Posted: December 15th, 2023
First discussion: MY RECOMMENDATION
I have chosen film, cinema, in my work in order to theorize difficult questions regarding democracy and difference. There are, however, many points of caution in choosing to use film. Films often can reinforce and affirm stereotyped and demeaning images of others; that is, film is as effective a tool for installing as it is for challenging and overcoming oppression. However, as I write in Chapter One, the fictionalized realism of film can allow for a sharing of the different experiences that individuals live through and can serve as a helpful tool to uncover the raw materials that make up our various social or cultural identities. In other words, and more specifically, film and film criticism facilitate the search for a location from which to envision a democratic politics in ways that are respectful of difference and that quite possibly can contribute to the transformation of one’s sensibilities by providing an opportunity to theorize and imagine a new or emerging politics from a position of eyewitness.
Identify two-feature length films not presented in class that you believe have the potential to transform one’s political sensibilities pertaining to deep differences. In addition to naming your recommendations, be sure to give a full citation and a short abstract for each of the two films you recommend.
In other words, students are to recommend two U.S. films (non-documentaries produced in the United States of America) within the past five years and that are not listed anywhere on the political science 1 course syllabus. Proper citations must follow this format: Film title. Dir. First Name Last Name. Distributor, Year of Release. Medium.
Second discussion: MY CONCLUSION
I have suggested that we should engage and be engaged by those persons who see and understand the world differently from those who sit comfortably within a dominant we society so that we might (re)imagine or discover a new place for democratic politics. And as film-goers who find ourselves more susceptible emotionally to the stimuli presented in a movie theatre, we can at times experience vicariously, yet deeply, the events, the stories, the lives of those who are different from ourselves. As individuals living in a multicultural and diverse society we should consider opening ourselves up to and welcoming such engagement and the possibilities for personal transformation in our individual sensibilities. Such a transformation might occur when one considers and compares the experiences of his or her life and the impact of those experiences on his or her identity next to those raw materials that make-up or construct the identity(ies) of those who are different from them, specifically those who have been marginalized, disregarded, and silenced by a dominant we society. I have suggested that when one truly sees Other, sees and hears the stories of difference crafted and told by the Other in film, one might come to respect the different voices and stories of those lives and thus allow him or herself to see and experience life from a new position, a transformed sensibility, where politics transcend convention. In other words, when we consider our lives next to those who are different from us, when we frame those different human stories next to our own personal human narrative we may come to understand how a particular human uncertainty and vulnerability informs all of our lives.
In 300-500 words share whether or not you believe film has the potential to transform one’s political sensibilities. And if you believe that your personal sensibilities have been (re)shaped or transformed by a particular film, say so. The objective here is to share your thoughts pertaining to the major thesis presented in Democracy and Difference.
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