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Resisting Oppression in Film and Life: A Course in 5 Weeks

The Center for Prophetic Imagination

Resisting Oppression in Film and Life: A Course in 5...

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Registration is donation based. We suggest $180 for CPI members and $200 for non-members. However, pay what you are able. Nobody will be turned away for being unable to pay. For more information on becoming a member visit
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By combining stories of resistance as depicted in film with the insights of thinkers and activists, we will explore various tactics and movements of resistance. This course can be taken alone, but works best as a follow-up to the five week course "The Social Psychology of Evil in Film and Life." For more information, and to register, go here.

Each session is 4 hours. Lunch is included.

A recommended reading list will be sent in advance. Readings will aid in conversation, but it is up to each participant to decide which books to read and how deeply they will engage with the readings. 

Week 1: They Live and Unveiling Propoganda (November 18, 9am to 1pm)

We will use this 1988 American satirical science fiction horror film to examine the role of propoganda in capitalist society. The film follows an unnamed drifter who discovers that the ruling class are in fact aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed, and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media. 


Week 2: The Gospel According to St. Matthew and Spiritual Subversion  (November 25, 9am to 1pm)

Filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini recounts the birth, life, teachings and death on the cross of Jesus Christ almost as a cine-verite documentary. Nominated for three Academy Awards, the film takes Christ out of the opulent church and presents him as an outcast Italian peasant. This film is notable for his emphasis on Jesus' political posture. We will examine Jesus as a political figure and discuss his use of tactics as a socio-religious subversive.


Week 3: Matewan and Organized Labor (December 2, 9am to 1pm)

This film dramatizes the events of the Battle of Matewan, a coal miners' strike in 1920 in Matewan, a small town in the hills of West Virginia, one of many examples of worker strikes in the early 1900s and, unfortunately, not the only such strike to result in repressive violence. Participants will discuss role of the strike as a tactic and the history of class struggle.


Week 4: The Battle of Algiers and the Revolutionary Violence (December 9, 9am to 1pm)

This 1966 Italian-Algerian historical war film is based on events during the Algerian War (1954–62) against the French government in North Africa. The film was famously used by the Pentegon in 2003 to help officers learn from the French colonial example how they might more effectively hold Iraq. Participants will engage in a conversation about the complexities of revolutionary violence. This week will feature a guest instructor.


Week 5: Selma and Nonviolent Struggle (December 16, 9am to 1pm)

This 2014 film, which focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr focuses on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. It offers a glimps into the challenges of effective nonviolence and some of the conflicts within the Civil Rights Movement. 

About the Instructor:

Mark Van Steenwyk is the Executive Director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He is the author of A Wolf at the Gate, The unKingdom of God and That Holy Anarchist, and has contributed to several other books. He’s been published at Sojourners, Geez Magazine,, Leadership Magazine, the Mennonite, Mennonite World Review. His work has been featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribute, the Boston Globe, and on

As co-producer of the Iconocast, Mark has interviewed Cornel West, James Cone, Bill Ayers, Starhawk, Wazayatawin and many others.

Mark’s has an M.Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and is currently Spiritual Direction at the University of St. Catherine’s graduate school. He is a former adjunct instructor at Bethel Seminary, where he taught courses on applied ecclesiology and Christian radicalism.

For the past decade, Mark has traveled around the continent as a teacher, organizer and spiritual provocateur.

Have questions about Resisting Oppression in Film and Life: A Course in 5 Weeks? Contact The Center for Prophetic Imagination

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Center for Prophetic Imagination
2420 11th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404


The Center for Prophetic Imagination

The Center for Prophetic Imagination offers education, arts, and activist initiatives to help people turn from the false promises of empire and embrace God’s vision for the world. 

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Resisting Oppression in Film and Life: A Course in 5 Weeks
Things to do in Minneapolis, MN Class Film & Media

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