Module Catalogue 2020/21

CAH3025 : Celluloid History II

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rowland Smith
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The module investigates the subject of the 'recreation' of the historical past in film ['recreation' being construed as 'fictional' representations in retrospectively created 'epic' or 'historical' movies rather than in the medium of historical documentary film], and the standing of such 'fictional' filmic representation as historical evidence, both for the past event/episode depicted in the movie at issue, and for the political and socio-cultural contexts and conditions within which the movie-maker was working. The subject is investigated principally through study of a set of cinematic representations of 'historical pasts', selected with an eye to a particular theme (e.g., 'the representation of resistance, rebellion and revolution'). The module focuses particularly on 20th century 'epic' cinematic representations of ancient Rome and the Roman Empire, but it is not confined to 'Hollywood' epic; cinematic representations of post-classical and 20th century episodes bearing on Rome and its history in are also studied,for comparison and contrast. The aims of this module are to provide an opportunity: to acquire a sound general knowledge of the subject and a closer critical knowledge of some prescribed cinematic 'texts'; to read widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with the subject; and to develop the capacity for independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

Film and Reception (introductory): basics of film- and reception-theory; cinema and historiography; historical fact and fiction in the movies; the political contexts of Hollywood Epic; ancient (and post classical) Rome studied though a selected set of cinematic representations of the Roman past. The module focuses on a guiding historical theme; 'the representation in the movies of resistance, rebellion and revolution', with reference to a selected sequence of films. A sequence of up to ten cinematic representations of historical topics/episodes will be studied in the course of the module.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

A general knowledge of the historical significance of the representations of the past in cinema, and a thorough knowledge of the historical context and significance of selected cinematic representations of selected ancient/medieval/modern historical periods/topics.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Development of a capacity for independent study and critical judgement and of the ability to respond promptly, cogently and clearly to questions arising from this study.

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.