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Assignment Questions

Citation Guide

Citation Guide: you need to cite everything that is taken from another source, even if you are not
directly quoting. This means you have to footnote each idea, and provide the citation and page number that it is taken from. It is not enough to simply put at the end in a works cited

Sources: You should use 7 sources or more and all your sources should be cited and be Peer reviewed Scholarly Journals and books. Please integrate the use of all your sources. Don’t rely on just two or three peer reviewed journals for example. Spread them out. Provide a bibliography and use the Chicago citation method.
ALL YOUR SOURCES HAVE TO BE CITED AND BE PEER REVIEWED SCHOLARLY JOURNALS. IF THIS NOT FOUND, THE PAPER WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. If you need specific journals, I can access them for you.

I have access to JSTOR and can provide you with relevant peer reviewed journals if need be

Spelling, word usage, spelling punctuation and sentence structure will be assessed. The paper needs to be organized with a clear structure, logical flow, and be coherent. Avoid personal pronouns and long quotations.

The idea is to show your ability to assess whether the films “work” as history, and why they do or why they do not. Do they contribute to our appreciation of the event, or trivialize/ sensationalize it? Are they a serious contribution to our understanding, and if not, what is missing?

An effective essay will also try to explain the director’s thesis, which will be a function of their worldview. Is the story explained through a racial, class or gendered lens? Is this a feminist reading or is religion being privileged, or economics? Finally, is there one interpretation of a complex historiography being put forward, and if so, what is it? This last question may be the most interesting of all, if your films deal in contested and controversial topics that are well covered in the historical literature. (Such as, for example, the Cold War)

To be clear, this essay will not work if it makes claims and generalizations that are not backed up by the historical literature on the topic. If your bibliography has only, or mostly film journal titles, it is a clear indication that the research here is inadequate to whatever argument you are making, re: the films’ effectiveness. When writing the paper the Introduction should not exceed one page. Furthermore, explain the plot of the film and significant characters in one paragraph. The rest of the paper should be used to evaluate the themes and analyze if its relationship and relevance with history. Your sources have to prove this relevance or argument.

There’s a huge scholarship on film as history and you will easily find reams of material on most serious films, but more importantly there is a limitless historiography on the events that Hollywood films depict, so you should include credible sources from historians in your discussion, either from peer reviewed journals or from books, or (especially in the case of biopics), from credible biographies or primary documents.
As with the short essay, this written assignment will be formatted using Chicago style – footnotes and a bibliography. Have a title page and ensure your argument is spelled out in the introduction.

There are two avenues you may choose from for this essay:

1 Compare the effectiveness, or contribution to our historical understanding, of two films released at roughly the same time that are about the same era or event in Anglo-American history, or offer an interpretation of that history. The films do not necessarily have to be in the genre of historical films. A quality drama that is based on events, but uses composite characters and a fictional story can work as well. Comparing a British and American film will offer an additional analytical avenue for this assignment, though it is not necessary.
Some examples that you may consider could include the following:

on contact, The New World (2005) and 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

on the abolition movement, Amazing Grace (2006) and Amistad (1997)

on the theme of Irish American gangs/ mobsters, Road to Perdition (2002) and Miller’s Crossing (1990)

on the Irish War of Independence/Civil War, Michael Collins (1996) and The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)

on the American Revolution, Revolution! (1985) and The Patriot (2000)

on decolonization, India, Gandhi (1982) and The Legend of Baghrat Singh (2002) or Empire of the Sun (1987)

on decolonization, British East Africa, White Mischief (1988) and Out of Africa (1985) or Wah Wah (2005)

on D-Day/ Battle of Normandy, The Dirty Dozen (1967) and The Longest Day (1970)

on Thatcher’s England, Sid and Nancy (1986) or Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987) and Letter to Brezhnev (1985)

2 )Alternatively you may wish to choose two films that were produced in different eras and analyze how they reflect contemporary concerns, or offer a better/worse/different approach to the subject matter. Examples here include films such as:
The Scarlet Letter (1995) and The Crucible (1957) -the colonial era, New England
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), or Paths of Glory (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1970) -World War One

The Battle of Britain (1943) and The Battle of Britain (1969)

The Longest Day (1962) or The Dirty Dozen (1969) and Saving Private Ryan (1998) -D-Day/ Battle of Normandy

Mrs Miniver (1942) and Hope and Glory (1987) -British home front, WW2
Catch 22 (1970) and Memphis Belle (1990) -Aerial bombing campaign, WW2
A Bridge Too Far (1977) and The Last Drop (2005) -Operation Market Garden, WW2

Dr Strangelove (1964) and Thirteen Days (2000) -Cold War brinkmanship

Thank you

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