By CARA SEXTON
The U.S. history in film course recently was featured on C-SPAN’s “Lectures in History” series.
Associate Professor and Chair of History and American Studies, Jeffrey McClurken’s class focused on the 1939 film “Gone with the Wind,” a topic coordinated with C-SPAN and filmed in October 2012. During the lecture, McClurken acted as more of a moderator to student discussion than as a lecturer.
In the U.S. history and film class, McClurken’s students discuss and evaluate films on the basis of southern culture during the Civil War and Reconstruction period. The classroom environment in the episode seems generally open to student comment and observation.
Senior history major Brooke Parker is in the class and was present on the day of filming.
“Our actual class is just like that. It was unusual for Professor McClurken to talk as much as he did,” said Parker.
According to Parker, she and her fellow classmates had been looking forward to the filmed class because “[McClurken] let us choose which movie we wanted to discuss so it was exciting because we had a say in it.”
Both McClurken and Parker watched the episode when it aired.
For Parker, who actively participated in the discussion and was even commended by McClurken for her constructive comments, “It was like deja vu.”
Although watching himself in the episode was strange, McClurken found the experience useful. What he was most struck by was, “Just how great the students were; thoughtful and deeply reflective.”
Parker, who shared the video with her family, and McClurken have gotten feedback from viewers since the episode aired.
McClurken said he would keep in mind another opportunity such as this and considers it “a real benefit for Mary Washington for people to see what goes on in the classroom.”
The lecture was aired on C-SPAN channel 3 during the first weekend in February, but the episode is now available in full online, and will be rebroadcasted Mon., Feb. 18 on C-SPAN 3 at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET.
For more information and to see the full episode, visit http://www.c-span.org/History/Events/Lectures-in-History-Gone-with-the-Wind/10737437341-2/.