Disney draws diverse audience for first Moveable Feast lecture

Megan McGinnis, Staff Writer

Audience members of all ages gathered for the first Moveable Feast lecture of the 2015­16 year. Dr. Michael Hall of Armstrong’s History department presented his work on Disney and its role in improving American­Brazilian relations during World War II.

The lecture, which took place on Sept. 24 was aptly named “Donald Duck’s Allies: José Carioca, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force and U.S Armed Forces in World War II.”

While many assumed Donald Duck was the focus of the lecture, it was in fact José Carioca.

The character was created by Walt Disney and debuted in the film “Saludos Amigos,” which was released in South America. The film gained popularity in Brazil and helped bolster approval of their newfound allies.

Dr. Hall pointed out that “If you mix in a little popular culture to get people in the door, they’re more than willing to learn if you can make it interesting.” He wasn’t wrong.

Response for the lecture was overwhelmingly positive and a thunderous round of applause greeted Dr. Hall once he finished delivering his lecture. While there were also a few unusual attendees, two young children who sat near the front, gleefully taking part in the seminar whenever they could, perhaps the most intrigued were non­History majors.

Jackie Zantow, a senior English major attending the seminar said “I’m not a history buff, so I came in expecting to be underwhelmed, but it was great! I learned things I never knew, and I thought about things I’d never considered.”

As with previous years, the location of lectures are paramount to the topics discussed. The newly renovated building for the American Legion, an organization that focuses solely on veterans, made a fitting venue for the lecture.

“The Brazilian Expeditionary Force working with the U.S. 5th Army in the Italian campaign shows our veterans and [theirs] working together for a common cause, which I would argue is a common good cause,” said Dr. Hall.

Not only are all of the Moveable Feast lectures free and open to the public, but they also bring in a diversified audience that can include young children, the elderly, students of Armstrong or passersby.

Dr. David Wheeler, Interim Dean of Liberal Arts, believes it also allows students to see their professors in a new light.

“Students regard faculty as teachers because the classroom is where we usually interact, but most of us are scholars or creative artists too,” Wheeler said. “This series allows students to see a different aspect of the Armstrong faculty.”

The next Moveable Feast lecture is Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. in the Telfair Museum Rotunda and will feature Dr. Grant Gearhart’s lecture titled “Suiting up the Hero: Armor and Identity from the Black Prince to the Dark Knight.”