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Noam Chomsky

Legacy, Linguistics, and Higher Education

Above: A selection of questions from our hour with Prof. Chomsky 

Noam Chomsky discussed his legacy, issues in higher education, linguistics, and philosophy.

Read more about Professor Chomsky on his website

Click here to learn more about the CAVEA, where the event took place.

A full video of the event will be available soon


Voices and the Voiceless

The Question of Advocacy


One irony of our current "age of information" is that people seem to be presented with news and perspectives that only reinforce their presuppositions and views. Another is that the dawn of global communication has perhaps only served to reinforce the systematic exclusion of certain voices. Their stories often go untold and their lives are undervalued. In short, their voices are silenced. When is it our duty to speak for them and what sort of moral dilemmas does doing so raise? D-phi presented a discussion of the complicated nature of advocacy and the power of art in making other voices heard.

Musician and comic author R. Alan Brooks, documentary filmmaker Alan Dominguez, and Carol Quinn of MSU Denver's Philosophy Department joined Cafe Cultura's poets Tanaya Winder, Franklin Cruz, and Alexis Vigil, with a live acoustic set by Blisss.


Reconsidering the Humanities

Humanities in our Modern World

Above: Reconsidering the Humanities, thanks to the MSU Denver Educational Technology Center

D-phi hosted an involved Q&A with students and faculty which investigated the role of the humanities in our modern world.

Panelists included:
Zena Hitz, Professor of Philosophy at St. Johns College, Annapolis, author of The Crisis of the Intellectual Life
Arthur Fleischer, Economics Chair at MSU Denver, author of The National Collegiate Athletic Association: A Study in Cartel Behavior
Kimo Quaintance, Education Strategist at IQ Gemini, international expert on emergent technologies and disruptive innovation

Click the names to learn more.



Performance and Talkback


Disgraced Banner

Amir has spent his adulthood downplaying his upbringing to build the perfect life. But as a high-profile court case and his wife’s Islamic-inspired art show reveal just how little his culture is understood by the people around him, their misconceptions become too much to bear. The expectation to be true to yourself and to fit into mainstream society collide in this 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

After the performance D-phi hosted a talkback, including questions from the audience, with the cast and director of Disgraced, along with MSU Denver Chair of Political Science Dr. Robert Hazan at the Denver Center for Performing Arts.


Politics and The Silver Screen Part II

Film Series & Discussion


Esquire Theater Building Face

The Esquire Theater joined us for another gripping and timely film series, each followed by an expert-led discussion on the film and its historical and literary contexts. Our panelists included Dr. Rebecca Gorman (Chair, English), Dr. Jim Aubrey (Film Studies), and Dr. Pitturro (English).

The films screened and discussed:

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Norma Rae (1979)

1984 (1984)

Do the Right Thing (1989) 


Religion and Violence

Where Faith and Violence Coincide

A day-long multi-disciplinary exploration of the relationship between violence and religion, featuring a variety of national and international experts in law, political science, psychology, and religious studies.                                       



9:00 am                        Welcome:  Joan Laura Foster, Dean, Letters, Arts, and Sciences

                                    Metropolitan State University of Denver

                                    Commencement: Rev. Mike Morran, First Unitarian Society of Denver          


Opening Remarks:  Harvey Milkman, Colloquium Chair, Professor Emeritus,

                                      Department of Psychology, Metropolitan State University of Denver


9:30– 10:45 am            Keynote Presentation: Sustainable Peace through Inclusive Security

Alaa Murabit, Leading international advocate for inclusive peace processes




11:00am – 12:15pm     Panel Presentations (Understanding the Problem)

                                    [Moderator: Akbarali Thobhani, Executive Director, Office of International

                                      Studies, MSU Denver]


A Psychological Perspective on How Religion is Used to Promote Violence … and How to Reverse this Tendency

Thomas A. Pyszczynski, Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs


Apocalyptic Thinking, Religion and Violence

Arthur N. Gilbert, Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver


The ISIS Crisis and the 'Broken Politics' of the Middle East: A Framework for Understanding Radical Islamism

Nader Hashemi, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver


12:30-1:45 pm             LUNCH – PROVIDED


2:00-3:15pm                Panel Presentations (Steps toward Solution)

[Moderator, Layton Curl, Chair, Department of Psychology, MSU Denver]


Peaceful Development and Women’s Status

                                    Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Professor, University of Haifa, Israel


  1. S. Middle East Policy and Strategic Nonviolent Action
  2. Know Thyself
  3. Spiritual Suite

Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco; Associate Editor of Peace Review


Religion, Reconciliation, and Peacebuilding in Post-conflict Societies

Lucy McGuffey, CU Denver, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science    


3:30-4:15pm                Plenary Address: What We Know About Recent Hate Crimes in the U.S

Ryan Lenz, Senior Investigative Writer, Intelligence Project, Southern Poverty Law Center.




