The Matrix: Conversations & Transformations

The Matrix: Conversations and Transformations is a video podcast from the Critical Theory & Social Justice department at Occidental College.

The show takes up pressing issues and seeks to connect our community with experts, scholars, artists, and activists who are changing our world for the better. 
  • Upcoming Events are Listed Below with their Zoom Registration links
  • All listings are Pacific Time
  • View recordings of past events

The Fall 2020 Season

This fall we are running two series: 

  • Black Women in Hollywood 

  • California & Immigration - a series co-sponsored by the California Immigation Semester

Wednesday, September 30th @ 4pm Pacific - Overcoming Anti-Muslim Representations in Hollywood: Muslims & Arabs in the Media

Guests: Sue Obeidi, Director of Muslim Public Affairs Council's Hollywood Bureau & Prof. Aleem Hossain of Oxy's MAC Department and Award-Winning Film Maker.  

They will be in conversation with ORSL's Susan Young and CTSJ's Prof. Moazzam-Doulat.

* Co-Sponsored with Oxy's MAC Department and The Office of Religious and Spirtual Life (ORSL)

Sue Obeidi — Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s (MPAC) important Hollywood Bureau.  Obeidi blends her love of her faith with her love of film, television, and digital series & seeks to change and expand the narrative of Islam and Muslims in the entertainment industry.

Aleem Hossain — MAC professor, award-winning filmmaker & VR creator interested in expanding how we tell stories and who gets to tell them. He recently wrote and directed the sci-fi film After We Leave and completed an anti-bullying VR project for Google.

Register in Advance


Thursday, October 1 @ 12pm - Whitney Davis (former CBS Executive and Whistleblower) interviewed by Nicole Haggard (CIME) -- Black Women in Hollywood Series

Whitney Davis is an experienced human resources professional and former executive at CBS. She was Director of CBS Entertainment diversity and inclusion where she expanded on the work she did in her previous role. On April 23rd of 2019 Whitney wrote a piece that was published in Variety titled: "CBS Has a White Problem". She outlines a toxic and problematic culture that eventually influenced her decision to leave the company.

Dr. Nicole Haggard is an award-winning instructor, speaker and published researcher with sixteen years of study contextualizing the intersection of race and gender in American culture. She is a faculty member in the Film, Media, and Social Justice program at Mount Saint Mary’s University and the Director of Communications for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. In 2018, Dr. Nicole co-founded the Center for Intersectional Media and Entertainment (CIME/see-me/), an organization dedicated to advancing representation. She is currently completing her forthcoming book “Race, Sex, and Hollywood” due out in 2020.

Register in Advance


Thursday, October 8 @ 12pm - Stephanie L. Canizales - California & Immigration Series

Stephanie L. Canizales/Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Merced. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Stephanie is the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants whose migration and integration experiences inspire much of her work. Stephanie earned her PhD from the Department of Sociology at the University of Southern California.  Stephanie specializes in migration and immigrant integration, children and youth, inequality, poverty, and mobility, and race and ethnicity. Her first book project, entitled Sin Padres, Ni Papeles, systematically examines why undocumented, unaccompanied Central American and Mexican youth migrate to Los Angeles, California, and how they integrate into school, work, family, and community life as they come of age without parents. In a second project, Stephanie is investigating the social, economic, and health effects of unaccompanied migration, asylum law and application procedures, and social integration in the U.S. on asylum-seeking minors, their caregivers, and their communities in Los Angeles County, California, and Harris County, Texas.

Register in Advance


Wednesday October 14 @ 9:45am - - Martha Gonzalez & Quetzal Flores- California & Immigration Series

Martha Gonzalez & Quetzal Flores/ Martha Gonzalez (lead singer, percussionist, and songwriter) and Chicano rock guitarist, Quetzal Flores are memebers of the group Quetzal - an ensemble of highly talented musicians, joined for the goal of creating good music that tells the social, cultural, political, and musical stories of  people in struggle.  Martha Gonzalez calls it an East LA Chican@ rock group, summing up its rootedness in the complex cultural currents of life in the barrio, its social activism, its strong feminist stance, and its rock and roll musical beginnings.  Besides being a rock band, the group and its members participate in a much larger web of musical, cultural, and political engagement.

Register in Advance


Thursday, October 15 @ 12pm - The Legendary Alice Bag - California & Immigration Series

The Legendary Alice Bag / “As an author, educator, lifelong badass and the leader of The Bags, among many other bands, she’s been a prolific and guiding light for Chicana punks, and ... she continues that force-of-nature output with fierce songs of protest and massive shredding.” (Jezebel)

Register in advance


Thursday, October 22 @ 12pm - D’Angela Procter - Black Women in Hollywood Series

D’Angela Procter/CEO of Wayfarer Entertainment, D’Angela Proctor describes her title as Chief Elevation Officer, reflecting her passion for scaling companies to have a global impact and for storytelling that moves audiences to positive social change. Proctor is a multi-faceted C-Suite executive who has successfully straddled the creative and business sides of entertainment. While she began her career as an attorney, Proctor most recently served as consultant at Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Filmworks, to service its exclusive television pact with Warner Bros. TV, after a strategic leadership role at Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films.  

