Performance and the ritual of consumption

September 25, 2012

Social Sciences, room 109

Rachel Bowditch, assistant professor of theatre and film at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Kevin Sandler, associate professor and director of internships in the Film and Media Studies Program, will present on “Performance and the Ritual of Consumption” as the first installment in the Institute for Humanities Research 2012-2013 Faculty Seminar Series. Download Full Image

This year’s Faculty Seminar Series is centered on “The Humanities and the Value of Performance.” From notions of mediated performance within literary, filmic, musical and dramatic discourse, to ideas about the ethics, politics and the rhetoric of performance, and the cultural, historical, and religious impact and implication of performance, the humanities contributes important and compelling research for understanding one of the root endeavors that makes us human.

Over the course of three dates, we will hear from six ASU faculty members whose research encompasses aspects of performance within artistic and creative practice and cultural theoretical discourse.

Not For Sale: Burning Man and the Gift Economy – Rachel Bowditch

Since 1986 Burning Man has evolved from Larry Harvey’s personal healing ritual into a contemporary cultural phenomenon where ritual, religion, visual art and performance collide on an epic scale. In 2011, Burning Man sold out for the first time marking a significant transition in the history of the event – the demand far exceeds the supply.

Operating as a "gift economy," Burning Man has an ambiguous relationship with commerce capitalizing on terms such as ‘transformational experience,’ ‘participation,’ ‘community’ and ‘radically inclusive’ that have market value in the ‘experience economy.’ Burning Man offers a commodified ritual experience in ‘participatory culture,’ mutating and transforming from community to community, yet also remaining recognizable as Burning Man – a brand as distinct as any other.

Performing Product Placement: The iPad integration in ABC's Modern Family – Kevin Sandler

To enliven their mockumentary-style ABC comedy about three interrelated families and their experiences, creators Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan of “Modern Family” often include references to popular culture to ground their show in the contemporary reality of American life. In one episode, “Game Changer,” the creators constructed an episode around the launch of Apple’s iPad two days before the device was released on April 3, 2010.  “Modern Family” illustrates the ways that industrial and cultural forces surrounding product integration are shaping the form of television texts and performance, largely with the support of creators and viewers. What is the ‘value of performance’ when it becomes market-driven rather than character-driven?

Click here to RSVP or for more information, contact the IHR at 480-965-3000 or

The Institute for Humanities Research is a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

College of Law to hold conference on homeowner rights

September 25, 2012

The ASU Homeowner Advocacy Unit at theCollege of Law will host a day-long conference on homeowner rights under the National Mortgage Settlement, Oct. 19. The conference will feature Joseph A. Smith, National Settlement Monitor, as the keynote speaker, and will be among the first public presentations of homeowners’ rights under this historic settlement.

For tickets to this free event, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the College of Law’s Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus, click here. A reception will follow. Download Full Image

“I recently released my first progress report on the banks’ progress under the Settlement, and I look forward to sharing what I’ve found. Additionally, improving the way consumers are treated in mortgage servicing is worthy of lengthy discussion, and I look forward to hearing the opinions of the experts who will gather to discuss these important issues,” Smith said.

The conference is open to homeowners, homeowner advocates and the public interested in learning more about the settlement.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for homeowners to hear about the status of the housing market, and opportunities for homeowners under the settlement,” said Monique Wilhite, Director of the Homeowner Advocacy Unit. “We will also have experts who understand the modification process, and some of the hurdles homeowners may face in the process.”

In February, five of the largest U.S. banks entered into a settlement agreement with 49 state attorneys general to resolve claims about the way banks serviced home loans during the mortgage crisis. The settlement resulted in more than $25 billion in monetary sanctions and relief to homeowners.  It also established new rules and regulations to which servicers must adhere when conducting transactions with borrowers.

The conference will include discussions on the progress being made under this settlement by the banks and the states. Key participants will include representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico. Housing counselors have also been invited to participate.

A discussion of Arizona’s Hardest Hit Fund, established in 2010 to assist homeowners facing imminent foreclosure of their homes, and the relief programs available to them also is planned.

The College of Law’s Homeowner Advocacy Unit, housed in the Civil Justice Clinic, was founded in 2011. Funded through a grant from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the HAU represents borrowers who have been victims of mortgage fraud or are facing wrongful foreclosure. In addition, the program trains new attorneys in the skills needed to become effective advocates on behalf of distressed homeowners.