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Using Narrative Film in the University Classroom: Home

Why Bring Narrative Film into the Classroom?

Movies aren't just for film studies majors anymore. As the study of popular culture has become a more serious academic pursuit, the use of popular culture in the classroom has become less and less frowned upon. Narrative film, in particular, has received new attention as a potential teaching tool in the university classroom. Teaching a history class about the excesses of Versailles that inspired the French Revolution? Show Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006). Having a discussion about the ethics of genetic selection? Use a screening of Gattaca (1997) as a springboard. Far from just a gimmick to "hook" students into paying attention, narrative film can be a useful way to frame discussions through affective experience. Narrative film can also be looked at as a cultural artifact in its own right and analyzed for what it can tell us about the cultural moment in which it was made. This lib guide offers a variety of resources to help instructors effectively integrate narrative film into the curriculum.

Pedagogical Frameworks for Showing Narrative Film in the Classroom

Bird, S., & Godwin, J. (2006). Film in the Undergraduate Anthropology Classroom: Applying Audience Response Research in Pedagogical Practice. Anthropology & Education Quarterly,37(3), 285-299.

Blum, D. (2006). Expanding the Dialogue: A Response to Bird and Godwin's "Film in the Undergraduate Anthropology Classroom". Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 37(3), 300-306.

Marsh, E., Butler, A., & Umanath, S. (2012). Using Fictional Sources in the Classroom: Applications from Cognitive Psychology. Educational Psychology Review, 24(3), 449-469. 

Russell, W. B. (2007). Using film in the social studies. Lanham, Md: University Press of America.

Russell, W. B. (2012). The Art of Teaching Social Studies with Film. Clearing House, 85(4), 157–164.

Ideas for How to Integrate Narrative Film Into the Curriculum

Engert, S., & Spencer, A. (2009). International Relations at the Movies: Teaching and Learning about International Politics through Film. Perspectives, 17(1), 83-103.

Gugler, J. (2010). African Films in the Classroom. African Studies Review, 53(3), 1-17. 

Handa, R. (2010). Using Popular Film in the Architectural History Classroom. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians,69(3), 311-319.

Head, B. A., & Smith, L. C. (2016). Use of Contemporary Film as a Medium for Teaching an Online Death and Grief Course. Journal Of Social Work In End-Of-Life & Palliative Care, 12(3), 195–213.

Horton, T., & Clausen, K. (2015). Extending the History Curriculum: Exploring World War II Victors, Vanquished, and Occupied Using European Film. The History Teacher, 48(2), 321-338.

James, K., & Paino, M. (2015). Teaching Emotional Labor through Television and Film. Feminist Teacher, 25(2-3), 139-152. 

Knickerbocker, J. L. . (2014). Vintage Films as Primary Sources In the History Classroom. American Secondary Education, 43(1), 69–83.

O'Boyle, E., & Sandonà, L. (2014). Teaching Business Ethics Through Popular Feature Films: An Experiential Approach. Journal of Business Ethics, 121(3), 329-340. 

Tognozzi, E. (2010). Teaching and Evaluating Language and Culture Through Film. Italica, 87(1), 69-91.