SECOND SUMMER TERM 2010
Saturdays, 10 - 6 pm, June 26 - July 24 (plus Orientation on Wednesday, June 23, 6 - 8 pm)
Classroom: SEM II, A1105
Full time program -- 8 credit hours
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Historical films exert a powerful influence on the way we visualize the past. To determine how feature and documentary films contribute to the discourse of history, we will read relevant historical texts and screen and critically analyze several films for their aesthetic characteristics and historical authenticity. We will also explore the impact of related topics on historical representation--such as genre, screenwriting and filmmaking techniques, media literacy, and Hollywood codes of representation. This is a partial online program. Students will need access to a comprehensive source for DVD rentals (such as Netflix) and will be using an electronic message board or seminar platform, email and other web communication tools.
SYLLABUS (draft will be linked in April)
BOOKS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSIDERTATION (will be available at the Evergreen College bookstore)
The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Davis - ISBN 978-0674766914)
Visions of the Past (Robert Rosenstone - ISBN: 9780674940987)
Good Night and Good Luck ( George Clooney and Grant Heslov - ISBN 978-1557047144)
Angels and Insects (9780679751342 )
The Great Republic (Bernard Bailyn)
Film Art (David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson)
The Hollywood Historical Film (Robert Burgoyne)
The Historical Film: History and Memory in Media (Marcia Landy, ed.)
Women of the West (Cathy Luchetti)
How to Read a Film (James Monaco)
Thinking in Pictures (John Sayles)
The Persistance of History (Vivian Sobchack, ed.)
Gunfighter Nation (Richard Slotkin)
The Writer's Journey (Christopher Vogler)
It's Your Misfortune and None of my Own (Richard White)
FILMS (among those currently under consideration):
The Return of Martin Guerre
The Madness of King George
Angels and Insects
Little Big Man
Good Night and Good Luck
Other People's Lives
The Killing Fields
All the President's Men
Written and other assignments: will include weekly seminar and portfolio papers, an annotated research bibliography, and a possibly a group project examining films and the primary and secondary source materials of a particular historical period.
Articles and other short readings will be available as pdf downloads once classes begin.
**Screening films at home. You will need to join Netflix or some other comprehensive DVD source before the beginning of classes. This is the most economical and practical way to screen the assigned films at home.
REPRESENTATIVE QUESTIONS (that will form the basis of our learning goals):
How has the portrayal of history on film evolved during the past century?
How do the aesthetic differences between film and literary forms affect the study of historical subjects? For example, how does narrative impact the manner in which a film portrays history?
What can we learn from a history book that we cannot learn from a film and vice versa?
How does film contribute to the discourse of history? In what ways do film images enhance or undermine historical accuracy?
What roles do popular culture and technology play in the presentation of history on film?
How does the business and culture of Hollywood (or the studio system) influence the portrayal of history in the screenwriting process? In the production process?
Is it important that a film be historically accurate given the budgetary and commercial forces that dominate the film industry? Are independent films less likely to misrepresent history?
Why Is an enlightened skepticism necessary when viewing historical films?
web design: Mark Harrison
web support: Beth Stinson