Harvard Student Films Supervised by Joanna Lipper

These twelve short student films were selected from the many made over the years by undergraduates enrolled in Joanna Lipper's course "Using Film For Social Change" in the Department of African and African Studies at Harvard University. The Course was cross-listed with two additional departments: Women, Gender and Sexuality and Visual and Environmental Studies. Most of these students had never taken a filmmaking class before and had little or no prior filmmaking experience. They had one semester (15 weeks) during which time they had to shoot and complete these projects, attend classes, screenings and technical sections, and write a fifteen-page paper related to their ethnographic research. Lipper's course was part of the Social Engagement Initiative and was distinguished by the university's committee on diversity and inclusion for excellence in its curriculum in these areas. By focusing on specific issues (such as poverty, educational disparities, healthcare, employment opportunities, immigration, diasporic culture and identity, gender roles, incarceration, rehabilitation and re-entry to society), Social Engagement courses seek to wed academic study with practical experience and activity-based learning. Through coordinated interdisciplinary coursework, students explore and reflect upon an on-the-ground perspective and ethnographic approach to intellectual work both within and beyond the university setting.