HIST 440 American Noir


In the 1950s, French film critics used the term film noir to describe a genre of black-and-white Hollywood productions from the forties and fifties that focused on darker themes of American life. Inspired by hard-boiled detective fiction and the anxiety of the post-World War II era, these movies reflected themes that were at odds with other notions of community and American beneficence. This course will use hard-boiled detective fiction and film noir to understand American history from the 1920s until today. The cultural products of American noir will be used to discuss American violence, the Great Depression, gendered politics, the Cold War, race relations, and other topics.

Prerequisite: Sophomore Status