Politics has been around longer than people. In fact, just about every living thing on Earth is engaged in some kind of power grab—the better to survive, reproduce, make the world safe for our progeny and, with any luck, evolve. Politics usually means trouble because goals can clash. So we do our best to manipulate, coerce and persuade—using intimate conversation and mass media, art and song, law and government, and all too often, violence. For this month’s Categorically Not! we’ll examine politics in the realms of art, activism and close primate relatives.

Jim Lafferty, executive director of the LA chapter of the National Lawyers Guild—an association of lawyers, law students and legal workers who give their time to protect the rights of ordinary folks—wonders whether there’s a future for the political activism in the U.S. What happens when governments chill free speech for all but the bravest and most committed; when the Supreme court decides corporations are more important than people; when concentrations of money, power and media make mass movements all but impossible. Is the human political animal obsolete in our country?

Change often requires what Robbie Conal would call Art Attack. “America’s foremost street artist” according to the Washington Post, Robbie’s posters skewering politicians, bureaucrats, and “other people dangerous to democracy and the future of rock'n'roll” have lined the streets of major cities; he’s the subject of the documentary “Post No Bills” and recipient of a NEA individual artist’s grant (he has an MFA from Stanford). Featured in venues ranging from The Wall Street Journal to "Charlie Rose,” Robbie’s work will be on display at the hangar, along with his book: “Not Your Typical Political Animal.”

Humans aren't the only political animals, of course. USC Anthropologist Amy Parish will discuss politics among other species, especially our closest living relatives--chimps and bonobos. As Amy's research has revealed, bonobo societies are dominated by females, who control access to everything from food to mating. Such a political landscape challenges many popular assumptions about human evolution—including the “natural”  political order of things. At USC, Amy teaches classes on Darwin and culture, ethical issues in health and "Love, Marriage, and the Experience of Being a Wife.”

Robbie Conal

Jim Lafferty

Amy Parish

Political Animals
wpe735c40e.png wpaceb42bc.png
Home About Us Upcoming Events Past Events At the Hangar