Monday, August 30, 2010

Wrinkle of the Month

I was concerned when I chose Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange to base this class upon that someone, some few students, would object to my choice, and refuse, on ethical, religious, and moral grounds, to watch the film. That is why I developed an assignment about the film that would permit students to argue, if they wished, that the film was pornographic and harmful, providing analysis and evidence from the film to bolster their views. But I now have a student who says she cannot bear to watch the film through even once, never mind the several times she would need to in order to write such a paper. And, upon researching the topic, she has found it is banned by the Catholic church, of which she is an observant member.
I was not aware that the church was still banning books and films. Perhaps they only banned it back in 72, when it was released. But it has rather thrown me for a loop because it means that if this student is to stay in my class, I must come up with an alternative assignment. I would say she could read the book, and I could create a paper topic about it (though I haven't read the book, never mind studied it as of this moment). But that might be banned as well, though Burgess was a religious Catholic, I believe, and in the book, the final chapter has Alex truly reforming and having a conversion of sorts.
I have written to the department chairs and asked if there is some other section she can be transferred to. Of course, this will not be a simple matter, finding one that will be convenient to her schedule, etc.
Alternatively, R has suggested that the student could begin her research subject now, taking on the issue of censorship, since this film was banned in England until quite recently, and examining the arguments surrounding freedom of speech and censorship. Of course, without having watched the film, that would be difficult. I would have to do a tutorial version of the class for her until we got to the second paper. I could manage this I suppose. It might be interesting, though quite a lot of work, obviously, and not just for the student.

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