Special Topics in Film and Digital Media: MADE TO PERSUADE: 20th-Century Advertising, Educational, Industrial and Government Film

Course Details
FILM 080S-01
Rick Prelinger
Academic Year: 

Most films weren't made to entertain. "Useful cinema" — a name that describes some 500,000 films in the 20th century — was designed to sell, to train, to convince, to educate (or mis-educate), to create dutiful citizens, good consumers, hard workers, safe drivers, attentive parents and well-behaved cisgender children.

Educational, industrial and government films are vivid, surprising and often hilarious records of persuasion. This course — one of the first of its kind ever to be offered at a U.S. university — looks at some 60 films in many subject areas, including: education, work, domesticity, food and cooking, childhood and youth, race, Indigeneity, gender, landscape and place, the automobile, the road, patriotism, citizenship, health and hygiene, safety, and sexuality.

This will be a challenging but fun course with a wide scope. You will be encouraged to follow your own interests in this area, and there will be a single research paper assigned.