[Air-l] Films/Pedagogy

Kendall, Lori Lori.Kendall at purchase.edu
Sun Oct 21 16:46:11 PDT 2001

I'm very eager to hear what people have to say on this topic.

We currently have absolutely no budget for films, and a very
limited supply on hand, so I'm limited to what I'm willing to
buy for myself, what I can tape off of television, and stuff 
I can easily rent from a video store.  Here is what I'm currently

I use the first hour of the three-part series (bought through
PBS) entitled Triumph of the Nerds (I think I'm remembering 
that title right).  It gives the students a bit of background
on the development of the PC, but more importantly, I use it
to talk about computer-related cultures and about identity and
computers.  The "nerds" are presented in this video in pretty
stereotypical ways, and I discuss with the class what the 
stereotypes are, and what the implications and connections are 
concerning gender, class, and race.  

I show the two-part series (also from PBS) Digital Divide
(http://www.pbs.org/digitaldivide).  This primarily discusses
the issue of computers in schools and does a pretty good job
of considering issues of race, class and (some) gender.  I like
that it does not take for granted that computers *should* be in
schools and that it brings up some issues regarding the future
of work and the political implications of partnerships between
corporations and public schools.

Finally, I do a segment in my class on science fiction representations
of computers and how these representations connect to cultural
ideas (including hopes and fears) regarding computer technology.
All of my students have seen (and mostly love) The Matrix, so 
I require them to rent it and view it again to discuss in 
conjunction with some classic "net"-related science fiction
novels.  I am considering putting together some clips from
older science fiction movies (Colossus: The Forbin Project,
2001, Demon Seed, stuff like that) and projecting them through
a laptop, but it is taking me awhile to find them all at local
video stores.  If anybody is using any of these old movies, I'd
be interested to hear about their experiences.  
Lori Kendall
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Purchase College-SUNY
lori.kendall at purchase.edu

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