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Dear all,

Mike Frank wrote:

[...]
> . . .but what complicates the matter is that for almost all of us [even,
>i would venture, for thomas morsch] there are going to be things that
>it would be, at best, inappropriate to say in class . . . fairly simple
>case
>in point: while we may feel justified in using the word "stupid" in
>referring to a religious position that absolutely refused to recognize
>any validity at all in notions of evolution [ar archaeology or astronomy
>for that matter], we probably would not particularly applaud a teacher
>who called a student who believed this "stupid" . . . similarly we might
>find a course in pornography legitimate but would probably hesitate
>before inviting a pair of porn stars to have sex in our classrooms . . .
>
Just a quick remark to clarify a point that is important to me: I
absolutely agree with what you say. The point is that there is a
difference between _making remarks_ in class that are offensive to
believers of a certain religion on the one hand and discussing a _film_
in class that might be offensive to the same people on the other hand.
There is a difference between promoting pornography and discussing a
pornographic film. In a seminar on pornography I would always encourage
students who are against these kinds of film to defend their opinion in
class. But I would not accept any complaints about discussing and showing
these films at all. In the same manner discussing racist films - and
criticizing them as racist - is different to making racist remarks.
Discussing violent films is not equivalent to advocating violence, and so
on.
So yes, there are indeed norms of behaviour in class (at least I hope
so), but these norms are not identical to nor do they set a precedent for
the norms by which we choose the objects of our studies.

Thomas Morsch
Film Dept.
Freie Universitaet Berlin
Germany

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