chance to study with one of the leading experts on US gun politics.  In this six week course, Professor Jennifer Carlson will trace the profound changes in gun culture and gun law in recent decades. In 2000, Gallup asked Americans whether they thought having a gun made their homes safer or more dangerous. More than half saw a gun as dangerous, and only a third saw guns making a home safer. Within a decade and a half, though, those numbers dramatically reversed: by 2014, 63% of respondents said that guns make homes safer.

Mexican Superheroes, Demons, and Idols

Superheroes are not an exclusive American experience. In many places around the world, these cultural icons usually embody popular notions of justice, patriotism, solidarity, and protection. In Mexico, fantastic heroes are not new, for they have represented people’s aspirations, fears, and hopes in different times and historical contexts.  In five weeks, Professor Coronado Guel will demonstrate the connection between history, society, and wrestlers.

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