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CAH3025 : Celluloid History (Stage 3)

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rowland Smith
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation and composition of Assessment 2
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00In-person lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation and composition of Assessment 1
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading135:0035:00Exploration of topics, documents, films, and bibliography in the Module Handbook and on Canvas
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:00Guided reading for themes and topics each week
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities92:0018:00Reading and other work preparatory for seminars and workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00Film screening and discussion
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0021:00Independent study going beyond the module handbook or materials
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
The seminar classes both consolidate knowledge gained through lectures as well as encouraging independent study and promoting improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability.
The workshops allow for extended engagement with and discussion of substantial films or other screened materials.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M501st of two 1700 word written submissions
Essay2A502nd of two 1700 word written submissions
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MBi-weekly in-class quizzes.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes and facilitates the development of key skills in analysis, research, reading and writing. The essay allows students to explore a topic in more depth through independent research and analysis.

The regular quizzes (every two weeks), conducted in class, help consolidate learning and alert students to areas of weakness or lack of engagement, and so aid better preparation for the summative assessments.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.

Reading Lists