The Villanova Diversity Programming Committee aims to create programs that will engage the Villanova community, challenge perceptions, heighten empathy and create a welcoming and inclusive campus environment. All proposed projects and programs are intended to educate and promote understanding with the purpose of dissuading prejudice and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, body type, mental or physical differences, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, geographic location, age and other social identifiers.
The population of our country is rapidly changing. Across the business and academic world, diversity programming has also increased to ensure that with these demographic changes, individuals work together effectively and thrive personally in diverse and, sometimes, challenging work and learning environments. Institutions of higher education must take the lead in creating programming geared towards learning, understanding and the acceptance of personal, ideological and cultural differences. Villanova University strives to develop a “diverse community of scholars” conscious of social justice and working as active and engaged global citizens.
Keynote Speaker & Workshop: Negin Farsad
Social Justice Comedian, Director of The Muslims Are Coming!
Date: Wednesday, October 30th
Location: Villanova Room
Workshop Time: 4:00pm - 5:30 pm
Workshop Topic: How to Become a Working Artist: A Gal in a Really Dude-Heavy Industry
Keynote Time: 6:30pm - 7:45pm
Keynote Topic: Fighting Islamophobia, Bigotry and What Have You with Comedy
Personal Website: http://www.neginfarsad.com/
Negin has devoted large parts of her career to social justice comedy, particularly as it relates to Islamophobia, immigrant rights, bigotry and any general lameness foisted on people because of race, religion, socio-economic class, or third arms. These kinds of cultural divides really get her goat! As a policy advisor for the city of New York she worked on the city’s campaign finance initiative, a program that tries to level the playing field for candidates that aren’t made of money. She took that know-how into her comedy with such works as Bootleg Islam—an off-Broadway solo show about a boozy trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran, naturally. She gleaned lessons from her two-person Edinburgh Fringe Festival musical The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Romantic Comedy, not to mention her work with the standup show. The Dirty Immigrant Collective. Her most recent work, the feature documentary The Muslims Are Coming!
takes a group of Muslim-American comedians on the road to unlikely stops in generally red states to perform shows, meet locals and dispel Islamophobia through jokes! The film features the likes of Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, Lewis Black, David Cross, and Janeane Garofalo among others. But more importantly, the making of this kind of work has given Negin gads—yes gads!—of anecdotes from the frontlines of prejudice AND a prescription for how to change the discourse. She brings real world activist comedy experience, a dash of comedy philosophy, and a touch of public policy for an engaging and definitely hilarious look at the issues.
WORKSHOP: How to Become a Working Artist: A Gal in a Really Dude-Heavy Industry
Negin Farsad is an accomplished comedian, writer, and filmmaker. How does a casually ethnic lady get into this business and stay in it long enough to drop the day job? With a 180 degree turn in career, not too long ago, Negin knows exactly what the pitfalls are, how to avoid them, and how to make a living in an industry that A) not only has a monetization problem (summed up by “the internet”) but B) is extremely dude heavy with only 8% of above the line functions going to women. Navigating the terrain is difficult and school programs—rightly focused as they are on craft and technique—often miss the boat on how to actually start a career in comedy and/or media. Because Negin has won various director awards, has written/directed for umpteen networks like Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, IFC, BBC, PBS and others, and has made three feature films, she is uniquely qualified to talk about the nuts and bolts of The Industry. Getting jobs, raising money to make movies, maintaining sanity, etc. She also managed to do all of that as a woman- which statistically is really impressive—so she can speak to the particular challenges faced by female graduates entering the work force.N