The Star Wars series has defined generations of space enthusiasts and launched fantasy franchises that try to compete, but never beat, the original. Not to be outdone, AntiquityNOW has a new take on this iconic brand thanks to Jason Allen, PhD., who is Coordinator of Social Science at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. Last year Allen created a well-received lesson plan in honor of International Star Wars Day on May 4 that featured both Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings movies. This year Allen will be working with AntiquityNOW on another curriculum that mines the ancient motifs in these series to illustrate how science fiction can reflect life truths, whatever the life form.
According to Allen,
“…Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings film franchises provide multiple examples of religious themes and ideas. George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise displays…examples of eastern philosophies and Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film series, based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, provide numerous examples of the Christian ideas themes. By using Stars Wars and The Lord of the Rings in the classroom, students are provided samples of religious ideas and concepts in practice while witnessing the religion’s connection to the modern world. ”
In this abstract by Allen, one can see the analogies with Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Christianity in the two movie series. The lesson plan itself shows the connections with Eastern religions and philosophies as well as Legalism in the Star Wars movies.
Since AntiquityNOW’s mission is to demonstrate ancient and modern connections and how the distant past lives today, this is a perfect partnership. What better way to teach students the beliefs of the ages than through the movies that captured modern imaginations?
For those of you who can’t wait until International Star Wars Day in May, we will be posting updates as we develop our materials. May the Fourth Be With You (yes, that’s why it’s May 4).
Click here to download Allen’s 2013 Star Wars Day lesson plan and accompanying materials.
A little more about Jason Allen…
Jason Allen, PhD has taught courses in history, political science and educational theory at various college and university locations. Topics of research have included the Monotheistic Religions in the World History Classrooms, The Use of World History Textbooks and Their Portrayals of Religion, and the Use of Pop Culture in the Classroom. Allen has presented research at the University of Central Florida, West Virginia University, the International Society of the Social Studies (Orlando) and the National Council for the Social Studies (St. Louis). Allen currently serves as the Coordinator of Social Science at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College.