The Middle Ages through Film and Television
This class will explore the Middle Ages through how we have re-imagined the period in popular culture. The Middle Ages have often been misunderstood and been cast as the “Dark Ages”, where people were foolish, backward, and under the complete control of religious and political elites. By watching a wide variety of films and television episodes, we will use our critical thinking skills to analyze how much is an accurate reflection of the Middle Ages and how much is simply a modern fantasy of what they were like. The materials used in this course will also help use to understand that medieval people were still people, and film and television allows writers and directors to present the humanity and the humor of people in the past. While we will concentrate mostly on stories based on the European Middle Ages (such as A Knight’s Tale and Blackadder), we will also discover depictions of the global Middle Ages (through films such as Saladin and Mongol). Students will hone their writing and analytical skills through a series of short reviews where they will reflect on how the Middle Ages are being depicted and why. Short readings from an OER world history textbook will also be assigned to help students understand the historical context.