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CURRENTS: Earl Brooks and Bill Shewbridge

Humanities Work Now



Date & Time

December 1, 2021, 12:00 pm1:00 pm


CURRENTS: Humanities Work Now is lunchtime series that showcases exciting new faculty work in the humanities in a dynamic and inter-disciplinary setting.

Get Out, Sorry to Bother You, and the Sonics of White Supremacy

Earl Brooks, Assistant Professor, English; Inclusion Imperative Faculty Collaborator (Fall 2021)

Earl Brooks explores the symbolism of sound in the films Get Out (2017) and Sorry to Bother You (2018). Through an expansion of the rhetorical implications of Michel Chion’s notions of the semiotic function of sound (onscreen, offscreen and nondiegetic), this talk positions these two films within the intersection of sonic rhetorics and racialized oppression. Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele, lays bare the social anxieties of our current political moment of emboldened white supremacy, while Sorry to Bother You, directed by Boots Riley, grapples with the nuances of voice and racial identity as a critical intervention in the long history of racial passing narratives.


“I’ve Endured”: The Music and Legacy of Ola Belle Reed

Bill Shewbridge, Professor of the Practice, Media and Communication Studies; Dresher Center Summer Faculty Fellow (Summer 2021)

Bill Shewbridge will discuss his upcoming documentary on musician/songwriter Ola Belle Campbell Reed (1916-2002). Ola Belle’s story mirrors that of more than 20 million southerners, who migrated to the north and west in search of work between 1900 and 1980. More information on the film is at

Image description: Side by side photos - On the left, a man wearing a suit, gestures while speaking. On the right, a black and white close up on the face of a man with white hair and a beard.