Reel History

Film has had a profound impact on historical memory. Whether watching the soldiers of 1917 running through exploding fields or seeing the Civil War through the eyes of the March sisters in Little Women, Hollywood sends history students into the classroom with understandings of the past with varied levels of accuracy. In the March cover story, Lucy Barnhouse discusses how she introduces students to medieval history through film, using historic figures like Joan of Arc and Ibn Fadlan and fictional characters like Robin Hood and King Arthur to teach students how to assess the reliability of their sources—even movies. This issue also includes an assessment of Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, which Christine Jacobson calls a “love letter” to the novel and its author. Together, these articles ask us to think more deeply about the history in the films we love.

Photo: Timothy Vollmer/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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Laura Ansley, managing editor
Elyse Martin, associate editor, web content and social media
Karen Lou, editorial assistant
Liz Townsend, manager, data administration and integrity