The Hidden History of 'Guerrilla Television': UChicago Scholars Preserve Decades-Old Videos

Eleanor Boyer (left) and Karen Peugh shoot some video footage. Photo is courtesy of Eleanor Boyer.

Decades before cellphone video changed how we create and consume media, the advent of low-cost, portable video cameras did something similar for underrepresented communities across the United States—allowing them to experiment with new forms of documentary, art and activism.

Known as “guerrilla television,” this movement of the late 1960s to 1970s helped amplify the voices of groups such as women, Black, Indigenous and people of color, immigrants and Appalachian miners.

Now, a consortium of University of Chicago scholars, librarians, and partnering archivists and filmmakers will create the Guerrilla Television Network—preserving and presenting the history of guerrilla television to a much wider audience. Supported by a grant of nearly $500,000 from the Council on Library and Information Resources, the three-year project will digitize 1,015 videotapes produced from 1967 to 1979.

UChicago Announces 2021 Winners of Quantrell and Graduate Teaching Awards

University of Chicago campus

The classroom has long been the foundation of a transformative University of Chicago education. This past year, however, students have found inspiration even without traditional classroom settings—guided by faculty who have navigated unusual circumstances with empathy, curiosity and a spirit of collaboration.

The University annually recognizes faculty for exceptional teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students through the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Awards, believed to be the nation’s oldest prize for undergraduate teaching; and the Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring, which honor faculty for their work with graduate students. In the Division of the Humanities, Prof. Patrick Jagoda will receive the Quantrell Award, and Assoc. Prof. Persis Berlekamp and Prof. Daniel Morgan will be recognized with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.

Humanities Scholar Wins the Prestigious Sheikh Zayed Book Award

Tahera Qutbuddin photo by Ken Bennett

Tahera Qutbuddin embarked on a 10-year journey researching and writing the first study in English of seventh-century Arabic oration, which strongly influenced its literature and culture. The result was Arabic Oration: Art and Function (2019), which recently received the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Arabic Culture in Other Languages and reveals similarities between Arabic and Greek oral traditions.

“Tahera is a master translator; many of the sermons and speeches in her book were translated into English from Arabic for the first time,” said Ahmed El Shamsy, associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC). “Her analyses are so insightful. The coming generations of students will use her pathbreaking work as a foundation for further study.”

UChicago Humanities Professor To Be Honored as Commandeur by the French Government

Arnold I. Davidson (left) and Pierre Hadot photo by Diane Brentari

For his exceptional contribution to teaching and promoting French thought and culture, Arnold I. Davidson has received the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes académiques and will be honored at the French Consulate in Chicago in the fall of 2021. This achievement is the highest-ranking academic honor of the French Republic and is available to both French and international academics who make major contributions to French national education and culture.

“Throughout his career, Arnold has thoroughly immersed himself in French culture and thought without regard to disciplinary boundaries,” said Anne Walters Robertson, Dean of the Division of the Humanities. 

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