Modern U.S. History through Movies

Modern U.S. History through Movies

$249.00

Teen Focus 12+

Many of the world’s moviemakers have been drawn to recreate pivotal events from our past through the lens of historical fiction, resulting in highly entertaining, and often award-winning, viewing.  These movies have, in some cases, had an impact far beyond entertainment, shaping perceptions of events long after the fact (and the movies’ releases).  During each week of this high school course, students will view a selected movie at home and then critically examine the truths and fictionalizations (intentional or not) in each film during moderated class-based discussions and in written discussion forums.

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Many of the world’s moviemakers have been drawn to recreate pivotal events from our past through the lens of historical fiction, resulting in highly entertaining, and often award-winning, viewing.  These movies have, in some cases, had an impact far beyond entertainment, shaping perceptions of events long after the fact (and the movies’ releases).  During each week of this high school course, students will view a selected movie at home and then critically examine the truths and fictionalizations (intentional or not) in each film during moderated class-based discussions and in written discussion forums.

Through this class, students will gain a deeper appreciation for both the art of movie entertainment and the history being mined by the moviemakers.  Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Recordings are available for students who must miss a session.  Discussion topics will be posted in the forums to help guide the viewing of each film in its appropriate historical context.

Note:  PLEASE be aware that there can be multiple versions of some of our films, each from different years and with different actors.  To help you in finding the correct version, we have included the lead billed actor and the year in which the movie was filmed below.

Eras Examined (and associated films):

Perspectives on the Civil War and Aftermath

  • Glory (1989)
  • Lincoln (2012)
  • Gone with the Wind (1939)

Perspectives on Law and Order in the West

  • Tombstone (1993)
  • Bonnie and Clyde (Warren Beatty, 1967)

Perspectives on World War 2

  • The Longest Day (1962)
  • The Great Escape (1963)
  • Patton (1970)

Perspectives on the Cold War and Civil Rights

  • Thirteen Days (2000)
  • Malcolm X (1992)
  • Selma (2014)
  • Apollo 13 (1995)
  • Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
  • All the President’s Men (1976)
  • Argo (2012)

Most of the selected movies are rated at least PG (a.k.a. ‘Parental Guidance’ suggested), although some are rated R.  We strongly advise parents to be aware of the content that their children will be viewing before signing up for this course and we encourage families to view and discuss films together.

Topics Covered

Thinking Critically about Sources and History
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Emancipation
Lincoln and the 13th Amendment
The 'Old South'
Old West Myths
Crime and the Depression
D-Day
Rules of War
Leadership and War
The Cuban Missile Crisis and Kennedy's White House
Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam
The March to Selma and MLK
NASA and Crisis
Looking Back on an Unpopular War
The Press and the Republic
The CIA and the Cold War

Challenge Level

Aimed at students ready for work appropriate to grades 9 through 12. This is a high school history course open to students ages 12 and up who are prepared to investigate and discuss challenging history topics at a high school level.

Time Commitment

Most students report spending approximately 4 hours per week on homework outside of the webinar. Movies must be viewed independently (or with parents) as homework.

Instructor

Headmaster Galahad

Reading List

Glory (1989)
Lincoln (2012)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Tombstone (1993)
Bonnie and Clyde (Warren Beatty, 1967)
The Longest Day (1962)
The Great Escape (1963)
Patton (1970)
Thirteen Days (2000)
Malcolm X (1992)
Selma (2014)
Apollo 13 (1995)
Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
All the President’s Men (1976)
Argo (2012)

Usually Offered

Fall Semester

Prerequisites

A History of US: 1855 – 1900 or equivalent. Class can be taken concurrently with A History of US: 1900 – Present. Students must be prepared to read, view, and analyze challenging material at an upper high school level. Students must also be able to write multi-paragraph texts independently and participate actively in written discussion forums and in the live webinar.

Available Sessions

Fall 2018 Friday 11am Pacific, Fall 2017 Tuesday 12pm Pacific