Gender History and American Film

Dec 2010

Like all history professors, Prof. Hallett is extremely intelligent and communicable. Her lectures were a good mix of historical background and discussion of the films we watched, as well as discussion on our own lives. She chose some really great films, all which made for good looks into how gender changed from 1910-1960. The biggest downside was that for the first half of the class, she required us to come to screenings of the films on Monday nights (class was Tuesday Afternoon). Not only do the Hamilton projections change the aspect ratio, but it was late on a Monday when a lot of us had to give up other stuff we were doing. She eventually nixed the idea late in the semester thankfully. Also she was rampant at making sure we were working on our final papers—much more than my actual thesis I did this semester. It probably made our papers better, but it was quite annoying.

Dec 2008

Gender History and American Film looked at film history through multiple lenses--pun intended--which is not an easy task for the professor nor students. Professor Hallett, however, excelled, illustrating her expertise in film studies, American history, and gender studies simultaneously. The class focused more on contextualizing blockbuster films within their time period, from the silent era into the 1960s, rather than analyzing stylistic elements of cinema, but incorporated discussions of technique when relevant. The readings were varied and interesting, and Professor Hallett encouraged students to be critical of them as one must be critical of how films do and do not reflect real life. She led focused dicussions with an excellent balance of student comments and her lecture, which was unfailingly entertaining. She is also very reponsive and helpful when approached. The movies were nearly all enjoyable, if not at face value than for their deeper significance, and the assignments likewise interesting. I highly recommend Professor Hallett and this class in particular for providing an alternative way to view American history through film and culture.