Core Program Events

Check back for details about the 2021-22 Core Program Events!

The annual Core Program focus for the 2020-21 academic year was “The Struggle For/The Struggle Against.”

The Fall Series of Core Program Events is as follows:

  • Monday August 31 (12:15-1pm): synchronous presentation and Q&A with Cassils and rafa esparza (In Plain Sight artists)

  • Monday October 12 (12:15-1pm): asynchronous poetry reading  and Q&A with poet Natalie Diaz in recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day

  • Friday November 13 (12:15-1pm): synchronous presentation and Q&A with author Nafissa Thompson-Spires

  • Thursday February 18 (5-7pm): A virtual screening of the film I Am Not Your Negro with 

  • Monday, March 15 (12:15-1pm):  Antoinette and Vince M. Dungan Lecture on Energy and the Environment by Samuel Gensaw (synchronous)

  • Wednesday, April 7 (12:15-1pm): synchronous lecture by Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida

Wednesday, April 7 (12:15-1pm)
A Talk by Nadine Smith

Watch the recorded event here!

Monday, March 15 (12:15-1pm):  
A Talk by Samuel Gensaw

The Antoinette and Vince M. Dungan Lecture on Energy and the Environment

Watch recorded event here!

Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 5pm PST
Virtual Film Screening: I Am Not Your Negro

The Occidental College community is invited to a virtual screening of the award-winning 2016 documentary film "I Am Not Your Negro" sponsored by the Core Program and SLICE. Based on an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film offers a critical examination of race in America using Baldwin’s original words and illustrated with rich archival material. At conclusion of the film, a live discussion and Q&A lead by Prof. Ryan Preston-Roedder will be held over Zoom.

Friday, November 13 at 12:15pm PST

Watch the recording of the 11/13 event with Nafissa Thompson-Spires!

Join us on Friday, November 13 at 12:15pm PST for "A Reading and Discussion with Nafissa Thompson-Spires," a synchronous presentation and Q&A with the author of  Heads of the Colored People.

Born and raised in Southern California, Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Thompson-Spires is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Cornell University and the award-winning author of the short story collection Heads of the Colored People, which includes one of the pieces selected for the 2020 Summer Reading.

Among many other honors, it won the PEN Open Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Award for First Fiction, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. Heads of the Colored People grapples with issues of race, identity politics, and the contemporary middle class, shining a light on the tensions and precariousness of what it means to be black in America.


Monday, October 12 at 12:15pm PST

Watch the Recording of the 10/12 Event with Natalie Diaz!

Join us on Monday, October 12 at 12:15pm PST for an asynchronous poetry reading and Q&A with poet Natalie Diaz in recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day. 

Diaz was born in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian community. Her honors and awards include the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship.

Monday, August 31st at 12:15pm PST

Join us on Monday, August 31st at 12:15pm PST for IN PLAIN SIGHT with guests Rafa Esparza and Cassils. Rafa Esparza (@elrafaesparza) is an artist who lives in Los Angeles. His work often takes the form of physically exhaustive performances and installations constructed out of adobe bricks. esparza also frequently works with collaborators, including members of his family. Esparza has exhibited in several public parks, nightclubs, sidewalks, galleries, and museums in Los Angeles and internationally. Cassils (@cassilsartist) is a transgender artist who makes their own body the material and protagonist of their performances. Cassils's art contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence, representation, struggle and survival. For Cassils, performance is a form of social sculpture: Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations, Cassils work investigates historical contexts to examine the present moment.