Communication and Culture | Topics in Communication and Culture in Comparative Perspective: Film and Propaganda
C415 | ALL | Joshua Malitsky


Topic: Film and Propaganda
Class Number: TBA (check Schedule of Classes on OneStart)
TuTh 9:30AM-10:45AM
Required film screenings Tuesdays 7:00 PM-10:30 PM

Fulfills COAS S&H distribution requirement

Professor: Joshua Malitsky

Practically from its inception, film was thought to be a medium
uniquely capable of communicating concrete messages to a broad
audience (literate or illiterate) and emotionally inspiring citizens
of a nation.  Many practitioners, governmental officials, and
critics assumed film could capture the real world objectively while
its visual pleasures would guarantee consistent viewership.  The
idea of using film to influence the ideas, values, and attitudes of
the audience is almost as old as cinema itself.  This course
examines the relationship between film propaganda, the nation-state,
and audiences by analyzing a variety of persuasive strategies, their
connections to particular national agendas, and their continued
importance in contemporary political life and national culture.

In order to focus our study of film and propaganda, the class is
broken down into five two-week sections and a final four-week
section.  The first five examine particular state-sponsored film
propaganda movements chronologically (1. The Soviet Union from 1917-
1928; 2. Nazi Germany from 1933-1945; 3. Great Britain from 1939-
1944; 4. The United States from 1941-1946; 5. Cuba from 1959-1970).
I will provide the historical background information necessary for a
fuller appreciation of these films in the lecture prior to the given
screening.  In the final section, we will consider contemporary
documentary films, videos, and television news programs focusing on,
but not limited to, the United States.

-The course is a combination of class lecture and discussion.
Attendance is taken.
-There is a required screening apart from the two scheduled class
periods.
-Readings include textual analyses of films, studies of contemporary
audiences, work on industrial contexts, and filmmakers’ own
statements.
-Assignments include a mid-term examination, a final examination,
and a 10-12 pp. research paper.