International affairs touch many Franklin College departments, majors and programs, and our majors inform international programs beyond Franklin as well. From business to agriculture and SPIA, a globally-minded educational experience is grounded in the liberal arts. A new flm series beginning a trial run at UGA this semester, Cinema Politique, which aims to introduce and discuss international and national political developments on the basis of documentaries and movies, underscores these important cross-connections on campus - and beyond:
Led by Cas Mudde of the School of Public and International Affairs, and Mary Miller, Peabody Awards Collection archivist with the UGA Libraries, the series will draw largely from the vast Peabody Awards Collection and will take place once a month. A UGA faculty member will introduce each film, lead a discussion afterwards and make additional reading suggestions.
"My own teaching experiences have taught me that many students, particularly at institutions like UGA, learn better and more about many political phenomena when, by and large, abstract and theoretical academic texts are combined with documentaries or movies," Mudde said. "This is particularly true for phenomena that are so far removed from their daily life and limited life experience that they literally cannot imagine it. This applies to many contemporary and historical phenomena outside of the U.S., ranging from Nazi Germany to child soldiers in Africa, but also in the U.S., from Jim Crow to the ‘War on Drugs.' "
During the spring semester, movies will be shown the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Miller Learning Center. Mudde noted that, while the primary audience for the program is students, all members of the UGA and Athens communities are welcome to attend. He said that this semester will be a trial run to work out structural and logistical issues.
The first film on Wednesday Feb. 15 Tsotsi (2005), will be introduced by a discussion led by William Finlay of the department of sociology. A South African hoodlum named Tsotsi lives by a code of violence, and he and his gang of thugs prowl the streets of Johannesburg day and night, attacking those who fail to give them what they want. After casually shooting a woman and stealing her car, he discovers her baby in the back seat. Instead of harming the infant, he takes it home and cares for it. The child acts as a catalyst for the hardened thug to regain his humanity.
This should be a great series. Schools and colleges around campus work hard to distinguish ourselves but we also work together to move the whole learning environment forward and this is a strong expression of that commitment.