Prof. Lisa Coulthard: The sound of violence

On today’s show, Daniel Guillemette spoke with UBC Film Studies professor Lisa Coulthard about her fascinating research on sound and violence.

Some people hate seeing violence on screen, but others seem to relish in it.  Professor Coulthard is one of those people. 

Coulthard is an expert on the use of violence in film, and more specifically how sound can have an impact on cinematic effect.  If you’re interested in filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Micheal Haneke, whose films foreground brutality and gore, you’d love sitting in on one of Coulthard’s classes.  Her research focuses on the ways that viewers engage with violence – and the sounds that accompany it – on the big screen. 

In addition to her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, Coulthard has also studied under renowned critical theorist, Slavoj Zizek.  She’s also worked in the film industry as a foley artist – creating the types of squishy sounds and cringe-inducing effects that violent films need for impact.

Coulthard is currently in the process of writing two books: one called The Super Sounds of Quentin Tarantino and another about contemporary European cinema, called Euro Trash.

In this interview, Coulthard tells us what she’s learned from movies like Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds and Haneke’s White Ribbon.  Check out this week’s podcast to find out more about Lisa Coulthard, and about some other interesting elements of sound and violence in the movies!

 Proftalk interview with Lisa Coulthard


Amy Osborne–Reflecting on Darfur

Today on the show we heard an interview with Amy Osborne, a former UBC student who traveled to Darfur in 2006 with Doctor’s without Borders.

Amy decided to go to Darfur after watching a video shown in one of her UBC classes. While many university students are shown similar videos in a class setting, few decide to act and to do something about the situations they see. Amy is trained as a midwife, has worked in the Philippines and Afghanistan, and went to Darfur to do whatever she could to help. She is currently in med school, training to be a doctor.

In Darfur, Amy lived and worked in a refugee camp of 25,000 people. During her time in Darfur, she wrote a blog and posted pictures of her important work. Amy wanted to get the message out about what was and IS happening in Darfur. You can find her blog here:

As Amy tells us in the interview, during her first day in Darfur, she had to treat a six-year-old rape victim. This was only one of the countless traumatizing events Amy responded to in Darfur. Upon her return to Vancouver, Amy has remained passionate about raising awareness about the genocide in Darfur, but is frustrated with mainstream media, who largely ignore and choose not to cover the conflict.

Listen to the podcast of today’s show to hear Amy’s story. It is a very powerful interview.

Prof Talk interview with Amy Osborne

Professor and Journalist Joe Cutbirth on Satire as news!

Today on the show, journalism student Jessica Michielin interviewed one of her own professors–Joe Cutbirth from the UBC Graduate School of Journalism.

Professor Cutbirth is originally from texas, and got his start as a journalist in his early twenties, after completing some courses at a state university. Professor Cutbirth landed an internship with a local paper in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he covered all of the traditional city beats, starting with the cop beat, the school board beat, moving on to city hall and finally to the courthouse. Professor Cutbirth reported for 14 years before pursing further academics.

As a journalist, Professor Cutbirth racked up awards from the Texas Women’s Political Caucus, the Texas Associated Press, and the Dallas Star. He earned his Master’s in Philosophy from Georgetown University.

Professor Cutbirth is currently completing his PhD from Columbia University in New York, while simultaneously teaching at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism. Joe’s dissertation examines the role John Stewart played in the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, and he will teach a graduate level seminar examining the role of satire in the news in the 2010 academic year.

Professor Cutbirth is currently working on a book called “Fake News, Real Politics”. This will be the book version of his dissertation.

Unlike some journalists, Professor Cutbirth is quite optimistic about the future of journalism.

“There is a wonderful future in journalism,” said Professor Cutbirth.”The future of journalism has never been more exciting or this bright since the 1930s.”

Joe feels that the discussion of journalism is too often reduced to a discussion of print newspapers–a medium he believes will not exist in Western culture, as we’ve traditionally known them, three years from now.

To hear more from Professor Cutbirth, learn more about the role of satire in news, and to hear his vision for the future of journalism, listen to this week’s podcast!

Prof Talk interview with Professor Joe Cutbirth

Professor Stefan Dollinger on “Canadianisms”

Have you ever wondered about words like toonie, toque, washroom and serviette? Did you know these words are all unique to Canadian dialogue?

This week on Prof Talk reporter Kerry Blackadar interviewed Dr. Stefan Dollinger from UBC’s English Department. Professor Dollinger studies ‘Canadianisms’ in the English language, and the historical development of the English language in Canada.

Dr. Dollinger has set out to re-write the 1967 Canadian dictionary. Why does Dr. Dollinger want to revisit the Canadian dictionary?

“It’s old, it’s outdated and there are a lot of words that just aren’t there,” said Dr. Dollinger.

