Reel History

Course code HIST3053Units 20Level 3000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Humanities and Social Science

While historians deal principally with written texts, they are increasingly turning to film as an important source of historical evidence. Historians are also interested in interrogating the constructed nature of filmic accounts and the ways in which films represent the past. These concerns form key themes of Reel History. Moreover, the development of critical engagement and visual literacy across a range of film genres is increasingly necessary in a world saturated in visual media. To this end, a range of films and historical and theoretical texts will be investigated. Examples of both documentary and dramatic screen texts will be used in the course, and some use may also be made of experimental film.

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 1
ObjectivesUpon successful completion of the course, students will be expected to:
1. demonstrate awareness of film as an historical medium and the capacity to critically read a film as an historical source or representation.
2. use theoretical perspectives to inform an awareness of the contested nature of historical representation within the medium of film and to apply this across a range of historical media.
3. demonstrate the ability to conduct research independently, and to express clear and informed arguments, either orally or in writing, on various aspects of film and history.
4. display awareness of the ways in which an interdisciplinary approach can inform understandings of the past.
ContentThe course will be taught in a thematic way and will introduce students to the concept of film as cultural artefact, The overarching construct linking the selection of film is the concept of representation. Following introductory lectures on how to read a visual text and genres of historical film, the course is structured around a selection of themes. The themes may include cinematic representations of childhood and youth; gender and sexualities; Indigenous histories; surf culture; and politics and war over a range of historical periods.
Replacing Course(s)HUMA3053
TransitionStudents who have completed HUMA3053 cannot enrol in HIST3053.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeA general knowledge of history will be assumed equivalent to that acquired in two ten-unit courses of history. No previous study of film and history will be assumed.
Modes of DeliveryFlexible Delivery / Student Centred Learning
Internal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Examination: ClassClass 60-90 minute test in class at end of semester, 20%
Essays / Written AssignmentsWritten paper (1500 words) based on an oral presentation to be submitted in the week following the presentation, 20%
Essays / Written AssignmentsWritten paper (3000 words) 30%
Essays / Written AssignmentsFour reviews (approx. 500 words) based on films and readings - total 20%
Presentations - IndividualSeminar participation:
Preparation for and oral contribution to seminars, 10%
Contact HoursLecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Seminar: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for HIST3053