Films about the past are often dismissed by historians as trifles. In this course, we will consider the
conventions of various styles of representing history on film, including American forms such as
Hollywood Historical Drama and Documentary, as well as other styles from other countries. Close
readings of historical texts and of the filmed versions of those events will provide a window into the
strengths and limitations of both media. We will consider whether representing the historical past on
film necessitates simplification, distortion and/or falsification of the facts ? How about the case of
post-colonial societies struggling to retrieve lost or obscured histories? How does film effect memory,
both collective and personal? These and other questions will constitute the core of our discussions.
One 90-minute class per week
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