Modern American History Through Film

Modern American History Through Film

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Modern American History Through Film uses film and contemporary journalism to look at six decades of twentieth-century American history. While the journalism attempts a more direct interpretation of contemporary events, feature film, like any other form of popular culture, provides very indirect but telling interpretations of what people were thinking about, fearing, or aspiring to be during each of these decades. These same concerns and aspirations contributed not only to the content of the films of the 30s, 40s, etc., but also to the style and tone of the filmmaking. In this course, students will do the work of sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, as well as historians, working with primary sources – the Hollywood films from the late 20s to the early 70s. Students will come to regard film as an historical document, one of several such documents that help us develop a clearer conception of the past.

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