On The History Connection
The relationship between the past as depicted in film and as documented by historical fact is complicated. Film is not an objective narrative of historical events but an artistic representation, and so it relates history in ways specific to the genre (for instance, by employing images, film is able to convey the look and feel of historical reality that no academic monograph possibly could).
Film is also an influential medium of mass communication, conveying its message simultaneously to millions of people. Artistic license, the demands of the medium, and the filmmakers' ideological agendas all generate certain distortions of historical facts. The aim of the study of film via history is to learn to identify and assess the interactions of these factors, as well as to gain a deeper understanding of the peculiar manner in which film has shaped the collective memory of American society.
Courses cross-listed under the History department have included:
FSTD 360 [HS 360] United States History in Film
FSTD 393-01 [HS 393-01] History of African Americans in Mass Media