Examines special topics in European history.
POSTWAR: EUROPEAN HISTORY AND FILM AFTER 1945
How did Europeans attempt to come to terms with the aftermath and legacy of the Second World War? As they sought to rebuild their cities, laws, empires, economies, and social relations in the wake of the war and the Holocaust, the place of Europe in the world seemed ever more fragile. In this course, we will explore efforts to reconstruct Europe and European identity after 1945, as well as assessing the success and failure of these efforts. We will address the themes of poverty and affluence, postwar justice, Americanization the collapse of communism, decolonization, migration, and ongoing ethnic tensions that threatened new forms of warfare. Throughout this tumultuous period, film offered a powerful way for Europeans to rethink their identity. We will focus on ten films that illustrate how Europe tried to cope with (or forget) the wartime past and its impact on the present, and what arguments Europeans made about how to build a new future. The course thus provides students with an opportunity to explore the historical uses of film, and to sharpen their skills of visual analysis, along with an overview of key themes in post-1945 European history.
Some of our texts will include Primo Levi's Reawakening, Gandhi's political writings, and Slavenka Drakulic's Life After Communism. Films will include Germany Year Zero, Battle of Algiers, Dirty Pretty Things, No Man's Land, and Inglourious Basterds.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lecture, film screenings, and group discussion
No prerequisites, although at least one course in modern European history would be helpful
Class assignments and grading
midterm, one paper (10-12 pages), final exam
Grades are based on evaluations of written work described above.