Films highlight struggle for social justice in Latin America

The public is invited to Penn State Abington for the fall 2012 Out of the Box film series, which highlights the struggles and sacrifice for social justice in Latin America.

Karen Bettez Halnon, associate professor of sociology at Abington, will moderate the screenings and discussions, which are a component of the upper-level seminar course, Liberation Theology (Sociology 497).

Halnon said the goal of the four-year-old Out of the Box series is to spur insight into issues through thematically related films. She said input from a rotating cast of community members as well as Abington faculty, staff and students who are not registered for the course is invaluable to the discussions.

“It’s an opportunity for first- and second-year students to see what is expected in an upper-level class,” she said. “We learn so much from media. And now it’s a medium for bringing people together.”

The remaining fall 2012 films include:

-- Oct. 11: "Looking for Fidel," a candid conversation between Oscar winning director Oliver Stone and the controversial Fidel Castro illuminates Cuba’s unique and complicated station in the world. Stone also interviewed prisoners, their families, leading dissidents and human rights advocates.

-- Nov. 1 (double feature): "Che, A Man of this World and Who Betrayed Che Guevara?" the story of the revolutionary icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara. The second film is a record of the events surrounding the death of Guevara that brings two surprised Swedish journalists back to their homeland.

-- Nov. 29: "Nicaragua: They Will Not Enter," the human face of a troubled revolution, captured on film.

Out of the Box events begin at 6 p.m. in 101 Rydal Building and end by 8:40 p.m. The series is sponsored by the Student Activities Fee and the Intercultural Awareness Fund.

Halnon’s current research and teaching interests focus on Latin America, where she has traveled and studied extensively. During the spring 2013 semester, she will teach The Sandinista Revolution (Sociology 479), which culminates with travel to Nicaragua. Once there, the class will join with students and faculty from the Universidad Catolica de Nicaragua for seminars, service, and day travels. For more information on the course, go to