Elizabeth Coffman

Elizabeth Coffman is a documentary filmmaker and film scholar. She's published work in Camera Obscura, Journal of Film & Video and other places. Her film work has been broadcast and screened at festivals in Europe and the U.S. Elizabeth maintains messy homes in Chicago and in Tampa, where her two children live with their father during the week, and stay with her on the weekends. Elizabeth and her filmmaking partner have a media production company -- Long Distance Productions.

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Most Recent Articles

January 11, 2012
Aeron Haynie suggested that I start my column by admitting that my partner and I are trying to spend more personal, intimate time together rather that working so many late evenings. Unfortunately, my column is not about sex with my supportive partner, but about my heavier workload for this spring semester.
December 21, 2011
My partner, Ted, and I are completing our usual cross-country drive for the holidays--from Chicago to Ohio, N.C. and then Florida — visiting family and friends in various stages of stress and hopefulness. Unfortunately, our ongoing economic crisis is certainly being felt at home.
December 8, 2011
While the “Occupy” movements seem to be quieting down this week, higher education received some attention from the White House. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan met with a select group of college presidents and provosts on Monday to discuss how to make higher education more affordable.  With his usual rhetorical grace, Obama referenced this issue again in Kansas on Tuesday.
November 23, 2011
After picking my daughter Katie up at the airport in Chicago and preparing to drive to Michigan for the holidays, I must admit that I first checked the web to see what the Occupy protestors are doing for the Thanksgiving holidays.  Since so many protestors are college students, I wondered if they were headed home and dropping the protests for the weekend?  It doesn't look like it!  On the Occupy Chicago site I found that they are planning a People’s Parade tomorrow — “as an alternative to the corporate-sponsored event taking place on State Street.”
November 9, 2011
Yesterday I was fortunate to listen to George Kuh, Indiana University, Bloomington professor and author of Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter .
October 27, 2011
"Maven" is a Yiddish word from the Hebrew "mevin," meaning "one who knows."  Synonyms for the word are "expert," "gatherer of knowledge" and "geek."  I always thought of the word as being somehow feminine in nature, suggesting a woman who is well-dressed, perhaps, and hovering above the crowds, but not separate from them.  A blogging college professor, perhaps?
October 12, 2011
Good conferences are like a good partnership—they get better with age. Or maybe it’s my age that allows me to engage more directly with the ideas around me. I felt this way last weekend when I assisted with interviewing several participants at a Flannery O’Connor conference for a documentary. Many of the interviewees, such as Bill Sessions, knew the great writer personally before her untimely death at thirty-nine from lupus. They understood how important her religious faith had been to her.
September 28, 2011
I was informed recently that my son Nick will receive free tuition from my partner’s university, as long as Ted and I declare a domestic partnership. I was pleased to discover that Nick may attend Columbia College Chicago (CCC) with tuition waived, but embarrassed that I did not actually know the details for how to declare a partnership. Ted and I have been together for more than a decade, but we have never signed any legal affidavits together beyond a bank mortgage.
September 21, 2011
I’ve seen two films recently that reflect on the lives of women who work away from their children for jobs, opportunity and money. The Help, based on Kathryn Stockett’s successful Southern novel of the same name, and The Learning, a POV documentary about four Filipino women who leave their families for a year to teach in Baltimore’s public school system.
September 7, 2011
As my son reaches voting age I’m wondering — Is it too late to teach him to care about civic issues? This month acknowledges a number of milestones. It’s been a decade since the tragic events of September 11th. My son Nick turns eighteen on September 10th. I’ve been thinking about both events and wondering how the events of 9/11 will impact my (almost adult) son’s sense of politics and the world.

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