BIS 181 University of Washington Bothell Film Viewing Discussion

Each week you will be asked to read a chapter from the text AND view a text related video. These videos are intended to enhance your learning of the course concepts. In addition to this, you will view one film per week that will offer an application of the textbook material. At the close of each week, you will be expected to submit a thoughtful discussion post in which you apply concepts presented by the material and make connections between texts. As the course progresses you will also be able to make connections with DN as well as assigned podcasts.

This week we will look at resistance to institutional oppressions, as discussed in Chapter 18 “Social Change”. The film this week is titled “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution”. This film further examines the intersections of gender, race, class, and the fight for social justice. It will provide you with an opportunity to consider what you have learned in the last few weeks with regard to race oppression, gender oppression, & criminalization, and apply another layer of intersectional lens to this issue. This video is available for streaming through the UWB library, just type the title into the search box and select the Evideo.

Video Title:

“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution”


This is the first feature-length documentary to showcase the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, and the resulting cultural and political awakening for Black people that continues today. As you view the film, consider what you know of the Black Panthers (and what you don’t). Pay attention to information that is new to you. Consider the impacts of media on your ideas and/or assumptions about the Black Panthers.

After viewing the film, please respond to the questions listed below.

  1. The success of political and social movements reflects the climate of their times. The Black Panther Party (BPP) is no different and must be understood within its historical moment. Explain the “historical moment” that was the catalyst for the birth of the BPP. What other significant historical events are discussed in the film that provide context for the BPP? Be specific and provide at least 3 historical events of the time discussed in the film.
  2. What was the platform of the BPP? Explain as specifically as possible. Why did the BPP form and what did they value? Also discuss with specificity, the programs they offered to the community. Be specific and provide examples.
  3. How were the Black Panthers portrayed in the media of the time? What effect did that have on the BPP? Be specific and provide examples
  4. Explain the COINTELPRO (counterintelligence program) and the ways in which the BPP was targeted by the FBI. Be specific and provide examples.
  5. Discuss the circumstances that lead to the dissolution of the BPP. Be specific and provide discuss and at least 3 forces that brough the party to a close.
  6. Connect the film to Chapter 18, 8, & 9 (Social Change, Race, & Gender). Make at least one specific connection to each chapter. Be sure to provide enough content from the chapters to contextualize your connection. Be specific and provide examples from the chapters to support your connections.
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