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1. Westermeyer GS11 Paul W <email@example.com> 2. Wyatt Reader <hirener@EARTHLINK.NET> 3. "Kuehn, John Dr CIV USA TRADOC" <firstname.lastname@example.org> 4. email@example.com 5. daniel spector <firstname.lastname@example.org> 6. Brandon Hone <email@example.com> 7. DAVID BARRETT <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: Westermeyer GS11 Paul W <email@example.com>----- > This may be straying too far from history and into pedegogy > for H-WAR, but I'm curious about how movies are used in the > classroom. Do you just show them from beginning to end and > hope that the students absorb the salient points on their > own? Do you do a complete run and then discuss what they > saw, expecting them to rely on memory about particular > scenes? Do you stop and start the movie, explaining what > they are about to see or pointing out salient aspects of the > film that they just viewed? > > I would think that most people (myself included) are not > accustomed to viewing a movie with an eye towards gleaning > its historical lessons or misstatements. How do you turn an > entertainment into a teaching tool? I used film quite a lot when I was teaching at the community college level. It can be very vivid for the students but needs to be handled carefully. For example, for the sophmore-level course I taught on the Vietnam War I showed four movies, usually Indochine, The Green Berets, Apovalypse Now, and Platoon. Prior to watching each film I passed out a 'viewing guide' that was a page long and had a list of questions and notes for the students, things to watch for. The focus was not simply on how accurate the films depicted Vietnam, but also what they said about the time and place the film was made and what it said about how we view the Vietnam War today. Paul Westermeyer Historian, History Division Marine Corps University Paul.Westermeyer@usmc.mil http://www.history.usmc.mil -----Message from: Wyatt Reader <hirener@EARTHLINK.NET>----- It is called to my attention, I've been not as clear or precise on the agreement with Mr.Schultz, when remarking he made some fine points. To clarify my reference, am re posting part of his discussion on Hwar here. The section and topic refers to what I would consider a dichotomy between human experience in war and the point questioned, that historians understand war differently. This may be an artifice of dialogue; at least, that conclusion seems justifiable. Far from concluding that only personal experience is the subject of historians or is valid as war history; this point made seems to turn upon the method or focus of the historian ? That would be my understanding. Rather, the fine point made about war as personal experience cannot be dissected or separated from the historical facts, conclusions about war as an overall historical event. Ergo, we have film about King Arthur in Britain, just as the Roman Empire pulls out of England, abandoning it to the ravage of invaders; Arthur, a Britain in the service of Roman, remains and with a small handful of Knights and others defeats the invaders and thereby, establishes the Kingdom of Britain as it came to be known in legend about Arthur and the Roundtable. This human drama, experienced thru the film displays those events leading to that human experience. Yet history can and should write upon the subject of a collapsed Roman Empire leading to separate Kingdoms. I think that is raising both features of history to levels of subject and comprehensions. Finally, the story of the film is fiction, but fact stood behind its telling. The Historian can note and does the difference between this story as historical fact and the fictionalized version. It certainly is my hope this clarifies. ", I have to take exception to the idea that "understanding Wyatt Reader UCLA___Whittier College Wyatt Reader firstname.lastname@example.org EarthLink Revolves Around You. Wyatt Reader <hirener@EARTHLINK.NET> -----Message from: "Kuehn, John Dr CIV USA TRADOC" <email@example.com>----- I never show a complete film (although I would like to). I try to find something that is faithful in spirit, although perhaps not in detail, to the point I am trying to make. For example, I use the clip from _Barry Lyndon_ which is narrated about the Prussian Army, from his exposure and forced induction up through the battle scene (superb) to the awarding of the two Thalers in the regimental ceremony. I do this in addition to a great reading by Jay Luvaas, group discussion, as well as nice reading that another group does of De Saxe for comparative purposes in command styles. There is also a great British battle scene earlier in the film. If only Kubrick had just kept making military history films of this caliber. (sigh) My next class will include a clip from the German version of Stalingrad, basically an edited series of clips that starts with the train that transports the sturmschutz company from Italy and goes up to their first assault on the tractor factory. The brutality of the German Military Police (not SS) in one scene against captured Red Army soldiers is very powerful. I like films that highlight grit, noise, blood, chaos, and the impact of friction (the "watch" sequences in Gallipoli for instance). Usually 5-10 minutes. Occasionally we will do something I call "mocking the Devil." In my German blitzkrieg lesson I will show clips from Triumph of the Will followed by the 1971 "Springtime for Hitler" clip from the original _Producers_ to show the impact of film on culture and vice versa. One point I make is that blitzkrieg--really bewegungskrieg--is pretty much something that is geographically limited in its utility as employed by the Nazis. In the follow on lesson (Stalingrad) we expose its flaws and errors (logistics and intelligence and strategic overreach). As many know, I use Victory at Sea heavily for my navy lessons and I am especially fond of a documentary entitled _Wings over Water_ for naval aviation developments during the interwar. World at War's Jutland is great, too. Bottom line, you really need to know your film, who is in it, what they say, what is myth and what is potentially accurate as well as the agenda of the producer and directors. Imagine showing _Battle of Algiers_ without