From the beginning of the 20th century, Hollywood filmmakers have shaped public beliefs about and attitudes toward African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos. Challenging and updating the historical record, ethnic minority filmmakers have been re-presenting their histories, cultures, and literature from the perspectives of their own experience. The resulting films offer teachers an effective means for teaching ethnic diversity in today's media-saturated culture. This work details rationales and methods for incorporating readily available films into the high school and college undergraduate curriculum, particularly in history, social studies, literature, and film studies courses. It includes definitions of race and ethnicity and essays on the film history of African American, Asian American, American Indian, and Latino representation. Subsequent chapters, organized by disciplines, describe specific ways to teach visual and multicultural literacy with films, including suggestions for topics, methods, and films, and ending with four discipline-specific curriculum units for high school students. Film terminology and a list of resources to help teachers create their own curriculum units complete the work.
Professor emeritus of film and literature at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Carole Gerster has published extensively on the relationship between film and multiculturalism. She currently teaches film and ethnic studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Laura W. Zlogar is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she teaches ethnic film and literature.