Science Fiction and Humanity from “Doctor Who and Culture” with Dr. Rosanne Welch

A short clip from the presentation “Doctor Who and Culture: with Dr. Rosanne Welch

View the entire presentation

Drwho humanity

Transcript:

“So we are talking about humanities and what makes people human. Science Fiction is brilliant, because it reminds us about our humanity. It is the reason we watch it. It’s not for the monsters and the cool Dalek dress over here. (Laughter) All right. Those are cool, but its about how people behave when they’re put in stressful situations. And that is what makes the Doctor so exciting.”

Dr. Rosanne Welch, Cal Poly Pomona Faculty from the Department of Interdisciplinary General Education discusses Doctor Who and how the show has changed television writing. Doctor Welch will further discuss how society looks at culture and gender roles with the use of the Doctor and his companions’ adventures.

Natalie Lopez at the CalPoly University Library invited me to do a presentation for National Libraries Week on Doctor Who and Culture so that’s why a group of Whovians from both CalPoly and CSUF gathered in the Special Events room on April 16th.  It was wonderful to look out over a sea of t-shirts and other Doctor paraphernalia present among the crowd as I pontificated about what makes Who great – mostly giving me a chance to present a case for the fact that writers make Doctor Who and therefore writers make culture.”

 

Subscribe to Dr. Welch’s YouTube Channel

 

Video: Doctor Who and Culture with Dr. Rosanne Welch at Cal Poly Pomona University Library

Dr. Rosanne Welch, Cal Poly Pomona Faculty from the Department of Interdisciplinary General Education discusses Doctor Who and how the show has changed television writing. Doctor Welch will further discuss how society looks at culture and gender roles with the use of the Doctor and his companions’ adventures.

Natalie Lopez at the CalPoly University Library invited me to do a presentation for National Libraries Week on Doctor Who and Culture so that’s why a group of Whovians from both CalPoly and CSUF gathered in the Special Events room on April 16th.  It was wonderful to look out over a sea of t-shirts and other Doctor paraphernalia present among the crowd as I pontificated about what makes Who great – mostly giving me a chance to present a case for the fact that writers make Doctor Who and therefore writers make culture.”

Dr who culture thumb

Tons of Doctor Who products on Amazon.com

Subscribe to Dr. Welch’s YouTube Channel

 

A few scenes from the video in animated GIF form

  

Surprised by the Good Read GIDGET turned out to be!

While I have much grading to do as always, I was drawn to spend the weekend reading Gidget (by Frederick Kohner) thanks to my friend Ken Lazebnik’s book Hollywood Digs which includes an interview with the real life Franzie Kohner who IS Gidget.  In fact, she kindly appeared with Ken at a book reading he did in Malibu recently.

Before actually reading the book I didn’t know gidget stood for “girl midget” since she was so small on her surfboard (and now wonder how many women were named Gidget without now that); I didn’t know her father was a refugee from Nazi Germany who came to LA to be a screenwriter; and I didn’t know the book was going to be so good (both Gidget AND Hollywood Digs! – which I  knew would be good because Ken is such a wonderfully evocative writer). I suggest them both.

Turns out when it was released  Gidget was compared favorably to Catcher in the Rye by book critics… and probably  lost its edge in readers’ minds thanks to the bubblegum reputation the films gave the story – compounded by the fact that it was a girl’s coming of age story and not a boy’s.  I learned long ago in teaching American Literature, to an all girl high school of all things, that educators believe girls will read about boy protagonists (in an effort to understand them enough to hook them) but boys will not be as enthusiastic about reading the story of a girl protagonist).  So schools adjusted and chose mostly books with male protagonists for high school students of both sexes to study, which means boys lost the chance to learn the lessons first generation immigrants surviving economic hardship from A Tree Grows in Brooklynamong other losses.

Of course, the advent of such things as The Hunger Games trilogy seems to belie that idea — but you’ll notice publishers felt that in order to engage boy readers Katniss needed to wield a weapon, not merely master a craft like surfing.  Another reason to return to reading Gidget.

