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41.

West Africa [electronic resource]

A collection of extraordinary plaques, seized as loot during the colonial aggression that ended the powerful Benin Empire in 1897, depict life in the African kingdom's royal court at its height. In this program art historian Gus Casely-Hayford travels to legendary Timbuktu, the Great Mosque of Djenn, the Oba Royal Palace, and Dogon country to learn more about how the plaques were made and what they reveal about the continent's sophisticated pre-colonial civilizations. In addition, Casely-Hayford meets with local historians, village elders, and craftspeople from hereditary guilds still using an ancient mix of metallurgical skill and spiritual practice to create traditional works of art.
Online
2011; 2009
42.

Maasai on the Move [electronic resource]

The Maasai make a living by sharing their traditional culture with tourists, but they are very much aware of the modern world and its problems. Economic downturns mean less visitors to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where the Maasai live. Both herding and agriculture have become nearly impossible due to drought, leading to hunger, frustration, and yet more conflict with the government over land use. In this program three Maasai living in the NCA comment on issues the tribe faces today: development and climate change, family relations and marital problems, and the need to educate their children so they can be competitive in the 21st century world.
Online
2010
43.

Burning Bush [electronic resource]: Saving Peat Swamp Forests in Indonesia

The intention behind the Indonesian Mega Rice Project was a good one: by demolishing millions of acres of peat swamp forest, land could be cleared to cultivate much-needed grain. But the project unleashed a cascade of interlocking social and ecological catastrophes - a situation considered to be one of the worst environmental disasters on the planet. This program follows the efforts of agronomist Suwido Limin to protect his peat swamp forest research areas from the fires raging across Borneo as a result of the failed Mega Rice Project. The film makes the point that the flames now ravaging this unique ecosystem are also destroying an important carbon sink, exacerbating climate change and helping to give Indonesia the dubious distinction of being the world's third-largest emitter of gr [...]
Online
2009
44.

Seed Warriors [electronic resource]: Scientists Fighting for Global Food Security

Called both a "Doomsday Vault" and a library of life, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a collection of the seeds of thousands of different plant species, held in frozen reserve against the eventuality of ecological disaster or other means of crop extinction. This program spotlights scientists who are working with the Svalbard team to preserve Earth's biodiversity, along with some potential recipients of that endeavor - Kenyan farmers affected by drought due to climate change. With sobering discussions about the potential impact of global warming on the world's food supply, Seed Warriors makes the point that taking action now is a wise safeguard against future food shortages.
Online
2009
45.

The First Europeans [electronic resource]: Migrations From Africa

Out of the great cradle of Africa came several waves of prehistoric hominid populations, some venturing into the Middle East while others crossed land bridges into Spain. This program shows how, over millennia, these nomads laid the groundwork for a permanent human presence in Europe. From La Caune de l'Arago in France to Britain's Boxgrove Cliffs to a Hungarian riverbank where Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans may have intermingled, the film explores stone tool innovations, shelter technology, burial practices, and early art and craft examples through which we can trace the emerging dominance of Homo sapiens on the continent.
Online
2010
46.

The First Europeans [electronic resource]: From Hunters to Farmers

With the disappearance of the Neanderthal species some 25,000 years ago, Homo sapiens reigned supreme across Eurasia - but the human family was still dramatically in flux. This film depicts the cultural adaptations and far-flung migrations that continued to shape European societies from the end of the Ice Age through the development of agriculture to the invention of writing. Viewers learn about the major role of Middle Eastern diasporas in the settlement of Greece, Italy, Spain, and central Europe; the domestication of animals and grain plants; the increase in social division and conflict as demonstrated in early weapons, defensive walls, and burial objects; and more.
Online
2010
47.

Mali [electronic resource]: Message From the River

As climate change lays waste to the Niger River, the great Malian city of Timbuktu increasingly resembles a desert landscape. The same is true for much of land-locked Mali, which could, in a worst-case scenario, find itself without water altogether. Incorporating discussions of poverty, population growth, and other issues, this film examines the impact of desertification on two of the nation's indigenous peoples - the fishing-dependent Bozo, who have plied their trade along the Niger for centuries, and the Tuareg, an equally nomadic, pastoral culture threatened by the depletion of desert wells. A Malian environmentalist and a Timbuktu historian both share their expertise.
Online
2009
48.

