New Humanities Classes Teach Students How to Produce Their Own Documentary Film or Podcast This Spring

Are you looking for a class for the spring 2014 semester? Two new humanities classes are being offered by Assistant Professor of History Marie Hicks in Engineering 1.


1) Filming the Past (HIST 380-07)
Meets once a week, on Thursdays from 5 – 7:40 pm

How does history become known, and how do certain accounts become popularized as the truth or “common knowledge?” What role do visual media, particularly films and documentaries, play in this process of creating and understanding of our shared past? How can film be a force for uncovering and popularizing hidden histories that upset our assumptions about the past?

This course takes a novel approach to less-well-known chapters in history, by looking at how films and documentaries can be tools for disseminating historical knowledge and how they can also be activist interventions in how we understand the past and its relationship to the society we live in today. Throughout the course, students will watch films and documentaries that try to answer the questions posed above, and will read historical accounts of the events they try to convey. Students will also learn how to write a short history from primary sources and then transfer it into an audio or a visual medium, by making their own podcast or short documentary film on a historical topic. Syllabus will be posted at the beginning of the semester.

2) Suffragettes to Drag Kings (HIST 380-05)
Meets twice a week, on Tues/Thurs from 1:50 pm – 3:05 pm

Ever wonder when it became ok for women to wear pants instead of skirts? Do you wonder what the difference between camp and drag is? Do you want to learn more about how gender isn’t “natural” but changes (a lot!) over time? Would you like to know how the history of women’s and gay rights has changed how we live, work, and dress today?

This class takes a historical look at the public role of gender. Students will study how people act in accordance with certain social roles when it comes to sex and sexuality, and how what is considered “normal” has changed a great deal over the course of the last century–even just the last 30 years. We will read memoirs, primary sources, academic articles, and view films. And students will have the opportunity to produce a short film or documentary about what they’ve learned, and the opportunity to do a self-directed project on a topic of their choosing. Syllabus will be posted at the beginning of the semester.

Email Marie Hicks at with questions.