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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Steven C. Beda
HSTAA 365
Seattle Campus

Culture, Politics, and Film in Twentieth Century America

Explores relationship between film and twentieth century U.S. cultural, social, and political history. Examines the ways that films responded to, participated in, and helped shape understandings of modernity, national identity, political power, race and ethnic relations, gender, and crises such as economic depression and war.

Class description

How have films shaped the American cultural, social, and political landscape? How do movies reflect and shape popular perceptions of race, class, and gender? Are films works of art or products of consumer culture? How do movies shape Americans’ sense of identity and nationhood? This course explores these questions and gives students a chance to join in debates over the significance and meaning of cinema in American history.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Class meetings consist of lectures, film screenings, and discussions. Generally speaking, the first hour of class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will be devoted to lecture while the second half of class will be devoted to discussion. Discussions will focus on interpreting films and readings. Required readings (listed in the class schedule) are available electronically on the class website and are expected to be completed by the day of discussion. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be devoted to film screenings.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites of background needed. What is required is a willingness to engage in open and lively discussions.

Class assignments and grading

Grades will be based on participation, a few short writing assignments, and a take-home final exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Steven C. Beda
Date: 04/25/2012