Register in Advance


Thursday, October 29 @ 12pm - Ricardo Dominguez - California & Immigration Series

Prof. Ricardo Dominguez is a co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a group who developed virtual sit-in technologies in solidarity with the Zapatistas communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1998. His recent Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab project with Brett Stalbaum, Micha Cardenas, Amy Sara Carroll, and Elle Mehrmand, the Transborder Immigrant Tool (a GPS cell phone safety net tool for crossing the Mexico/US border) was the winner of “Transnational Communities Award” (2008), an award funded by Cultural Contact, Endowment for Culture Mexico–US and handed out by the US Embassy in Mexico. It also was funded by CALIT2 and the UCSD Center for the Humanities. The Transborder Immigrant Tool has been exhibited at the 2010 California Biennial (OCMA), Toronto Free Gallery, Canada (2011), The Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands (2013), ZKM, Germany (2013), as well as a number of other national and international venues. The project was also under investigation by the US Congress in 2009-2010 and was reviewed by Glenn Beck in 2010 as a gesture that potentially “dissolved” the U.S. border with its poetry. Dominguez is an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, in the Visual Arts Department, a Hellman Fellow, and Principal/Principle Investigator at CALIT2 and the Performative Nano-Robotics Lab at SME, UCSD. He also is co-founder of *particle group*, with artists Diane Ludin, Nina Waisman, Amy Sara Carroll, whose art project about nano-toxicology entitled *Particles of Interest: Tales of the Matter Market* has been presented at the House of World Cultures, Berlin (2007), the San Diego Museum of Art (2008), Oi Futuro, Brazil (2008), CAL NanoSystems Institute, UCLA (2009), Medialab-Prado, Madrid (2009), E-Poetry Festival, Barcelona, Spain (2009), Nanosférica, NYU (2010), and SOMA, Mexico City, Mexico (2012). 

Register in Advance

Monday, November 2 @ 9:45-10:40 - Emir Estrada (ASU) - California & Immigration Series

Prof. Emir Estrada earned her doctorate and master's in sociology from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2012. She received her bachelor's in sociology with a minor in Chicano/a Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and she is also a proud Long Beach City College (LBCC) alumni. Estrada is a qualitative immigration scholar interested in the migration an incorporation aspect of immigrants from Latin America. Her research interests in immigration and gender are influenced in great part by her own immigration experience. She is currently investigating three lines of research that share a common theme centered on Latina/o families and decision making processes. Estrada is also an affiliated faculty member with the School of Transborder Studies (STS) and the School of Social Transformation (SST) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.

Register in Advance


Wednesday November 4th - The Election and What Comes After - Prof. Caroline Heldman (CTSJ @ Oxy) & Friends 

Register in Advance 


Thursday, November 6 @ 9:45-10:40 - Prof. Oliver Wang (CSULB) - “We Like Chow Mein Sandwich”: A Tale of Culinary and Cultural Hybridity (On a Bun)- California & Immigration Series

Prof. Oliver Wang (CSULB) - Oliver Wang a professor of sociology at CSU Long Beach. He is a culture writer, scholar, and DJ based in Los Angeles. He's the author of Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews of the San Francisco Bay Area. He's the creator of the audioblog and co-host of the album appreciation podcast, Heat Rocks.

Register in Advance


Thursday, November 19 @ 12pm - Maria G. Rendon - "Stagnant Dreamers: How the Inner City Shapes the Integration of Second Generation Latinos"- California & Immigration Series

Professor María G. Rendón is a sociologist who examines the integration process of Latino immigrants and their children in the United States. She pays close attention to role of spatial inequality and examines how urban neighborhoods shape life trajectories, particularly educational attainment and social mobility. She is the author of Stagnant Dreamers: How the Inner City Shapes the Integration of Second Generation Latinos, a longitudinal study that follows a group of Latino young men as they transition to adulthood. Based on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations with them and their immigrant parents, Stagnant Dreamers describes the challenges they face coming of age in the inner city and accessing higher education and good jobs and demonstrates how family-based social ties and community institutions can serve as buffers against neighborhood violence, chronic poverty, incarceration, and other negative outcomes. Stagnant Dreamers has received several awards by the American Sociological Association, including the Robert E. Park Award,(Community and Urban Sociology section); Distinguished Contribution to Research Book Award (Latina/o Sociology);  Honorable Mention for the Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award (International Migration); and was a finalist for the Pierre Bourdieu Book Award(Sociology of Education) . Stagnant Dreamers is also a finalist for an International Latino Book Award under the category Victor Villaseñor Latino Focused Nonfiction Book Award.

