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College of Arts and Sciences

Theme Semester Spring 2023 Events

What would Play be without some fun and games? During Theme Semester (Spring 2023), you can enjoy the mathematics behind popular game shows, explore play through art and performance, consider what anthropology teaches us about play, and more. 


Violence and (In)justice Lecture Series: “Push Play” with Dr. Kishonna Gray

“Getting Zucked:” Examining Digital Violence and Injustice Online and IRL
Free virtual talk Jan. 30, 4 p.m.

In this presentation, Dr. Kishonna Gray explores the concept of getting "zucked," a concept Black women refer to as the disparate ways they are punished online. These carceral logics have pervaded digital platforms especially when minoritized populations express commentary about inequalities they experience online and IRL. Black women have leveraged social media and gaming platforms in innovative and powerful ways. While these spaces are mostly safe havens and spaces of support, they have also become spaces of extreme violence (i.e. the Twitter takeover).

Improv Classes at the CTE

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 2:30 – 3:45 PM (other dates below)

In partnership with the CAS Theme Semester, the CTE is offering a series of improvisational theatre workshops for students, factually and staff who want to make their classrooms more lively, engaging, and fun spaces. Participants will learn basic improv frameworks and will practice these skills with other novice improvisers. Research shows that teachers with training in improvisation are more engaged in their teaching, are better communicators, better at planning what and how to teach, and develop the skills required interact with students as individual learners within instruction. These sessions are drop-in sessions meaning that you can attend all four or just attend one or two. No previous experience with improvisational theatre required. Discover more about improvisation techniques and how they may impact your instruction. And in the spirit of the theme semester, come and PLAY with us.

Faculty Instructor: Dr. Peter Duffy, Department of Theatre and Dance


Mathematics of Game Shows

Note: This event has been postponed to March 16.

Performance of “Kaleidoscope Neighborhood”

Friday, February 3 and Saturday, 4 at 8 p.m., Booker T. Washington Lab Theater 
“Kaleidoscope Neighborhood” is a one-hour virtuoso physical theater performance by the Ecuadorian actor-playwright Carlos Gallegos. Gallegos has performed this award-winning solo work in 22 two countries on five continents. The piece tells the story of Alfonsito, who lives confined to a chair, and Gallegos brings his enormous gifts to the portrayal of the neighborhood’s many characters. Through the language of gesture and from a single chair, Gallegos speaks to themes of fear and violence in our world, and to the deep resilience of the human spirit. 
Gallegos will also teach a workshop for students on February 3 at 2 p.m. 

College of Arts and Sciences Play Semester Scavenger Hunt

The College of Arts and Sciences is encouraging all student to play this semester. One form of play is our first college-wide scavenger hunt, a great way to get to know campus and win prizes. Clues will be provided via the College of Arts and Sciences social media outlets and this website once the contest opens.
The scavenger hunt begins on Monday, February 6 and ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday, February 12.

Stormwater Collaborative Residency Exhibition

Exhibition Period: February 13 – 24 
Reception and open studio night: February 16, 5 – 7 p.m. 
Undergraduate students in the School of Visual Art and Design will showcase their original works, created during the inaugural cohort of the Stormwater Collaborative Residency program. Utilizing a shared workspace at Stormwater Studios, an artist-run studio located in downtown Columbia, the student artists will present pieces centering the creative power of play.

Why So Serious? Play, Work, and the Meaning of Life

Febuary 16 at 7:00 p.m. Location TBD
Michael Ridge (SC Faculty Justin Weinberg)

Improv Classes at the CTE

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 2:30 – 3:45 PM 


Indigo Dying workshops with Gasali Adeyemo

Monday, March 13 - Friday, March 17 

Gasali Adeyemo, an indigo artist originally from Ofatedo, Nigeria, will present an artist talk and indigo dyeing workshops.

Artist Talk: Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m. in McMaster 214
Adeyemo will discuss the history of Nigerian indigo and the traditional and spiritual meanings of indigo, the color blue, and Yoruba dyeing and design techniques.

Public Indigo Dyeing Workshop: Friday, March 17 at 11 a.m. outside McMaster
This art workshop is open to the community. Throughout the week, Adeyemo will lead additional indigo dyeing workshops in classes taught by Naomi Falk.

Mathematics of Game Shows

Thursday, March 16, 6 p.m. 
Many game shows have a rich mathematical foundation, drawing on topics in probability, game theory, and decision theory. Join Paul Dreyer, a mathematician who has consulted on over 30 game shows, in an exploration of the mathematics behind a number of shows on which he worked, including The Wall, Million Second Quiz, and Spin the Wheel. Some attendees will also have opportunities to win prizes, because what good is a game show without prizes? 

Improv Classes at the CTE

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 2:30 – 3:45 PM 


Violence and (In)justice Lecture Series: “Push Play” with Dr. Jessica Grosholz

How violence is depicted, perpetrated, & resisted in media
Free virtual talk April 3, 4 p.m.

While much of the research on extremism has focused on the violence associated with these movements, scholars have paid less attention to the seemingly nonviolent activities of these groups, like music. Although white power music appears nonviolent at face value, the lyrics often depict extreme violence as a means to a pure, white-dominated society. Using lyrics from over 700 analyzed songs from 64 geographically diverse, white power bands, this talk will detail the narrative that emerges in the songs with a particular focus on the very clear picture that details an urgent call to action, often extreme violence, due to perceived injustices and the overall decay of society. 

Marjorie Goodwin panel discussion  

Friday, April 7, 3-5 p.m. 
Professor Emerita Marjorie Goodwin, a linguistic anthropologist, has made significant contributions to our understanding of how children play and what childlike play reveals about social organization and action. For example, in her 2006 award winning ethnography, Games of Stance, she challenged essentialist gender ideologies about the so-called differential abilities of boys and girls in play. This lecture by Dr. Goodwin and panel discussion with past students and colleagues will celebrate a life’s work and explore the enduring contributions that she made to children's folklore, conversation analysis, peer language socialization and of course, play theories. 

Autism’s Got Talent

Date to be set in April 
Play is critical to the healthy development of the child, and it is also a core component of interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. During Autism Acceptance Month, the lab of Jessica Bradshaw will host the second annual "Autism’s Got Talent" event. While some autistic individuals experience sensory and behavioral differences that may hinder their engagement in social and community events, this virtual talent show will allow autistic youth throughout South Carolina to showcase their creative talents.  

Improv Classes at the CTE

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 2:30 – 3:45 PM

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.