Britain on Film

History 100

Summer 2005
First 6 Week Session
20 Wheeler
Day & Time: 
Tu W Th 2-4:30

This course will explore the history of twentieth century Britain through film -a century that marked its replacement by Amercia as world hegemon and richest nation. In no way a comprehensive history of British film, it will rather focus on films as products of particular historical moments as well as the uses of history in film. It will also explore the place of film in British popular culture and ask what the changing practices of movie-going (who went, how often, to what films, in what sorts of movie theaters, with what sort of conventions of audience behaviour) tells us about British society in the twentieth century. Drawing upon a wide variety of film genres - stretching from Trainspotting to Gosford Park, Nightmail to 7 Up , Bend it Like Beckham to Lawrence of Arabia, James Bond to Gandhi, 39 Steps to Zulu - the course will track Britain's changing relationship to empire, to America and Hollywood, and the politics of class, gender and multi-culturalism. It will ask whether it makes sense to talk of Britain's twentieth century as one of decline and examine how film has registered Britain's economic, social, cultural, and political transformation.