Program Details

Movies that Address Significant Societal Issues

Burton Atkins
Movies / Arts & Letters

Course Description

Like good literature, good movies use their creative and narrative abilities to challenge us with significant and persistent issues about people and society. And like good literature, good movies can also entertain us while addressing provocative and enduring societal questions. The excerpts from the films used in this four-week series have been chosen not only because they tell great stories, but also because they address critical problems we face often as a society, such as racial and gender equality, the subtle and not so-subtle ways in which social and political power structures our behavior and the significance of courage and principle as bulwarks against injustice. (The film selection and order of presentation are subject to change)


  1. Social and Political Power: The Age Of Innocence / 1984
  2. Racial Equality: The Great White Hope / Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
  3. Changing Women’s Roles: The Contender /  The Brave One
  4. Standing Up for Principle and Courage: A Man For All Seasons /  12 Angry Men

About the Instructor

  • Burton Atkins, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Florida State University (FSU). Currently, he teaches political science at FAU and for Penn State University. In his 35-year career at FSU, Atkins taught a variety of courses on and wrote extensively about constitutional law and U.S. politics and served as chair of the political science department. He lived in London from 1992 to 1997 while serving as the Director of FSU's London Study Center, and from 1997 until his retirement in 2006, he served as Director of the FSU International Affairs Program.

Upcoming programs presented by Burton Atkins.

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