The ORIAS Speakers Bureau is not yet scheduling speaker requests for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Pending funding, new speakers will be selected in September.
What is the ORIAS Speakers Bureau?
The ORIAS Speakers Bureau is a cohort of graduate students who offer 45-minute presentations specifically geared to students from middle school to community college. Each talk models important Common Core Social Studies skills, such as analysis of texts and use of evidence to build an argument. Many talks include content that dovetails with History Social-Science Content Standards, while all talks offer opportunities for inquiry-based student engagement, as outlined in the new History-Social Science Framework. Most presentations are also appropriate for more than one grade level or subject, because they address broad questions while focusing on specific events and topics.
Speaker: Dominick Lawton
Ironically, many of the techniques used in modern advertising and Hollywood films were developed in the Soviet Union as part of the broader propaganda project of politically educating the Soviet masses. Working for the newly created Soviet state in the 1920s, film-maker Sergei Eisenstein developed many of the techniques of modern filmmaking, which have now become standardized worldwide. This talk connects students' pre-existing familiarity with the vocabulary of cinema (via film, TV, or YouTube) to the particular — and, probably, unfamiliar — Soviet historical moment in which these techniques were actually developed. The historical connections between our modern media environment and early Soviet culture and politics lays the groundwork for further conversations about the power and place of art in society.
About this Speaker
Dominick was born in Australia and raised first in the United Kingdom, then in St. Louis. He learned the Russian alphabet in high school in Missouri, then started studying Russian literature, culture, and the Russian language after his first exposure to Sergei Eisenstein as a student at Yale University. He has taught English to middle and high school students in Russia, and worked in environmental advocacy in New Mexico. He is now working towards a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Berkeley. Besides Russia, his other interests include music and politics.
Age: 7th – 12th grade and community college. The concepts presented are accessible for younger students, though chronologically the information will be unfamiliar.
Preparation: Students would benefit from background knowledge of the Russian Revolution.
Courses: Art History, Film History, Film/Video Production, 20th Century US History, World History
Speaker: Annie Malcolm
China has changed significantly in the last three decades, undergoing urbanization and industrialization on a scale never seen before. How do social scientists make sense of such radical changes? This talk explores creativity, art and urbanization in China through the lens of ethnography. Spaces like Wutong Art Village, on the edge of the huge city of Shenzhen, are portholes into understanding how artists work around changing conditions of life. This presentation uses examples of Chinese contemporary art, photos, prose, and accounts of interviews to show how a handful of Art Villages can be interpreted to better understand contemporary China. Students will develop a more nuanced and interesting understanding of modern China while learning how ethnographic research is conducted.
The presentation can work as a stand-alone experience, or as the introduction to an assignment in which students use what they learn to conduct an ethnographic research project within their own communities.
About the Speaker
Annie Malcolm has been learning Chinese since middle school. Having the opportunity to engage such a different language and culture from a young age formed her interest in anthropology, which she studied at Barnard College and continues to pursue as a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley. She has been to China eight times - most recently for 18 months - and finds that, as a writer and researcher, Chinese art worlds and their relationships to Chinese cities are the most valuable muse with which to wrestle. Her ethnographic research incorporates photography, video, and interviews (which she translates from Chinese into English).
Age: 7th – 12th grade and community college. Some of the more abstract ideas may be difficult for 7th graders, but the imagery and exploratory nature of the presentation would be interesting for engaged younger students.
Preparation: An introduction to Daoism and Buddhism in China would deepen student understanding of parts of the presentation, but is not necessary. Teachers should discuss with the speaker whether or not they plan to follow this talk with an ethnographic research project.
Courses: World History, Visual Arts or Art History, Mandarin, Geography, Anthropology
Note: This talk is suitable for a Mandarin classroom and can be presented in Mandarin or a mix of Mandarin and English (depending on the proficiency of the class).
Speaker: Maria Reis
Brazil was the site of the largest slave-based economy in the Americas and the last country in the hemisphere to abolish the institution, in 1889. Today, some describe Brazil as a “racial democracy” – a place where clear racial categories and race-based discrimination do not exist. This presentation explores how and why ideas about race developed differently in Brazil than in the United states and ultimately challenges the idea that Brazil is a racial democracy. Through historical comparison, students will come to a deeper understanding of how ideas of race are constructed in different societies and they will consider the varied ways racial (in)equality can be described.
About the Speaker
Maria Reis is a graduate student in Berkeley’s Department of History, focusing on late colonial Latin American history. She was born in Brazil but moved to the Washington DC at the age of 11, so her personal background has played a large role in shaping her historical interest in comparing military conflicts and the institution of slavery in Brazil and the US. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she focused on modern Spanish and Portuguese history. In her spare time, she loves listening to Brazilian music, practicing yoga, and cooking for others.
Age: 8th – 12th grade and community college.
Preparation: This talk would be most beneficial to students who have already studied the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.
World History, US History, Sociology, Government
Speaker: Christin Zurbach
In 1923, Greece and Turkey engaged in a population exchange. Orthodox Christians from the newly-founded Turkish Republic were forcibly deported to Greece and Muslims from Greece were likewise forced to emigrate to Turkey. This process, which effectively created 2 million refugees, was legally sanctioned by both states, written out in the Lausanne Treaty, and supervised by international law. This talk showcases the effects of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of nationalist thinking. Students will be invited to consider the impact of nationalism – usually a huge, impersonal concept - on individual people’s day-to-day lives. At the same time, the talk is an opportunity to explore the dynamics of refugee crises and draw parallels with the Syrian refugee crisis today.
About the Speaker
Christin is a second year graduate student in Berkeley's History Department in the field of Middle East history, in particular late Ottoman/Modern Greco-Turkish minority history and the press. She received her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia in 2014 and then spent the following year in Ioannina, Greece, learning Modern Greek. She first became interested in this topic as a high school student, when she won a scholarship at 17 to study Turkish in Ankara for a summer. She grew up with Greek neighbors who had family from Turkey, and then stayed with a host mother in Turkey whose Muslim grandparents had been forcibly exchanged in 1923. She wanted to understand how the narratives from her neighbors in Philadelphia and her new friends in Turkey fit together. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on a newspaper written by Turkish-speaking Orthodox Christians during the exchange and later presenting that at an academic conference in Cyprus - another space of Greco-Turkish encounter and conflict.
Age: 9th – 12th grade and community college
Preparation: Students should have already studied, or be in the process of studying, World War I.
Courses: Ethnic Studies, Government, US History, World History