Harriet Movie

This term Ethics through Fiction and Film (EFF) will be considering the remarkable life of Harriet Tubman who escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist, activist and conductor on the Underground Railroad. We will be reading an acclaimed biography by Kate Clifford Larson, Bound for the Promised Land, and watching a recent film, Harriet. If you would like to participate but do not believe you will have time to read the whole biography, we will point you to the key sections that will allow you contribute to the discussion.

Participants will read the biography in their own time with film-viewing and discussions taking place in 9th Week of Hilary Term, on the evenings of Monday 14 March and Thursday 17 March (exact times and locations to be confirmed with input from participants).

Ethics through Fiction and Film (EFF) is a discussion group that asks you to read a book, watch the film adaptation, and talk about it with others. The Oxford Character Project has been offering EFF seminars for the past six years. This year, we’re partnering with researchers at the University of Northampton to look at how characters in fiction shape our moral thinking, our imagination, and even our actions.

EFF seminar participants meet to discuss books and films that prompt moral reflection and raise complex ethical questions. We ask questions like: ‘What can great books and films teach us about moral complexity and the human experience?’ ‘How do creative genres engage, provoke, or challenge our values or vision in ways that abstract philosophical analysis cannot?’ ‘What can we learn from each other by reading books and watching films together?’

If you’re a postgraduate in Oxford, we’d love for you to get involved. Please email alicia.smith@ell.ox.ac.uk to receive further details and/or express interest in participating. And please feel free to forward this message to other Oxford postgraduate students who you think might be interested.

Note: Our partners at the University of Northampton are part of a network grant funded by the John Templeton Foundation. This project, ‘The role of exemplar narratives in cultivating character’, examines exemplar narratives (stories focusing on the admirable qualities of moral exemplars) and their role in character development. Our focus group discussions of novels and films will be recorded and transcribed and the resulting data will be analysed to identify elements of exemplar narratives that help kindle participants’ moral imagination and cultivate character. (Further details of the research will be shared upon application to participate in EFF.)