Wed, 11/02/2011

Professor of Communication Sut Jhally presents "Advertising and the End of the World" on Monday, November 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium. The talk is the next installment in the Faculty Lecture Series sponsored by Commonwealth Honors College.


Jhally, founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation located in Northampton,  is one of the world's leading scholars on the role of advertising and popular culture in constructing personal identity. His talk will examine how commercial advertising has spread to every nook and cranny of the culture and how this onslaught of marketing is driving current environmental, resource and financial collapse. Advertising, he says, is "pushing us constantly toward the market and consumer goods, to satisfy our needs for love, friendship and autonomy, and in the process engendering unhappiness and dissatisfaction among the population."


Jhally says that commercial culture provides the context for thinking about the way out of the current disastrous situation. Its focus on short-term immediate thinking about personal needs, he contends, leaves us ill-prepared for the task of thinking long-term about our collective survival. In his talk, Jhally attempts to answer the question "What will it take for us to even think about how we leave a world for future generations that is fit for human habitation?"


Sut Jhally studies the role of advertising and popular culture in the processes of social control and identity construction. The author of numerous books and articles on media, he is best known as the producer and director of several films and videos that address issues ranging from gender, sexuality and race to commercialism and violence, including Dreamworlds: Desire/Sex/Power in Music Video and Tough Guise: Media, Violence and the Crisis of Masculinity.  He is the founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation located in Northampton. An award-winning teacher, Jhally has received the university's Distinguished Teaching Award and the student vote as "Best Professor." In addition, he has been awarded the Distinguished Outreach Award, and was selected to deliver a Distinguished Faculty Lecture in 2007.


UMass Amherst's Commonwealth Honors College introduced its Faculty Lecture Series during the spring 2011 semester in recognition of university faculty who have made significant contributions to research or creative activity. Through lectures that highlight academic excellence and scholarship, these faculty share their ideas and insight with honors students in sessions open to the campus community.


Many of the talks in the faculty lecture series relate to themes in "Ideas that Changed the World," the Honors Seminar in which honors students examine books and other works that have profoundly shaped the world we live in. The texts in this class and the related faculty lectures are meant to be exemplary for students who have the potential themselves to achieve outstanding things. 


This semester's series will conclude with:


Nicholas McBride, Professor, Journalism

"Body and Soul: Art as Intellectualism"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Campus Center Auditorium