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-American 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 as well as weekly response papers to films screened for the class. 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 and qualitative and quantitative research, students explore and reflect using visual anthropological and ethnographic approaches and methodologies both within and beyond the university environment, working ethically and collaboratively with human subjects.

Street Harassment

a film by Rachel Knapp

For countless years, women have endured catcalls and wolf whistles. They have walked with their heads turned down to avoid excess attention. They have been groped, followed, and agitated in public spaces, while going for runs, walking to work and even en route to the grocery store. And yet, only recently have such invasive behaviors, newly defined by many as forms of Street Harassment, received widespread attention among some women and small facets of the news media. According to many women these days, who are taking a stand against the cat calls and wolf whistles, Street Harassment is not only an annoyance to women, but also promotes the continuance of a male-dominated system in which women are degraded and objectified daily in public places and spaces where they should feel free to move without hassle. Throughout my internship this semester with Hollaback! Boston, an anti-street harassment organization working to raise awareness about the prevalence of street harassment in the Boston community, I gained a deeper insight into the roots of the issue and how the movement is effectively seeking to empower women via their own voices and shared stories of harassment. Through repeated exposure to the voices and various angles of individuals working on behalf of Hollaback! Boston, I feel I was able to create a film not only depicting the weight of the issue at hand, but also the more prominent fervor of those involved in the current dialogue on street harassment.