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Public Philosophy and Film Series to begin with 'Get Out'

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College will screen the first installment of a new film series this month.

Organized by Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Ermine Algaier, the Public Philosophy and Film Series will begin Feb. 22 with a screening of the 2017 film Get Out.

The two other films, Tsotsi and Fight Club, will be shown March 15 and April 19, respectively. All of the films will be screened at 6 p.m. in the Barnes Electronic Classroom on the lower level of Hewes Library. They are free and open to the public.

“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 community with an informal space that intellectually challenges students and a safe space to confront culturally diverse topics and ideas.”

Get Out is the story of a young black man visiting his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. It is a social commentary on the ways in which black bodies are exploited by the dominant white culture and provides the context for a discussion about micro-aggressions and systemic racism, as well as the overt and more easily recognized forms of racism to a young audience. It encourages all viewers to assess the ways in which they have personally contributed to systems of oppression and racism.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Kateryna Sylaska, who joined Monmouth’s faculty last fall, will introduce Get Out.

“The film highlights the micro-aggressions that, if isolated, would often go unnoticed to many,” said Sylaska, who specializes in social psychology. “But in the film, there is micro-aggression, micro-aggression, micro-aggression happening right after each other. Seeing it in a blatantly overt way, it makes you wonder, ‘What have I done like this?’ It leads to a discussion of ‘Those things are not OK, and here’s why.’ ... It’s meant to be watched with others. It’s a really powerful communal experience.”

Sylaska calls Get Out a “social horror film.”

“It’s not that it’s gory, but it’s what we all do every day,” she said. “So it’s an horrific experience to see ourselves in these characters.”