Monday, October 24, 2011

BYOP: Degrees of Shame

Welcome to #CEW2011. Past midnight, Campus Equity Week is now officially underway. What could be more appropriate than to start the week with the film that is probably a CEW signature event. If your group is hosting an information table, set up a laptop to screen Degrees of Shame and other videos. A large HD monitor, if you can finagle one would be a plus. 

And if there is no table or special campus activity, don't let that stop you. Why not do something on your own or with a few colleagues? CEW originated as a grassroots, local initiative event. Share the video (and others ~ we'll be posting a playlist), blog it, host an informal movie night, ask your local Occupation to show it, email the link to the press with a cover letter (to the editor) and / or to legislators ~ and elsewhere.

In 1960 Edward R. Murrow made Harvest of Shame a television documentary about the plight of migrant farm workers. To Barbara Wolf the economic situation and working conditions of adjunct professors suggested an information economy parallel to migrant farm workers. 

Following the logic of Harvest of Shame, Wolf interviews a variety of adjunct faculty to make visible the working lives of these least respected but absolutely vital faculty members who now do more than 40% of the teaching in America's institutions of higher education. Interviews with university administration officials, union leaders, legislators, and other observers document both the problem and possible solutions.

Murrow concluded Harvest of Shame by asking his viewers to cultivate “an enlightened,aroused and perhaps angered public opinion” and to demand a change. Wolf sees her documentary as both informational and, in Murrow’s tradition, as a tool for change.

1 comment:

  1. If you are looking for "Degrees of Shame" on this blog-site, you will see a note saying "Sorry. This video does not exist." And that is true, that particular one had a nasty glitch and was erased from vimeo. The glitched section has been repaired and a good version of "Degrees of Shame" has been uploaded to Vimeo, but it has a new address. It can be seen by clicking on: or you may need to copy and paste the address.

    My apologies for the glitched version. Please feel free to use this version any time.
    Barbara Wolf


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