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Social Science

Social Equality and Political Science


Director: Richard Wormser

Weaving powerful and compelling personal stories told by American Communists with objective historical sources and analysis, American Reds: "What Must We Dream Of?" illuminates the epic story of the rise and fall of the American Communist Party.

Between 1920 and 1960, more than one million men and women joined the Party to fight for the emancipation of American workers from economic tyranny and plutocracy, for the freedom of minorities from racism and sexism, for the defense of America from fascism, and for the ultimate creation of a radiant society based on freedom, equality, justice, and fraternity.

American Reds features unseen interviews by Richard Wormser of notable Party members such as Gus Hall, Henry Winston, Anne Burlak Timpson, Robert Schrank, and Steve Nelson; rare footage from the Moscow archives; and interviews with scholars such as Glenda Gilmore, Beverly Gage, Harvey Klehr, John Haynes, Vivian Gornick, and Eric Arnesen.

Professors of both U.S. and social history will be find a valuable teaching tool in American Reds. It provides a perspective on the past that few Americans are aware of while raising a number of key issues concerning social change, idealism, ideology, and the nature of our economic and political system that continue to remain vital issues in contemporary America.

DVD / 2015 / () / 86 minutes

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Director: Janina Quint

Today, Europe's fastest growing Jewish population is in Berlin. Germany is considered one of the most democratic societies in the world, assuming the position of moral leader of Europe as they embrace hundreds of thousands of refugees. Through hard work, grassroots action, and productive confrontation of the moral responsibilities of democratic citizenship, the German people have given Hitler his greatest defeat.

Through personal stories, Germans & Jews explores Germany's transformation as a society, from silence about the Holocaust to facing it head on. Unexpectedly, a nuanced story of reconciliation emerges. What began as a private conversation between the two filmmakers and friends, Tal Recanati (Jewish) and Janina Quint (non-Jewish German), grew into a cultural exchange among many. Sitting in on a dinner party of the Germans and Jews featured in the film, we see a people whose lives are inextricably linked through the memory of the Holocaust. What does it mean to take responsibility for the past? How can we do it? The scholars, intellectuals, and citizens in this film are diligently and actively seeking thoughtful and honest answers.

This is a lesson in modern history, as well as a measured study in the most radically successful example of social and cultural reconciliation in modern times. Watch and learn how tolerant and thoughtful confrontation of the past can radically re-form the social fabric of the present and create a shared vision for a united and enlightened future. Great mechanisms of democracy - the school classrooms, public discourse, public art - are productively at work. As movements in the United States such as Black Lives Matter shed light on persisting racial injustice and the deep trauma of unresolved conflict, those who want to imagine what it would look like to successfully encounter the legacy of white privilege can look to Germans & Jews as an essential roadmap to meaningful progress.

Germans & Jews is at once uncomfortable and provocative, unexpected and enlightening.

DVD (English and German with English subtitles) / 2015 / () / 76 minutes

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Director: Atsushi Funahashi

Nuclear Nation II follows a new group of people exiled from Futaba, the region occupied by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Since the 1960s, Futaba had been promised prosperity with tax breaks and major subsidies to make up for the presence of the plant... until the townspeople lost their homeland on March 11, 2011.

The film portrays their lives as refugees in an abandoned high school, and in temporary housing. The political fallout from the nuclear disaster results in conflict between residents, and the mayor is forced to resign. Many decide to move back to Fukushima prefecture, just outside the evacuation zone. The town finds itself divided by the arbitrariness of evacuation, radiation levels, and compensation guidelines from the plant's operator. And then, the Japanese government announces a plan to turn Futaba into an official, literal wasteland.

Is it possible to truly compensate the townspeople for what they have lost? Through their agonies and frustrations, the film questions the real cost of nuclear energy and unbridled capitalism. But perhaps more important, this film gives a fully textured, all-access account of governmental bureaucracy's attempt and ultimate incapacity to adequately deal with displaced peoples. This is a problem we continue to face: Hurricane Katrina uprooted over a million people in the Gulf Coast region, more than a million migrants and refugees entered Europe in 2015, and over 11 million unauthorized immigrants seek home in the United States. There are over 60 million refugees worldwide.

Teachers and students looking to understand the depth of challenges facing the fair and efficient administration of human rights in times of crisis will be pleased to find Nuclear Nation II.

DVD (Japanese with English subtitles) / 2015 / () / 114 minutes

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Director: John Junkerman

Okinawa: The Afterburn is the first documentary to provide a comprehensive look at the battle and the ensuing 70-year occupation of Okinawa by the United States military.

On April 1, 1945, American troops landed on Okinawa, beginning a battle that lasted 12 weeks and claimed the lives of some 240,000 people. The film depicts the Battle through the eyes of Japanese and American soldiers who fought each other on the same battlefields, along with Okinawa civilians who were swept up in the fighting, with carefully selected footage from the U.S. National Archives.

The film also conveys the complex postwar fate of Okinawa, an island that has had to live side-by-side with an extensive array of US bases, and the related crimes, accidents, and pollution they have caused, while coexisting, on a personal level, with the occupying soldiers.

In Okinawa, the legacy of the war translates into a deeply rooted aversion to military force. This has been expressed in recent years by the island-wide rejection of the plan to build a new US base at Henoko, a source of controversy to this day. Okinawa: The Afterburn explores the roots of this resistance and Okinawa's vision for the future.


PART 1: The Battle of Okinawa depicts the ferocious battle through the testimony of Japanese and American soldiers who faced off in the conflict.

PART 2: Occupation reveals how military occupation policies were implemented.

PART 3: The Afterburn confronts the history of sexual violence that has accompanied the American military presence on Okinawa.

PART 4: To the Future explores the Japanese government's decision to build a new base in Henoko.

DVD (English and Japanese with English subtitles) / 2015 / () / 121 minutes

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Director: David Massey

Directed by Oscar-nominated and NAACP Image Award winner David Massey, this dynamic documentary features legal experts, local activists, and law enforcement officers delving into ongoing charges of inequality, unfair practices, and politicized manipulations of America's judicial system. Additionally, the Black Lives Matter movement and citizens nationwide question the staggering number of police shootings of unarmed Black men and women.

DVD / 2015 / () / 40 minutes

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Director: Nicolas Rossier

One man made the end of apartheid possible: in February 1990, President F.W. de Klerk lifted the ban on the African National Congress and ordered the release of Nelson Mandela. As the world celebrated, Mandela would go on to become South Africa's first democratically elected president - with de Klerk as his Vice President. Many films have been made about Nelson Mandela and the history of apartheid; few have taken on the challenge of bringing his predecessor - F.W. de Klerk to the screen, keeping him in the shadow of his exploits.

But de Klerk's history is complicated. Before becoming president, de Klerk had been a virulent defender of white Africans and their privileges, and his own term as president was marred by political violence - often at the hands of his own security forces. What pushed this man to reverse his beliefs and jumpstart the process of making South Africa a more equal and just nation?

Featuring in-depth interviews with F.W. de Klerk, former South African president Thabo Mbeki (1999-2008), anti-apartheid activists Father Michael Lapsley and Mathews Phosa, Yasmin Sooka of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Richard Goldstone (who headed the Goldstone Commission investigations into political violence) and many others. Nations mired in conflict and recovering from civil war will benefit from better understanding this flawed, yet ultimately successful political leader that managed to bridge two opposing worlds. Ultimately, The Other Man explores the trajectory of this unique nation and reflects on how the end of apartheid will continue to shape South Africans and the world for years to come.

DVD / 2014 / () / 75 minutes

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