RC Professor Elizabeth Goodenough has received an Outstanding Mentorship Award from the University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. In her nomination essay, rising LSA senior and mentee Sophia Georginis writes: "Dr. Goodenough is one of the most influential people I have ever met. She makes me want to work harder. She makes me want to be a better cinematographer. She pushes me beyond my limits. I admire her for how much she cares about her students. It's incredible to work for someone who cares about life as much as I do -- who wants to succeed, who wants to be the best she can, who wants to make a difference. When I look at her, I see a passion for life."
The description of Dr. Goodenough's project, Documenting Childhood Trauma in Story and Film follows:
Although children constitute our future, all too often their wellbeing is overlooked, especially in times of war and natural disaster. Turmoil and trauma may force the next generation to fend for itself in undocumented, illegal or unconventional ways. Our research considered the hidden coping strategies of the young and ways that adults and adolescents represent these survival skills. We studied how crisis growing up is portrayed in literature, film, picture books, novels and the media. For example, illness in Ellen Coerr’s Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (1977), poverty in Beasts of the Southern Wild (Zeitlin, 2012), resistance to apartheid in Pamela Reynolds’s War in Worcester (2012), homelessness in Longfellow’s Evangeline (1847), domestic imprisonment in Zlata’s Diary (1994) all elude linguistic conventions and psychological categories. The children and young adults in these works embody profound contrasts and unusual assumptions about pain and healing. In The Red Pencil (2014) by Andrea Davis Pinkney, for example, a 12-year old Sudanese girl recovers from mutism, finding her voice with a single red pencil. By filming interviews and workshops, we explored sharing stories of trauma.
Our interview of Pamela Reynolds, an ethnographer of fourteen young men who had risked their lives fighting apartheid in 1985, documented the political agency of courageous children.
We also helped cook and film an Acadian feast followed by a candlelight reading of Longfellow’s Evangeline on All Souls’ Day. Finally we filmed an origami workshop, recreating the powerful symbol of the crane at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. As filmmakers, we learned how stories like these enlarge the possibilities of art and endow language with new meaning.