Reel History

University of Newcastle

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Reel History

  • Host University

    University of Newcastle

  • Location

    Newcastle, Australia

  • Area of Study

    History, Radio/Television/Film

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview


    While historians deal principally with written texts, they are increasingly turning to film as an important source of historical evidence. Historians are also interested in interrogating the constructed nature of filmic accounts and the ways in which films represent the past. These concerns form key themes of Reel History. Moreover, the development of critical engagement and visual literacy across a range of film genres is increasingly necessary in a world saturated in visual media. To this end, a range of films and historical and theoretical texts will be investigated. Examples of both documentary and dramatic screen texts will be used in the course, and some use may also be made of experimental film.

    Learning Outcomes

    1. Demonstrate awareness of film as an historical medium and the capacity to critically read a film as an historical source or representation.

    2. Use theoretical perspectives to inform an awareness of the contested nature of historical representation within the medium of film and to apply this across a range of historical media.

    3. Demonstrate the ability to conduct research independently, and to express clear and informed arguments, either orally or in writing, on various aspects of film and history.

    4. Display awareness of the ways in which an interdisciplinary approach can inform understandings of the past.

    The course will be taught in a thematic way and will introduce students to the concept of film as cultural artefact, The overarching construct linking the selection of film is the concept of representation. Following introductory lectures on how to read a visual text and genres of historical film, the course is structured around a selection of themes. The themes may include cinematic representations of childhood and youth; gender and sexualities; Indigenous histories; surf culture; and politics and war over a range of historical periods.

    Assumed Knowledge

    A general knowledge of history will be assumed equivalent to that acquired in two ten-unit courses of history. No previous study of film and history will be assumed.
    Assessment Items

    Written Assignment: Written paper
    Report: Four reviews based on films and readings
    Report: Written paper on oral presentation
    Presentation: Oral seminars
    In Term Test: Class end of semester test

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.