Human Rights in Film and Theatre

Simpson Colloquium SC 101 – Human Rights in Film and Theatre

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, set forth over 60 years ago by the United Nations, states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This class will explore global human rights issues as portrayed in film and theatre. By analyzing films and plays, students will consider whether art helps to create a deeper understanding of injustices via the depiction of individual stories. Does telling stories encourage a critical examination and deeper analysis of issues and motivate us to denounce human rights abuses and advocate for change? Films and plays we will analyze include Erin Brockovich, Milk, Invictus, Ruined, and My Name is Rachel Corrie.

Meet Your ProfessorJenniferNostrala1

Jennifer Nostrala, M.F.A.

Professor of Theatre Arts

Jennifer Ross Nostrala, professor of theatre arts, has been teaching at Simpson the past twenty years. In that time she has taught courses in theatre performance (acting, directing, and movement); discovering theatre; women and theatre; and the women’s studies seminar.

She has directed over 40 productions and her recent directing credits at Simpson include Back Story, The Servant of Two Masters, A Year with Frog and Toad, Antigone: Speaking Truth, One Flea Spare, and Hamlet . In January of 2010 she received a certificate of merit from The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region V for directing for The Servant of Two Masters. May of 2010 she directed Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig at the Des Moines Social Club. For several years she served as the faculty supervisor for the Simpson V-Day College campaign and through this project has raised thousands of dollars for the Warren County Domestic Violence Coalition.

Meet Your SC LeaderScreen Shot 2014-03-05 at 9.57.12 AM

Gillian Randall 

Hello there!

My name is Gillian Randall and I am a junior at Simpson College. This is my second year being an SC Leader, and I am ready for round two! I’m a theatre major and history minor. I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and graduated from East High School. I was and still am very active in theatre. Simpson has given me a lot of opportunities to explore theatre and help me discover new things I love about it. I don’t play sports at Simpson, but I used to be a competitive figure skater. My favorite colors are indigo, periwinkle, and seafoam green and my favorite animal is a hippopotamus! I can’t wait to meet all the incoming students!

Meet Your Writing Fellow

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Jordan Kenkel

Hello, everyone!

First off, welcome to Simpson College! As your Writing Fellow for Professor Nostrala’s Colloquium course “Human Rights in Film and Theatre,” I am excited to help you begin your “Simpson Experience.”

A little about myself — My hometown is Manilla in west-central Iowa. I attended IKM-Manning High School in Manning, Iowa, and graduated with just 60 students. I love small towns because everyone knows everyone, and you can always rely on people for help. Currently, I am studying to obtain secondary education endorsements in English and journalism. I am a senior this year and will be student teaching in the spring of 2015. Upon receiving licensure, I hope to teach in a small, local district for one year before I return to school for my master’s degree.

During my time at Simpson, I have had the pleasure of meeting many incredible friends. I have also worked with several amazing professors and advisors. I enjoy spending time with my friends on a daily basis, and I am an active member of SARA (Sexual Assault Response Advocates) and Student Support Services. The Iowa Hawkeyes are my favorite collegiate team, and my family loves attending football games every season.

Ultimately, my job is to help all of you develop as writers, and I am happy to help ease you in to the transition from high school writing to college writing. If you have any questions before welcome week, please feel free to email me at I look forward to seeing you in the fall!


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