War and Cinema from WWI to the Arab Spring

This course investigates the relationship of cinema and war around the world from the early 20th century to the present. Film has been integral to shaping public consciousness of military events as they unfold and the public memory of wars after the guns have fallen silent. The course looks at both feature films and non-fiction: we will watch government propaganda, commercial entertainment films and independent documentaries. Topics to be addressed include representations of ally and enemy; the aestheticization of violence and war as spectacle; the role of sound; the ethics of targeting. This is a class on the history of war, and the history of cinema; no prior knowledge of either field is assumed.

This course investigates the relationship of cinema and war around the world from the early 20th century to the present. From the Italo-Turkish War for control of Libya (1911-1912) onwards, film has been integral to shaping public consciousness of military events as they unfold and the public memory of wars after the guns have fallen silent. The course looks at both feature films and non-fiction: we will watch government propaganda, commercial entertainment films and independent documentaries. Topics to be addressed include representations of violence and the enemy; the aestheticization of violence and war as spectacle; how changes in military technology have generated new modes of witnessing; the war film as history film. Case studies include the two World Wars, civil wars, colonial conquest and anticolonial struggle, Vietnam, the Israel-Palestinian conflict; and the Arab Spring.

Course Information

HIST-UA 276

Undergraduate

4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Spring 2018

1
Ruth Ben-Ghiat
T: 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM KJCC 404