  4:30-5:15pm              Plenary Address: Religious Fundamentalisms and the Future of Tolerance Adam Graves: Professor, Department of Philosophy and Director of Religions Studies, Metropolitan State University of Denver




5:30-7:00pm                Closing Reception: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Performance

                                      Introduction: Myron R. Anderson, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

                                    Metropolitan State University of Denver




Race & Justice

Discussion with Mayor Hancock & Author Claudia Rankine


D-phi partnered with The City of Denver, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, MSU Denver, Denver Public Library, and NEA Big Read on this discussion.




Screening and Panel Discussion with Philosophers and Experts

Following a screening of the film, D-phi hosted a discussion on the nature of consciousness, AI, and games, with:

Jere Surber, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of Denver

Bruce Young, of 'Fiery Rain of Go Stones,' a Denver GO club

Dr. Vijay Mascarenhas, Associate Professor of Philosophy, MSU Denver

Invented in China nearly three millennia ago, Go is believed to be among the oldest board games in the world. It's also said to have more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe. As such, Go—with its 19x19 grid—enjoys a reputation as the ultimate battleground for human versus artificial intelligence. On March 9, 2016, a seven-day tournament designed to test that premise took place in Seoul, South Korea. The Google DeepMind Challenge Match pitted a legendary Go master against an AI program—and director Greg Kohs (Song Sung Blue, DFF31) was there to capture the action. This entertaining, eye-opening documentary takes viewers from the DeepMind coding terminals in London, down the halls of Oxford and the backstreets of Bordeaux, to the site of the five-game competition in an attempt to answer the questions of our time: Where does the line between human and artificial intelligence begin and end—and what can computers teach us about ourselves?


On the Beach at Night Alone

Panel Discussion and Film Screening

Art imitates life in this haunting drama about an actress reeling in the aftermath of an affair with a married filmmaker: it's based on director Hong Sang-soo's own relationship with star Kim Minhee, which caused a media frenzy in their native South Korea. Kim won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at this year's Berlinale for her role as Younghee, who returns to Gangneung after escaping to Hamburg in an attempt to pick up the pieces—only to find herself spending one too many late nights making one too many startling confessions.

No stranger to mining his own experience for his films, Hong (Night and Day, DFF31; see also The Day After, playing in this year's festival) confronts his personal life with a newfound emotional directness here—drawing an incredibly raw and vulnerable performance from Kim in the process. It's one of the more remarkable director-actor collaborations in recent cinema.

After a screening, an expert panel discussed the film with the audience. The panel included:

Boram Jeong, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Univeristy of Colorado Denver

Hye Seung Chung, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Colorado State University

David Scott Diffrient, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Colorado State University


Edar Allen Poe is Dead and So Is My Cat

Performance and Talkback

Photo Credit: Dave Getzschman

A guy lives in his sister's basement, recording podcast episodes dedicated to his hero, the Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe. Much to his sister's dismay, he takes very little interest in anything else. But change is on the way, coming in the unlikely form of a thrift store suit. Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat is a fantastical comedy with a dash of the macabre. This play is the first full-length production of Buntport's 17th season, a season that hopes to examine and play with theatrical conventions. Come escape the news cycle and laugh.

In addition to their original full-length plays, Buntport consistently creates all sorts of fun events, involving talented locals from all mediums. Every month offers a variety of entertainment opportunities, such as The Great Debate, buntporTED talks, Siren Song, The Narrators, and Joan and Charlie Discuss Tonight's Theme. Season 17 will also see a new live sit-com from the company that created Magnets on the Fridge, Starship Troy, and The Unauthorized Story of a Fictional Television Show.

An expert talkback followed the performance


The Tragedies of David Lean

A Philosophical Film Retrospective

Philosophers Adam Graves and Sean Morris discussed the moral and aesthetic dimensions of Lean’s masterpieces. 

David Lean is perhaps best known for his larger-than-life cinematography. His widescreen Technicolor spectacles, such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, contain some of film’s most iconic images—images of such monumental proportion that they tend to dwarf the characters who appear almost imperceptibly in their all-encompassing frame. He once commissioned Panavision to manufacture a custom 482mm telephoto lens, aptly known as the “Lean lens,” just to capture a single scene: Omar Sharif’s character emerging from a mirage shimmering over the vast Jafr mudflats in Lawrence of Arabia. 

Films included:

Brief Encounter

Bridge on the River Kwai

Lawrence of Arabia

Each of these films tells a tale of profound unfulfillment: unconsummated love in Brief Encounter, unfulfilled duty in Kwai, and frustrated ambition in Lawrence. And each film provides a unique occasion to contemplate good and evil, virtue and vice, innocence and guilt, and to reflect upon the power of film to illuminate the nature of human existence. 

Adam Graves is associate professor of philosophy at MSU Denver, specializing in phenomenology and hermeneutics (the theory of interpretation). He is currently teaching an Honors Seminar on the representation of evil in film. 

Sean Morris is associate professor of philosophy at MSU Denver and works in logic, the foundations of mathematics and the history of analytic philosophy. From time to time he dabbles in questions relating to the good life as they arise in classic films. 


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