The History Honor Society will have its first meeting of the semester on Wednesday, January 24 from 5:30-7:00 PM at Sakamaki Hall A201. As always, we will have food and drinks provided, so just bring yourself and join us for updates on the upcoming PAT Regional Conference, some stories from the PAT Biennial, and our plans for fundraising this year.
Also, there will be another History through Film Series this semester! Please see the schedule below:
History through Film Series
Please join UH History graduate students as they present and lead discussions about films that provide insight into historical moments, problems, and debates within their fields of study.
Mutiny on the Bounty – Late 18th-century Pacific
Tuesday, January 30th at 5:30 PM – Sakamaki A201
Mutiny on the Bounty (United States, 1962) tells the story of a British Navy expedition to Tahiti en route to Jamaica in 1789. Based on true historical events, the ship known as The Bounty, sought to acquire ʻulu, or breadfruit, from the Tahitian natives to be propagated and cultivated in Jamaica as a food source for the slave population. Although the “mutiny,” the primary tension in the plot, arises between the captain of The Bounty, William Bligh, and his crew, the film nonetheless weaves Tahitian characters into the plot as ancillary and occasionally central roles. As such, this film acts as a salient “text” to examine how popular films in the 1960s represent Pacific Islanders in the late 18th century. Idyllic castings of a Pacific paradise and romanticized notions of its inhabitants serve as the critical backdrop for the drama that unfolds aboard The Bounty.
The Grey Fox – Western North America at the Turn of the 20th Century
Wednesday, March 7 at 5:30 PM – Sakamaki A201
The Grey Fox, a Canadian film first released in 1982, details a chapter in the life of Bill Miner, a stagecoach robber in the mid-nineteenth century who went on to rob the railroads of the early twentieth century. Although the film looks much like an old western, it delves into more subtle histories, exploring the intersections of class, race, gender, and age across the U.S./Canadian borderlands at the turn of the 20th century. While Miner began as a very polite stagecoach robber, changes in technology forced him to adapt to a faster-paced world. After he was released from prison, he became famous for stealing from the richest corporations in North America, a feat which endeared him to the larger populous, and could easily have garnered sympathy from North American film audiences during the Reagan era. The Grey Fox won multiple awards in 1983 and 1984, including the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for Richard Farnsworth as Bill Miner.
Animated Double Feature – 1920s USSR/China, 1940s Japan/Pacific
Tuesday, April 17 at 5:30 PM – Sakamaki A201
In 1925, the Republic of China had existed for thirteen years, and the USSR just three. Disappointed that Europeans had not followed them into socialist revolution, Soviets placed their hopes in China. China in Flames (Китай в огне, 1925, ~30 minutes) reveals many of the contradictions inherent in the USSR’s alliance with Chinese Nationalists during the First United Front. Through engaging and often humorous visuals, Soviet artists imagined a China carved up by greedy imperialists, yet infused with hope through the USSR’s solidarity. The friendly (though in many ways paternalistic) propaganda masked Soviet officials’ continuing what could be considered tsarist imperialist policy in Manchuria. Few in the USSR knew about this secret maneuvering, however. Китай в огне provides a window into the type of socialist internationalism promoted and imagined in the USSR at a time when Chinese students could be treated like celebrities in Moscow, and multiple voices still competed to shape the USSR’s future.
Momotarō no Umiwashi (桃太郎の海鷲 Momotaro’s Sea Eagles, 1942, 37 minutes) is the animated, propaganda adaptation of Momotarō, the Peach Boy story of Japanese folklore. In this version, the original Momotarō’s journey to the demon island of Onigashima is replaced with Momotarō leading a naval unit of animal friends to attack the Allies at Pearl Harbor. This is not the first time that the Momotarō myth has been adapted to serve the needs of empire, often appearing in popular adventure literature marketed to young boys throughout the late Meiji and early Taisho periods. We will discuss how Momotarō no Umiwashi fits within the changing role of the Momotarō myth within Japan, and its various retellings as the needs and desires of the Empire of Japan shifted over time.
Please RSVP to email@example.com
History through Film is sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honor Society