And all of this mulling reminds me of a TED Talk on How Movies Teach Manhood that  I showed students the other day by Colin Stokes, director of communications for the non-profit Citizen Schools.  He compares the heroine of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale from Kansas, to Luke Skywalker of everyone’s much beloved Star Wars and finds that Dorothy triumphs by mastering the leadership skills of working with others and bringing them together toward a common goal that benefits all while Luke triumphs as an individual by mastering a violent skill that requires killing the enemy to win.

My comparison between Gidget and Catcher seems similar in that Gidget experiments in the world of romance and sex without needing to make the acquaintance of a hooker – yet high schools read Holden’s story as literature and are never exposed to Gidget’s story at all.

Video: A Reading of “The Promise” – Chapter 1 with Co-Author, Dawn Comer Jefferson

Promise reading title

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

We discussed the origins of slavery in the Americas, the hardships of surviving the Oregon Trail (collecting buffalo chips was a topic of great interest as was the repetitive diet of bacon, beans, biscuits and coffee), and the patently unfair laws that kept enslaved African-Americans from learning to read and write and from testifying in court cases. 

The question and answer sessions highlighted the success of teaching critical thinking to elementary students. Children asked about what happened when someone died on the trail, why no one listened to the Quakers who believed all men and women were created equal even before the laws guaranteed that point and one boy even made the connection between Jackie Robinson’s having been called a trailblazer and our fictionalized family taking the Oregon Trail as original trailblazers.

Print Edition | Kindle Edition

We even found that some teachers and parents on hand for the presentation were never taught that Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence (which listed crimes committed by the King that allowed us to sever our obligations as subjects) included the fact that the King condoned slavery and that during debate this was excised from the document or the Southern representatives would not sign.

These are things I take for granted from teaching American History every semester, but was happy to reiterate for this younger – and very eager to learn – audience. It is always gratifying to know that these presentations are engaging, entertaining and informative to both the children and the adults in attendance. In fact, one grandmother on hand bought 10 copies to take back to her classroom in Pennsylvania!

Interview with John Leggett about Ross & Tom: Two American Tragedies

I had a great time talking to John Leggett about the Foreverland Press reissue of his dual biography of 2 tragically uber successful writers who couldn’t handle their success…

Here’s the beginning of the interview and a link to the complete text.

foreverland-press

Rosanne Welch Interviews John Leggett about Ross & Tom: Two American Tragedies

When muckraker Theodore Dreiser wrote An American Tragedy in 1925 he hoped to help society focus on the debilitating effects of poverty.  Nearly fifty years later, in Ross and Tom: Two American Tragedies, John Leggett found similar effects could come from the opposite end of the spectrum, an abundance of talent, money and fame.  Leggett’s fascination with the (spoiler alert) suicides of best-selling authors Ross Lockridge and Thomas Heggen, after the publication of their wildly successful first novels led Leggett to write this dual biography.  Published first in 1974 Ross and Tom is now back in circulation in an era far more fascinated with fame than even Leggett could have imagined. Ross and Tom is such a deeply researched book about the act of writing, as well as the sacrifices of the writing life, one reads on despite knowing each man will leave behind loved ones as well as lasting legacies in the world of American Literature.

Read the entire interview at Foreverland Press

Audio: Rosanne Welch and Dawn Comer Jefferson interviewed on the Go Write Something! Podcast

Dawn and Rosanne were recently interviewed by Candice L. Davis of the Go Write Something podcast. You can listen to the entire interview here or directly from the GoWriteSomething.com web site.

Listen to this podcast – GWS 001: How Writing for TV Prepared These Writers for Indie Publishing

GWS 001: How Writing for TV Prepared These Writers for Indie Publishing

Woo hoo! The premiere episode of the Go Write Something podcast! I can’t wait to get some more interviewing experience under my belt, so I can look back and laugh at how dorky I sound in the early episodes.

Dawn Comer Jefferson and Rosanne Welch are writing partners who’ve done most of their work in television. (Their full bios are below.) In this episode I interview them about their first novel, based on historical events, The Promise.

