Course Details

HIST 222: Slavery in Film, Literature, and History

This course focuses on the representation of slavery in popular American movies and novels. Movies are a universal language and what most Americans know about the United States and World history today they have “learned” at the movies. Movies can make understanding the past seem easy because they do not require the people observing them to think—they can just sit and enjoy the story. But this is not true of films and novels that address crucial issues like slavery. Slavery in the U.S. and globally was and remains a moral question. People are pro, anti, or indifferent to slavery and its legacies, and their responses to representations of human bondage can reveal a lot about contemporary attitudes about race and gender. In this class we will examine this process by looking at a range of films (e.g., Gone With The Wind, 12 Years a Slave,  Django, and Mandingo). We will contextualize the films with both primary and secondary texts. 
6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2019-2020