Learning with the Lights Off

Learning with the Lights Off : Educational Film in the United States

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Learning With the Lights Off is the first collection of essays to address the phenomenon of film's educational uses in twentieth century America. Nontheatrical films in general and educational films in particular represent an exciting new area of inquiry in media and cultural studies. This collection illuminates a vastly influential form of filmmaking seen by millions of people around the world. The essays reveal significant insights into film's powerful role in twentieth century American culture as a medium of instruction and guidance. The book features an ambitious introductory overview of educational film practices that provides readers with a sense of how important a role film has played in producing knowledge in America both inside the classroom and out. Each essay analyzes in close detail some crucial aspect of educational film history, ranging from case studies of films and filmmakers, to analyses of genres, to broader historical assessments. Offering links to many of the films under discussion at the Internet Archive, readers will be able to easily watch for themselves many of the films studied within the book's pages. Learning With the Lights Off is both reader and classroom friendly, affording new opportunities for studying these often hard-to-find films.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 544 pages
  • 177.8 x 251.46 x 25.4mm | 952.54g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195383834
  • 9780195383836
  • 1,504,964

Review quote

Learning with the Lights Off takes on a broad but remarkably understudied area of film history with zest and depth. In exploring film's educational mission-both real and imagined-each essay in this extraordinary collection gives new insight and meaning to the 'discourse of sobriety' which scholars of nonfiction such as Bill Nichols have seen as its keystone feature. This is a rich and textured investigation that will expand scholarly focus from 'the documentary' to the 'nonfiction film,' which includes such categories as the industrial, instructional, and informational program. * Charles Musser, Yale University * Learning with the Lights Off is a welcome contribution to the literature on educational filmmaking in the United States... * Journal of Film and Video *show more

About Devin Orgeron

Devin Orgeron is Associate Professor at North Carolina State University and co-editor of The Moving Image, the journal of the Association for Moving Image Archivists. He is the author of Road Movies. Marsha Orgeron is Associate Professor of Film Studies at North Carolina State University and co-editor of The Moving Image, the journal of Association for Moving Image Archivists. She is the author of Hollywood Ambitions: Celebrity in the Movie Age. Dan Streible teaches cinema studies at New York University, where he is also director of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program. He directs the Orphan Film Project and its biennial symposium. He is the author of Fight Pictures: A History of Boxing and Early Cinema.show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ; Introduction A History of Learning with the Lights Off ; 1. The Cinema of the Future: Visions of the Medium as Modern Educator, 1895-1910 ; 2. Communicating Disease: Tuberculosis, Narrative, and Social Order in Thomas Edison's Red Cross Seal Films ; 3. Visualizing Industrial Citizenship ; 4. Film Education in the Natural History Museum: Cinema Lights Up the Gallery in the 1920s ; 5. Glimpses of Animal Life: Nature Films and the Emergence of Classroom Cinema ; 6. Medical Education through Film: Animating Anatomy at the American College of Surgeons and Eastman Kodak ; 7. Dr. ERPI Finds His Voice: Electrical Research Products, Inc. and the Educational Film Market, 1927-1937 ; 8. Educational Film Projects of the 1930s: Secrets of Success and the Human Relations Series ; 9. Education, Broadly Interpreted": Rockefeller Philanthropies and the Development of Educational Film, 1935-1946 ; 10. Cornering The Wheat Farmer (1938) ; 11. The Failure of the NYU Educational Film Institute ; 12. Spreading the Word: Race, Religion, and the Rhetoric of Contagion in Edgar G. Ulmer's TB Films ; 13. Exploitation as Education ; 14. Smoothing the Contours of Didacticism: Jam Handy and His Organization ; 15. Museum at Large: Aesthetic Education through Film ; 16. Celluloid Classrooms and Everyday Projectionsists: Post-WWII Consolidation of Community Film Activism ; 17. Screen Culture and Group Discussion in Postwar Race Relations ; 18. "A Decent and Orderly Society": Race Relations in Riot-Era Educational Films, 1966-1970 ; 19. Everything Old Is New Again; or, Why I Collect Educational Films ; 20. Continuing Ed: Educational Film Collections in Libraries and Archives ; 21. A Select Guide to Educational Film Collectionsshow more

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