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Carrie Kemper on Writing ‘Silicon Valley’

May 11, 2016

The television writer Carrie Kemper (American Studies, '06) spoke to Shelley Fisher Fishkin and students from the American West Course about her work on the Emmy-nominated HBO comedy series, “Silicon Valley.” Read a recap of the event »

Clips from “Silicon Valley” provided with the kind permission of HBO. More about “Silicon Valley” »

Note: Contains explicit language –
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  •   Clip: "Stanford Robotics"cue video  
  •   Question: Will Stanford Figure in Season Three? cue video
  •   Clip: Cost of Living in Palo Alto cue video
  •   Question: Targets for Satire? cue video
  •   Clip: "No Revenue!" cue video
  •   Question: How Authentic is Portrayal of Silicon Valley? cue video
  •   Question: Lexicon of Silicon Valley cue video
  •   Clip: Ehrlich's Brainstorming Visionquest cue video
  •   Question: Over the Top Spending and Materialism to Play a Big Role? cue video
  •   Question: Booms and Busts in Silicon Valley? cue video
  •   Question: Positive and Negative Aspects of the Tech Boom? cue video
  •   Clip: "Disrupting Fatherhood" cue video
  •   Audience Question: Introducing More Critical Voices? cue video
  •   Audience Question: Being a Woman Writer Portraying Silicon Valley? cue video
  •   Audience Question: Similarities Between Hollywood and Silicon Valley? cue video
  •   Audience Question: Cultures of Other Tech Regions? cue video
  •   Audience Question: What Drew You to Satire? cue video
  •   Audience Question: Achieving Believable Characters cue video
  •   Audience Question: Making Transition from Stanford to Hollywood cue video
  •   Audience Question: Experience Joining the Writing Staff cue video
  •   Question: Comparable Programs on TV? cue video

Participants and Organizers

Carrie Kemper is a writer and producer for the Emmy-nominated HBO television series “Silicon Valley.” Her other TV writing credits include "The Office" and Comedy Central's “Nathan For You.” She majored in American Studies and graduated from Stanford in 2006.

Shelley Fisher Fishkin is one of the leading scholars on the work of Mark Twain in American culture and literature. She is the Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities, professor of English, and Director of American Studies at Stanford University, and is the award-winning author, editor or co-editor of over forty books and over one hundred articles, essays, columns, and reviews. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale and is a former president of the American Studies Association. Her latest book, Writing America: Literary Landmarks from Walden Pond to Wounded Knee was published in 2015 by Rutgers University Press. Read more »

The American West is an interdisciplinary undergraduate course co-taught by a distinguished group of Stanford faculty and arts administrators: Bruce Cain (Political Science), David Freyberg (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Shelley Fisher Fishkin (English), David M. Kennedy (History), and Connie Wolf (Cantor Arts Center). The course integrates several disciplinary perspectives into a comprehensive examination of Western North America: its history, physical geography, climate, literature, art, film, institutions, politics, demography, economy, and continuing policy challenges. Students examine themes fundamental to understanding the region: time, space, water, peoples, and boom and bust cycles. Read more »

The Program in American Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that seeks to convey a broad understanding of American culture and society in all their complexity. Building on a foundation of courses in history and institutions, literature and the arts, and race and ethnicity, students bring a range of disciplines to bear on their efforts to analyze and interpret America's past and present, forging fresh and creative syntheses along the way. The core requirements illustrate how different disciplines approach the study and interpretation of American life and include three courses in each of two main areas: History & Institutions; and Literature, Art, and Culture. The required gateway seminar, "Perspectives on American Identity," explores the tensions between commonality and difference from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Read more »

The Bill Lane Center for the American West is an interdisciplinary research center at Stanford University. The Center is dedicated to advancing scholarly and public understanding of the past, present, and future of western North America, the Center supports research, teaching, and reporting about western land and life in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.