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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jordanna Bailkin
HSTEU 290
Seattle Campus

Topics in European History

Examines special topics in European history.

Class description

HSTEU 276 - 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, 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 successes and failures of these efforts. We will address the themes of poverty and affluence, postwar justice, Americanization, the expansion and 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 films that illustrate how Europe tried to memorialize (and forget) the wartime past, and what arguments Europeans made about how they might 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.

We will discuss readings by authors such as Primo Levi, Winston Churchill, Frantz Fanon, Bobby Sands, Slavenka Drakulic, and Hanif Kureishi. We will also analyze films such as Germany Year Zero, Triumph of the Will, London Can Take It, The Battle of Algiers, Goodbye Lenin, Dirty Pretty Things, No Man's Land, and Inglourious Basterds.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites; some background in modern European history is helpful, but not required.

Class assignments and grading

Midterm and final exam based on readings, films, lecture, and discussion. Analytic essay based on readings and films

Exams, papers, and participation in discussion


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 Jordanna Bailkin
Date: 10/15/2011