Monday, September 22, 2008

The Milgram Experiment

At the end of each year in my English 3 CP (Junior) classes, I teach Night by Elie Wiesel. This text, for obvious reasons, usually grabs the students' attention and holds it for the duration of the book. In addition to Night, I also use two supplemental materials, in an attempt to make some kind of sense of the atrocities of that time period. As a class, we read two chapters of Christopher Browning's excellent book, Ordinary Men, about civilian Germans who become mass murderers and the possible reasons behind this awful transformation. Ordinary Men works very well in tandem with Night.

I also show video of the Milgram experiment. Originally, I wanted to find a film about the original experiment. Failing that, I decided to settle for ABC News' recreation. Once again, this really captures student attention, and prompts some interesting discussions. In my opinion, this experiment is also something that every educated person should know.

I had found the ABC News recreation of the experiment on Google Video. Sadly, it's been removed from the site. However, in my search, I did come across this video of the original.

Edit: This video has also been removed. That's the problem with web-based video; there's is no sense of permanence. Everything is here today, gone tomorrow. That leads into the discussion of whether we should own things or just "rent" them using subscription models. And it's a topic for another day, another post...

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