“Tinseltown as teacher”: A case study of historical feature films as interpretive sources of history within an educational context
Paul D'Amboise, Concordia University , Canada
Concordia University . Awarded
There has been a burgeoning growth in the production and popularity of historical feature films, as well as in the academic literature devoted to the impact of such films, over the past decade. While a major concern of this literature has been the influence of feature films on historical perception and the need for visual literacy, the majority of the discussion has failed to offer concrete suggestions either for assessing the influence of such films or for developing visual literacy. This study, using a small-scale qualitative approach, examines the influence of historical feature films on their audiences' perception of history and offers a model for integrating feature films into the discipline of history. The specific audience examined in this study is a group of Grade Eleven students enrolled in a university level Advanced Placement European history class at St. George's High School—a private, English language, co-educational school in Montreal, Quebec. Some of the issues addressed in this thesis are: the suitability of film as an academic source of historical knowledge, the persuasiveness of filmed presentations of historical events, the need to develop visual literacy skills akin to those used for understanding traditional printed material, and practical approaches to teaching with feature films. The thesis concludes with sample units from a course designed to teach visual literacy skills within the framework of history and film.
D'Amboise, P. “Tinseltown as teacher”: A case study of historical feature films as interpretive sources of history within an educational context. Master's thesis, Concordia University.
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