Associate director

Lisa B. Thompson, left, and Eisa Davis will be discussing the importance of black art in a lecture titled, “Black Art Matters.” Davis will star in season three of “House of Cards.”
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Actress, musician and playwright Eisa Davis will speak about race at a lecture for the Performing Blackness Series on Tuesday. Three days later, her role in the highly anticipated third season of “House of Cards” will be revealed.

Davis will join Lisa B. Thompson, African and African diaspora studies associate professor, in “Black Art Matters: A Conversation between Eisa Davis and Lisa B. Thompson” to discuss the importance of black art. The lecture is part of the Performing Blackness Series, a lecture series which brings nationally acclaimed artists to UT to discuss race, gender, sexuality, nation and class.

Davis is a decorated playwright, Pulitzer Prize finalist, musician with two solo albums, and an actress in films such as “Welcome to the Rileys” and “Brass Tracks.” She stars in TV shows such as “The Wire” and has appeared in “The Good Wife,” “The Blacklist” and “Hart of Dixie.” She is also a certified yoga teacher.

The event features Davis alongside Thompson, also a decorated playwright and scholar, in what Thompson said will be a casual and open discussion with the audience.

As associate director of the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, Thompson manages the lecture series’ programming that brought Davis to UT.

“[Black Art Matters] is an opportunity to have an exchange between artists and students and faculty about black art — both popular and high art,” Thompson said. “We don’t want to only talk about [the art] in the museum.”

In an article Thompson wrote for Huffington Post’s Black Voices blog, she talked about art’s power to evoke social change. She explained that art, in any form, plays an integral role in protest movements. 

Thompson said the black art movement worked in conjuncture with the black power movement to address and educate people about inequality and police brutality. Davis said she believes black art can lead people to insight about themselves, the nation and the past.

“[Studying] black art is helpful for our country to understand our history, emotional self and spiritual self,” Davis said.

Davis said she looks forward to discussing racial issues during the event. She said it is easy to see blackness and whiteness as separate, when in reality they are completely intertwined and interdependent. She calls this idea “dependent origination.” 

 “The very basic truth is that black culture is very United States-ian,” Davis said. “There’s nothing on this continent that isn’t built on the history of settlement, genocide of Indians and slavery. Everything is built up from [that history].”

 Thompson said she chose Davis to speak at the lecture series because of Davis’ ability to teach what she has learned from her years of experience.

“Not only is [Davis] an amazing writer and actress, but she can teach other people,” Thompson said. “A lot of people do not know how to share.”

 When Thompson became associate director of the Warfield Center, she continued the Performing Blackness program that the former director started in 2004. Thompson said she urges students of all backgrounds and interests to attend the event.

 “Come and chat with us,” Thompson said. “[Davis] is a great listener. That’s the mark of a true artist.”

What: Black Art Matters: A Conversation Between Eisa Davis and Lisa B. Thompson

When: Tuesday, Feb. 24 at noon

Where: BLS 2.206

Admission: Free

Dr. Eugene Gholz speaks at a debate about America's involvement in Afghanistan on Tuesday. 

Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

Paul Miller, associate director of the University’s Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft, and Eugene Gholz, public affairs associate professor, presented opposing views on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan at an on-campus debate Tuesday.

In May, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. would end combat operations in Afghanistan in December but will continue to have a small presence in the country. The U.S. first became involved in the country in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks. 

At the debate held at Sid Richardson Hall, Miller advocated keeping troops in Afghanistan and emphasized four key points: the threat of al-Qaida, the danger al-Qaida presents to an unstable Pakistan, democracy and humanitarianism. 

“Al-Qaida is uniquely rooted in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Miller said. “The possibility of civil war in Pakistan could lead to destabilization of this region and, ultimately, will affect the U.S.”

In response, Gholz said the U.S. should shift focus away from Afghanistan.

“It’s time to move to other concerns other than Afghanistan,” Gholz said.

His main argument centered on re-evaluating the national interest, understanding how Afghanistan now has primarily local concerns, and looking at other areas of the world that might require intervention.

“Afghanistan today is tangential to American national interest,” Gholz said.

After their opening remarks, each debater had a six-to-seven-minute rebuttal period, followed by a mediator addressing points made by the speakers and ending with questions from the audience. Plan II sophomore Ellen Pennington said she had a particular interest in learning more about Afghanistan.

“I hadn’t heard about our trajectory in Afghanistan,” Pennington said. “I’ve heard about current issues in that region in general, but I didn’t know exactly why we got involved.”

According to Miller, as students acquire further knowledge about past and present foreign issues, these lessons will change how foreign policy gets enacted.

“A deep knowledge of history should affect future policy making,” Miller said. “I hope [students] learn the right lessons from [Afghanistan].”

Associate director of University Health Services Jamie Shutter will begin leading UHS as interim director starting in September.

She is taking over for UHS director Jeanne Carpenter, who announced her retirement earlier
this month.

“Jamie has always prioritized the needs of students in every decision she makes,” Carpenter said. “She is an excellent choice for interim director, and our students will be in good hands with Jamie leading the organization.”

Shutter’s accomplishments as associate director include starting the UT Wellness Network, overseeing the redesign of the UHS website, and developing and increasing the visibility of the Center for Students in Recovery, Carpenter said.

Shutter was one of two people recognized by the University as 2011 Outstanding Supervisors, said Chris Brownson, associate vice president for student affairs, who appointed Shutter.

“Jamie has a wealth of knowledge and experience in college health. She has a passion for working with students and has been a campus leader for promoting student wellness,” Brownson said. “She is open, fair and makes decisions based on what is in the best interest of students.”

Printed on Thursday, July 28, 2011 as: Interim director position filled at University Health Services