Film and Modern History (Fall 2017)

About this class

This course focuses on the use of film to portray modern history and the representation of the twentieth century through the medium of film. As one of the main ways that people access history, film plays an important (albeit sometimes problematic) role in the construction and representation of the past. This course examines how films construct a particular version of the past and how thsi informs our understanding of history and the events of the twentieth century. 

Algoma University
by Brenda on November 10, 2017
Blog #1: What purpose does film serve in the history classroom or in telling of history?   I don’t remember the textbook assigned to me by my teacher, for my 12th grade American History class. I don’t honestly recall much about the essay I wrote for that class or writing the final exam or even my overall grade in the class. I do remember though, we had an assignment to watch the movie The Patriot, about the American Revolution. 

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Algoma University
by shu1_1226 on November 10, 2017
              There are too many films to count in the world; some films entertain people, and others tell people about a story. Stories in films are told by somebody; in fact, filmmakers decide the person who tells his or her story and experience. A story is subtly different depending on a person who tells the story.

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Algoma University
by evanwight on November 10, 2017
Evan Wight FILM 2907 Dr. Marisha Caswell November 10, 2017 Blog Post 1 Topic #2

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Algoma University
by Brian Bushnell on November 10, 2017
What purpose does film serve in the history classroom or in the telling of history?   Film can serve a very useful purpose in the history classroom. Watching a historical event unfold on the movie screen can stimulate one’s senses more that reading about the same event in a textbook or listening to someone talk about it. The combination of the moving visual imagery and sounds can help a student remember a particular part of a history lesson and can give a better sense of the time period.

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Algoma University
by 129674720 on November 9, 2017
                I would like to start off by saying, history is, strongly correlated to how the people presenting it through various media, how they remember or choose to present it. So history in its nature is strongly biased to the ones presenting it. There is a big part that has to do with memory and emotion. I choose to pair the two together because they affect each other. Various studies have proven that the more impactful an event to one’s life the more likely they will remember it. This explains the bits and pieces in our early childhood that we remember now.

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Algoma University
by eug22 on November 9, 2017
I personally think the film Inglorious Bastards is a movie that can teach people about several historical events that took place during World War II. The most obvious is the event of World War II. Sure it’s a film that is set in World War II, however this movie is about a fantasy affair of Jewish rebels and their leader who plot to assassinate Nazi leadership Adolf Hitler and his army. One of the comical things I found about this move is how the Jewish soldiers were described as Basterds from the Nazi’s.

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Algoma University
by mawan on November 9, 2017
For the most part, I knew a lot about the historical events surrounding the Battle of Algiers, largely due to firstly my interest in the history of European colonialism (not just in Africa, but predominantly Asia) and secondly both my partner and former housemates are Algerian, and their grandparents are all veterans of the revolution, so they would at times tell me stories about their bravery and life under French rule. However, what I learned from the film is that the Algerian revolution was not an all-out war involving sieges and carpet bombings of whole cities, like in Syria.

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Algoma University
by MasterDJ on November 9, 2017
     Film serves in the Coles notes role nowadays in the classroom when it comes to history especially when it comes to events that aren’t going to be talked about in bigger budget movies. People (not just kids) are much more connected and are much more on the go as compared to 20 years about or even when I was in high school 10 years ago. This has led to a culture of speed and sitting around reading, or even learning in some cases, is considered boring so it makes sense for film to pick up the slack to teach people something that they would once upon a time have just read about.

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Algoma University
by asmith2017 on November 4, 2017
#2. A number of the films deal with issues of authorship and whose voice should be used in telling a story. Whose stories are being told in films (or a specific film) we watch in class? Who should tell these stories?  

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Algoma University
by STEPHEN KREYENBUHL on November 1, 2017
One of the best films the class as watched to discuss historical events would have to have been Rhymes for Young Ghouls. The film is set in the mid-1970s on an Indian reserve with a residential school looming nearby. The main story of the film sets around the tragic back story of Alia leading up to her and the local members of the reserve community robbing the residential school.

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Algoma University
by ZDOSE on October 17, 2017
HIST/FILM 2907 Blog Post #1 - Zach Dose  

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Algoma University
by tombarry2410 on October 6, 2017
Film as a younger medium is an odd choice for historical use. With the first films being shown publicly only happening in 1893 there’s only just over a century’s worth of historical film to use which limits its usefulness in teaching history. As well as this film is flawed as a teaching tool in that sometimes historical accuracy takes a backseat to drama in an effort to make a profit.

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Algoma University
by mawan on October 6, 2017
Memories are generally constructed by one’s experiences of certain events, such as wars, natural disasters etc. Having firsthand experience is one of the best ways of understanding history, as we will know the graphic details of certain events, such as the Sabra and Shatila massacre through the eyes of Ari Folman and his former comrades.

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Algoma University
by asmith2017 on October 6, 2017
No matter how dramatic or grandiose some historical films can be, many people take them for face value and believe them to be historically accurate. Of course we know that this isn’t true. But for myself and tons of people, we get pulled into the popular culture historical films and I believe that hey do heavily influence our understanding of history and historical events.

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Algoma University
by shu1_1226 on October 6, 2017
 Nowadays, some schools teach history by serving films. They serve films to students in the history classroom and tell what happened in the past in the world instead of opening a history textbook. There are two purposes why films are served in the history class.

