Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Higher Learning from HBO's The Wire

Harvard Offering Course on HBO Hit 'The Wire'
By: EURweb.com

Students at Harvard University will be able to learn more about understanding and combating urban social issues through a new course based on HBO's critically-acclaimed series "The Wire," which followed the struggles of urban life in Baltimore.

“‘The Wire’, www.hbo.com/thewire has done more to enhance our understanding of the systemic urban inequality that constrains the lives of the poor than any published study” said sociology professor William J. Wilson, according to The Harvard Crimson newspaper.

African-American studies chair Professor Evelyn B. Higginbotham said Wilson will teach the new course, in which the show will be used as a case study for poverty in America.

This Season One pic from "The Wire" shows actors (from left) Tray Chaney, JD Williams, Larry Gilliard Jr. and Michael B. Jordan.

Panelists at the sold-out event encouraged audience members to internalize these harsh realities of the real world problems that the show depicts and actively work to solve them.

Everything we’re doing to make the world a better place is really for our kids,” said actor Michael K. Williams, who played gay stick-up artist Omar Little on the show. “Our kids are dying in huge numbers. It’s the real wire.”

Sonja Sohn, who played detective Kima Greggs, described the work of Rewired for Change, the non-profit she started with other cast members to help at-risk youth in the areas of Baltimore depicted in “The Wire.” She encouraged audience members to make similar changes in the communities they learn about through “The Wire” and the new Harvard course.

Become a part of these communities. These circumstances will not change if you do nothing,” Sohn said. “Get it moving. Get it popping. Get up off your butt and do something.

Panel attendee Sarah V. Chace (class of 1980), who is also a fan of the show, said she already uses “The Wire” as a case study in a class on community leadership she teaches at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. She said she came to the event to hear more about how other academics and the actors view the role of “The Wire” in depicting urban life.

The event was sponsored by the African American Studies Department and two local charitable organizations, the Boston Foundation and the Ella J. Baker House.

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