Below is a series of questions that can be used as prompts to stimulate discussion or to gather information for research projects. The questions are divided into two sets: General Questions about History and Specific Questions about Film and History. The questions in each set are in no particular order and no doubt are not exhaustive. But their purpose is to help provide some focus for investigating the relation between film and history by suggesting the kinds of questions that should be asked.
General Questions | Specific Questions
General Questions about History
- What is your definition of history?
- What function does history play in a culture?
- Do Americans need a knowledge of their history?
- Who makes official history? How? Why?
- Why is history one of the required subjects in school?
- Is teaching a coherent national history essential to a democracy?
- Is history always in some sense propaganda?
- Is the purpose of history to create national pride and individual identity? Or should history just convey facts?
- What is the relation of fact and fiction in history?
- What role do artists (of various kinds) have in the creation and transmission of history?
- What role does imagination play in the work of professional historians?
- What role does entertainment play in the work of professional historians?
- Is history just facts? What role is there for interpretation?
- Does it make any difference what history, whose history we read?
- What subjects are covered in history? What aren't?
- Whose history gets told? Whose doesn't?
- Whose version of the past is recorded and preserved?
- Who wants whom to remember what? And why?
- Is there objective Truth, or just invented truths?
- Can a partisan be an historian?
- Is history political?
- What is the difference between official history and popular history?
- What is "cultural memory"? "Popular memory"? "Collective memory"?