Friday, March 25, 2016

(Live streaming here) America's long history of violence began with the killing and displacement of its indigenous peoples. Later, largely as a result of slavery, the Civil War nearly tore the country apart. The U.S. is a world leader in gun ownership per capita, in murders committed by guns and in numbers of citizens incarcerated. Domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking continue to be serious, yet often ignored problems, and places we expect to be safe - homes, schools, theaters, hospitals - have sometimes experienced bloodshed and murder. Violence in video games, television, and film has become more graphic and explicit, and extreme aggression in professional sports now results in brain and other life-shortening injuries. Join a discussion about potential factors implicated in violence including: changes in popular culture; a public/private prison industry focused more on profit than rehabilitation; pervasive attitudes regarding mental health; and the systemic roles of sexism and racism. In addition to understanding causal links, learn more about potential solutions. How can we create a society focused on conflict resolution through pragmatic, peaceful means?

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out some of the highlighted resources.

Recommended Books


  • Bully. “Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders.”
  • Tough Guise 2. Examines the relationship between pop-cultural imagery and the social construction of masculine identities in the U.S.
  • Joystick WarriorsExamines the genre of first-person shooter games, exploring how the immersive experience they offer links up with the larger stories we tell ourselves as a culture about violence, militarism, guns, and manhood.
  • Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports“Takes an uncompromising look at how sports culture has glamorized militarism, commercialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. But it also excavates a largely forgotten tradition of rebel athletes and sports writers to show how American sports culture, at its best, has modeled forms of courage, resistance, and perseverance that have enriched American life.”
  • Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes“A self-described ‘hip hop head’ takes an in-depth look at masculinity and manhood in rap and hip hop, where creative genius collides with misogyny, violence and homophobia, exposing the complex intersections of culture and commerce.”
  • The Mask You Live InThe Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Articles and Chapters




  • Scott Marsalis, subject specialist for Social Work and Family Social Science