Social Struggle and Justice

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This is the second of our weekly Discussion Forums we will work in this semester that will be focused on the general subjects/genres of each week’s study.

Please use this Conference to respond to Week Two’s grouping of films focused on the week’s main subject.

Since this week’s subject is “Social Struggle and Justice,” and because we are studying American culture as well as American filmmaking, you should write posts connecting the films you watched to the subject under consideration.

You should engage in discussion with your classmates in this Social Struggle and Justice Discussion; you can synthesize what you’re learning from our Learning Resources, the films you’re screening, and any other research you’re doing; participation in the subject Discussion Forum indicates a lively interest in the class, and in learning more about its subject, and in interacting with your classmates.

While you do not need to answer a specific prompt, this is an outlet for discussion about the weekly topics, and an opportunity to share ideas about work you are doing each week.

For our screenings this week, I’m sure you may have noticed that the subject title I have given the second group of films you are to select from for viewing and discussing in your Film Diary (and possibly writing Reports on) is “Social Struggle and Justice.”

As you may have surmised, I chose this name, and the grouping of films associated with it, for two reasons: 1) some of the films (WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD, SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS and GRAPES OF WRATH) originate in the early era of sound film and depict characters trying to survive the Great Depression, and 2) more importantly, all the films offered for your selection deal in one way or another with struggles for meaningful work, economic security and social justice (for examples, MATEWAN, ON THE WATERFRONT, NORMA RAE, etc.).

Because in this class we are dealing not only with the artistic and industrial aspects of cinema, but also the social conditions from which films arise and emerge, I hope it is clear that the reason I have gathered this selection of titles is to emphasize the connections between the Great Depression of the 1930s and the “Great Recession” in which we find ourselves today. These connections include the quest for employment and adequate housing, nutrition, education, etc.

As you contemplate the films you are viewing, refer to my Course Content document on “3 Levels” to aid you in drawing your own connections among the artistic, social and personal aspects of film and American culture.

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