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Algoma University
by Matthew Siklosi on October 5, 2017
Historical films affect and construct our understanding of history by being a medium in which the greater public engages with history. A good historical film should not only accurately represent the event or period but also pique the viewers’ interest. Just calling a film “historical” doesn’t make it so. Unfortunately a lot of people will think a film is an authority on a subject because it is “historical” or “based on true events.” This means that viewers and film makers have to be careful with historical films.

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Algoma University
by yukiinoue818116 on October 4, 2017
Question 6: What purpose does film serve in the history classroom or in the telling of history?             Some people may say that films are just films, and they are just for entertainment. However, I believe that films serve the purpose of going into people’s minds automatically, and especially when they want to study, they are very effective. Films are something that people have watched definitely at least once in their lives. Films are somehow related to our lives. We sometimes watch them for fun, but sometimes they are for studying.

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Algoma University
by STEPHEN KREYENBUHL on October 3, 2017
For me personally, film can serve as a major tool in learning or telling history in a classroom setting. There are things lectures and slideshows are simply incapable of accomplishing that a film can accomplish on a regular basis. The first film that comes to mind that backs up this claim is Waltz with Bashir. The film is able to reanimate the story of the soldiers that fought within the Lebanon War in 1982. The point is that film makes history come to life.

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Algoma University
by eug22 on October 2, 2017
Who doesn’t love watching movies in a classroom! When the teacher tells you that you will be watching a film today in class, you’re ready to get the popcorn out and put your feet up while others plunge into their seats - half of them paying attention while other snooze or text. We can imagine this because we have all been there at one time or another.

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Algoma University
by GillianMaskell on September 20, 2017
2. A number of the films deal with issues of authorship and whose voice should be used in telling a story. Whose stories are being told in films (or in a specific film) we watched in class? Who should tell these stories? 

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by mdigs23 on October 6, 2017
Algoma University
The purpose that film serves in the history classroom or the telling of history is its use it has as a teaching device. Films allow students or audiences to gain a different prospective on historical times or events. The message that each film or story teaches can vary depending on the information given, the topic, the event, the time, the place, or the person at hand and on a person’s ability to draw his or her own conclusions from that particular film or story.

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1 week 6 days ago

Hi Mdigs23, I have to agree with your post. I enjoyed reading it. You made some real valid points. I also agree with your point about the purpose that film has a teaching device in the history classroom or in the telling of a story by means of showing students or audiences human realities such as memory suppression.

1 week 6 days ago

Hi Mdigs23, I have to agree with your post. I enjoyed reading it. You made some real valid points. I also agree with your point about the purpose that film has a teaching device in the history classroom or in the telling of a story by means of showing students or audiences human realities such as memory suppression.

Reply to: Blog Post #1
1 month 5 days ago
n/a

n/a

1 month 6 days ago

Thank you for your feedback, and for the link with more info.

1 month 6 days ago

I never really considered that prospecive of the citizen, that really has me thinking differently now.

1 month 2 weeks ago

I hope it's good enough, and also I didn't watch Memento the whole way through, so that's why I didn't talk about it much.

1 month 2 weeks ago

While I agree this film does make a good documentary, I do think a perspective was left out of the film. The film focuses entirely on different soldiers experiences during the documentary while leaving out the perspective of a common citizen that may have been on the other side of the gun. I think it paints a different picture and can really show the horror that was captured at the end of the documentary. Would we still think the same of those depicted throughout the film? Would we have less sympathy? I think these questions are addressed with more viewpoints than just soldiers. While the film gives major incite of the events of the war, a common man's view may just have been effective or paint the whole story. Overall, I still think its good film, I just want a full picture considering when what voices should be used to tell the story of the war.

2 months 16 hours ago

http://truthngo.org/remembering-sabra-shatila-massacre-35-years/

Check out the above link for more info on the massacre!

2 months 1 day ago

Gillian: over all a good initial reaction to the film, though I am not sure if documentary is the right term for it! By that I mean it was self reflective but one-sided, maybe it was my reaction to it being animated.

I will look to see what the cultural reaction to the film in Israel was upon its release. Especially in the current political climate in Israel this would not be a film that is looked upon kindly. But do not get me started on the current attitude of Israeli's towards Palestinians.

One thing that I would like to find out is the actual attitude of the local Lebanese Muslim population towards the refugees.

Reply to: Blog Post #2
1 year 11 months ago

As you know we have been tasked with commenting on 2 blog posts, I have chosen yours. Your post is very well written. and you have very strong arguemnets, so I don't really have much to add, just suggests to improve arguements, or strengthen some you already have. The first being from the section of "What happens if we disagree with a specific law?" You stated that "Laws are set out to defend our rights and freedoms and because of them we live in peace and harmony in our societies," But aren't laws also inplace for things such as our safety? As well, laws are in place to prevent such things as legistlators from creating laws that aren't beneficial to Canadian's but to their own agenda. Another thing, we are not just born and know that we have to obey the law, but we are taught, how are we taught to obey and follow the law is a question that could be added.Just little details like that, though, the response to this question was very well written!

Another thing I want to look at is your statement from the arguement from the question "Are we obligated to obey the law all the time or are there circumstances where it is acceptable to disobey or disregard the content of a law?"
you stated that "here are certain circumstances where it is acceptable to disobey or disregard the law, in a situation where your life is at risk then a citizen has a right to protect it in a manner that may infringe on the life of the unlawful person." What is that certain circumstance where it is accceptable to disobey the law?

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