May the Force Be With You: AntiquityNOW Marking International Star Wars Day During AntiquityNOW Month in May

Star Wars Image copyThe 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.

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