Steven C. Beda
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.
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.
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.