January 19th to the 21st will bring Trump’s inauguration, a Peace Ball (with Angela Davis and Solange), and street protests, including the Inauguration Day Freedom Protest on Freedom Plaza, DC, the Bridge Together in Golden Gate Park, and the 200,000 Women’s March. How can we quickly document and analyze these unfolding events in a way that might deepen and complicate the coverage we’ll see in the media? Salon recently published a piece suggesting that alternate forms of expression will not be covered (protests against the Supreme Court’s intervention in the Florida recount and George Bush’s inauguration got little attention from the media). We now have more robust forms of social media. But can we quickly contribute in a focused and concerted way?

Please post 100 to 800 words on the inaugural and/or protest events to the Film International comments below. If you’d like more anonymity for this first run, feel free to email ourcommons2017@gmail.com. Film International will also post a redacted blog of curated pieces during and after the events. We’d like these pieces at journalistic speed, but more reflective pieces submitted later will be accepted too. Facebook is now collaborating with journalists; hopefully they’ll draw on this kind of work by scholars and engaged laypeople too.

There are many events to write about and questions to ask; we’d like to cover as much as possible. Do the Rockettes (and even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?) resemble or depart from Sigmund Kracauer’s Mass Ornament and the Tiller Girls? Might someone write about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Talladega’s marching band for those who’d like more background? Are there resistant moments in any of the official inauguration events? How might Angela Davis’s and Solange’s previous political work relate to her presentation at the Ball? How might earlier media events, like the NRA’s illegal Trump ad in Arlington Cemetery, resonate with the staging at the monument on the 20th? What about fake news? Or the celebrities who are performing and those refusing to perform? The conversations, speeches, music, signs, sounds, and expressions of the rallies on the street from so many places across the country? The media coverage unfolding in real time (and are our consortium blogs – below). How the Washington Post‘s coverage reflect bias, and what does it leave out?


We’re hoping for a civil space, respectful of many points of view. Our aim is to produce work that can provide analysis and inform (and may be helpful for mainstream and independent media). Links to good media coverage, documentary, or mashups would be appreciated as well as more sustained analysis. An initial request: might someone mash up the WashPo clip with a different soundtrack, perhaps with commentary?

This project is part of a consortium approach to support fellow scholars who want to quickly disseminate, publish and then get academic credit for work devoted to protecting the commons. (This is a first run so it may not be absolutely smooth.) Our contributors may want to turn next to other venues committed to quickly reviewing and publishing work devoted to protecting the commons including Film International in print, Film Criticism, Aca-Media, In Focus (Cinema Journal), and REFRAME’s network. Some sites can publish nearly instantaneously; some surprisingly quickly with documentation in the academic databases; and others can post video and/or audio work. A scholar might choose one or two of these venues. She might, for example, write a responsive piece that tracks breaking news and appears within a few days on the Film International blog, and then a followup (perhaps collaborative) that’s published through Film Criticism online, Aca-Media, or Film International‘s print journal (so that the work is picked up in the academic databases). She might try a new mode like a video- or audio-essay via Aca-media or REFRAME’s network.

We plan to acknowledge contributors’ work at the Collective Action in 2017: Responding to Hate, Disenfranchisement, and the Loss of the Commons panel at Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, Chicago, March 22.

Peace in the struggle for a wonderful 2017 and for an engaged, informed civil society,

Carol Vernallis, Matthew Sorrento, Daniel Lindvall, Catherine Grant, Dana Gorzelany, and James Deaville

Again, please post your related information at https://our-commons.tumblr.com/, or write to ourcommons2017@gmail.com.

2 thoughts on “Writing Our Future: The Inauguration, Alternate Inauguration Ball, and Protests”

  1. In Philadelphia, the ANSWER Coaltion has a permit for 14th street and Pennsylvania Ave NW and a portion of Freedom Plaza, beginning at 7:00am on Jan. 20 for a protest that will continue throughout the day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *