Hollywood or History?

An Inquiry-Based Strategy for Using Film to Teach World Religions

Edited by:
Thomas E. Malewitz, Spalding University
Adam P. Zoeller, St. Xavier High School

A volume in the series: Hollywood or History. Editor(s): Scott L. Roberts, Central Michigan University. Charles J. Elfer, Clayton State University.

Call for Papers or Manuscripts

Teaching and learning through Hollywood, or commercial, film and television productions is anything but a new approach and has been something of a mainstay in the classroom for nearly a century. However, purposeful and effective instruction through film is not problem-free and many challenges accompany classroom applications of Hollywood motion pictures. In response to the problems and possibilities associated with teaching through film, we are developing a collection of practical, classroom-ready lesson ideas that might bridge gaps between theory and practice and assist teachers endeavoring to make effective use of film in their classrooms. We believe that film can serve as a powerful tool in the social studies classroom and, where appropriately utilized, foster critical thinking and civic mindedness. The NCSS College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) framework, represents a renewed and formalized emphasis on the perennial social studies goals of deep thinking, reading and writing. Our hope is that this edited book might play a small role in the larger project of supporting practitioners, specifically 6-12 teachers of social studies and world religion content, by offering a collection of classroom-ready tools based on the Hollywood or History? strategy and designed to foster inquiry through the careful use of selected motion pictures and television productions.

Topics of interest include the roots, rituals, symbols, beliefs, and controversial or significant people or events related to:

• The Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam

• Eastern Religions/Philosophies: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism

• Indigenous Religions/Spirituality: First Nations, Aboriginal Tribes, Traditional African Religions

Proposal: We are seeking lesson plan proposals for 6-12 lesson plans using the Hollywood or History? strategy. Proposals should include a 1-2 page narrative providing background on the chosen film and a general description of the lesson idea. Include a brief explanation of specific film clip(s) and tentative references for primary and secondary sources. Indicate the placement of the lesson within one of the five thematic chapters and demonstrate connections to relevant state and national standards, both literacy and content.

Chapter submission: Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by April 30, 2021. Full lesson plans using the Hollywood or History template should be submitted as a Microsoft Word email attachment by June 1, 2021. Please consider film and television productions that (a) that can be easily be obtained or acquired for use in a classroom setting and/or (b) could be used in classrooms to more fully acknowledge the role of cultural and societal issues as they relate to world religions and national secondary social studies standards.

Tentative Schedule for Publication:

Lesson plan proposals: April 1, 2021

Notification of invite to submit lesson plan: April 30, 2021

Submission of full lesson plan: June 1, 2021

Reviews of book chapter manuscripts sent to author(s): September 1, 2021

Receipt by editors of final draft of book chapters: October 15, 2021

Final book submitted to publisher: December 15, 2021

Anticipated publication: Spring/Summer 2022

Send Inquiries to the editors: Thomas Malewitz ( and/or Adam Zoeller (