World Politics on Screen
Understanding International Relations through Popular Culture
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Increasingly resistant to lessons on international politics, society often turns to television and film to engage the subject. Numerous movies made in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries reflect political themes that were of concern within the popular cultures of their times. For example, Norman Jewison's The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (1966) portrays the culture of suspicion between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, while several of Alfred Hitchcock's movies as well as the John Wayne film Big Jim McLain (1952) and John Milius's Red Dawn (1984) helped to raise and sustain skepticism about the Soviet Union. World Politics on Screen: Understanding International Relations through Popular Culture uses films and television shows like these as well as contemporary including 24, The Simpsons, South Park, and The Daily Show to guide readers to a deeper understanding of enduring issues in international politics.
In this unique and insightful volume, author Mark Sachleben demonstrates that popular culture reflects societal beliefs about the world, and that the messages captured on television and film transcend time and place. Using films such as Secret Ballot (2001), Under the Bombs (2007), and WallE (2008), he addresses topics such as international relations and diplomacy, the study of war, nuclear weapons, poverty, immigration and emigration, human rights, and genocide. An engaging read for students and for anyone with a general interest in politics and popular culture, World Politics on Screen succeeds in its argument by illuminating unexplored assumptions about international policy.
"Sachleben argues that television and films can be very useful instruments for helping us learn about world politics, and he gives us insights into the popular culture that surrounds these media and is perhaps also driven by them. He provides a process for 'reading' films and countless examples of how to do this in a thoughtful and reasoned way. A very polished, thorough, thoughtful, and insightful volume." -- Patrick J. Haney, coauthor of American Foreign Policy in a New Era
" World Politics on Screen addresses a subject that has been neglected in the literature, yet is of significant importance and increasing interest. With its interdisciplinary approach, integrating the literatures of political science, history, and even sociology with a wide selection of films, the volume will be an excellent text in the growing number of undergraduate courses devoted to politics and film." -- Bruce Altschuler, author of Acting Presidents: 100 Years of Plays about the Presidency
""It has taken our discipline decades to come up with an global politics text book that meets students where they are. World Politics on Screen is thoughtful, deep, and relevant. Students will like World Politics on Screen because of the popular culture aspect which is fun but also a great way to learn the discipline. Faculty will like it because it keeps the students engaged (which makes our job easier) and it treats the content with respect. Both sides win."--Koop Berry, Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs and Director of the Honors Program at Walsh University" --
""Casablanca. Star Wars. Slum Dog Millionaire. The Godfather. Men in Black. Escape in Mark Sachleben's book weaving film and history. He offers a lively and panoramic discussion of how film has reflected, and continues to mirror, global political issues. He seamlessly blends the major ideas and currents of international politics with movies from around the world since the early 20th century. Sachleben gives us reason to enjoy the classics all over again, but this time with a deeper appreciation of their connection to time, place, and purpose. And Simpsons' fans will not be disappointed!"--Joan Serafin Andorfer, Frostburg State University" --
""Exceptional, insightful and accessible to undergraduate students and advanced scholars alike, this superb foray into international relations, cinema and popular culture adroitly mines the messages of a diverse array of films, connecting the theory and practice of world politics. Encouraging critical thinking and engaged citizenship, the topical chapters consider intransigent and evolving dilemmas facing the planet by employing films that provide crucial context and alternative perspectives, thus illuminating the roots of the tragedy and terror, evolution and enlightenment, hope and progress that define the human condition."--Kevan M. Yenerall, Professor of Political Science, Clarion University" --