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1 History 200 Introduction Lecture.pdf

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HIST 200
Brad Lushman

History 200: History and Film History 200 Introduction Lecture Slide 1: Course introduction for History 200 History and Film Slide 2: Course Author Hi my name is David Schweitzer and I’m the author of this course History and Film. I come from this part of Ontario and have received my BA and MA from the University of Guelph. In order to qualify for my PhD in British and Irish history, I pursued it at the University College of London, in London England where I lived for a number of years before returning to Ontario and to this part of the world to teach history at universities here. My history and professional interests relate to British, Irish and European history and, of course, the intriguing area of the relationship between film and the study of history. Slide 3: Course Introduction This course has a short title--Historyand Film. One of the things I find fascinating about this area is the enormous number of subjects which such a short title can involve and we will have time to investigate some of them in this course. History films have often been criticized by academics and others as inaccurate depictions of the past, yet there is no escaping that block-buster history films–documentaries, dramas, even comedies, and so forth are increasingly shaping our understanding of historical events and of people in the past. This is especially true in our age of visual entertainment which, of course, includes DVDs, television and the cinema. The various controversies that erupt over various historical films themselves show the central role films play in making history accessible even in everyday life. Many people learn much of the history they know from either television or the movies. Even adventure and drama films can be a legitimate way of studying history. Even though they may be largely fictional, we can examine what history films convey about the past, how they convey it and this demonstrates thatwe need to learn how to read and understand this new visual world. This in turn means we will be briefly looking at various types of films coming from different countries, some will be American, some will come from European countries. The point being, that they are made in different times in different places under different political systems and in a different historical age. Dramatic feature films can also includehe so called bio film or biography film. Different types of films could include documentaries, musicals, dramas, even comedies; they’re all examples of different types of film. People working as filmmakers sometimes work as historians as well. An example, consider how many films have been made concerning the Holocaust. Persons making these films set out to tell a story but that story’s also related to European history. Part of what we will be doing will be to relate traditional history to this film history to see if they connect and how they connect. Traditional written history itself has changed a great deal over the past 50 years by using new methodologies and engaging in a new understanding of humanity. However, history is about change, about how the world has changed. The way we study history has also changed formally and informally. The moving picture has been with us for over 100 years now and although it is largely considered a form of entertainment, it is also the means by which many people have learned what they understand about history. Our course will be largely about how people learn history through film and to consider what film adds to our understanding of the past. What I find interesting about this whole subject is the efforts we can make to understand how real history can be understood © University of Waterloo and others through reel history. We will see that filmmakers who are also historians have several problems to grapple with t
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