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Examining Diversity Through Film

Examining Diversity Through Film (INT 303) is an academic course that offers students new perspectives of social justice.

About the Course

Readings and film clips expose students to different facets of oppression including gender, ability/ableism, class, sexual orientation, race, and privilege. Students are pushed to engage the fact that at least one of these, if not multiple aspects, impacts each individual on a daily basis. They are then led to discover how we all have been socialized into believing these categories constitute a validated hierarchy within our society.

This course is designed to awaken students to a perception of life that they may be unaccustomed to engaging as well promoting diversity through mutual understanding. The impact of this class goes far beyond the end of the semester. Once one fully becomes aware of all of the different pieces associated with oppression in this nation, this course becomes a tool of interpretation, acceptance, and empathy in all of ones actions.

""This course taught me to challenge the meaning of life"
Alicia McNitt, student

Course Materials


Topics of Discussions, Readings, and Film Clips

Ability and Ableism

  • "The Disability Rights Movement" - Willie V. Bryan
  • "Ableism" - Rosie Castaneda and Madeline L. Peters
  • "Constructing Normalcy" - Leonard J. Davis
  • "Invisible and on Center Stage" - Susan E. Brown

Film clips include:

  • "Gattica"
  • "In the Company of Men"
  • Seinfeld - "The Handicapped Spot"

Race / Ethnicity

  • "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" - W.E.B. DuBois
  • "We Take Nothing by Conquest, Thank God" - Howard Zinn
  • "American Indians in Film" - Ward Churchill
  • "Fences Against Freedom" - Leslie Mormon Silko

Film clips include:

  • "Bicentennial Man"
  • "Rosewood"
  • "Snow Falling on Cedars"


  • "Do We Hate Our Women?" - Michael Eric Dyson
  • "Porn and Men's Consciousness" - Jackson Katz
  • "The Rape of Mr. Smith" - Anonymous
  • "Plantation Patriarchy" - Bell Hooks

Film clips include:

  • "When Harry Met Sally"
  • "Closer"
  • "The Contender"

Sexual Orientation

  • "Masculinity as Homophobia" - Michael S. Kimmel
  • "The Conundrum of Difference" - Sandra Lipsitz Bem
  • "How Homophobia Hurts Everyone" - Warren J. Blumenfeld
  • "Homosexuality: The Nature and Harm Arguments" - John Corvino

Film clips include:

  • "Far From Heaven"
  • "Get On The Bus"
  • "Chasing Amy"


  • "The Content of Our Character" - Shelby Steele
  • "Land of Opportunity" - James Loewen
  • "The Socialist Challenge" - Howard Zinn
  • "Tired of Playing Monopoly?" - Donna Langston

Film clips include:

  • "Losing Isaiah"
  • "Indecent Proposal"
  • "Boiler Room"


  • "The Rage of the Privileged Class" - Ellis Cose
  • "White Privilege Shapes the U.S." - Robert Jensen
  • "Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby" - Stephen L. Carter
  • "Reflections on Liberation" - Suzanne Pharr

Film clips include:

  • "Coffee and Cigarettes"
  • "Twelve Angry Men"
  • "Fahrenheit 9/11"

"Diversity Through Film" Student Testimonials

Heidi Hanover, Alumna, Major: English

"I originally signed up to take this course because I needed to fulfill a general education credit and felt a class based around film would be easy and fun. Much of what I read, watched, and discussed during the course made me reevaluate my actions and beliefs. I became more analytical of the way my friends, family, and co-workers acted, and also got in many heated arguments with people who I used to see eye-to-eye with. I have never taken a course before, and do not believe I will ever take one again, that has so thoroughly made me desire to change myself for the better. After watching nearly a hundred students virtually change before my eyes in their mindsets and views of diversity, I had a renewed sense of hope and gladly recognized that my transformation was not unique."

Neisha Lestrade, Alumna, Major: Economics (Finance)

"I had always been told that the ultimate goal of a college education is to enlighten and to prepare oneself for the realities of life. I hadn't been told however, when and how I could achieve it. I didn't achieve this goal until I completed INT 303 - Examining Diversity Thru Film in my graduating semester. Examining Diversity Thru Film gave me the opportunity to evaluate myself on many levels. As a class, not only did we examine diversity, we examined our thoughts, our opinions, and ourselves. We learned to effectively communicate with others who had firm opposing views. Most importantly, we challenged ourselves to embrace differences."

Matej Kollar, Senior, Major: Accounting & Business

"INT 303 Examining Diversity through film has certainly left an impact on me. It was one of the courses you take for the wrong reason and end up learning more than you anticipated. Like many others, I thought watching movies for credit would be awesome. At that point, I viewed discussions of diversity and related issues as close to redundant, submitting to the general belief that we have overcome issues of discrimination. It literally took less than a week for me to realize how completely wrong I was. I learned to observe my environment from a different perspective, noticing discrimination in its various forms - most of which I had been conditioned to ignore and overlook prior to experiencing diversity in INT303. I would go as far as to require such training to increase people's awareness of issues we have not, contrary to popular belief, overcome yet."

Alicia McNitt, Alumna, Major: Nursing

"This course has taught me to challenge the meaning of life. The most enlightening topics for me were class and privilege. When I saw the topics on the syllabus I remember being disappointed, wondering what there could possibly be to talk about. That's just the thing; in many ways I didn't realize or understand my own class or privilege. Many people do not have to choose what to eat, where to sleep, and what to wear because there is only one choice. I can say that overall the course made me feel guilty. However, it was guilty in a good way because I knew that the past was in fact the past, and that the present and the future were more important. I can only learn from the past and teach others about the future."



Raquel Matthews, Alumna, Major: Psychology

"I found taking this class removed the fog that was clouding my judgment. It was a period in my life when I found I had to "check myself." From the starting topic I was blown away, but what hit home was definitely Sexual Orientation. I proved to myself that I was a walking hypocrite. Before this class I had a very negative attitude towards the homosexual lifestyle. However, I have members of my family that are homosexual and I was willing to accept them because we are related. So basically I was condemning others but refused to condemn those in my family BECAUSE they are family. Thanks to having taken this class I was able to call myself out on the nonsense that I was feeding on. I can say that I do falter at times and a word slips that's in poor taste or I have an ignorant thought, but then I get to get inside my head and figure out why I had this thought - and there is nothing more fun and scary at the same time than this. I can definitely say that this was a great experience in my life and I just have to say thank-you for it."


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