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College to screen comedy special ‘Nanette’ as part of film series

Barry McNamara
11/07/2018
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Next up in Monmouth College’s Public Philosophy and Film Series is a comedy with a message.

The College will screen Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix comedy special Nanette at 6 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Barnes Electronic Classroom on the lower level of Hewes Library. Free and open to the public, Nanette will be introduced by Monmouth communication studies professors Josh Hawthorne and Trudi Peterson.

“It resonated deeply with me,” said Peterson. “I’ve watched it several times, and while it is funny, I have been unable to watch it without crying.”

Peterson said the Australian comedienne’s work is relevant not only to communication studies, but to another of Peterson’s disciplines at the College – women’s studies.

“From a rhetorical perspective, Gadsby’s narrative structure is masterful as she tackles difficult topics of relevance to feminism – sexual assault, harassment, sexualities, homophobia and gender identity,” she said.

Hawthorne said the concepts of identity and connection that are present through the film are covered in his classes in communication studies and public relations.

“This film is an emotional ride of laughter, anger and grief that tells an important story of resilience in the face of trauma,” he said. “It is a cogent and compelling argument for the humanity of diverse individuals within the context of the rampant violence that is inflicted on individuals marked as different.”

Peterson said Nanette is a “powerful and timely” show.

“This is such a timely performance that powerfully illustrates the patriarchal damage inflicted on women, particularly gender-nonconforming women,” she said. “While Gadsby presents contemporary issues like the #metoo movement, male impunity, homophobia and gender identity through humor, she deliberately elucidates the limitations of humor in telling personal narratives. It’s a powerful piece on the redemptive function of personal narrative that is relevant to most oppressed people struggling to assert their personal truths in a culture so deeply saturated in institutional forms of oppression.”

Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Ermine Algaier organized the Public Philosophy and Film Series, which began last spring.

“This series provides an informal, multidisciplinary platform for raising awareness of pressing contemporary public issues,” said Algaier. “Both educational and entertaining, the series aims to provide the campus and Monmouth community with an informal space that intellectually challenges the broader community, while also creating a safe space to confront culturally diverse topics and ideas.”