Teaching Religion and Film

Teaching Religion and Film

Teaching Religion and Film

Teaching Religion and Film

Synopsis

In a culture increasingly focused on visual media, students have learned not only to embrace multimedia presentations in the classroom, but to expect them. Such expectations are perhaps more prevalent in a field as dynamic and cross-disciplinary as religious studies, but the practice nevertheless poses some difficult educational issues -- the use of movies in academic coursework has far outpaced the scholarship on teaching religion and film. What does it mean to utilize film in religious studies, and what are the best ways to do it? In Teaching Religion and Film, an interdisciplinary team of scholars thinks about the theoretical and pedagogical concerns involved with the intersection of film and religion in the classroom. They examine the use of film to teach specific religious traditions, religious theories, and perspectives on fundamental human values. Some instructors already teach some version of a film-and-religion course, and many have integrated film as an ancillary to achieving central course goals. This collection of essays helps them understand the field better and draws the sharp distinction between merely "watching movies" in the classroom and comprehending film in an informed and critical way.

Excerpt

This project was inspired by a suggestion from Diane Jonte-Pace, whom I would like to thank. I had just been hired to teach a class on religion and film at Santa Clara University. Fresh from the publication of her own volume in the AAR Teaching Series, Teaching Freud, Jonte-Pace encouraged me to consider doing the same for religion and film. The idea was slow to take hold. I was only starting to understand how to tackle the intersection between religion—that diverse and complicated area of human culture and experience—and the extremely powerful medium of film. But by way of the classroom (and with thanks to my many curious and thoughtful students at Santa Clara and Stanford) I quickly began to see the intellectual and pedagogical promise of bringing religion and film together. Part of that promise comes from the fact that we, as a scholarly community, are just beginning to discover the many ways we can investigate and teach this intersection. Indeed, part of the enjoyment of teaching this material is that our challenges as scholars can be shared in the classroom—the students can play a role in the investigation by telling us who they are as movie viewers and what they find themselves thinking and feeling when they watch a movie.

However, I also learned that very little material was available on the pedagogical challenges in the religion and film classroom. Finally, with Jonte-Pace’s invitation in mind, I tested the waters by asking a few well-known names in the field (whom I did not know personally) whether they would be interested in contributing to such a volume. From the very start, the contributors to this book accepted the invitation enthusiastically—and I thank them for the hard work they put into this wonderful collection of essays. I would also like to thank Susan Henking, the AAR Teaching Series editor, for her . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.