USC Panels in Wallis Annenberg Hall



10:30 to 11:30 a.m. – What’s in a Brand? Building a Business in the Digital Age

In the era of social media, content marketing, and “influencers,” a brand is a lot more than a logo and a tagline. Digital culture has upended how businesses present themselves. A panel of experts will discuss not only how to build a brand in the digital age, but also what digital brand-building means for businesses and society. Brand innovation expert Robert Kozinets, the Jayne and Hans Hufschmid Chair of Strategic Public Relations and Business Communication at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, will moderate a fascinating discussion with Debbie MacInnis and C.W. Park, co-authors of Brand Admiration: Building a Business People Love, and Sid Mohasseb, author of The Caterpillar’s Edge: Evolve, Evolve Again, and Thrive in Business.

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12:00 to 1:00 p.m. – Walls and Lines in the Sand: The Shifting Landscape of Immigration

Do we want walls or welcomes, globalism or nationalism, or something in between? Immigration is one of the most contested issues of our time. Emily Ryo, a USC Gould attorney who focuses on immigration and the criminal justice system; Manuel Pastor, director of the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration; and Niels Frenzen, director of the USC Gould School of Law’s Immigration Clinic, will discuss how the immigration debate plays out in the law and in people’s lives in a timely conversation moderated by Varun Soni, dean of Religious Life at USC.

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1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – What Are We So Afraid Of? The Role of Fear in Our Lives

Terrorism, hate, national security, safe spaces—these political buzzwords all speak to the same underlying theme: fear. As laws are shaped and lives are harmed by xenophobia, transphobia, and other manifestations of fear, renowned social and cultural theorists will discuss how fear is constructed, represented, and reified both psychologically and societally. Leo Braudy, author of Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds, and Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things, will engage in a fascinating discussion moderated by Varun Soni, dean of Religious Life at USC.

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3:00 to 4:00 p.m. – Truth Matters: Media in the Age of Fake News and Alternative Facts

When “facts” and “news” become slippery terms, how can we distinguish between truth and lies? And what’s a truth-seeking reporter to do? Judy Muller, an award-winning television correspondent and NPR commentator; Steven J. Ross, USC professor of history and author of Hitler in Los Angeles; Diane Winston, the publisher of Religion Dispatches; and columnist and former political speechwriter Marty Kaplan (moderator) will discuss the role of media in an era of fake news and alternative facts.

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4:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Hapa: Mixed-Race Identity and Representation

In the United States, discussions of race and ethnicity are often reduced to a black-and-white binary. But there’s a lot more to it, especially in an era of rapidly shifting demographics. A discussion with playwright Velina Hasu Houston, Hapa Project creator Kip Fulbeck, and Duncan Ryūken Williams, editor of two essay collections on hapa Japanese history and identity, will explore the multiple identities and experiences represented by the term hapa, which describes mixed-race people who are partly of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.

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10:30 to 11:30 a.m. – California Dreams: A Tribute to Kevin Starr

In honor of renowned California historian and former state librarian Kevin Starr, who passed away earlier this year, USC history professor Bill Deverell will moderate a wide-ranging discussion of various threads of California history, with MacArthur “Genius” Josh Kun, author of Songs in the Key of Los Angeles and To Live and Dine in L.A.; Tara McPherson, USC cinematic arts professor and director of the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study; and Nayan Shah, who studies historical struggles over bodies, space, and the exercise of state power.

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12:00 to 1:00 p.m. – Living Long or Living Well: Can We Do Both?

People are living longer than ever, but are we living well? As the average life span increases, new questions emerge about aging and quality of life. Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC Davis School of Gerontology, will moderate a discussion about the distinction between simply surviving and truly thriving as we age, with Lucio Comai, a USC Keck professor who researches the molecular basis of human aging; Laura Mosqueda, an MD known for her expertise in care for older adults; and Murali Nair, a clinical professor at the USC School of Social Work who researches alternative health systems and gerontology.

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1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – Is This Goodbye, NEA? Addressing Our Fears—and Hopes—for the Arts and Humanities

As threats loom to the national endowments for the arts and humanities, artists, museums, arts nonprofits, and others are wondering how they will survive the next four years. But this is not the first time the arts have been vulnerable to shifting political winds; artists and arts organizations have a long history of creating work and sustaining themselves outside of and even in resistance to official channels. Sasha Anawalt, co-founder of the USC Annenberg master’s program in arts journalism, will moderate a lively and very contemporary conversation about the state of funding, free speech, and other matters of immediate concern for the arts and humanities, with actor, director, and USC theatre professor Anita Dashiell-Sparks; Rachel S. Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center; and Viet Nguyen, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer.

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3:00 to 4:00 p.m. – From Protest to Action to Justice: Politics, Media, and the Law

In a period of rapid change and political uncertainty, communities are figuring out in real time how to speak out and respond to the actions and policies that impact them most. Best-selling author K.C. Cole will moderate a wide-ranging discussion about the multiple fronts on which communities can struggle for social and economic justice, with law professor Jody Armour, author of Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America; law and economics professor Gillian Hadfield, author of Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy; and veteran political journalist Robert Scheer.

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