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

April 4, 2012
Since I have been traveling to film festivals and accompanying students on spring break trips, I have not seen my teenagers for almost three weeks — a situation that makes my eyes start to twitch after a while. I need to communicate to my kids (and to myself) a justification for this lengthy separation from them.
March 21, 2012
If you pay attention to YouTube or the media, then you are aware of Kony 2012.  If you’ve been on a college campus that contains any sense of activism in the last few years, then you have probably heard of “Invisible Children” or their “National Sleepout” event.  Students at my university consistently sleep outside on the quad in order to commemorate the living conditions, abuses and relative danger of the lives of central African child soldiers.  If a university wants to teach history, global politics and civic engagement, then what better way to do so but by including a student-driven non-profit’s advocacy events?
March 8, 2012
Universities are developing more strategies for students and faculty to engage with each other and communities outside of traditional educational settings. Right now I am traveling with students from my university “down the bayou” in Dulac, Louisiana, introducing them to the environmental story of disappearing wetlands and an estuary in crisis. The trip is part of an alternative spring break option — a competitive program at my university where students choose between either national or international trips that take them to communities with critical issues such as poverty, housing or the environment. 
February 23, 2012
My partner, Ted Hardin, and I will be in New Orleans on Thursday for the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) meeting on general education and assessment.  (We’re just missing Mardi Gras, darn it!)  We are helping to deliver the keynote speech with biologist James P. Collins on “Learning and Discovery in an Era of Change.”  We’ll be focusing on environmental issues and how interdisciplinary practices affect new forms of teaching and student learning. 
February 8, 2012
Geez. What a week it’s been for women’s health rights. The Susan B. Komen Foundation flip-flopped after the online outrage for defunding Planned Parenthood. (Over a million Planned Parenthood Tweets!) Now the Obama administration appears to be hedging on a decision to require all health plans, including Catholic universities and hospitals, to cover contraception.
January 25, 2012
I was shocked this weekend after calling car insurance companies to add my 16 year-old daughter, Katie, to my plan. Nick, my 18 year-old, is already covered, but apparently — due to some fortunate confusion by an agent — I was paying the Illinois rate (the state in which I work), not the Florida rate where my second car and teenagers are located.
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.”


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