March 12, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Chapman University’s Office of the President, Office of Research, and Musco Center for the Arts Present


Exploring America’s Great Divide

Click here for tickets.

ORANGE, Calif. – On Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 pm, Chapman University’s Office of the President, Office of Research, and Musco Center for the Arts present the free Orange County premiere screening of HILLBILLY, an award-winning new documentary film. HILLBILLY, co-directed by Chapman Assistant Professor of Documentary Film Sally Rubin and filmmaker Ashley York, seeks to expand cultural understanding the Appalachian region and its infamous stereotype. The post-screening discussion with an expert panel features Dr. Stephanie Takaragawa, Presidental Fellow Joel Kotkin, Professor Lori Cox Han, and HILLBILLY Director Sally Rubin.

Called “wonderful” by Dolly Parton and praised by as “3.5 stars…an ambitious and enlightening documentary, filled with wisdom and asking great questions,” HILLBILLY seeks to challenge viewers’ perception, opening up a dialogue between urban and diverse communities in Appalachia. The film goes on a personal and political journey into the heart of the Appalachian coalfields, exploring the role of media representation in the creation of the iconic American “hillbilly,” and the impact of these stereotypes on America’s current cultural and political divide.

Winner of the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival and long-listed for an Oscar, HILLBILLY deconstructs mainstream media representations of the evolution of the uneducated, promiscuous “hillbilly” stereotype and its socio-economic impact. The film uncovers an unexpected set of artists, poets, and activists, queer musicians, “Affrilachian” poets, and intersectional feminists — all unexpected voices emerging from this historically misunderstood region. HILLBILLY is a timely and urgent exploration of how we see and think about Appalachian and rural identity in contemporary America, offering a call for dialogue between urban and rural communities during this divisive time in our nation’s history.

Tickets for March 12 are free and may be reserved through Musco Center online at or by calling the box office at 844-OC-MUSCO (844-626-8726). All print-at-home tickets include a no-cost parking pass. Musco Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Chapman University at 415 North Glassell, Orange, Calif.


Dr. Stephanie Takaragawa (moderator)

Dr. Stephanie Takaragawa is Associate Dean of the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Chapman University. Her expertise is in Cultural Anthropology and Visual Culture, as well as representation in film, mass media, art, performance, and cultural display. She is a founding member of the curatorial collective Ethnographic Terminalia. She is currently president of the Society for Visual Anthropology (2015-2017), a subsection of the American Anthropological Association.

Joel Kotkin

Described by the New York Times as “America’s uber-geographer,” Joel Kotkin is an internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends. He authored THE HUMAN CITY: Urbanism for the Rest of Us and co-edited the recently released collection Infinite Suburbia. Mr. Kotkin is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism. He is Senior Advisor to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. He is Executive Editor of the widely read website and writes the weekly “New Geographer” column for A regular contributor to the Daily Beast and Real Clear Politics, he also writes a weekly column for Digital First Media, which owns numerous daily newspapers in the greater Los Angeles region. Kotkin recently completed several studies including on Texas urbanism, the future of localism and the changing role of transit in America. As director of the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman, he recently published a strategic analysis for Orange County, CA.

Professor Lori Cox Han

Dr. Han is a Professor of Political Science at Chapman University. Her major area of expertise is American government, with research and teaching interests in the presidency, women and politics, media and politics, and political leadership. She is the author of Presidents and the American Presidency, Women, Power, and PoliticsHandbook to American Democracy, A Presidency Upstaged: The Public Leadership of George H.W. Bush, The Spectrum of Leadership, and Governing From Center Stage: White House Communication Strategies During the Television Age of Politics. She is also the editor of Hatred of America’s Presidents: Personal Attacks on the White House from Washington to Trump. Her research has also appeared in American Politics Research, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Congress and the Presidency, and White House Studies. In addition, Dr. Han is the past president of the Presidency Research Group, an organized section of the American Political Science Association devoted to the study of the presidency.

Filmmaker Sally Rubin

Sally Rubin, Co-Director/Producer of HILLBILLY, is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker who has worked in the field for over 20 years. Her films have broadcast on the Emmy-award PBS series Independent Lens and PBS nationally, and she has produced and edited films that have aired on Frontline, HBO, and the Sundance Channel. Rubin has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, Chicken and Egg Pictures, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Fledgling Fund, among others. Her films have screened at top film festivals and series including the LA Film Festival, DOC NYC, Big Sky, and the American Documentary Showcase. Rubin holds an M.A in Documentary Film from Stanford University and is a judge for the Emmy Awards, the International Documentary Awards and an Assistant Professor of Documentary Film at Chapman University.


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