Film As History (Theme: Middle East & West Asia Focus) (HIST*2020) | College of Arts

Film As History (Theme: Middle East & West Asia Focus) (HIST*2020)

Code and section: HIST*2020*02

Term: Winter 2022

Instructor: Renee Worringer


HIST2020*02: Film as History (Middle East/West Asia Focus)
Instructor: Dr Renée Worringer

Method of Delivery

The class format will follow a BLENDED format: This course will have a mix of online lectures/discussions and face-to-face, in-class discussions, all delivered in a synchronous (live) format. All lectures and discussions will not be recorded for later viewing, so students are expected to attend all components.

Course Synopsis:

This course will use selected films and documentaries to introduce students to issues pertaining to the region of the world known as the Middle East, or West Asia. The subject matter of the selected films will provide students with the basis to address important themes and topics in the history of this region as well as matters relating to how, when, and by who the region’s history is produced, and to what effect. We explore some Western films that beg questions of agency in representing other peoples and cultures, with imagery which often clouds historical realities and proves difficult to surmount in the present political climate. Other films by Middle Eastern filmmakers will provide more balance and nuanced understanding of the Middle East/West Asia. Films will be accompanied by assigned readings that correspond to the themes/topics addressed in the films. These assigned readings, together with the professor’s introduction to the topic, will be used to evaluate the accuracy of the films/documentaries in representing the history they depict.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. assess the viability of film as a historical source.
  2. understand perceptions about the Middle East/West Africa and their impact on the understanding of the region’s past, present, and future.
  3. evaluate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic factors that have defined the Middle East/West Asia’s history.
  4. identify and discuss major themes in Middle East/West Asia’s history with global ramifications.
  5. develop a critical understanding of Middle East/West Asia’s history, culture, and society. 


2.0 credits

Method of Evaluation and Weights:

Discussion/Participation 25%
Drafting critical review questions/responses to assigned films 30%
Final Essay Outline 15%
Final Essay 30%

Texts Required:

Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

**Please note:  This is a preliminary web course 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.**