IN PERSON: This course will consist of in-depth discussions of five films: "The Birth of a Nation," "Show Boat," "High Noon," "Stagecoach" and "Oklahoma!" Each one tells a very particular story, but also manages to suggest a certain national self-understanding, representing issues central to the nation and its history. These issues include race, national unification, expansion, immigration, justice and individual morality. Participants will gain an appreciation for the ways in which classic American films not only entertained mass audiences but created, sometimes without intending to, intellectually rich, varied and morally challenging images of the American nation. A modest amount of supplementary reading will be provided by the instructor via email for each film. | Facilitated discussion.
Max enrollment: 20.
Location: Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W. Cornwallis Rd, Durham NC 27705
Geoffrey Harpham was for many years a professor of English at Tulane University, Brandeis University and the University of Pennsylvania. From 2003-15 he was director of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park. From 2015-20, he taught at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke. He is the author of many books and articles, most recently, "Scholarship and Freedom" and "Citizenship on Catfish Row: Race and Nation in American Popular Culture."