USC Looks at Good, Evil and God in TV (Like '24,' 'Battlestar,' 'Oz' and 'The Wire')

Today's cuppa: Inukshuk blueberry icewine tea (sort of like a blueberry muffin you can drink)

This dropped into my e-mail inbox today. I checked with USC and was told that that all the events listed are open to the public, but feature open seating, so anyone wanting to attend should arrive early. Events are free, but it will cost $8 to park on campus.

In the spring of 2007, I attended a fascinating and informative panel discussion held at the Museum of Television and Radio (now called the Paley Center for Media). Entitled "Arab and Muslim Characters in Prime Time TV: The View From Hollywood," Two of the panelists, Howard Gordon of "24" and Kamram Pasha of "Sleeper Cell," are also at the USC event. Click here for the original story.

So, if you're in the L.A. area, these might be worth attending.

Live from LA: Good/God and Evil
Two Wednesdays: September 9, 2008 and October 22, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 7:00 pm
Annenberg Auditorium, 3502 Watt Way #G26, Los Angeles
"In the Name of God: Terror, Torture and Television" takes on television's responses to 9/11 and its aftermath. Can television narratives influence or frame audience perceptions of good and evil, right and wrong? Did Sleeper Cell help to justify abrogations of civil rights? Has 24 inured us to torture? Does Battlestar Galactica succeed in showing us that "we" could be "them"? Panelists Howard Gordon (Executive Producer, 24, Dalia Hashad (Director, Amnesty International's USA Program focusing on Domestic Human Rights), Ronald D. Moore (Executive Producer, Battlestar Galactica), and Kamran Pasha (Writer, Sleeper Cell) join moderator Anthea Butler, (Visiting Professor, Harvard Divinity School).
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm (please note time difference!)
Annenberg Auditorium, 3502 Watt Way #G26, Los Angeles
Our panelists for "Forgive Us Our Sins: Institutional Evil and Personal Responsibility" will discuss whether and how 9/11 affected American ideas about individual and corporate evil as evidenced on television shows such as The Wire, The Sopranos, Oz, and The Shield.  Joining moderator James K. Lee (Professor, UC Santa Barbara) are Tom Fontana (Executive Producer, Homicide and Oz), Amy Hollywood (Harvard Divinity School) and Wendell Pierce (Actor, The Wire).
Presented by Visions and Voices: The USC Arts and Humanities Initiative, and cosponsored by the  USC Annenberg Knight Chair in Media and Religion; USC Center for Diversity and Democracy; USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture; USC Davis School of Gerontology; Food for Thought; USC Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies; Kairos Church @ USC; Louchheim School of Judaic Studies; Religion, Identity, and Global Governance Project; USC Catholic Center; USC School of Religion; and USC Visual Studies Graduate Certificate program.

Small Screen/Big Picture:
Television and Lived Religion

On September 11-12, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion will hold a two-day conference on television and lived religion. Participants will examine how spirituality, ethics and religion are embedded, embodied, and emplotted in series such as The O.C., House, and Heroes. Panels will focus on gender, lived religion, HBO, spirituality and race and gender.
Speakers include: Thomas Beaudoin (Fordham University); S. Elizabeth Bird (University of South Florida), John Caldwell (UCLA), Craig Detweiler (Co-director of Fuller Seminary Brehm Center Reel Spirituality Institute), Heather Hendershot (Queens College, Editor of Cinema Journal), Curtis Marez (USC, Editor of American Quarterly);  Horace Newcomb (Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabody Awards, University of Georgia), and Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa).
For a draft agenda and panelist bios, please visit our HEADLINES section.
Final agenda and respondent/moderator info available soon!

If you are reading this in plain text format, details can be found on our website at