Film, television, and cultural studies

Course: Projecting the American Empire on Film

Department: History, Barnard College
Instructor: Seth Fein


"Projecting the American Empire on Film" is a course at Barnard College for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in the History department. The course explores the connection of audiovisual mass culture to the rise of the United States as a world power. Class readings and more than twenty films from the 1910's to the present portray varying ideologies and help students deepen their understanding of historical contexts. Mediathread is used for a series of close reading exercises of film footage.


Students undertake close, careful inspection of assigned films through weekly, short-form "bullet-memos" of no more than 175 words. They are required to make at least two annotated selections per film and embed the selections into their essays to support their claims. Classmates share completed multimedia essays with each other, driving group discussion and learning from peers. Mediathread also allows the instructor gives multimedia feedback and individualized critique of student postings.

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