With Good Reason

Behind Bars
August 31st, 2013

Image courtesy Flickr user 710928003

Image courtesy Flickr user 710928003

Written in another time and in another country, the Russian classics—Tolstoy, Lermontov, and all the rest—are still relevant today.  Andrew Kaufman (University of Virginia) and his students are proving that by teaching masterpieces of Russian literature to incarcerated youth.  The readings prompt discussions: What makes for a “successful” life? How I can be true to myself? What is my responsibility to others? Given that I will die, how should I live?  Also featured: Most incarcerated women are single mothers—and sole financial providers of one or more youngsters. Virginia Mackintosh (University of Mary Washington) says no kids are more at risk.  She taught a parenting course for the mothers behind bars and leads some of her college students in a one-week summer camp for the children left behind. And: Southside Virginia Community College has started a pioneering program that enables inmates to obtain college credits, by creating a campus ‘pod’ within prison walls.  It’s called “Campus Within Walls” and is made possible by funding from The Sunshine Lady Foundation. Chad Patton administers the program and says it is the product of an enormous amount of cooperation between the Department of Corrections, the Department of Correctional Education, and the Governor’s office.

Later in the show: Why do people get so much pleasure from movies that frighten them out of their wits? Stephen Prince (Virginia Tech) says horror films allow us to explore the anxieties of our times along with questions about human nature, all from the safety of a darkened movie theatre. Also: Science fiction writer John Rosenman (Norfolk State University) says the genre has come a long way since the early days of Buck Rogers.

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