1st Edition

Teaching Difficult History through Film

    272 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Teaching Difficult History through Film explores the potential of film to engage young people in controversial or contested histories and how they are represented, ranging from gender and sexuality, to colonialism and slavery. Adding to the education literature of how to teach and learn difficult histories, contributors apply their theoretical and pedagogical expertise and experiences to a variety of historical topics to show the ways that film can create opportunities for challenging conversations in the classroom and attempts to recognize the perspectives of historically marginalized groups.

    Chapters focus on translating research into practice by applying theoretical frameworks such as critical race theory, auto-ethnography or cultural studies, as well as more practical pedagogical models with film. Each chapter also includes applicable pedagogical considerations, such as how to help students approach difficult topics, model questions or strategies for engaging students, and examples from the authors’ own experiences in teaching with film or in leading students to develop counter-narratives through filmmaking. These discussions of the real considerations facing classroom teachers and professors are sure to appeal to experienced secondary teachers, pre-service teacher education programs, graduate students, and academic audiences within education, history, and film studies.

    Part and chapter discussion guides, full references of the films included in the book, and resources for teachers are available on the book’s companion website www.teachingdifficulthistory.com.


    Section 1: Introduction to Teaching Difficult History and Film as Difficult History

    Chapter 1: Using Film to Teach Difficult Histories

    Jeremy Stoddard, Alan S. Marcus, and David Hicks

    Chapter 2: Difficult History Means Difficult Questions: Using Film to Reveal the Perspective of ‘The Other’ in Difficult History Topics

    Ben Walsh, David Hicks, and Stephanie van Hover

    Section 2: Human Rights, Trauma, and Contemporary Difficult Histories

    Chapter 3: Teaching the History and Contemporary Challenge of Human Rights through Film

    Glenn Mitoma

    Chapter 4: From Seeing to Learn to Learning to See: Films on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

    Brian Britt

    Chapter 5: The Torturers Among Us: History, the Film Industry, and its Claims to Truth

    Robert P. Stephens

    Section 3: Difficult History, Identity, and Implementation in Curriculum

    Chapter 6: Institutional Roles in Using Film to Teach Difficult History: The Federal Agency for Civic Education and The Lives of Others

    Mattias Frey

    Chapter 7: "I saw a REAL Indian on TV last night!": Engaging Students in Historical Thinking for Social Justice

    Christine Rogers Stanton, Amanda LeClair-Diaz, Brad Hall, and Lucia Ricciardelli

    Chapter 8: What Does History Have to Do With This?: Youth Filmmaking for Social Change

    Sandra Quiñones, Brian Bailey, Joseph Ehman, and Daniel Delehanty

    Section 4: Teaching Common but Difficult Histories through Film

    Chapter 9: Hollywood Histories: Examining Contemporary Depictions of Race and American Slavery in Popular Film

    Keffrelyn D. Brown and Anthony L. Brown


    Chapter 10: Classroom as Memory Workspace: The Educational and Empathetic Potentials of Twelve Years a Slave and Ask a Slave

    Matthew R. Cook and Derek H. Alderman

    Chapter 11: Teaching Difficult History with Film: Multiple Perspectives on the Holocaust

    Alan S. Marcus and Gary Mills

    Section 5: Difficult Histories from the Margins in Curriculum and Teacher Education

    Chapter 12: Questioning "Normal": Actively Undoing Dis/ability Stereotypes Through Teaching a Critical Analysis of Films.

    David J. Connor

    Chapter 13: Invoking Precious Knowledge with Teacher Candidates to Reclaim the Past, Reassess the Present, and Revolutionize Future Practice
    Mark Kohan and Emilie M. Camp

    Chapter 14: Finally "Seeing" a Queer Past: The Importance of Film in Teaching LGBTQ American History

    Sharon Ullman


    Jeremy Stoddard is Professor of Education and an Associated Faculty Member in the Film and Media Studies program at The College of William & Mary. 

    Alan S. Marcus is Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut.

    David Hicks is Professor of History and Social Science Education (Social Studies) in the School of Education at Virginia Tech.


    "This book fills an important gap in history education. I cannot think of any other text which addresses the important issue of history, film and information literacy in anything approaching this depth. It is written with eloquence and good sense, and offers insight and practical guidance to those who are concerned about the effective and ethical teaching of history. It should be essential reading for anyone involved in providing a historical education appropriate for young people growing up in the twenty-first century."

    • T. A. Haydn, Professor of Education, University of East Anglia, Norwich

    "The editors have brought together a compelling set of papers that explore the potential and challenges of teaching and learning difficult history through film. For those interested in humanistic approaches to teaching and learning history—that history education is about more than the objective reading of evidence and construction of rational argument and often involves difficult deliberations about power, ethics and emotions—this volume is a highly welcome addition to the field."

    • Terrie Epstein, Professor of Education, City University of New York, Hunter College and Graduate Center

    "Teaching Difficult History Through Film offers powerful and compelling insights into the complex possibilities and challenges of using film in the history classroom. In a thought-provoking and unprecedented manner, this outstanding edited collection offers a range of diverse perspectives relevant to teachers across the globe. It is indispensable reading for all educators concerned with how we imagine, think and learn about the past."

    • Stuart Foster, Professor of History in Education, UCL Institute of Education, University College London