Arts and Humanities Colloquium: ‘Mona Lisa Smile’

Taylor Koch, Staff Writer

Lori Newcomb, a professor in Arts and Humanities, urge people to look beyond the paint in Mona Lisa Smile: Subverting the Subversive. She presented her paper Nov. 30 as part of the Colloquium Series.

“I had seen the movie before, and liked it a lot because I love academia and college campuses,” Newcomb said. “I love movies set on college campuses, so I think that’s what drew me to this film.”

Her presentation was a new way to look at the meaning behind the movie “Mona Lisa Smile.” She argued that the movie isn’t about unmarried women over married women, but instead a deconstruction of both ideas.

“What I think the film is trying to do is say it isn’t an either or,” Newcomb, said. “You can choose marriage and still contribute. It doesn’t mean you are slotting yourself in a particular role just because you choose what looks like traditional marriage and family.”

Newcomb got the idea for this paper when she saw a call for papers for a film conference. She originally wanted to do it on the topic of transgressive women, but after watching it again, decided there was a little more to it and took the paper in this direction.

She volunteered to present her paper at Wayne State College as part of the Colloquium Series, which was started two years ago, WSC alumna Kelly Weber, now a PhD. student.

“When Kelly started it, I was just so excited because I love going to hear other people’s research and presentations, and I just love presenting,” Newcomb said.

She feels like it is important for faculty to present their papers because they don’t often get a chance to talk to each other about academic topics.

“We don’t really get to share academic thoughts, so it’s a way for us to do that,” Newcomb said.

Newcomb also thinks it’s great when students can come see the presentations as well.

“Any exposure you can get to academic ideas, regardless of discipline, is great,” Newcomb said.

There were a few students at the presentation that day who felt like the experience was good.

“Seeing how an argument is structured and presented gave me a good model on how I should look to structure my papers for class,” Desirae Flores, a sophomore English Writing major, said. “Her presentation was also really nice and now I want to go watch the film.”

Newcomb looks forward to presenting more papers at WSC.