Digital History Project:

With this project I want to create a blog that will explore popular memory of World War II through various medias–i.e. film, television, etc. I would probably aim to do around six posts. Each blog post would cover one piece of media, describing it and the history it covers. If that work is based on a book or on a “true story” then the post would also discuss that and provide a comparison between the two. 

Potential Blog Post Topics:

  • Schindler’s List (1993), directed by Stephen Spielburg: Would talk about the book and how the movie compares to the book. Plus, as I already know that there are criticisms about the accuracy of the book, I would also discuss those criticisms and also bring into the discussion one of the titular works on Oskar Schindler (which is already on my bookshelf, conveniently), and show how the film (and book) deviates from the what actually happened. In addition, to also analyzing audience engagement, etc. 
  • Band of Brothers (2001), HBO: As Band of Brothers is also based on a book, I would approach this post similarly to the one on Schindler’s List. 
  • The Pacific (2010), HBO: The Pacific takes a lot of inspiration from E.B. Sledge’s book With the Old Breed (which is also conveniently on my bookshelf, I am sensing a pattern) and Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckieso, again, I would approach this post like the previous two.
  • The Monuments Men (2014), directed by George Clooney: This movie is loosely based on The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter. This post would then be approached similar to the others.
  • Midway (2019), directed by Roland Emmerich: This is the only one on the list so far not based on a book, so a bit of a different approach would be taken in that regard, but this is a fun film and I believe it would be a good addition to this blog.

There would be two parts to analyzing the historical accuracy of the film, TV show, etc.: there would be a general overview of the historical accuracy of the piece, and there would also be an analysis on how accurate it is viewed to be by the general public. The second part would also go hand in hand with an evaluation of audience engagement with the piece of media. Both of these would be evaluated by exploring articles, reviews both on sites like IMDB, and videos/reviews made on films/TV shows on Youtube, TikTok, etc. I think it would be fascinating to see how these films–and branching from that the topics they contain–are covered on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, how audiences engage with this media, and if there are any differences in how audiences engage with these films and their topics on social media. I’ve already found some great videos on YouTube with excellent comment sections that really give a good sense of how audiences engage not just with these films but also with the historical topics:

  • Apathy in the Face of Horror (Schindler’s List) | Video Essay, by Ariana Alexis
  • Schindler’s List — Remembering the Holocaust, by A Matter of Film
  • History Buffs: Midway Part One & Part Two, by History Buffs
  • Midway | Based on a True Story, by The Cynical Historian
  • History Buffs: Band of Brothers, by History Buffs
  • Monuments Men | Based on a True Story, by The Cynical Historian

I would also want to attempt to see how the film/TV show was received when it first came out and if opinions on it and its representation of history have changed. Each blog post would also include a little bibliography of works on the subject that readers could check out in order to learn more about the topic. These would include books but also webpages, videos, etc. where appropriate. The point would be to give people avenues to learn more about the subject. I also want to try and make an accompanying TikTok that not only serves as advertisement for the blog, but it will also serve as another way to get some of this information out.

One Reply to “Digital History Project:”

  1. Hi Megan

    This is a great idea for a project. I think you would get a lot of interest in these posts, and in particular, if you share them back out with the communities where the commentary on these films is happening that you would likely get a lot of engagement.

    I think the set of films you’ve identified is great, and along with that, I appreciate that you have already identified specific videos that you want to engage with relating to each of the films. Given that you can embed the videos into your blog posts the whole thing lends itself very well to being a blog.

    One added thing I would suggest is that for each film it would be great if you could also do some searches through scholarly literature for discussions of them. My guess is that there will be some film and media criticism scholarship on each of these and you could draw on some of their points into your own exploration and analysis.

    The idea to also create TikTok content is great too. I could imagine this being popular on the platform. That said, it could also spread you out pretty thin. So I think it’s worth thinking about how you want to focus your efforts. There could be a good bit of research and writing for the core part of the project and if you end up getting tied up in a lot of video editing or production work that could take up some of your time. That said, I could also see a case for the idea that the TikTok videos could be a real core part of how you do the analysis and/or get the word out. So it’s really up to you in terms of how you want to focus. Just know that if you do need to cut back on any parts of this to make it work within the time we have left in the semester that I completely understand.

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