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ejb35_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Wed Mar 02 2005 - 20:32:02 PST


What does your employment handbook say about course content? Any
restrictions? Do you ever hesitate to show an image to college
students? I did, last week. Two very religious (self described
"born again") and one Muslim. All wonderful students and this is a
great class. Very open and lots of free-wheeling discussions among
the group of friends. This is an adult program, so the students are
in their 30s to 50s. I was showing slides of the history of
depictions of the Last Supper - early Christian, Renaissance, up to
the 20 c. Dali, Andy Warhol etc. thence to contemporary and Renee
Cox and "Yo Mama's Last Supper," full frontal nudity and female
Christ image. This photo was actually put in a separate gallery
when it was shown (shortly after the Sensation exhibit) in
Brooklyn. So, I stopped and thought about my students. Would they
feel attacked, harassed etc. etc. This is the first time in my 35
year college teaching career, both adjunct and full-time (as,
luckily, now) I had this self doubt. I decided to give the students
the url where they could view the picture on their own. I am not
happy with this compromise, but there is increased emphasis today
on political correctness everywhere and especially on sexual
harassment, which, broadly interpreted, could include unwanted
viewing of images. Any thoughts on all this? The handbook at my
college exempts course content but there are still concerns on my
part about context. Maybe I could have warned them about the photo
and asked anyone who wanted to to leave the class or simply not
look at the image. It is a powerful picture containing all the
popular culture hot buttons explored by contemporary artists:
gender, race, religion, nudity, irony, etc.
I will be asking the opinion of a sexual harassment legal expert
next week. Will let you know what that turns up. Please respond
"off list" if you wish. Thank you.

And, anyone going to NAEA please stop by one of my Roundtables
"Teachers Who Can..." on Saturday night. Thanks, Jane Beckwith in
Brooklyn

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