Fictions in History

Marketing Lessons for the Unwary

An Expose of Deception

At some level, we know that films and stories that are “Based on a True Story” or “Inspired by Real Events” are not accurate to historical events. What we consider less is what the changes to history suggest about how we think about it, what we are taught by it. In other words, these films and stories offer us themes, just like literature might.

For this project, we will spread the word: let people know what the realities and falsehoods are, and what messages might be sent. More, we will offer a sense of how much such versions have impacted Americans.

*Solo Project! And every student must select a different title!

History in Film

Choose any film which suggests that it is at least partly historically accurate. Watch the film and discover 6-10 factual differences between it and researched history. Note the reasons for the differences, searching for a pattern between them: Is there any one theme or message or bias that all the differences work towards?

Create a quick and simple survey for 15+ people, asking them what they know of the historical moment. How many of their details are film-accurate instead of fact-accurate?

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History in Literature

Choose any book which takes a historical setting as its basis. (Novels of alternative history do not count!) Note 6-10 factual differences between its events and researched history. Note the reasons for the differences, searching for a pattern between them: Is there any one theme or message or bias that all the differences work towards?

Interview 5+ people who have read the book, asking them what they know of the historical moment. How many of their details are novel-accurate instead of fact-accurate?

History in Art & Song

Choose any song or painting or sculpture which represents part of history. Research its lyrics or details to find 3-5 factual differences between it and researched history. Note the reasons for the differences, searching for a pattern between them: Is there any one theme or message or bias that all the differences work towards?

Interview at least 5 people who have seen the artwork, asking them what they know of the historical moment. How many of their details are art-accurate instead of fact-accurate?

Creating the Infographic

Best Free Infographic Makers

Your infographic will include:

  • A title or opening section which identifies the theme or message discovered
  • 3-8 sections which creatively point out the differences between fact and fiction
  • A section which points out the impact of these differences on people’s understanding of history (your survey or interview results)
  • Images/diagrams that make you point as much as text that does
  • A final section which assembles your sources in MLA format, all of which pass the CRAP test
    • Currency, Reliability, Authority, Purpose
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Standards Hit

  1. Secondary Research
  2. Presenting Data
  3. Analyzing Text
  4. Reading Nonfiction
  5. Reading Media
  6. Using Language

Due Dates

Film, Novel, Art SelectedMarch 30
Film, Novel, Art Seen/StudiedApril 10
Historical Research CompletedApril 14
Infographic Rough DesignApril 21
Infographic CompletedApril 28
Infographic Marketed/PublishedMay 3

Marketing Your Infographic

Once you have completed your infographic, your job is to get it to the people! Market the final version to either

  1. Your own social media connections
  2. Using a dummy account with #roela9
  3. Printing it in color as a poster for the school

In any event, Mr. Chisnell needs to see where/how it got out there!