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Questioning Cinema Film Series

A large crowd of black women scientists walk through the halls of NASA in this screenshot of the Movie Hidden Figures



James Branch Cabell Library, Third Floor Lecture Hall (Room 303)
901 Park Avenue, Richmond, Va. 23284


Students, faculty, staff and the greater community are invited to screenings of landmark films in recent cinema history that tackle challenging themes in the humanities, arts and sciences. The films will be followed by a short discussion on the overall themes and subject matter of each film. Popcorn and beverages will be provided at each screening.

The events are free and open to all, but please register. Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad StreetWest Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks. For special accommodations, or to register offline, please contact the VCU Libraries Events Office at 804-828-0593 at least two days prior to the event.

Schedule and Registration

Sept. 21, 2017
5-7:30 p.m. screening
7:30-8 p.m. discussion
In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter "Robby" Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents.
Nov. 9, 2017
5-6:30 p.m. screening
6:30-7 p.m. discussion
This iconic horror film follows the obsessed scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) as he attempts to create life by assembling a creature from body parts of the deceased.

Discussion leaders:
  • Perspective: Research Ethics—Christine Davison is the associate director of human subjects protection in the VCU Office of Research Subjects Protection. She has a master of bioethics and a B.S. in psychology. She is also a certified IRB professional (CIP).
  • Perspective: Frankenstein, the novel—Catherine Ingrassia, Ph.D., is a professor in the English department at VCU. She has a Ph.D. in English and specializes in restoration and 18th-century British literature and women writers of the eighteenth century. She will soon be teaching a course on Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
  • Perspective: Film History—Michael C. Jones is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Art History Department at VCU. He has an MFA in filmmaking and has taught the history of motion pictures course for many years to thousands of students. A filmmaker himself, he is a founding member of the James River Film Society and co-director of the James River Film Festival.
Feb. 21, 2018
5-7:30 p.m. screening
7:30-8 p.m. discussion

Hidden Figures
Three brilliant African-American women at NASA—Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.

Discussion leaders:
  • Victor Chen is a sociologist and an assistant professor at VCU. His work examines inequality and social stratification, work and labor markets, as well as poverty and social mobility. His most recent book, Cut Loose: Jobless and Hopeless in an Unfair Economy, provides a vivid account of the experiences of auto workers as changes in the economy made well-paid assembly line jobs harder to find. Chen’s work has been featured in various news outlets, including the Atlantic, New York Times, NPR, and BBC News.  
  • Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves is Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and associate professor at VCU with appointments in the School of Engineering and the School of Education. Her research has spanned varying topics including diversity, inclusion, and equity in higher education, STEM-H education, international development STEM activities, and biomedical signal/image processing. During her career she has also focused on inspiring underrepresented students in STEM fields. In 2015, she was honored at VCU’s Presidential Awards for Community Multicultural Enrichment ceremony with both the faculty award as well as the Riese-Melton Award — the top recognition given at the annual event — for her efforts to make VCU a diverse and inclusive community.
  • Emilie Raymond is a historian and an associate professor at VCU. She specializes in 20th century American politics and culture.  Her work focuses on Hollywood and politics, as well as the influence of the civil rights movement, women’s activism, and conservatism in American life.  She is the author of 'From My Cold, Dead Hands': Charlton Heston and American Politics and Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement. Professor Raymond is also the director of the annual VCU Southern Film Festival.

Check out the Questioning Cinema research guide for links to online resources and suggested reading.


This event is organized by VCU Libraries and co-sponsored by STS@VCU.

Image: Hidden Figures theatrical release poster


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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