I had different plans, but thanks to the compelling genius of ZG, I have changed the first selection of the Science Fiction seminar to Star Wars, which will probably send us in an entirely different direction for the quarter–don’t worry–I got this. While you are enjoying this 1976 classic, complete with terrible special effects, costumes that are so bad that Halloween wouldn’t take them and truly horrific fight scenes–yes, my five year old could have defeated Darth Vader if he fought like that and thus, a seventy book and movie series complete with action figures and spinoffs would have been avoided. So, why am I bothering to convert ZG’s customer request into reality? We will be learning the following:
1. Historiography. That is the study of the study of history. “What???” you say. History has been taught through different lenses since it was created. One hundred years ago, for example, civil rights and the women’s movement hadn’t yet occurred. This is reflected in the history book. The same is true for film. It can be studied in terms of the roles of the actors, how they are cast and stereotyped, and how the director chooses to portray them. One good example is Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee wrote the script for Kung Fu in 1972 but was not given the lead role because he was Asian. These types of things are not accidental–it is film and society being shown through the lens of the time period. Look for examples of this in Star Wars, which is 35 years old.
2. Japanese History. Star Wars is filled with Japanese history. This is also intentional. As such, you can expect a quality lesson on feudal Japan from yours truly. You’d be wise to get a head start researching bushido, the role of the samurai in Japan, sankin kotai, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the role of Zen Buddhism in Japan, cultural diffusion–things that traveled from Japan through India, China, and Korea (martial arts is a prime example), and anything else you might be able to relate.
3. Imperialism and Empire. Most specifically, we’ll look at the case study of the British Empire, which at one time in history covered most timezones in the globe. I have assigned the following learnboard on this subject. Please remember to watch it.