MC Community Conversations series explores "People on the Move"

MC Community Conversations series explores "People on the Move"

August 5, 2011
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

This fall, Maryville College’s Community Conversations Series will explore “People on the Move” with a film screening and presentations by four special guests.

A filmmaker, an attorney, an advocate for immigrants’ rights, and a political science professor will address immigration and globalization in this fall’s series, which gets underway Sept. 13.

Community Conversations is an annual lecture series conducted to facilitate conversations and discussions between members of the entire Maryville College community, citizens of Blount County and surrounding areas, College alumni and prospective students.

The fall theme will continue during the spring semester with speakers who will address people moving in a variety of ways.

Dr. Kelly Battles, assistant professor of English and chair of the Community Conversations committee, said the committee hopes speakers will capture a broad range of possibilities, “especially the positive potential contained within human movement.”

“We envision this theme in an expansive way, encompassing human movement in geographic, spiritual, biological and cultural terms,” Battles said. “Speakers will address physical movement through space in the form of public policy debates about transportation and the way in which travel can shape one’s identity and worldview. We will also examine how immigration presents questions about public policy, as well as personal and cultural identity. Sometimes such movement can be contained within the mind or the body of the individual, and speakers on gender identity, spiritual identity, and death and bereavement will address this element of movement.”

The fall 2011 series will begin Tues., Sept. 13 with a presentation by Paola Mendoza, co-writer, co-director and star of the 2009 film Entre Nos.

The film, based on a true story, explores the life of a Colombian immigrant attempting to survive on the streets of New York City with her two children. The film has been screened at several film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival, and has won numerous international awards. Her latest film, La Toma, premiered in August.

The topic of Mendoza’s presentation, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre of the Clayton Center for the Arts, is immigration from the perspective of a child-immigrant. Mendoza will also discuss the amazing journey from homelessness to stardom, her work as an author, an award- winning film-maker and immigration reform advocate.

In preparation for Mendoza’s presentation, the MC Spanish Club will host a film screening of Entre Nos on Thurs., Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in Fayerweather Hall’s Lawson Auditorium. The screening is free and open to the public.

Frances Ansley, professor emeritus and distinguished professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law, and Miguel Carpizo-Ituarte, East Tennessee organizer for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Center, will give a presentation at 7 p.m. on Tues., Oct. 25 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall.

Ansley and Carpizo-Ituarte, experts and activists who advocate for the rights and protection of immigrants in East Tennessee, will discuss the challenges faced by undocumented immigrant laborers in our area.

Dr. Scott Henson, assistant professor of political science, will conclude the fall Community Conversations series with a presentation on Tues., Nov. 15 in the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall of the Clayton Center for the Arts.

As part of International Education Week, Henson, along with student research assistants, will discuss the impact of globalization and economic development in rural communities.

Henson, whose research was funded by an AsiaNetwork/Freeman Foundation grant, has traveled extensively and regularly takes students on research trips. His presentation, which will begin at 7 p.m., will include student perspectives as well as excerpts from documentary films he has made during his travels.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information about the fall Community Conversations series, please contact Angelia Gibson at 865.273.8892 or

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.