Thursday, May 2, 2019

Post on the APA Blog: Horrific Thoughts: Incorporating Student Film-Making in a Course on Horror and Philosophy

I've recently published something over at the APA Blog with my colleague Studio Librarian Wes Smith.  Here's an excerpt:

Why do horror fans like to be scared? What does horror teach us about the meaning of life (and death)? Is the human condition terrifying? Can horror fiction help us deal with the horrors of reality, past and present, even when it comes to horrors like racism and American slavery?

We are Wes Smith, Studio Librarian, and Ethan Mills, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, both at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Last fall Ethan organized a lower-level general education course called Popular Culture, Religion, and Philosophy that focused on these questions. The course involved a variety of textual sources including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Albert Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus, W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, and Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred, as well as television and film including Black Mirror, The Thing (1982), and Get Out (2017). Just doing that already made for an odd introductory philosophy course, but then this course also included a unique project: students made their own short horror films. 
What are some of the challenges and benefits of incorporating student film-making in a philosophy course?

 We go on to discuss three challenges and three benefits:

Challenge #1: Can I Teach Philosophy Through Fiction and Film?

Challenge #2: I Have No Idea How to Make Films!

Challenge #3: Ain’t Got Time to Read?

Benefit #1: Fun!

Benefit #2: Learning on campus and in the community!

Benefit #3: Doing philosophy through film?

You can read the full post on the Blog of the APA!

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