Register in Advance

Past Events

Monday, June 8 @ 12pm

How-To: Protest and Election Legal Rights and Observer Training
Pilar Escontrias, the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles

Wednesday, June 10 @ 12pm

Political Violence and Pandemics in the Context of American History
Prof. Joanne Freeman, Yale University, Professor of History and American Studies

Wednesday, June 17 @ 12pm

Whiteness Is Not a Privilege It Is a Lie
Prof. Elmer Griffin, Occidental College, Department of Critical Theory and Social Justice
Readings will be emailed to registered participants in advance of the seminar
Registration restricted to Oxy students, faculty and staff

Monday, June 22 @ 12pm

Immigrant Communities and the COVID-19 Crisis: Economic and Legal Dangers
Maritza R. Agundez, Managing Attorney Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Wednesday, June 24 @ 12pm

Dark Data and COVID-19: Understanding COVID Statistics and Modeling
Anastasios Angelopoulos, Ph.D. Candidate, UC Berkeley, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Wednesday, July 1 @ 12pm

Police Violence, Pandemic and the 2020 Election
Josh Marshall, Ph.D. American History, Political Journalist, Founder and Editor of Talking Points Memo

Wednesday, July 8 @ 12pm

Hacking the Virus - Health, Vitality and Nutrition
Dr. William Li, Physician, Medical Researcher, Leader of the Angiogenesis Foundation

Wednesday, July 15 @ 12pm

Gender Injustice and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Soraya Chemaly, Cofounder & Director of Women’s Media Center Speech Project

Monday, July 20 @ 12pm

Biopolitics, Prudentialism and the Economization of COVID
Prof. Moazzam Doulat, Critical Theory & Social Justice, Occidental College

Wednesday, July 22 @ 12pm

A Pandemic Politics of Sight: What Animals Tell Us
A Discussion with Prof. Timothy Pachirat (Dept. of Political Science, U Mass. Amherst)

Wednesday, July 29 @ 12pm

Evictions and the Homelessness Crisis: Housing Equity in L.A.
Prof. Ananya Roy, UCLA, Urban Planning, Social Welfare & Geography - Luskin Chair Inequality and Democracy

Friday, July 31 @ 12pm

Portland as Portent: The Black Lives Matter Protests & Police Violence

Wednesday, August 5 @ 12pm

Neo-Colonialism and Global Medicine: Lessons and New Approaches
Dr. Phil Seidenberg, U. of New Mexico, Dept. of Emergency Medicine. Former faculty of The Center for Global Health at Boston University’s School for Public Health

Wednesday, August 12 @ 12pm

Mozambique’s Ecological and Economic Restoration: Gorongosa National Park & Radical Approaches to Environmentalism & Alleviating Poverty 
With Larissa Sousa and Greg Carr of Gorongosa National Park
To support the work of Gorongosa National Park, please see the links below:

Wednesday, August 19 @ 12pm

The Significance of Vice President Kamala Harris - with Professors Caroline Heldman (Oxy), Aiden Smith (Tulane), and Natasha Behl (ASU)
Prof. Heldman is author of Rethinking Madame President: Are We Ready for a Woman in the White House? Prof. Aiden Smith is author of Gender, Heteronormativity, and the American Presidency. Prof. Natasha Behl is author of Gendered Citizenship: Understanding Gendered Violence in Democratic India.

Thursday, August 27 @ 12pm

Barrett Martin / Advocate Musician - Speaking about the Power of Music to Change the World

Thursday September 3  @ 12pm PDT

Prof. Tomás Jiménez - Stanford University
The Other Side of Assimilation: How Immigrants are Changing American Life



Thursday, September 10 @ 12pm - Dr. Nosh McTaggart - Black Women in Hollywood Series 

Dr. Nosh McTaggart/ Ninochka McTaggart, Ph.D. is a Senior Researcher at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and she holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Riverside. She served as guest curator of the exhibit, “Don’t Believe the Hype”: L.A. Asian Americans in Hip Hop at the Chinese American Museum in 2018. Her latest book is “White Privilege: The Persistence of Racial Hierarchy in a Culture of Denial.” 

Thursday, September 17 @ 12pm - Lili Bernard - Black Women in Hollywood Series

Lili Bernard / Visual Artist, Actor and Activist. Lili Bernard has been at the heart of issues of race and gender in Hollywood. Bernard creates narrative artwork that chronicles sexual, racial and domestic violence, in a collision of cruelty against compassion, autobiographical anecdotes of childhood abuse, adult rape and suicide attempts intertwine with sociocultural struggles of her Caribbean immigrant family and ancestors. Her work draws from Afro-Cuban religious iconography and history that tether together survivorship stories of the past and present, and stresses the unconquerable nature of the human spirit reigns over the impact of trauma.


Thursday, September 24 @ 12pm - Britney & Ashley of Black Girl Film Club - Black Women in Hollywood Series

Britney & Ashley, Black Girl Film Club/Black Girl Film Club was created as a place for two black girls, Britney and Ashley, to analyze and discuss movies and the film industry from our unique, and often underrepresented, point of view.