Film Institute

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

June 14, 1996

Institute Explores Minorities in Film

Twenty-five secondary school English, literature, social studies and history teachers have been selected to attend a four-week regional institute on the depiction of minorities in film.

The institute, set for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, is offered through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and will feature nationally recognized minority scholars, writers and filmmakers.

The scholars, of African-American, Japanese-American, Native American and Latino ethnicities, will present histories of how ethnic groups are portrayed in film media, sometimes perpetuating negative stereotypes.

Thomas Cripps, a history professor at Morgan State University and an expert in the field of African-Americans and film, is one of the prominent instructors of the institute.

Cripps is the author of "Slow Fade to Black: The Negro in American Film 1900-1942" and "Making Movies Black." Cripps has also produced a documentary about African-Americans and film.

Japanese-American David Mura is a writer of fiction and non-fiction works as well as a book of poetry. Mura will focus much of his discussion about the Japanese Internment Camps of World War II.

Diane Glancy, celebrated Native American poet and fiction writer, is an associate Professor of English at Macalester College. Glancy, a member of the Cherokee tribe, is the author of "Pushing the Bear," as well as several books of poetry.

Glancy will discuss various aspects of Native American history, including relocation, contemporary reservation life and boarding schools.

Carlos Cortez, professor of history at the University of California-Riverside, is a leading expert in the field of Latino history. Cortez has edited several books about Mexican-American history and has also authored a book about the film history of race and ethnicity in the Americas.

Filmmaker and UW-Milwaukee associate Professor Iverson White will narrate a viewing of his critically acclaimed film, "Dark Exodus." White is also the producer of "Magic Love."

The participants will explore ways to use film in their classrooms to help students understand the evolution of American cultural diversity and the role that film plays in shaping changes in cultural diversity.

According to UW-RF Professor Laura Zlogar, the participants were selected based on essays they submitted that conveyed their desire to learn more about the use of film in the classroom. Some participants have already used film extensively, while others expressed a desire to learn. A few categorized themselves as movie buffs who hoped the institute would help them transform their lifetime love of the cinema into a powerful teaching tool.

During the institute, the participants will design a curriculum using film to be taught in their classrooms during the upcoming school year.

The teachers will be invited back to UW-RF during the summer of 1997 to share the results of their integrated curriculum. Some will be invited back to the University for a fall teaching conference where they will instruct other teachers in effective film use.

Although the majority of the participants are from Wisconsin and Minnesota, some are coming from as far away as New York City and Miami. The participants teach in a broad mix of urban, rural and suburban settings in public, private and parochial schools.

Teachers participating from Wisconsin include:

Hudson: David Heikkila, History/Economics, Baldwin-Woodville High School, Baldwin.

Madison: Beth Steffen, English/Literature, Beloit Memorial High School; Nancy Hoitomt, English/Literature, Edgerton High School.

Mayville: Guy Blondey, English/Literature, Mayville High School.

Milwaukee: Kenneth Walker, English/Journalism, John Marshall High School; Michael Pikuleff, English/Literature, Riverside University High School; Scott Pollard, History/Social Studies, Washington High School.

Mondovi: Hans Madland, English/Literature/History, Gilmanton High School.

Phillips: David Peterson, English/Literature, Phillips High School.

River Falls: Harold Tiffany, English/Literature, New Richmond High School.

Somerset: Robert Gabrick, History, White Bear Lake High School, Minn.

South Milwaukee: Joyce Brown, English/Literature, South Milwaukee High School.

Spring Valley: Kenneth Kratt, English/Literature/Drama, Spring Valley High School.

Sun Prairie: Janice Stendel, History/Social Studies, Sun Prairie High School.

Warrens: Marianne Strozewski, English/History, Tomah High School.

Waupaca: N. Jane Nispel, English/Literature, Waupaca High School.

Wausau: Karen Finnegan, English/Literature, Wausau West High School.

Minnesota teachers participating are:

St. Paul: Phil Fitzpatrick, English/Literature, Breck School, Golden Valley; Dennis Simonson, History/Social Studies, Christ's Household of Faith School, St. Paul

Teachers from other states are:

Wilmington, Del.: Barbara Markham, Social Studies, Padua Academy.

Miami, Fla.: Diana Maniscalco, English/Literature, William H. Turner Technical Arts High School, Miami.

Milton, Mass.: Mark Hilgendorf, History, Milton Academy.

Englewood, N.J.: Tess Takahashi, History, Dwight-Englewood School.

Ocean City, N.J.: Janice Michaud, History/Social Studies, Monmouth Regional High School, Trinton Falls.

New York, N.Y.: Jasmine Griffin, History/Social Studies, St. Jean Baptiste High School, New York.

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