Modern American History in Films
Modern American History in Films is a full-year course. Students will study 20th Century American History using films as our primary “texts.” We will examine a wide range of topics, including politics, economics, war, religion, culture, sports, and technology. I have selected films that not only do a good job of presenting history, but are also entertaining and memorable—worth watching for their own sake. The selection includes many award-winning films. Most are dramas or comedies, but we will watch a few documentaries as well.
- This class is not an easier alternative to a “regular” history course. It will be as demanding of your time, attention, and effort as any other history course.
- Your home environment, schedule, and study habits must enable you to watch feature-length films (2+ hours) with full concentration—without distractions or interruptions.
- You must have access to a DVD or an online stream that enables you to review important scenes, or even to watch the whole film again, as necessary.
- You will practice watching carefully and critically, honing your skills of observation and interpretation.
- Writing will include film summaries and reviews, and papers on various topics.
- Almost all of the films will be rated G, PG, or PG-13. With parents’ permission, I will include R-rated titles, but only when the importance of the topic, and the quality of the film, justifies making an exception.
Taught by Adam Pruzan, this class will challenge your student to think deeply about the role of America in Modern culture.