Celtic Film: Fact or Fiction? [Full]
John Gleeson, Senior Lecturer
- Course: CELTIC 192, SEM 001
- Class Number: 21259
- Credits: 3 HU
- Time: TR 3:30 – 4:45 PM
- Place: MER 321
Using the Celtic world as our model, this course will explore the uneasy relationship between historian and filmmaker, and how each responds to issues of representation identity and narrative. The main purpose of a historical education is to enable students to think historically throughout their lives, whatever the issue under discussion. This involves engaging with media depictions of history. Film by its nature requires that ‘facts’ be omitted, condensed, exaggerated, altered, or (often) invented. This can be troublesome for the historian and scholar. We will therefore try to understand better the relationship between fact and fiction in film.
Class Requirements and Grading:
- Short Quiz - 20% of total grade
- Study Journal - 30% of total grade
- Participation in class discussion - 20% of total grade
- Final Paper - 30% of total grade
- Short Quiz Based on course work
- Study Journal: For each of the full films that we watch and discuss as a class, you must write a one to three page (500-700 word) discussion of the film (typed) based on questions formulated in class along with an evaluation of your own engagement. Base your discussion on the four part model presented in Thinking About Historical Film or my handout.
- Class Discussion: The purpose of the reading in the handouts is to help students discuss the films we see with some real grounding. What I am looking for is real thinking about the issues. You are especially encouraged to comment on my class remarks and other students' comments.
- Final Paper: You will write a ten page paper analyzing a Celtic film of your choice. The template and structure of this paper will be discussed in class during the second half of the semester.
Course Material: Books, Sources, Films and Internet There is no required text book but the following are recommended: Excerpts from these, and other texts, will be distributed to students and form the basis for class discussion. Shooting To Kill by Brian McIlroy Scotland, The Movie by David Bruce Cinema and Ireland by Rockett/Gibson/Hill Screening Ireland by Lance Pettit Going to The Pictures:Scottish Memories of Cinema by Andrew Martin A Knight at the Movies:Medieval History on Film by John Aberth Wales and Cinema by David Berry "AHR Forum: History in Images/History in Words: Reflections on the Possibility of Really Putting History onto Film." The American Historical Review. 93:5 (1988), 1173-99. [online via JSTOR] Robert Brent Toplin. "The Filmmaker as Historian." American Historical Review 93 (1988): 1210-27. [online via JSTOR] Martha Driver. "Writing About Medieval Movies: Authenticity and History." Film and History 29:1-2 (1999): 5-7. Arthur Lindly. David John Williams. "Looking at the Middle Ages in the Cinema: An Overview." Film and History 29:1-2 (1999). 8-19.
About the Instructor:
John Gleeson is well-known in the community as a speaker, storyteller, playwright, founder of Milwaukee Irish Arts, and Milwaukee Irish Fest cultural advisor. He co-directs the Center for Celtic Studies at UWM, and is a founder of the Irish Cultural Heritage Center.
Following a distinguished career with the Guinness Brewing Corporation, John moved to Milwaukee from his native Dublin in 1980. He holds a M.A. degree in Applied History and a M.F.A. in Film from the UW-Milwaukee.
At UWM, he teaches courses in Irish language, culture, film, folk belief and religious practice. He is academic director of the Colmcille Semester in Ireland Program and coordinates and leads the Oideas Gael Summer Program in Donegal Ireland.
He is a regular contributor to print and broadcast media on Irish issues. John was voted 1993 “Irishman of the Year,” 2006 “Wisconsin Celtic Person of the Year” and is numbered among Irish America Magazine’s “Top 100.”