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Film, Images & Historical Interpretation in the 20th Century: The Camera Never Lies

University of London International Programmes via Coursera

12 Reviews 701 students interested
  • Provider Coursera
  • Subject Film & Theatre
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Effort 5-10 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 6 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

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Overview

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This course is a short taster on the topic of the use of Images, Film, and their use in historical interpretation in the 20th century. It is primarily provided for those who have a general interest in history that draws on photojournalism as primary evidence, and films based on historical events.


Once you have completed this course we hope you will be equipped to:

Appreciate the significance of photographs as historical evidence in the twentieth century.
Understand the limitations of the medium, and how we can attribute meaning to these individual records of 'one moment in time' while taking into account the circumstances in which any particular image was taken.
Understand how individuals and institutions have looked to manipulate images to their own ends – through alteration and/or censorship – and what that meant to contemporary interpretation, as well as subsequent historical interpretation.
Put individual images into a wider context, and in particular with reference to history written, or portrayed, beyond academia: public history.


Do be aware that part of the contents of this course regard images and depiction of war. Real wars and real images.

Syllabus

Introduction
We will explore the issues associated with the use of images as a source for historical research and consider a number of examples where image manipulation has been uncovered

Images and History in the Twentieth Century
We will review a number of cases studies where images have either shaped our opinion of events or have been suppressed from the public at the time, to avoid adverse or negative reaction.

The Air-Brushing of History: Stalin and Falsification
The cause célèbre' of historical manipulation - Joseph Stalin. The 'air brushing' of historical records, and in this case the literal airbrushing of Soviet images in the 1930s and 1940s

Photojournalism, Authenticity and Matters of Public Acceptability: The Battle of Mogadishu
With respect to Reportage and the use of images as a evidential record, should we condemn Stalin in the last 20th and early 21th century? We use an example from 1993 to illustrate this point.

The Power of the Image: Mount Suribachi, 1945
The photograph of the raising of the flag at Mt. Suribachi was a Pulitzer Prize winning image, and the base of the film 'The Flag of our Fathers'. We will explore the use of the still and the motion picture to influence our opinion.

From Page to Screen: Film as Public History
What is 'Public History'? How do photographs and films with an historical theme shape our awareness of historical events and our memories?

Taught by

Emmett Sullivan of Royal Holloway

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Reviews for Coursera's Film, Images & Historical Interpretation in the 20th Century: The Camera Never Lies
2.8 Based on 12 reviews

  • 5 stars 25%
  • 4 stars 17%
  • 3 star 8%
  • 2 star 8%
  • 1 stars 42%

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  • 1
Nadezhda R
1.0 4 years ago
by Nadezhda is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
I almost dropped the course after viewing the first week section. Already disappointed and discouraged, I grudgingly proceeded to view some of the other videos. I harbored the hope that at least one original thought would eventually surface. I eagerly anticipated the section about Soviet propaganda posters, in hope that with such a vivid subject the lecturer could not possibly deliver dull results. I was wrong. That section in particular caused me to lose all will to continue the course and withdraw. Being a Russian national born in the Soviet Union, I'd been excited to get an opportunity of a…
5 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
3.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
It was more a course about the history of wars (Guernica, WW1, Iwo Jima, The Battle of Mogadishu) than a discussions of images. The best parts were the discussion about Stalins use of images and an interview with photojournalist Julio Etchard. The lecturer, an eloquent british economic historian, seems a bit too fascinated by wars, which shone through, when quoting elaboratively his knowledge on different weapons and aircrafts. It's still an interesting course though. But the bummer is the way the quizzes are designed: They will aks about certain irrelevant numbers in the reading material rather than comprehension of that quite comprehensive material. So I decided to just watch the lectures as I did some other courses and couldn't dedicate as much time (11-12 hours if you do the reading at least as a foreigner) on the reading materials (and with the mere output that the understanding won't help you on the quizzes if you can't memorize some odd number).
2 people found
this review helpful
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Martin W
5.0 3 years ago
by Martin completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
It was an unexpected delight and had very little to do with the actual title which sounded like it would cover multiple aspects of image fakery. Turned out to be more of a societal study of the use of fabricated images to tell a story (or sell a lie). After taking this course I found myself viewing images and even videos with a much more critical eye. I found I was able to spot the "un-naturalness" of certain presented material. A valuable lesson in reality recognition IMO! Fun course as well.
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Bob B
1.0 5 years ago
Bob completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Instructor is a nut and quite weird. Don't expect too much camera action but pics & endless comments on wars. If I was not clear enough, I would NOT personally recommend it to anyone.
3 people found
this review helpful
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Meta D
4.0 5 years ago
Meta is taking this course right now.
Enjoyable class with good pointers to interesting material - books, films, websites.

Do recommend for those with interest in film, photography and contempary history.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Reynaldo R
1.0 a year ago
Reynaldo is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Photography is what is least commented here. I would write a lenghty review but why should i? Some will find this useful, so take a look and drop out if you don't
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Heather M
1.0 9 months ago
Heather completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I was very disappointed with this course as it was not at all what I was expecting. Do not have any expectations when taking this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Pablo S
4.0 4 years ago
Pablo completed this course.
0 person found
this review helpful
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Kirill K
5.0 4 years ago
by Kirill completed this course.
0 person found
this review helpful
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Aana A
2.0 4 years ago
Aana completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
0 person found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Rana S
1.0 4 years ago
Rana is taking this course right now.
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Louis M
5.0 3 years ago
Louis completed this course.
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