This course examines media coverage of American wars from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. From the 20thcentury on, the experience of war came to most Americans mainly through the electronic media – from newsreels to Hollywood feature films and from television to the internet – rather than through direct experience. As a result, our understanding of America’s military conflicts has been heavily shaped by the way war has been portrayed in the media. Careful study of the evolution in media coverage of war provides an ideal vantage point for understanding the changing nature of warfare in the 20th and 21stcenturies, war’s impact on American society, and the ways in which political elites have attempted to mobilize public support for a number of very different foreign conflicts.
Course requirements include viewing a wide range of media treatments of war and reading pertinent theoretical and historical essays.