From the safety of the Social Sciences building, a large interdisciplinary gathering of students and researchers found themselves making decisions amidst the jostling crowds of a protest in the industrial city of Maribor, Slovenia on Wednesday, September 18. They were taking part in an interactive film screening that allowed them, as a group, to choose to commit to nonviolent protests, or to be swept up in dramatic confrontations with police.
The screening was part of the Civil Law Section’s Lecture Series on Research in Law, which welcomed professor of anthropology and filmmaker Maple Razsa, Director of Global Studies at Colby College, to guide the audience through his award-winning film The Maribor Uprisings.
Making use of actual frontline footage shot by video activists at the scene of the protests, the film lets the audience follow the action, and, at specific junction points, decide which groups of protesters to follow. For example, the audience at one point was asked to choose between staying with a group protesting peacefully at Maribor’s Freedom Square, or following another group of protesters towards City Hall, where the risk of open conflict and violence seemed inevitable. Professor Razsa would probe each of these choices, asking specific audience members to explain their points of view. Through these interactive group decisions, the film ultimately succeeded in getting the spectators to consider the factors that spark popular outrage, and to wonder if and how such a thing could happen in our own city.
For Cintia Quiroga, Assistant Dean of Research at the Faculty of Law and professor, who organized the event in collaboration with Larisa Kurtovic, professor at the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, this interdisciplinary event is part of an effort within the Faculty of Law to explore the added value of bringing research from different fields together with the arts to share knowledge and impactful messages. Professors Quiroga and Kurtovic teamed up with the Interdisciplinary Research Lab on Cities and Contemporary Urban Processes, led by Professor Vincent Mirza, the University Research Chair in Law, Criminal Policy and Regulation of Marginalized People, formerly held by Dean Marie-Eve Sylvestre, the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies, the Human Rights Research and Education Centre and the Faculty of Law’s Civil Law Section to make the event happen. The event was so well attended by students, researchers, and even some visiting international professors, that there have been calls to repeat the experience.
The Faculty would like to thank Professor Razsa, the partners who made the event possible, and all of the students and researchers who participated in the event for helping to make this truly interdisciplinary event a rousing success.