POLS 497 01 Politics and Film (Parrish, John, Su 11)

Term: Summer 2011
Course No.: Political Science 497.01
Course Title: Politics and Film
Instructor: John M. Parrish
Course description: This course asks what a group of contemporary films have to tell us
about the ethical challenges of public life. We will view together 6-8 of the following
films: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, High Noon, A Man for All Seasons, Dr.
Strangelove, The Candidate, Network, Norma Rae, The Russia House, Wag the Dog,
Primary Colors, The Fog of War, Milk, Taxi to the Dark Side, The Most Dangerous Man
in America, and Casino Jack. As we go, we will connect these stories with readings in
political theory, and investigate what insight they collectively offer about our current
public predicaments.
Student learning outcomes: Students will learn to analyze films as literary texts that
make complex claims about the character of political life. Students will also have the
opportunity to draw connections between films and arguments in political theory.
Prerequisites/recommended background: None
Required texts: To be determined
Coursework/expectations: In addition to attending the film screenings, evaluation will be
based on class discussion, a midterm essay of 6-8 pages, and a final paper of 12-15 pages.
Comments: If you like films, and if you like politics, this should be a fun and worthwhile
learning experience.