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Teaching Death and Dying$
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Christopher M Moreman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335224.001.0001

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 What Would Spielberg Do? Using Mainstream Films to Teach Visions of the Afterlife

 What Would Spielberg Do? Using Mainstream Films to Teach Visions of the Afterlife

(p.131) 9 What Would Spielberg Do? Using Mainstream Films to Teach Visions of the Afterlife
Teaching Death and Dying

Michael McKenzie

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the use of popular films to teach about death and dying in an introductory level course in religion. Specifically, it argues that a pedagogy that combines these films and primary religious texts has proven to be an effective and engaging method to reach students and promote learning. The narrative within the films acts with the textual narrative in a powerful dialectic that spurs students to question both various traditions as well as their own views regarding death and dying. Thus, experience suggests that modern-day writers and directors have assumed the roles once played by ancient storytellers and rhapsodes, and that the interest in death and the afterlife remains as one of the most powerful and enduring of all human questions. Thus, in such a pedagogy, the use of popular films can serve as a critical bridge between one's experience and the experiences and thoughts of others.

Keywords:   popular culture, death in film, death in media, use of film, teaching, experience

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