The TV Series & Beyond Culture Shock

Culture Shock: Series & Beyond
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The Series:
Born to Trouble: The Adventures of Huck Finn
The Shock of the Nude: Manet's Olympia
Hollywood Censored: The Production Code
The Devil's Music: 1920's Jazz
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Outreach Information
Born To Trouble? Free Screening and Workshop for Educators on Huck Finn
University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA

The University of Massachusetts, Boston Graduate School of Education, in collaboration with WGBH, their local public television station, has taken the lead in coordinating professional development for local high school teachers using the Culture Shock series and free educational materials. Since teaching the work in its historical and literary context is an ideal approach for interdisciplinary or team teaching, both English and Social Studies teachers have been invited. The program includes:

  • free and public viewing of the Born To Trouble film from the Culture Shock series at the local public library

  • free follow-up workshops for teachers to discuss Huck Finn, their experiences and strategies for teaching this and other challenged works of literature.

  • distribution of the free 40-page educator's guide, Huck Finn in Context: A Teaching Guide, which provides a case study of how one school district reacted to a challenge to the book, resulting in an innovative curriculum.
To ensure that varied perspectives helped shape the workshop content, WGBH and UMass Boston also invited selected local high school teachers to join in the planning and conducting of these workshops. Workshop topics will include:

  • Teaching the novel in its historical context and in the context of Twain's life.

  • Teaching the novel with a focus on race.

  • Teaching the novel in comparison with selected texts by African American writers of the same period.

  • Case studies from different schools that have experienced and dealt with the challenges of teaching the novel.

For more information on organizing similar workshops for your community contact Valerie Grabiel at WGBH by e-mail at

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