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Cultural & Academic Films

This library of academic and cultural films features collections from the Academic Film Archive and the Media Burn Independent Film Archive, as well as a selection of documentaries created by Dorothy Fadiman. In addition, films from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology are presented including those by Watson Kintner who used film to document his world travels, and the popular television show from the 1950s: “What in the World?”

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TED Talks
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Khadija Gbla grew up caught between two definitions of what it means to be an “empowered woman.” While her Sierra Leonean mother thought that circumsizing her — and thus stifling her sexual urges — was the ultimate form of empowerment, her culture as a teenager in Australia told her that she deserved pleasure and that what happened to her was called “female genital mutilation.” In a candid and funny talk, she shares what it was like to make her way in a “clitoris-centric...
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, Africa, culture, global issues, women, TEDxCanberra, 2014
TED Talks
movies
eye 198
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As a black woman from a tough part of the Bronx who grew up to attain all the markers of academic prestige, Dena Simmons knows that for students of color, success in school sometimes comes at the cost of living authentically. Now an educator herself, Simmons discusses how we might create a classroom that makes all students feel proud of who they are. "Every child deserves an education that guarantees the safety to learn in the comfort of one's own skin," she says.
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, children, community, education, family, fear, identity, inequality,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 513
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South African singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela dedicates his song, "Thula Mama," to all women -- and especially his grandmother.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, activism, entertainment, live music, music, short...
TED Talks
movies
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In this short, image-packed talk, Marisa Fick-Jordan talks about how a village of traditional Zulu wire weavers built a worldwide market for their dazzling work.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, art, business, design, short talk, 2007
TED Talks
movies
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Botanist Corneille Ewango talks about his work at the Okapi Faunal Reserve in the Congo Basin -- and his heroic work protecting it from poachers, miners and raging civil wars.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, activism, animals, biodiversity, biosphere, war, 2007
TED Talks
movies
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Stories are necessary, but they're not as magical as they seem, says writer Sisonke Msimang. In this funny and thoughtful talk, Msimang questions our emphasis on storytelling and spotlights the decline of facts. During a critical time when listening has been confused for action, Msimang asks us to switch off our phones, step away from our screens and step out into the real world to create a plan for justice.
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, Africa, Internet, activism, collaboration, communication, community, empathy,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 1,448
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'I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof.' That is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families he met while researching the fractal patterns he’d noticed in villages across the continent.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, architecture, culture, design, education, math,...
TED Talks
movies
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In this deeply personal talk, Nigerian writer Chris Abani says that “what we know about how to be who we are” comes from stories. He searches for the heart of Africa through its poems and narrative, including his own.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, culture, entertainment, global issues, literature,...
TED Talks
movies
eye 170
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The water hyacinth may look like a harmless, even beautiful flowering plant — but it's actually an invasive aquatic weed that clogs waterways, stopping trade, interrupting schooling and disrupting everyday life. In this scourge, green entrepreneur Achenyo Idachaba saw opportunity. Follow her journey as she turns weeds into woven wonders.
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, Africa, agriculture, botany, business, creativity, environment, green,...
TED Talks
movies
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Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, Africa, Slavery, TED Fellows, arts, collaboration, communication, community,...
TED Talks
movies
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Filmmaker Newton Aduaka shows clips from his powerful, lyrical feature film "Ezra," about a child soldier in Sierra Leone.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, arts, creativity, culture, entertainment, film,...
TED Talks
movies
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Joseph Lekuton, a member of parliament in Kenya, starts with the story of his remarkable education, then offers a parable of how Africa can grow. His message of hope has never been more relevant.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, collaboration, culture, education, global issues,...
TED Talks
movies
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For five years, young Emmanuel Jal fought as a child soldier in the Sudan. Rescued by an aid worker, he's become an international hip-hop star and an activist for kids in war zones. In words and lyrics, he tells the story of his amazing life.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2009, TED, Talks, arts, entertainment, global issues, music, poetry, politics,...
TED Talks
movies
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In this provocative talk, journalist Andrew Mwenda asks us to reframe the "African question" -- to look beyond the media's stories of poverty, civil war and helplessness and see the opportunities for creating wealth and happiness throughout the continent.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, business, development, global issues, investment,...
In the United States, two institutions guide teenagers on the journey to adulthood: college and prison. Sociologist Alice Goffman spent six years in a troubled Philadelphia neighborhood and saw first-hand how teenagers of African-American and Latino backgrounds are funneled down the path to prison — sometimes starting with relatively minor infractions. In an impassioned talk she asks, “Why are we offering only handcuffs and jail time?”
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, crime, culture, inequality, prison, race, violence, TED2015, 2015
TED Talks
movies
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After Vusi Mahlasela's 3-song set at TEDGlobal, the audience wouldn't let him go. His encore, "Woza," showcases his brilliant guitar playing and multilingual lyrics.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2007, TED, Talks, Africa, entertainment, guitar, live music, music, 2007
TED Talks
movies
eye 357
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From simple alphabets to secret symbolic languages, graphic designer Saki Mafundikwa celebrates the many forms of written communication across the continent of Africa. He highlights the history and legacy that are embodied in written words and symbols, and urges African designers to draw on these graphic forms for fresh inspiration. It's summed up in his favorite Ghanaian glyph, Sankofa, which means "return and get it" -- or "learn from the past."
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, Africa, culture, design, language, writing, TED2013, 2013
TED Talks
movies
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Jarreth Merz, a Swiss-Ghanaian filmmaker, came to Ghana in 2008 to film the national elections. What he saw there taught him new lessons about democracy -- and about himself.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, Africa, entertainment, film, global issues, politics, TEDGlobal 2011, 2011
TED Talks
movies
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Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, Africa, book, culture, storytelling, third world, writing, TEDGlobal 2009,...
TED Talks
movies
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Why do transnational extremist organizations succeed where democratic movements have a harder time taking hold? Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist extremist, asks for new grassroots stories and global social activism to spread democracy in the face of nationalism and xenophobia. A powerful talk from TEDGlobal 2011.
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, culture, global issues, politics, 2011
TED Talks
movies
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Unconscious bias is a prevalent factor driving culture, causing us all to make assumptions based on our own upbringings and influences. Such implicit prejudice affects everything, and it's time for us to be more thoughtful, smarter, better. In this funny, honest talk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied uses a surprising way to challenge us all to look beyond our initial perceptions.
Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, TEDx, activism, culture, religion, women, TEDxSouthBank, 2014
TED Talks
movies
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HIV is a serious problem in the DR Congo, and aid agencies have flooded the country with free and cheap condoms. But few people are using them. Why? "Reformed marketer" Amy Lockwood offers a surprising answer that upends a traditional model of philanthropy. (Some NSFW images.)
Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, Africa, business, global issues, marketing, philanthropy, 2011