Feminist studies professor Bettina Aptheker has been teaching her acclaimed Introduction to Feminisms class at UCSC for the past 28 years. One of the most influential introductory courses in the field, it has now been captured on DVD through a taping project led by her former students.
The new DVD release will be highlighted-along with works by other feminist faculty at UCSC-at a celebration of feminist scholarship on campus that will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on April 25 at the Bay Tree Bookstore. The event is part of the Alumni Spring Weekend at UCSC schedule of events.
Students often describe Aptheker's class as a "life-changing experience" and an "eye-opener." A deeply compelling speaker, she mixes art, poetry, guest speakers, historical essays, slides, videos, and music into a multifacted course that lingers in the minds of undergraduates long after they leave the classroom.
Four years ago, one of those former students, Eric Zamost, teamed up with fellow alum Nicolette Czarrunchick, former manager of the Women's Studies Department, to begin raising money for the project. The goal was to produce a broadcast-quality, multi-camera video of Aptheker's course and to make DVDs available--at cost--to universities and high schools throughout the country.
The topics of the lectures range from racism and violence against women to body image and women's history.
"We particularly want to get the DVDs into the high schools because domestic violence, childhood abuse, and sexual violence are very pervasive in our society," Aptheker noted. "And mostly there is very little analysis at the high school level of why that is, and how girls and women can protect and empower themselves."
"My class deals with the many gender, race, class, and sexuality interests in people's lives," Aptheker added. "There's a lot of theory available, but it's not often presented in an accessible way that high school students-or incoming university students-can understand."
Aptheker began her career at UCSC as the sole lecturer in the Women's Studies Department (now named Feminist Studies). She became the department's first ladder-rank faculty member in 1987 and was honored with the Alumni Association's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001.
The April 25 event is co-sponsored by the Bay Tree Bookstore, Feminist Studies, and the UCSC Alumni Association. DVDs and books by feminist faculty will be available for purchase at 20 percent off. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call (831) 459-4324.
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