The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Cinema is a powerful medium for the interpretation of the past. Some film biographies, period pieces, and documentaries have provided us with insightful information about human history; others have distorted issues or served as propaganda. This course will study the challenges and promises of film as historical artifact by focusing on cinematic representations of war (from the First and Second World Wars, to post-war colonial struggles). The objective is to introduce students to film as historical documents and to help them acquire specific critical tools for incorporation into the study of history.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2018.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. acquire elements of 'visual literacy' so that students can analyse history films critically

2. judge the historical integrity of films

3. understand the complex nature between cinematic invention and historical knowledge

4. understand the historical value of film as a site of cultural expression and conflict with the potential to influence cultural change

5. show an awareness of the contested nature of historical representation

6. show an ability to engage in historical debates

7. display an ability to conduct research independently

8. display an ability to express clear and informed arguments, either orally or in writing


This course will focus on societies at war in the modern era and representations of those societies through the medium of the film. It will offer an in-depth, semester long study of various twentieth century conflicts which may include the First and Second World Wars (man in combat, occupation, resistance, collaboration, race, the Holocaust), post-war colonial struggles (focusing on Algeria and Vietnam), and ethnic conflicts in contemporary Europe (focusing on Yugoslavia).


This course replaces HIST3030. If you have successfully completed HIST3030 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

There is no assumed knowledge in either history or film although it is preferred that students have done at least 10 units at first year level.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: One to three written assignments

Participation: Class participation