Dr. Dollinger and his team also want to make the dictionary digital, and avialable online. They hope to “make the dictionary bigger, better and more complete,” said Dr. Dollinger.

Although Canada does have some uniquely Canadian lingo, through the course of the interview we also learn that our Canadianisms vary across the country. Linguists have discovered that the words of Newfoundland are profoundly different from those used on the West coast. Words have ‘regionalisms’, and one of the biggest problems remains that there is no national survey of Canadian English.

If you’ve ever wondered about that quintessential Canadian word–“eh”, and other Canadian words, listen to the pod-cast!

Prof Talk interview with Dr. Stefan Dollinger.

Dr. Daniel Pauly on the “aquacalypse”

Today on the show I interviewed Dr. Daniel Pauly, who is a professor at the UBC Fisheries Centre. Dr. Pauly is anfish-bowl expert in the field of marine ecosystems, and has been researching ocean life for over thirty years. Dr. Pauly is best known for his work studying the impact of humans on the world’s fisheries.

Pauly is the author of several books and over 500 scientific papers. He is a prolific communicator for the cause of saving and preserving our natural ocean habitats.

After earning his PhD from Kiel University in Germany, Pauly spent 15 years living in Manila working with the International Center for Living and Aquatic Resources Management. Pauly also created the online database called  FishBase— an online encyclopedia of fish and fisheries information comprising information on more than 30,000 different species. This project received world wide attention and is still prominent in fisheries biology.

Pauly is vocal about his views on public policy relating to fisheries. Pauly believes that governments should immediately stop subsidizing the fisheries industry, and the electorate should pressure governments to create marine protected areas. While Pauly does not place entire blame on the heads of consumers, he is quick to remind us that “eating a tuna roll at a sushi restaurant is no more environmentally benign that driving a Hummer or harpooning a manatee.”

In 2003 Pauly earned a place in the “Scientific American 50”, and in the same year, the New York Times labelled Pauly an “iconoclast.”

Click the link below to hear our Prof Talk episode with Dr. Daniel Pauly.

Prof Talk Interview with Dr. Daniel Pauly

Dr. Michael Byers on Arctic Sovereignty

Reaching the Arctic Sea, Photograph by Will HybridToday we aired our second episode of Prof Talk. Niamh Scallan, a student at UBC’s graduate school of journalism, interviewed Dr. Michael Byers from UBC’s Political Science Department.

Dr. Byers spoke with us about the issue of Arctic Sovereignty, and his new book, “Who Owns the Arctic?”, which addresses this topic.

What is it about the Arctic that intrigues Dr. Byers?  It’s first and foremost a strong commitment to the environment. Byers told Prof Talk that the Arctic is on “the front lines of climate change.

With climate change as perhaps “the single most challenging public policy issue of the 21st century,” Dr. Byers is committed to raising Canadian’s awareness of our northern lands, people and resources.

The Arctic is forever dependent on a fine balance between frozen and unfrozen, ice and water, permafrost and land, and a change of just a fraction of degree could have massive consequences for our northern territories.

40% of Canada’s territory is in the Arctic. As Dr. Byers said, “We are an Arctic nation.”

Also, the Arctic has trillions of dollars worth of hydrocarbon. To further complicate this, some of the hydrocarbon resources exist at areas of overlapping claim.

Dr. Byers questions, “are we truly the true, north, strong and free?”

Click on the link below to hear our podcast interview with Dr. Byers.

Prof Talk Episode Two Podcast

First episode of prof talk!

Jumping spiderFirst off, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Karen Moxley, and I am the host of Prof Talk this season, on CiTR, 101.9 FM in Vancouver.

On November 2nd, we aired our first episode of Prof Talk, season two. We started off the season with an interview conducted by Lex Stoymenoff, from UBC’s graduate school of journalism. Lex interviewed Dr. Wayne Maddison from UBC’s Zoology Department about his research on jumping spiders!

Dr. Maddison first took interest in jumping spiders as a teenager, when he rescued a jumping spider who was floating on a grass mat along the shores of Lake Ontario. He kept that spider as a pet for a while, and soon enough, he was studying them as a career. Dr. Maddison has been studying jumping spiders for more than 30 years.

Ever wondered how a spider sees the world? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a jumping spiders eyes? Jumping spiders range in size from a millimeter and a half long up to about 20 millimeters  in body length. These aren’t tarantulas, but they’re definitely noticeable!

Thanks to jumping spiders incredible eyesight, they are incredible hunters. They will pounce on prey much like a cat. They don’t have big muscular back legs, but instead derive their muscle power from their tiny bodies, as their blood pressure increases!

Over 30 years of research, Dr. Maddison has only only been bitten twice! Want to learn more about Dr. Maddison’s research on jumping spiders? Check out the podcast at this link;

Prof Talk Episode One Podcast