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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Global Politics Through Film, Fall 2006

This post consolidates links to the weekly blog posts I wrote during fall 2006 about POLS 552, Global Politics Through Film. This link should take you to a copy of the course syllabus (pdf version).

Note: the following dates reference the blog postings, not the class periods.

August 14, I announced the "Film class selections." The post includes the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) links to each film, as do the following posts, which were originally written for the Duck of Minerva group IR blog.

August 24, "Film class: week I" about "Casablanca" and sovereign nation-state involvement in the so-called "protection racket." Are states like the mafia and is IR like a series of real or threatened gang wars?

August 31, "Film class -- week 2" on "Twelve O'Clock High." We discussed the critical roles of fear and military power -- and the importance of real or threatened great power war -- in shaping interstate politics.

September 7, "Film class -- week 3." We watched "Saving Private Ryan" and discussed the tragic dimensions of great power politics. Does the structure of the international system force tragic choices on states, or do individuals make tragic choices because of their flaws?

September 15: "Film class -- week 4." We viewed "The Quiet American" and discussed Wilsonian liberal internationalism -- particularly in US foreign policy. We also addressed recent tensions in US and European relations.

September 22: "Film class -- week 5" the class saw "Black Hawk Down" and discussed humanitarian intervention during the 1990s. Can tremendous American military power be used for good?

September 29, "Film class -- week 6." We viewed "Breaker Morant" and discussed whether states (or empires) can promote democracy and other ideals through the application of force, perhaps by using even brutal means.

October 5, "Film class -- week 7" which discussed the viewing of "Red Dawn" and the role of nationalism in global politics. The class, for obvious reasons, considered the Iraqi insurgency.

October 15, "Film class -- week 8" focused on comedian Stephen Colbert's monologue at the 2006 White House Correspondent's Association dinner. It was fall break, so we didn't actually have time to watch a feature. Discussion centered around the role of the court jester -- and I offered a brief description of critical theory and its application to IR.

October 19, "Film class -- week 9." The class viewed Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" and discussed the power of ridicule. Facism, of course, is an easy target, but Chaplin's film does offer a meaningful alternative vision of world politics.

October 27, "Film class -- week 10." We viewed "Wag the Dog" and talked about Clinton's impeachment, the diversionary theory of war, and the Iraq war justifications.

November 3, "Film class -- week 11," about the brilliant dark comedy of the nuclear-age -- "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb." Is nuclear deterrence a sham? Is it irrational?

November 10, "Film class -- week 12," which discusses the terrific satirical film "Network." This is the first film that places a lot of attention on powerful corporate interests. We also addressed the role of the media in shaping perceptions of threats, including terror risks.

November 17, "Film class -- week 13," was about "Ghandi" and the use of nonviolent political strategies in global politics.

November 26, "Film class -- week 14," which concerns "The Whale Rider." We discussed "warrior citizens" and feminist notions of global politics.

December 1, "Film class -- week 15." We viewed"Hotel Rwanda" and discussed human security and "the responsibility to protect" populations threatened by genocide or crimes against humanity.


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