HIST 369 Spring 2015 American History in Film

Cross Listed as AMST369
Film can tell a story in ways that words alone cannot; films about history can "re-enact" the past for the purposes of entertainment. But like words, they can inform or dis-inform. Because the narrative arc requires resolution, movies may gloss over complexities. And yet, filmmakers also can deploy tools and methods that delve deeply into the intimacies of a singular life, the intricacies of a singular experience, or the nuances of a singular interaction. This course uses popular films about 19th and 20th century American history explore the following questions: What do movies about America history (generally and specifically) convey about American culture? How have depictions of ideas, events, and people in American history changed over time? What historical depictions were or are controversial, when, and why? Why have certain films about American history sustained popularity? Films include Birth of a Nation; Gone with the Wind; Casablanca; Tora! Tora! Tora!; Malcolm X; Apocalypse Now; and others.
Class Format: seminar; the class will meet twice weekly, with a separate weekly film screening
Requirements/Evaluation: several reviews and short papers, and a final paper or project
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Prerequisites: knowledge of American history strongly recommended
Enrollment Preference: junior and senior History majors; then sophomores; then first years
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 20
Class Number: 3258
HIST 369 - 01 (S) SEM American History in Film Division 2: Social Studies Leslie Brown
TR 11:20 AM-12:35 PM Griffin 2 3258
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