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Hispanic Highlights: PhD Humor and Tango

  • News Image
    Jorge Cham offers a humorous insider's view of graduate research.
  • News Image
    Professional dancers from the New York City's Strictly Tango will teach a workshop and perform on campus.
September 17, 2013
Hispanic Heritage Month opens Sept. 17 and 18 with Panamanian-born Jorge Cham’s “The PhD Movie” and his lecture on procrastination. 

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College celebrates Hispanic Heritage month in  September with four special events that begin with the academic humor of Panamanian-born cartoonist Jorge Cham and end with the passion of Argentine dance. In between is a sale of Peruvian handcrafts. 

imageThe first event, Tuesday, September 17, at 8 p.m. is a free public screening of Cham’s live-action comedy, “The PhD Movie,” in Norman James Theatre, first floor of William Smith Hall. 

The following day, Wednesday, September 18, at 6:30 p.m. in Decker Theater, Cham will deliver his popular lecture  “The Power of Procrastination.” In the talk, he recounts his experiences bringing humor into the lives of stressed-out academics, examines the source of their anxieties, and explores the associated guilt and positive attributes of procrastination. The screening and talk, both free and open to the public, are sponsored by the William James Forum, Phi Beta Kappa, the Department of Modern Languages, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. 

Jorge Cham earned his PhD in robotics at Stanford University and then became a full-time Instructor and researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). But he became better known for the comic strip he created while still a graduate student – PHD: Piled Higher and Deeper. The humorous insider’s look at the life of graduate students is published online and in university newspapers and science journals across the country. When he was ready to turn his comic strip into a live-action comedy, Cham recruited CalTech researchers and staffers as actors and shot on location at the university. The movie follows four graduate students as they struggle with teaching, love and getting their research to work. More recently, Cham garnered acclaim—and some two million plays on Vimeo—for his work on The Higgs Boson Explained, an eight-minute video about the so-called “God Particle.” 

On September 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Hodson Commons, the popular Peruvian Handcrafts Fair will return, with ceramics, musical instruments, folk art, handbags, toys, ponchos and jewelry for sale. The sale, with items supplied through the Baltimore-based Peruvian gift store Inka Kuya, is sponsored by Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish Club, the Department of Modern Languages, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. 

The Hispanic Heritage Month events close dramatically on Saturday, September 28 with the two Tango events.  The Tango Workshop for Beginners will take place in the College dance studio, inside the Johnson Fitness Center, from 5 to 6 p.m. The instructors from Strictly Tango are dedicated to preserving pure Argentine Tango and will have even the least experienced students enjoying the basic dance steps before the lesson ends.  

That evening at 8 p.m. in Tawes Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts, the professional dancers of Strictly Tango, accompanied by authentic live music, will present a performance titled Noche de Tangoor Night of Tango. This final event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Department of Modern Languages.


Last modified on Sep. 4th, 2013 at 3:35pm by Kay MacIntosh.