A Fresh Look at Mali, Ghana, and Nigeria [electronic resource]

This program focuses on the western African countries of Mali, Ghana, and Nigeria. In Bamako, Segou, and Djenne, Jonathan Dimbleby learns how mopeds are moving Mali into a better future; meets a traditional wedding singer whose songs are uncustomarily female-empowering; watches enterprising sand-diggers at work in the Niger River; and visits the intricate Djenne mosque. In Kumasi and Accra, he views the Ghanaian Akwasidae Festival; spends time with the progressive King of the Ashanti; stops by the set of the reality TV show Soccer Academy; and attends an important fashion show. And in and around Lagos, he tours a Nigerian-owned and -operated cement-producing plant and meets a pair of homegrown hip-hop stars.
Online
2010
49.

A Fresh Look at Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania [electronic resource]

This program spotlights the eastern African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania. In Aksum and Addis Ababa, Jonathan Dimbleby learns about initiatives to improve farming across Ethiopia; follows a pilgrimage to Aksum's Church of St. Mary of Zion; observes the Eid al-Adha festival in Addis Ababa; attends a session of a coffee-growers' commodity exchange; and visits some fair trade businesses. In Nairobi and Makutano, he sees firsthand how the cell phone revolution is transforming Kenya; considers the positive social significance of the soap opera Makutano Junction; and explains how new highways are enhancing economic growth. And in Arusha and Dar es Salaam, he takes part in Tanzanian independence day festivities and applauds the nation's freedom of speech, a vital force for democracy.
Online
2010
50.

The Dark Side of Chocolate [electronic resource]: Child Trafficking and Illegal Child Labor in the Cocoa Industry

Have chocolate manufacturers turned a blind eye to child trafficking and de facto slavery on African cocoa farms? This program investigates, following a trail of misery that begins at a confectionary trade show in Germany, continues on through the villages of southern Mali and the cocoa plantations in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire, and finishes up in Switzerland on the doorstep of one of the world's largest confectionary companies, a signer of the 2001 Chocolate Manufacturers Association agreement outlawing child labor-a document with which its suppliers were supposed to be in full compliance by 2008.
Online
2010
51.

Iran's Young Rebels [electronic resource]

With nearly three-quarters of its population under the age of 30, Iran is experiencing a "quiet revolution" as young men and women chafe against the restraints imposed upon them by their country's traditional regime. In this compelling program, correspondent Evan Solomon speaks with anti-government musicians, a female race car driver, student dissidents testing the limits of legal tolerance, and others as he travels to the vibrant markets of Tehran, rock music clubs that are literally underground, a drug treatment center that deals with Iran's burgeoning addiction problem, and an aesthetic plastic surgery operation. Viewers also hear from the man behind government-sanctioned pop music, who agrees with censorship policies, and from Iran's "Father of the Internet," who denies that cens [...]
Online
2008
52.

The Sugar Babies [electronic resource]: Growing Up in the Cane Fields

They are known as the invisible children of the Dominican Republic-the young sons and daughters of Haitians lured to the sugar cane fields by the false promise of decent pay. This documentary reveals what actually awaits such children. Despite being born in the D.R., they are denied citizenship, birth certificates, and education. They have little choice but to embrace the same fate as their parents-which amounts to slavery, as John Miller of the U.S. State Department's Office of Human Trafficking unequivocally puts it. Other experts who appear on camera to explore this loathsome arrangement include two Catholic missionary priests, Haitian and Dominican attorneys and activists, and U.S.-based observers, all of whom have spent years fighting child labor and human trafficking. Interview [...]
Online
2007
53.

The Magic of Reading [electronic resource]

If writing is the beginning of history, reading is the beginning of civilization. In this program, host Alberto Manguel traces the history of literacy via the Lascaux caves of prehistoric France; ancient Mesopotamia, birthplace of cuneiform and home to the Epic of Gilgamesh; and Egypt both past and present, with its monumental libraries at Alexandria. He then addresses the powerful benefits and dangerous drawbacks of personal interpretation of religious texts and ends with issues of access to books in deprived areas of the world.
Online
2009
54.

