THE USE OF POPULAR CINEMA IN THE CLASSROOM: A PROPOSAL FROM HISTORY OF GENDER AND CULTURAL STUDIES THROUGH THELMA AND LOUISE (RIDLEY SCOTT, 1991)
University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
The aim of my proposal is to present and explain a basic guide for the use of popular cinema in university classrooms. In so far as we attempt to stimulate a more practical and dynamic dimension of the teaching and learning process, particularly in humanities, I shall use a practical example. In that way, I will expound some keys to teaching the meaning of femininity in the 80s and 90s Western culture. Along with that, the role the feminist movement played in the evolution and changes of this meaning will be explained. For the teaching of these subjects I selected the popular movie Thelma and Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991).
The novelty of this teaching and learning model derived from the consideration of cinema. On the one hand, I consider it as a cultural device in which what is narrated is not self-evident or does not speaks for itself. Consequently, to make a pedagogical use of the cinema, its narrative and visual codes need to be explained. On the other hand, cinema narrations display a particular view of their own reality in its complexity. This is the reason why, in my view, the cultural studies theory and its multidisciplinary perspective -methodology from which this presentation is done- is the richest way to the analysis of cinema. In this way, although this proposition is particularly focused on the humanities and gender history, any film we think about can be useful for pedagogical purposes in any of the humanities and social sciences.
In general, the use of audio-visual resources in the classrooms is based on the total reproduction of the film. Sometimes, the viewing is accompanied of a questionnaire that students had to respond. In my view, this practice does not take advantage of the pedagogical potential of the film and, besides, it promotes a vision of cinema as a waste of time or, in any case, as a moment that has nothing to do with academic work but with intellectual passivity. My proposal aims to provide a useful and fruitful alternative, to help students and teachers to take advantage of the enormous potential that cinema has.