Learning With the Lights Off is the first collection of essays to address the phenomenon of film's educational uses in twentieth century America. Nontheatrical films in general and educational films in particular represent an exciting new area of inquiry in media and cultural studies. This collection illuminates a vastly influential form of filmmaking seen by millions of people around the world. The essays reveal significant insights into film's powerful role in twentieth century American culture as a medium of instruction and guidance.
The book features an ambitious introductory overview of educational film practices that provides readers with a sense of how important a role film has played in producing knowledge in America both inside the classroom and out. Each essay analyzes in close detail some crucial aspect of educational film history, ranging from case studies of films and filmmakers, to analyses of genres, to broader historical assessments. Offering links to many of the films under discussion at the Internet Archive, readers will be able to easily watch for themselves many of the films studied within the book's pages. Learning With the Lights Off is both reader and classroom friendly, affording new opportunities for studying these often hard-to-find films.