COMM 159 - First-year Seminar in Media Issues
Section: 001 Docudramas: Illuminating Reflections or Inaccurate Distortions of History
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Communication Studies (COMM)
Department: LSA Communication Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
Credit Exclusions:
Credits do not count toward the Communication Studies major requirements.
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Enforced Prerequisites:
First-year students only.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

In this seminar we explore a number of issues related to how docudramas have portrayed historical facts and figures. We watch excerpts from a number of such films or TV programs (e.g., Selma, The Imitation Game, Argo, Lincoln, Zero-Dark-Thirty, Saving Private Ryan, JFK, Lawrence of Arabia) and then view and read historical accounts of the events or of the historical period. We initially focus on the extent to which such docudramas have distorted history or the extent to which they have possibly illuminated historical issues better than documentaries and text accounts. We examine what the public believes about some of the portrayed historical events, and whether their beliefs are swayed more by docudramas than actual history. Then we ask whether the narrative approach to presenting facts in docudramas is inherently more persuasive as a communications technique, and, if so, why? Finally, we discuss the motivations of the producers and directors of docudramas that might have led to selective distortions of history.

Course Requirements:

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Intended Audience:

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Class Format:

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COMM 159 - First-year Seminar in Media Issues
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
Th 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Does not meet Communication Studies major requirements.
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: Does not meet Communication Studies major requirements.
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