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American Historical Cinema (AM213)



Tutor: Prof. J.E. Smyth
Office: H3.28
Office Hours: Monday 12hrs-13hrs; Thursday 11hrs-12hrs
Lecture Times: Friday 14hrs-15hrs
Seminar Times: Monday 10hrs-11hrs; Monday 11hrs-12hrs; Friday 12hrs-13hrs.

This undergraduate 30 CATS option module is available to second-year History and Comparative American Studies students. While complementing modules on nineteenth and twentieth-century North American topics, this module also offers a comparative dimension to those students taking courses in the evolution of mass culture and historiography.

This year-long survey of Hollywood's historical film genre focuses on the studios' engagement with American history in films ranging from The Birth of a Nation (1915) to Far From Heaven (2002) and Changeling (2008). Readings, lectures, and seminar discussions will consider issues in historiography, narration, ideology, genre, censorship, race, gender, and reception. Module readings will be divided among traditional and revisionist historiography, historical novels later adapted for the screen, screenplays, and recent critical assessments of “filmed history.” Topics this year will include the biopic, the war film, the western, and the gangster genre.