discussing Pontecorvo's Marxism or the fact that it IS NOT an actual documentary. _Victory at Sea_ is a 5 minute lecture unto itself. I never show clips from it without emphasizing its Cold War context and the significant milestone it was to an entire generation of Americans new to television. Remember, it had a larger viewing per capita than Oscars or "Biggest Loser." Vr, John John T. Kuehn, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Military History Curriculum Developer Department of Military History U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, KS "Kuehn, John Dr CIV USA TRADOC" <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: email@example.com----- Granted, this is off the military history track, but the best example I can give is the film "Inherit the Wind," which I used for many, many years. Students read the original play outloud in class, interspersed with historical materials, including excerpts from the original Scopes trail transcript, as well as the historical background of the dispute over teaching the theory of evolution. Then the class would watch the film, using a chart I developed on which they had to record how the film differences with the original play and the "historical record." Then we begin a discussion of the time period when the play was written (1955) and when the film was made (1960) and what was happening politically in the U. S. at the time--McCarthyism, etc. The whole purpose of the exercise was to get the students to become better consumers of history, regardless of the source (Hollywood, Broadway, or textbooks). Edward Finch D.A. in History Education firstname.lastname@example.org -----Message from: daniel spector <email@example.com>----- When I used Hollywood films in my America in Vietnam course at UAB, I showed them in toto (the class sessions were four hours each week) and had them available in the Media Center for viewing again. I also used documentaries and did lead class discussions about these and the text (Stanley Karnow, Vietnam). My students were upper division undergarduates and a few graduate students. The three films were spaced with John Wayne first, then Apocalypse now a month later, and Platoon toward the end of the course. I used the films to show how America's view of Vietnam changed over time. I also used the films to demonstrate what English professors would call literary license, challenging them to critique what was reaqlistic and not. Eg., how reasonable would it be for a Special Frorces full colonel to jump into an area with an NVA division on the ground? Not likely, but the aerial snatching of the NV general was part of the technology we had at the time, mainly for rescue of our folks behind enemy lines. The exams required discussion of both the films, documentaries, and my lectures. It was gratifying for several students over the years to share with me the fact that their dads and uncles had never talked about the war until they related parts of my course to them. I agree with the comments of some H-War participants about using films or literature in history courses. Doing so should be done with lots of discussion, not for entertaing students. Although not a military veteran of Vietnam, I did serve there in 1967 as a civilian, so had some credibility. I also called on a good friend, a Special Forces Officer with multiple terms in Vietnam for talking about his experiences with my classes. Best Dan Spector daniel spector <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: Brandon Hone <email@example.com>----- The approachs I've used and seen used varies with the film and the course objectives (and how much time you have for a lecture). As an example, I give a lecture on WWII propaganda for a freshman level survey course in US History after 1877 and I show excepts of Triumph of the Will, Alexander Nevsky and some selected Disney cartoons. I only have an hour so that sort of limits me to about 30 minutes worth of film if I am going to try to teach the main points of the lecture which are that propaganda itself is neutral and is merely an attempt by (in this case) a government body to influence others to think, feel, or act in a desired manner. For a freshman-level world history survey I tried using the 300 to demonstrate how bad Hollywood distorted things, but it didn't quite turn out how I wanted. I have also assigned a list of films for students to view outside of class and then they have to write a response specifically detailing how Hollywood distorted things and also why the film was important. For an example, if the student viewed John Wayne's The Green Berets I would expect them to talk about why Wayne made the film and why it was so different from many other Vietnam films. For Arthur Miller's The Crucible, I'm looking less for how he portrays the Salem Witch Trials as I am looking for them to identify that what Miller is really talking about is McCarthyism. For Saving Private Ryan, I would want the students to place the film into the context of D-Day first and then to expand on what the message of the film may be for an audience today. Not only do I want my students to think of what is portrayed in the film, but I also want them to think in terms of why the filmmaker would choose that subject and choose how and when to portray their subject. I want them to place the film into not only the context of what happened but in the context of the time that the film itself came out. In many ways, I teach film as another form of historiography and use it to raise many of the same types of questions. I am still playing with things and would love to hear more from anyone else as to approaches to film. C. Brandon Hone History Graduate Student Utah State University Brandon Hone <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: DAVID BARRETT <email@example.com>----- I can only speak for my experience as a relatively recent Master's graduate. The films that were shown were shown in their entirety and then discussed at their conclusion. There was minimal time spent setting up the film, however, I believe as a general statement, films were viewed in much the same way as you would historical fiction. DAVID BARRETT <firstname.lastname@example.org> ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----