HIS 389 - History Through Hollywood
Films, like novels, art, or music, are cultural texts. Historical films offer representations of the past and also serve as artifacts of the society and period in which they were created; as such, they are primary source documents about their own time and place. When films purport to represent historic events, they more emphatically shape the way we imagine the world. This course examines Hollywood’s portrayal of America’s racial past and juxtaposes it against a range of other historic texts. By doing so, students will learn how to read and analyze film as texts that -- like all other texts -- are fraught with political motivations, bias, and ulterior motives. We will consider why Hollywood so often distorts and oversimplifies the past, and how the shaping of false memories and stories affects contemporary race relations.
HIS 289 - Mexican-American History
The study of Mexican-American history forces us to re-think common understandings of U.S. history. This class will examine the evolving construction of Mexican-American identities. Starting with a discussion of the labels (Mexican-American, Spanish, Chicano/a) used to identify Mexican-descent people, we will consider how skin color, race mixture, language use, gender, poverty, and region play into the varied meanings of "being Mexican-American" from 1848 to the present.