Nontheatrical films in general and educational films in particular represent an exciting new area of inquiry in media and cultural studies. Dan Streible, associate professor in Cinema Studies and associate director of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program, along with co-editors Devin and Marsha Orgeron, both of North Carolina State University, have compiled and contributed essays to the most comprehensive collection of essays on educational films ever published in Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Film in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2012).
The essays, the first collection to address the phenomenon of film’s educational uses in twentieth century America, illuminate a vastly influential form of cinema, one seen by millions of people around the world. They reveal significant insights into film’s powerful role in twentieth-century American culture as a medium of instruction and guidance.
This book features the editors’ ambitious historical overview of educational film practices, providing readers with a sense of how important a role the genre played in the production of knowledge, both inside the classroom and out. Each essay examines in detail some crucial aspect of educational film history, ranging from Streible’s case study of the NYU Educational Film Institute and Library (created in 1940), to analyses of genres (medicine, science, nature, art, race relations, et al.), to a guide to educational film collections in archives and libraries. With an innovative companion website, www.us.oup.com/us/companion.websites/9780195383836/examples/?view=usa, readers can download and view nearly all of the movies discussed within the book’s pages. Learning with the Lights Off is both reader and classroom friendly, affording new insights and pathways for studying these illuminating films.
Streible is also director of NYU’s Orphan Film Symposium, a biennial international gathering of archivists, scholars, curators, and media artists dedicated to saving, screening, and studying neglected artifacts from the history of film and video. The 8th Orphan Film Symposium convenes at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, April 11-14, 2012. For more detailed information, visit www.nyu.edu/orphans.