History | America in History & Film
J400 | 3010 | Bodnar


Above section open to majors only
Above section open to undergraduates only

This seminar is designed to help students write a substantial paper
on a topic related to the way aspects of American history and life
have been portrayed in Hollywood feature films.  The topic is vast
and cannot be covered in one semester.  THEREFORE, THIS YEAR THE
COURSE WILL FOCUS ON THE FILMS OF THE 1930íS THROUGH THE 1960íS.
The class will examine the way the Great Depression, World War II,
the Cold War and the status of women were portrayed in this time
period.  The first part of the seminar will be devoted to readings
and discussions on the way the historical experience of Americans in
this period was represented during this era in film.  Several films
will be shown partially or in their entirety.  Most likely we will
look at films about gangsters and women from the 1930ís, the
democratic films of director Frank Capra, the sentimental films of
World War II and those that take a harsher look at reality during
the Cold War.  Students will present reports on readings in class,
prepare a proposal for their papers that they will share with their
classmates, and submit a final paper about 15 pages in length at the
end of the semester.  Books that will be read and discussed may
include:  Jeanine Basinger, "A Womanís View:  How Hollywood Spoke to
Women, 1930-1960"; John Bodnar, "Blue Collar Hollywood:  Liberalism,
Democracy and Working People in American Film"; Margot
Henriksen, "Dr. Strangeloveís America:  Society and Culture in the
Atomic Age."  Grades will be based on class participation and the
final paper.