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Teaching Religion and Film$
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Gregory J. Watkins

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335989.001.0001

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 Teaching Ethics with Film

 Teaching Ethics with Film

A Course on the Moral Agency of Women

Chapter:
(p.265) 16 Teaching Ethics with Film
Source:
Teaching Religion and Film
Author(s):

Ellen Ott Marshall

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335989.003.0021

This chapter analyzes the pedagogical effectiveness of a course titled the Moral Agency of Women, which was offered to graduate students in theological education, ethics, and women's studies. The course integrated classic descriptions of moral agency (such as Aristotle on voluntariness and constraint and Kant on autonomy), feminist theory, and contemporary cinematic portrayals of women who are facing moral dilemmas. Beginning with the assumption that Western moral thought does not resonate with women's experience, the course entertained several questions. What does women's moral agency look like? Does it differ from that which has been described traditionally? Additionally, given the plurality within women's experience, can we even speak in a monolithic way about their moral agency? The result was an appropriately complex study of moral agency with all of its varied expressions. This chapter expounds on the strengths and weaknesses of using film in this way and identifies some of the unanticipated questions that became central to our course.

Keywords:   religion and film, pedagogy, ethics, moral agency, feminist theory, women's studies, Kant, Aristotle, John Rawls, voluntariness

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