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

Film-Based Teaching Machine
"1975: And the Changes to Come," by dbostrom. Apparently it's a "film-based teaching machine."

I’m excited that we have a publication date for an essay collection I’m contributing to. Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Film in the United States will be published by Oxford in winter 2011. The editors are Marsha Orgeron, Devin Orgeron, and Dan Streible. From the flyer:

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 film 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.

My essay is on Thomas Edison’s Red Cross Seal films, which I’ve posted about here. I really liked working with Marsha, Devin, and Dan. Their edits made my work much, much stronger. The full list of contributors:

Introduction: A History of Learning with the Lights Off, Devin Orgeron, Marsha Orgeron, and Dan Streible

1.    The Cinema of the Future: Visions of the Medium as Modern Educator, 1895-1910, Oliver Gaycken

2. Communicating Disease: Tuberculosis, Narrative, and Social Order in Thomas Edison’s Red Cross Seal Films, Miriam Posner

3.    Visualizing Industrial Citizenship, Lee Grieveson

4.    Film Education in the Natural History Museum: Cinema Lights Up the Gallery in the 1920s, Alison Griffiths

5.    Glimpses of Animal Life: Nature Films and the Emergence of Classroom Cinema, Jennifer Peterson

6.    Medical Education through Film: Animating Anatomy at the American College of Surgeons and Eastman Kodak, Kirsten Ostherr

7.    Dr. ERPI Finds His Voice: Electrical Research Products, Inc. and the Educational Film Market, 1927-1937, Heide Solbrig

8.    Educational Film Projects of the 1930s: Secrets of Success and the Human Relations Series, Craig Kridel

9.    “Education, Broadly Interpreted”: Rockefeller Philanthropies and the Development of Educational Film, 1935-1946, Victoria Cain

10.    Cornering The Wheat Farmer (1938), Gregory A. Waller

11.    The Failure of the NYU Educational Film Institute, Dan Streible

12.   Spreading the Word: Race, Religion, and the Rhetoric of Contagion in Edgar G. Ulmer’s TB Films,Devin Orgeron

13.    Exploitation as Education, Eric Schaefer

14.    Smoothing the Contours of Didacticism: Jam Handy and His Organization, Rick Prelinger

15.    Museum at Large: Aesthetic Education through Film, Katerina Loukopoulou

16.    Celluloid Classrooms and Everyday Projectionists: Post-WWII Consolidation of Community Film Activism, Charles R. Acland

17.    Screen Culture and Group Discussion in Postwar Race Relations, Anna McCarthy

18.    “A Decent and Orderly Society”: Race Relations in Riot-Era Educational Films, 1966-1970, Marsha Orgeron

19.    Everything Old Is New Again; or, Why I Collect Educational Films, Skip Elsheimer with Kimberly Pifer

20.    Continuing Ed: Educational Film Collections in Libraries and Archives, Elena Rossi-Snook

21.    A Select Guide to Educational Film Collections, Elena Rossi-Snook

It’s exciting to be in such august company.

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