USC Sidney Harman Academy For Polymathic Study: POLYMATHICS: VALUES OF THE POLYMATH: Session 3: Critical Thinking

October 15, 2020
Online Event



What are the internal workings of a polymath?  What do they value?  Our founder Sidney Harman emphasized that to understand polymaths the focus should rest not on what they did, but how they did what they did.  Leonardo surrounded himself with those he sought to learn from; creativity for Maya Angelou was the connective heartbeat of the universe; and Marie Curie cherished childlike wonder as her entry point to understanding Nature.  Our fall 2020 series explores the pathways and insights from select faculty among us who employ these polymathic values and more in their scholarship and lives.  And to what end?  To learn how.

Session 3: Critical Thinking

Thursday, October 8, 2020

When: 5:00 p.m. PT


Critical thinking is a polymathic value employed by ancient philosophers to present day scholars to understand who we are and why we are who we are.  It is methodological and epistemological, as students become self-conscious about the processes by which they address problems in their fields and how other fields may go about considering similar problems.  Join Professor Laura Serna as she guides us through her cinematic and historical frameworks toward critical self-awareness and more clarity of the world around us.

Laura Serna, Associate Professor of History and Cinema and Media Studies

Laura Isabel Serna is an Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at USC. She is the author of Making Cinelandia: American Films and Mexican Film Culture before the Golden Age. She has published essays on Mexican film culture during the silent era in Aztlán and The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural. She has also published essays on Latino Stardom and the commercial practices that enabled early Hollywood to reach global audiences. Trained as a cultural historian, her primary research interests are the cultural history of cinema during the silent period (especially historical reception studies), Chicana/o and Latina/o media and culture, Silent Cinema in Mexico, and nationalism and the formation of film cultures. Her current project, “The Photoplay Made Mexican” examines early Hollywood’s techniques for producing Mexico and Mexicans on screen in an attempt to theorize cinematic brownface. She teaches courses on international silent cinema, Latina/o Media, Mexican cinema, and Film History. She received a PhD from Harvard University, BA from UC Berkeley, and numerous fellowships including an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Fulbright-García Robles Fellowship in support of her research.