Top 10: Films on Demand, September 2013


Films on Demand is an online streaming video subscription available to all Clayton State students. Last month users were busy watching the following top 10 titles:

10. A Fatal Contradiction—Freedom: A History of US (30 mins)
The Declaration of Independence stated “all men are created equal,” but the nation’s slaves were a glaring exception. The colonial slave trade and brutal life for African-Americans on Southern plantations spark the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad. This episode explores the role of Frederick Douglass, and then looks at the impact of the Lincoln-Douglas debates on the westward expansion of slavery. It ends with Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency.

9. Stress: Portrait of a Killer (56 mins)
Over the last three decades, science has been advancing the understanding of stress—how it impacts the human body and how social standing can make a person more or less susceptible. Through studies of baboons on the plains of Africa and research in the neuroscience labs of Stanford University, scientists are discovering just how lethal stress can be. Understanding how stress works can help people figure out ways to combat it and how to live a life free of the tyranny of this contemporary plague. As Stress: Portrait of a Killer shows, stress is not just a state of mind; it’s something measurable and dangerous.

8. War of the Sexes: Power and Leadership (45 mins)
The war of the sexes, like any war, needs leaders and followers. Using a military-style competition between male and female test subjects, this program examines the different ways in which men and women exercise power, set goals, construct hierarchies, and perform teamwork. A chain of command, incorporating clearly defined roles and responsibilities, quickly materializes among the male participants-while the women appear less equipped to implement rigid organization. But the program shows that a female-centric system, in which authority figures emerge only after a period of familiarization and mutual affirmation, proves more effective for satisfying the contest’s requirements.

7. Hindu Temples (25 mins)
Hindu temples are models of the Hindu universe. And while no two temples are exactly alike, they do share some common architectural features. This video compares modern Hindu temples in North America to the classic northern- and southern-style Indian temples of a thousand years ago. Elements that have survived the centuries-the sikhara tower and the statues of the myriad manifestations of the universal spirit, Brahman-are illustrated alongside more recent aspects of temple architecture, like the assembly hall and the om symbol, in Hindu theology the sound of creation. The concepts of karma and moksha are also touched upon.

6. English in America (52 mins)
When Massasoit hailed the Plymouth settlers in their own language, they might have taken it for a sign that English would dominate the New World. Packed with surprising etymologies and intriguing stories, this program traces the dynamic relationship between English and America, exploring the linguistic influence of westward expansion, cowboy culture, slave culture, and encounters with the French and Spanish languages. Key works examined include The New England Primer and Webster’s The American Spelling Book.

5. Birth of a Language (52 mins)
Melvyn Bragg begins the story of English in Holland, finding ancestral echoes in the Frisian dialect. What follows is a chapter on survival as the English language weathers Viking and Norman invasions, vying with and eventually absorbing rival tongues. Lively settings such as village pubs and markets bring home the lasting influence of Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Old French. The connection between Christianity, Latin, and an alphabet is explored, as well as the role of the language’s first champion, King Alfred the Great. Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney reads from and discusses the first epic in English, Beowulf.

4. Racial Stereotypes in the Media (42 mins)
Although demeaning and offensive racial stereotypes were pervasive in popular media of every kind during the 20th century, most observers would agree that the media is much more sensitive to representations of race today. But the pernicious effects of that stereotyping live on in the new racism arising from disparities in the treatment of stories involving whites and people of color in a ratings-driven news market, media-enhanced isolationism as a result of narrowcasting, and other sources. This program examines the relationship between mass media and social constructions of race from political and economic perspectives while looking at the effects media can have on audiences.

3. Why We Do What We Do (22 mins)
Beginning with a concise history of the media, this program explores the effects of TV and other information and entertainment sources on personal attitudes and actions as well as on public opinion. The impact of how appearance, language, and behavior are portrayed is considered. Tips on becoming a more critical viewer are included.

2. Unearthing Evil: Archaeology in the Cause of Justice (28 mins)
By grim coincidence, archaeologists are ideally suited by their conventional techniques to determine whether or not war crimes have been committed. This program looks at forensic archaeologist Richard Wright, whose work has greatly helped the international community in the pursuit of justice. The program shows details of his team’s findings at the Ukrainian village of Serniki, proving with such evidence as bullet manufacture and carbon dating that the SS had carried out the executions, not Stalin’s soldiers. Based on this work, Wright was asked by the UN to investigate 29 mass graves in Bosnia. The excavations helped convict the perpetrators of some of the most heinous ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.

and the number 1 Films on Demand video for September is:

1. Inferential Statistics (36 mins)
Who said statistics were boring? Using magic and circus motifs, this program demonstrates the significance of probability theory and the importance of using the correct test to analyze research data.

Got Questions? Ask a Librarian


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