Thursday, October 30, 2008

Films for US History Survey Class

In the spring, I am teaching 2 sections of the recent U.S. history survey course, which here is defined as 1865-present. I should note that I think 1865 is a really bad time to end the first half of the survey. 1877 makes so much more sense. But whatever, this decision was probably made decades ago.

Anyway, I am including a film element in the course. I will be showing 6 films outside of class. The students must watch 4. The question is which films to show. It is so hard narrowing it down.

Here is what I am thinking right now.

1. A silent film of some sort. There are so many to choose from.

2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.

3. Do the Right Thing

4. Red Dawn

5. Sullivan's Travels

6. The Day the Earth Stood Still

I think all of these films are good choices. However, I am not thrilled about the group as a whole for some reason. I'd like to have a good feminist film in there. But, and quite sadly, the canon of really good films about women's issues is slight in American film. No doubt this has a lot to do with the never-ending sexism of Hollywood. So something to fill that hole would be nice.

Anyway, I'd like to hear what suggestions you all might have, particularly if you think there are better choices that what is on the list above.