Learning to Read [electronic resource]

Economic conditions and physical disabilities have denied the magic of reading-a gift so basic as to be taken for granted-to innumerable people. This program hosted by Alberto Manguel looks at how impediments to literacy are being overcome through the stories of literacy campaigns in Toronto and the Webequie First Nation, Canada, and a case study of how author Howard Engel copes with his struggle to regain his reading ability in the aftermath of a stroke. In addition, the withholding of literacy from African-American slaves is explored through the life story of Frederick Douglass; challenges faced by readers in antiquity are discovered by sifting through clues from ancient Italy; and theories of how reading is accomplished in the brain are considered.
Online
2009
55.

The Future of Reading [electronic resource]

In this program, host Alberto Manguel uses the history of the written text-from hand-copied codex, to machine-printed book, to digital document-as a vehicle to address large-scale efforts to preserve the world's literary heritage, a dual challenge involving a rapidly deteriorating corpus of old books and an overwhelming proliferation of blogs and other significant writings on the Internet. In addition, the implications of cell phone fiction and interactive online novels are discussed; the One Laptop per Child initiative, bringing online reading to the developing world, is praised; and concern over Google's proprietary book digitization project, which would make the company the de facto owner of the planet's largest cache of published writings, is expressed.
Online
2009
56.

Triage [electronic resource]: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma

Some call humanitarianism a waste of hope. But as a medical responder to the Rwanda Genocide and the 1992 Somali famine, Dr. James Orbinski has come to a different conclusion. In this program the former head of Doctors Without Borders returns to Africa to reunite with people he saved 15 years earlier, and to reflect on the challenges of his work. The video features powerful footage from Orbinski's aid missions and disturbing, ultimately inspiring stories of the brutality he witnessed while risking his own life to help others. Grappling with the questions of blame and futility at the core of any humanitarian crisis, Orbinski concludes that relief efforts should not be thought of as a panacea, but as a response to one other human being in need.
Online
2007
57.

Paris 1919 [electronic resource]: Inside the Peace Talks That Changed the World

Many of the geopolitical hot button issues of recent decades trace their roots directly back to decisions made during the 1919 Paris peace talks. Inspired by historian Margaret MacMillan's acclaimed book Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, this program dramatically blends historical reenactments with archival footage and photos to shed light on a long moment in history when the victorious combatants of the Great War - fueled by a combination of hope, opportunism, and anger - created the League of Nations, redrew the map of the modern world, and revenged themselves upon Germany via the Treaty of Versailles. A definitive documentary.
Online
2008
58.

Tribal Wives [electronic resource]: Challenging Western Views of Polygamy and Female Circumcision

Single and in her early thirties, educator Dionne Braham has become disenchanted with the romantic ideal of the perfect mate-actually, with the idea of finding any mate in her familiar London milieu. But she experiences an even greater paradigm-shift when she travels to Tanzania to live with and learn from a Maasai family for a month. This program documents her transformative journey and the challenges it entails. Tasked with everything from milking cows to plastering huts with dung, Dionne grapples with troubling subjects like polygamy, female circumcision, and the virtual powerlessness of women in Maasai society-all while struggling to refrain from imposing Western views and morals.
Online
2010
59.

Tribal Wives [electronic resource]: A Look Into Tribal Family Life and Female Independence

Twenty-three-year-old Charlie Brades has agreed to spend a month among the Yoruk-nomadic shepherds who live in the mountains of southern Turkey. This program follows the spirited Londoner as she adapts to life in a polygamous family and a remote, back-to-basics environment. Although Charlie's youth was far from carefree, she is wholly unprepared for the rough work, the communal sleeping arrangements, and especially the subservient female role that her new surroundings require. Her Western notions of independence are continually put to the test as she and her hosts exchange views on clothes, domestic duties, marriage, and other culturally loaded topics.
Online
2010
60.

Tribal Wives [electronic resource]: Western Taboos Versus Tribal Traditions

In England, Anna de Vere won't leave the house without putting on nail polish. In Ethiopia's drought-stricken Omo Valley, where she has come to live with the struggling Hamar tribe, her only cosmetic is the red ocher rubbed into her hair - a tradition among Hamar women and an emblem of the cultural shifts the 52-year-old Anna must contend with. This program records her month-long adventure and its impact on her way of living and thinking. For the Hamar, she learns, crying is taboo except when someone dies, and the main reason for having children is to increase one's security in old age. Perhaps most jarring, however, is the enthusiasm with which teenage Hamar girls allow their male counterparts to whip them and thereby initiate them into womanhood.
Online
2010