Film As History (6 week accelerated) (HIST*2020) | College of Arts

Film As History (6 week accelerated) (HIST*2020)

Code and section: HIST*2020*S1

Term: Summer 2021

Instructor: Marc-Andre Gagnon


HIST*2020 Film as History

Term: Summer 2021. This will be an accelerated 6 week course offering. (0.5 Credit Weight) 

Course Synopsis: 

What happens to history when Hollywood filmmakers get their hands on it? Using modern American history as a case study, this course analyses how films create a dialogue between the present and the past. Film - as a medium - has the power to produce strong narratives, to evoke nostalgia, and can either distort or enhance historical events. What obligation do filmmakers have to the truth? Where is the line between entertainment and facts? By analyzing how history is consumed through mass media, students will develop awareness of both the benefits and limitations of the visual representation of history and will familiarize themselves with the politics and culture of America since the 19th century. 

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this course, student will have learned to: 

  1. Gain a broader awareness of issues in Modern American History
  2. Understand the benefits and limitations of history consumption through mass media;
  3. Explain how films are shaping representations of historical subjects;
  4. Examine film as an artefact by focusing on key issues such reception and historical context of production
  5. Use film as sources in the study of historical topics;
  6. Demonstrate critical thinking and apply historical methods when analyzing films;
  7. Analyze primary sources and compare them to modern interpretations of the past.

Method of Evaluation and Weights: 

  • Movie Review 1 (20%)
  • Primary Source Report (25%)
  • Movie Review 2 (20%)
  • Take-Home Examination (35%)

Texts Required: 

Electronic access to all films and readings will be provided through the course reserve system on CourseLink. 

**Please note: This is a preliminary website description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.**