This page comprises annotated links to online videos and documentary series related directly to the religious studies curriculum, as well as tangential programs that provide social-historical and cultural background for specific topics. Links are arranged alphabetically by title.
The following media should be viewable in their entirety; if you find this is not the case, please email the reference librarian (link at right).
And remember, Wardman Library has many DVDs related to the Religious Studies curriculum, all of which circulate.
Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason (PBS)
In the acclaimed PBS series, celebrated journalist and cultural critic (and 2011 Whittier College Commencement speaker) Bill Moyers interviews writers of all faiths (and some with no faith) to discuss religious issues, and in particular, "In a world in which religion is poison to some and salvation to others, how do we live together?" Featuring interviews with Jeanette Winterson, Salman Rushdie, Mary Gordon, Richard Rodriguez, Sir John Houghton, Will Power, Colin McGinn, Ann Provoost, David Grossman, Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, and Pema Chodron.
The Buddha (PBS via TDF)
"This documentary for PBS by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere, tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion."
Cathedral (PBS via Google Video)
"Using his award-winning book as an outline, author and architecture buff David Macaulay takes you on a tour of France's most notable churches and carefully illustrates how each was designed and constructed. With the aid of breathtaking camerawork filmed on location and detailed computer animation, you'll travel back to 1214 to explore the creation of [a fictional but representative] Gothic cathedral -- Notre Dame de Beaulieu."
Embattled Buddhists: Under the Rising Sun (GMG)
A one-hour documentary that examines the Japanese Buddhist grou Soka Gakkai, founded by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi in the first half of the twentieth century based on the reformist teachings of the thirteenth century Japanese monastic Nichiren.
The Four Horsemen (Upper Branch Discussions via TDF)
An unmediated two-hour round table discussion from 30 September 2007 between the so-called Four Horsemen of New Atheism -- Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. "All four authors have recently received a large amount of media attention for their writings against religion –- some positive, and some negative.In this conversation the group trades stories of the public reaction to their recent books, their unexpected successes, criticisms and common misrepresentations. They discuss the tough questions about religion that face the world today, and propose new strategies for going forward."
From Jesus to Christ (FRONTLINE)
An absolutely first-rate documentary about the life and death of Jesus and the social-cultural and historical forces that gave rise to early Christianity. Users can watch all four hours of the series online, or link to the program's website, which includes interviews with experts, transcripts of the show, and contextual essays.
God in America (FRONTLINE and American Experience)
The companion site to the critically acclaimed series by FRONTLINE and American experience. Users can watch the six-hour series in its entirety here (link at top upper left of the central panel after the jump), and explore timelines, primary documents, and interviews related to the "history of the intersection of religion and public life in America.
Holy Ghost People (Thistle Films via Internet Archive)
Directed and narrated by documentarian Peter Adair, this 1967 cinéma vérité exemplar explores the service of a Pentecostal community in rurual West Virginia. The service comprises snake handling, speaking in tongues, singing, and miraculous healings.
Inside Mecca (National Geographic via YouTube)
"With unique access to Islam’s holiest city, National Geographic’s Inside Mecca follows three Muslims from very different backgrounds as they embark on an epic five-day reaffirmation of faith and quest for salvation Inside Mecca captures the look and feel, spiritual uplift, claustrophobia, grandeur and grit of the largest annual gathering of Muslims in the world."
Jesus Camp (via TDF)
"The feverish spectacle of a summer camp for evangelical Christian kids is the focus of Jesus Camp, a fascinating if sometimes alarming documentary. ... For most of the film, we follow a charismatic teacher, Becky Fischer, as she trains young soldiers in “God’s Army” at a camp in North Dakota. Some of the kids emerge as likable and bright, and eager to continue their work as pint-sized preachers; elsewhere, the visions of children speaking in tongues and falling to the floor in ecstasy are more troubling. Even more arresting is the vision of a generation of children home-schooled to believe that the Bible is science, or Fischer’s certainty that America’s flawed system of democracy will someday be replaced by a theocracy."
The Man Behind the Mosque (FRONTLINE)
This documentary follows real-estate developer Sharif El-Gamal over several months as he battled to garner support and funds for" a mosque and community center whose location in lower Manhattan stirred controversy and rancor in summer 2011.
The Mormons (FRONTLINE and American Experience)
The companion site to the excellent documentary series by FRONTLINE and American Experience. Users can watch the four-hour series in its entirety here (link at right after the jump), and examine frequently asked questions, a chronology of the faith, and writings on the themes taken up in the film. The site also includes a comprehensive index of external links.
Mysteries of Asia: Jewels of the Jungle (BBC via YouTube)
A nearly hour-long documentary that takes up Cambodia's ancient Khmer temples, with particular focus on the walled city of Angkor. Examining the unusual mix of Hindu and Buddhist motifs and figures in the ruins, the film also looks at Cambodia's recent history under Pol Pot.
One Day in the Life of a Men's Monastery (via TDF)
"Documentary non-feature film about daily life of a Men’s [Russian Orthodox] Monastery in Abkhazia." A brief film with absolutely no narration (or one in which the narrator has taken a 26-minute vow of silence).
The Protestant Revolution (BBC via TDF)
"Historian Tristram Hunt looks at how Protestantism has affected people’s lives in The Protestant Revolution. This is a story of a revolution which has affected every person in the West, and nearly every country in the world. ... The series investigates the scientific, cultural, economic and political aspects of the movement with the aid of key academic witnesses, and concludes that the reach of Protestantism is so profound that it is impossible to imagine the modern world without it." The series is composed of four, hour-long episodes, all of which are available on the page after the jump: "The Politics of Belief"; "The Godly Family"; "A Reformation of the Mind"; and "No Rest for the Wicked."
The Rise of Christianity: The First 1000 Years (A&E via YouTube)
A two-part, six-hour documentary series that explores the history of Christianity from its beginnings through the end of the second millennium. Part 1 examines Christianity from the death of Christ through the Great Schism (i.e, 1054). Part 2 takes up the history of the church from the Schism, focusing on the Crusades, the Renaissance/Reformation, and Christianity in the modern world.
The Story of India (BBC/PBS via Google Video)
In this six-part series, host Michael Wood travels to sites in contemporary India in order to discover and explicate over 10,000 years of history. Click on the series homepage link for more information about each episode, additional media, a timeline, and a subject bibliography.
The Story of India 0: Series homepage
The Story of India 1: Beginnings
The Story of India 2: The Power of Ideas
The Story of India 3: Spice Routes and Silk Roads
The Story of India 4: Ages of Gold
The Story of India 5: The Meeting of Two Oceans
The Story of India 6: Freedom and Liberation
The Western Tradition (Annenberg Media and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting)
Fifty-two half-hour episodes. "Covering the ancient world through the age of technology, this illustrated lecture by Eugen Weber presents a tapestry of political and social events woven with many strands -- religion, industry, agriculture, demography, government, economics, and art. A visual feast of over 2,700 images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art portrays key events that shaped the development of Western thought, culture, and tradition." Click on the VOD icon to the right of each title to watch each episode in its entirety.
When the Moors Ruled in Europe (Acorn Video via Google Video)
A two-part, 102-minute documentary presented by historian Bettany Hughes. Filmed on location in the Spanish region of Andalucia, and in particular the cities of Cordoba and Granada, the presentation takes up the 700-year reign of Muslims in Spain, which effectively ended after the Granada War in 1492.