Saturday, May 1, 2010

Propaganda and "Terrorism"

Thanks to my Women's Studies students Christine Bowden, Rebekah Glover, and Rebecca Nesbitt for this link to a 1950s British newsreel film that represents the Kenyan freedom fighters, known as Mau Mau, as terrorists. The reel was produced while Britain held colonial control over Kenya, and the newsreel is clearly intended to drum up anti-Mau Mau support for continued British occupation. Based on our viewing of In the Name of Liberation, what questions come to mind about defining terrorism when you view this newsreel?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sierra Leone Legalizes Free Health Care for Mothers, Infants

This news release from Medicins sans frontieres/Doctors Without Borders details Sierra Leone's new national law, which mandates free health care as of April 27, 2010, to the nation's most vulnerable groups: pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children under the age of five. These groups represent the highest rates of mortality in the nation, and the new law seeks to reduce these numbers by improving access to preventive and urgent medical care that many cannot otherwise afford.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Film: Searching for Angela Shelton, 4/27, Keezell G3, 7pm

To raise awareness for Sexual Abuse Prevention Month, one of our class service project groups will screen the documentary Searching For Angela Shelton. The film's director, Angela Shelton, searched for women who share her name only to find that over half, like herself, have been sexually abused. Soon her journey turns into a vivid and moving commentary on both sexual and child abuse in society today, as Shelton confronts the man who abused her. The film will be shown Tuesday, April 27th, in Keezel Hall room G3 at 7:00pm. I hope you'll attend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wal-Mart in India

This New York Times article details the discount retailer's push into new markets around the globe, most recently into India. How does this account connect with the cultural effects of globalization we see portrayed in the film Monsoon Wedding? How does the account of Wal-Mart's commissioned Indian farms differ from the IMF-induced Jamaican farming crisis reported in the documentary Life and Debt?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Txt Letters to the Ed in Namibia

The independent newspaper of Namibia, The Namibian, accepts and prints mobile-texted (SMS) letters to the Editor three times a week. The program has been wildly successful in sparking national discussion on a range of topics. Government officials as well as citizens participate in the innovative program. PBS has the story here. How does this freedom of speech connect to class discussions?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Critter Love: Student Documentary on Animal Rights 4/19

Screening: April 19th, 7pm, in Zane-Showker G5

A group of my GENG 239 students have produced a documentary focused on raising awareness for animal needs and welfare, as well as showing JMU students (and others) how they can help pets in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham community. At the screening, the group will collect donations for the Rockingham/Harrisonburg SPCA. Donations can be made in cash, or can include any of the following items:
• Pet food (preferably Purina or Pedigree)
• Pet toys
• Collars or leashes
• Any office supplies (3 ring binders, copy paper, notepads, pens, etc.)
• Any cleaning supplies (trash bags, hand soap, dish soap, various cleansers)

I hope you'll come out and support your classmates and our animal friends.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Backstreet Abortions in Kenya: Few Other Options

Thanks to my Women's Studies student Rachael Capone for bringing this article from to my attention. As we've been talking about the after-effects of colonialism (called neocolonialism) on nations throughout the world, the issue of overworked health care systems and residual colonial-era State policies is one example of very real problems affecting the daily lives of numerous families. How does this news story reflect or connect to our recent literary forays into postcolonial conditions in Latin America (via Pablo Neruda's poetry) and the Caribbean (via the documentary Life and Debt)?