We talk about:

  • how to collaborate with another writer
  • how writing for television influenced their novel writing journey
  • how to create your own writing lifestyle
  • and more

Video: “How the Growing Popularity of the English Who-niverse (including Torchwood) Effected American Television: A Catalog of Changes in Cross-Continent Collaboration, Diversity in Casting and Methods of Distribution”

“How the Growing Popularity of the English Who-niverse (including Torchwood) Effected American Television:  A Catalog of Changes in Cross-Continent Collaboration, Diversity in Casting and Methods of Distribution”

RMW SRN

At the 2013 Screenwriting Research Network Annual International Conference at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Dr. Rosanne Welch presented this paper examining the cross-continent collaboration of Russell T. Davies and the largely American staff of the 4th season of Torchwood, known as Torchwood: Miracle Days well as the ways the international popularity of Doctor Who and Torchwood address questions of diversity in media and cross-cultural audience reception, production and distribution. The paper makes the point that words make a difference/words cross cultures. It tracks the changes created in American television in terms of production partnerships (as when Torchwood’s 4th season was co-produced by the BBC in America with Starz), programming (as when the annual Christmas Day showing of Who was rescheduled in America to avoid internet spoilers), and cross-continental casting production partnerships (as when Torchwood’s 4th season was co-produced by the BBC in America with Starz) and programming (as when the annual Christmas Day showing of Who was rescheduled in America to avoid internet spoilers) and cross-continental casting” caused by the arrival of the new Who (circa 2005) and its unprecedented success in the United States.

 

Video: On Books: Doctor Who and Race with Dr. Rosanne Welch

I was recently interviewed for my husband’s podcast about the book and wanted to share it here. — Rosanne

Part of the Dog Days of Podcasting Challenge

I interview my wife, Dr. Rosanne Welch on her recently published essay, “When White Boys Write Black: Race and Class in the Davies and Moffat Eras” in the collection, Doctor Who and Race published by Intellect.

 

Read Rosanne’s interview with Doctor Who Producer and Writer, Russell T Davies for Written By Magazine.

Audio: My Word On Books: Doctor Who and Race with Dr. Rosanne Welch

I was recently interviewed for my husband’s podcast about the book and wanted to share it here. — Rosanne

From My Word with Douglas E. Welch…

 I interview my wife, Dr. Rosanne Welch on her recently published essay, “When White Boys Write Black: Race and Class in the Davies and Moffat Eras” in the collection, Doctor Who and Race published by Intellect.

Listen to this interview

Read Rosanne’s interview with Doctor Who Producer and Writer, Russell T Davies for Written By Magazine.

More info on Doctor Who and Race book – Now available in the UK


Life, Doctor Who, and ComBom recently posted a story on Doctor Who and Race, a new book essays in which Rosanne’s writing appears. Here is their take on the book an the controversy that has sprung up around it.

“Intellect Books have just released Doctor Who and Race, an anthology of essays about, well, the depiction of race in Doctor Who. Blurb: “Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction television series in the world and is regularly watched by millions of people across the globe. While its scores of fans adore the show with cult-like devotion, the fan-contributors to this book argue that there is an uncharted dimension to Doctor Who. Bringing together diverse perspectives on race and its representation in Doctor Who, this anthology offers new understandings of the cultural significance of race in the programme – how the show’s representations of racial diversity, colonialism, nationalism and racism affect our daily lives and change the way we relate to each other. An accessible introduction to critical race theory, postcolonial studies and other race-related academic fields, the 23 contributors deftly combine examples of the popular cultural icon and personal reflections to provide an analysis that is at once approachable but also filled with the intellectual rigor of academic critique.” Copies are available for £19.95.

Editor Lindy Orthia has created a blog to talk about the book: it currently features short biographies of the contributors, useful links, and a few articles, including a comment on the pre-publication controversies (the Radio Times piece on the book offering the most neutral explanation on what issues concerned the authors and what the BBC had to say in response. Racialicious strongly defended the book and the Daily Mail strongly defended the BBC, rather uncharacteristically of the tabloid, so that about runs the gamut of reactions.)”

Read the entire article