Why are the humanities perceived to have lost their relevance? Why do academic administrations tend to cut humanities programs during periods of financial crisis? How can the humanities define their role in the debate against gender violence, racism, and slavery, for example, in the 21st century? This presentation offers two case studies of the changes that the humanities are undertaking to insert their relevance. Two similar classroom discussions on the theme of gender violence in the context of literature and film at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, and Ohio State University, Columbus, motivated symposia and conferences and, in turn, created action-oriented young students who succeeded in securing grants and working for NGOs, serving victims of gender violence. On the one hand, social scientists often argue that narratives and images do not reveal public attitudes nor do they have impact. On the other, scholars, like Fredric Jameson, contend that often films assuage viewers’ desires and fulfill their needs by tapping into the “political unconscious.” By presenting the two case studies and employing theory on the way literature and film reflect and produce political meaning and ideology, we will assert our view that critical analysis of narrative and film on gender violence can create action-oriented citizens and contribute to policy literature.
|Keywords:||Gender Violence in the Curriculum, Spanish Golden Age Literature and Culture, Slavic Culture, Literature, Film and Social Activism, Interdisciplinarity|
Assistant Professor of Spanish, Modern Languages Department, Saint Mary’s College, South Bend, Indiana, USA
Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Literature, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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