The Charlie Chaplin legacy comes to RU

Photo of Charlie Chaplin, public domain

Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp

The Little Tramp is coming to Radford University to help faculty and students explore questions about society and art.

As part of Stuart Diamond's Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellowship (WWVF) at Radford University, there will be public screenings and panel discussions of two classic Charlie Chaplin films: Modern Times and City Lights.  

These classic films feature Chaplin's famous Tramp character navigating the complicated social landscapes of the early 20th century. Diamond will serve on panels with RU faculty members following each of the screenings to discuss some of the intersections of arts, technology and society as seen through these films. 

"Chaplin was a highly recognized writer, actor, performer, businessman, and political activist, a new media mogul of his day, but also mired in scandal - political and personal," Diamond said.  

Modern Times will be screened at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 17, in the Hurlburt Student Center Auditorium. The film follows the Little Tramp as he struggles to survive in the modern, industrialized world. "The film is a comment on the desperate employment and fiscal conditions many people faced during the Great Depression, conditions created, in Chaplin's view, by the efficiencies of modern industrialization," Diamond said.

The panel for Modern Times will include Diamond; Joe Jones, professor of religion and philosophy; Matthew Turner, associate professor of communication; Richard Straw, professor of history; and moderated Scott Dunn, professor of communication.  

City Lights will screen at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18th in McGuffey 203. The film is famous for its final sequence, described by some critics as the most transcendent in the history of film – a love story fraught with underlying political discourse.  In 1992, the Library of Congress selected City Lights for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.  

The panel for City Lights will include Diamond; Jones; Ted McKosky, instructor of theatre and cinema; Jim Collier, assistant professor of communication; and moderator Dunn.  

Both screenings and their panel discussions are free and open to the public.

Stuart Diamond's residency at RU lasts from Monday, March 17, through Friday, March 21. Diamond has composed over 100 works in a plethora of styles such as symphonic and chamber music, theater, dance, film and video. His ensemble, Electric Diamond, has been performing continuously since 1977, specializing in live classical electronic music concerts.

For more than 35 years, the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program has brought prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other nonacademic professionals to campuses throughout the U.S. to explore and consider new connections between the academic and nonacademic worlds.

Diamond's residency and the Charlie Chaplin film screenings are sponsored by Office of the Provost and the Scholar-Citizen Initiative.

For more information, contact Tim Filbert in the Office of Community Engagement by email at or phone at (540) 831-6529.

Mar 14, 2014