Accueil > Film, History, Politics


Type d'enseignement : Workshop

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course will invite students to explore the interplay between the three terms in the course title from theoretical and practical perspectives. How does one formalize the relations between history and film, between a society and its films at a given historical moment? What are the place and the role of politics in a mass entertainment medium traditionally geared towards profit? We shall explore these questions, among others, by examining the case of Hollywood's relations to Nazi Germany recently analyzed by Brian Urwand in The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact With Hitler (2013). Urwand's claim that Hollywood's predominantly Jewish moguls made a tacit “pact” with Hitler for fear of alienating Germany (and losing the lucrative German market) proved extremely controversial. We shall focus on the controversy with the help of extracts from Urwand's book and from other studies taking issue with its thesis. The course will propose a “hands on” approach to the topic by asking students to arbitrate between radically divergent interpretations of Hollywood's attitude towards Nazism. Selected extracts from books will be assigned, together with articles and essays, various primary sources (memos, newspaper and magazine articles, film reviews,…), and a selection of films from the period (features, newsreels, documentaries, cartoons…). Its main aim is to help students acquire methods and tools in the historical analysis of film from an interdisciplinary perspective and to develop their critical skills.


KAENEL, André (Full professor)

Course validation

Evaluation will combine oral work (participation, class presentation) and written work (short position papers and arguments, essay, final exam).

Required reading

  • Steven Mintz & Randy W. Roberts (eds.), Hollywood's America: Twentieth-Century America Through Film (2010, First ed. 1994)
  • Doherty, Thomas. Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (Columbia UP, 2013)
  • Moore, Michaela Hoenicke. Know Your Enemy: The American Debate on Nazism, 1933-1945 (Cambridge UP, 2009)
  • Ross, Steven J. Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America. (Bloomsbury, 2017)
  • Urwand Ben. The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler (Harvard UP, 2013)