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Movies Change Lives

Pedagogy of Constructive Humanistic Transformation Through Cinema


Tony Kashani

Movies Change Lives is a rigorous interdisciplinary examination of cinema as a vehicle for personal and social transformation. Interdisciplinary scholar Tony Kashani builds a theory of humanistic transformation by discussing many movies while engaging the works of philosopher/psychologist Erich Fromm, cultural studies theorist Stuart Hall, critical pedagogy theorist Henry Giroux, political philosopher Hannah Arendt, the great French thinker Edgar Morin, the pioneering psychologist Carl Jung, the co-founder of string theory, physicist Michio Kaku, and Frankfurt School philosopher Jürgen Habermas, among others. The book argues that in the globalized world of the twenty-first century, humanity is in dire need of personal and social transformation. Movies have universal appeal and can deeply affect their audiences in a short time. Coupled with critical pedagogy, they can become tools of personal and social transformation. Movies Change Lives is an ideal text for graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses on film (cinema) and society, visual culture, consciousness studies, transformative studies, media and social change, advanced personal and social psychology, and political philosophy.


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It seems to me the universe has conspired to put me in the company of many remarkable men and women. Indeed, their intelligent ideas and moral energy have given my work much sustenance. And I mean that. I wish to thank Shir- ley R. Steinberg for believing in my work and giving me the opportunity to contribute to the invaluable Minding the Media series. I am immensely grate- ful to Henry A. Giroux. His intellectual guidance, generosity, and commit- ment to social justice have no comparison. I want to thank David Ingram for patiently reviewing the manuscript and endorsing my work. The great Toby Miller made time, read, and offered words of praise. Allan Combs too carved time from his demanding schedule and wrote a review. I am forever grateful to these towering figures of intellect and humanistic integrity to have considered my work worthy of their consideration. I want to thank my loving wife and partner Aida Dargahi, an outstanding filmmaker, photographer and an academic in her own right, for always believ- ing in me and offering her love and support. My brother Ali Kashani, a philos- opher of the highest caliber, who has taught me the ways of wisdom, deserves special thanks. I thank my father Reza Kashani for always believing in me. My colleagues and dearest friends Wendy Ostroff and Margaret Anderson gave xii movies change lives me many insights through our long conversations about transformative mov- ies, and I am grateful to them. I also want...

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