PoliSci Blog

Posted on March 26th, 2021 in Faculty, Teaching by Aaron Dusso

I show documentary films in most of my classes. One of my favorites is “On Our Watch,” a PBS Frontline documentary on the genocide in Darfur, Sudan which I use in POLS Y219 Introduction to International Relations. That documentary speaks to several different theories of International Relations covered in the class, as well as the role of great powers, international organizations, and individual citizens and activists. I think my best movie class is POLS Y375 War and International Conflict where I regularly show Stanley Kubrick’s classic “Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” on nuclear deterrence, mutually assured destruction and the nuclear era and, one of my personal favorite films of all time, “The Battle of Algiers” on insurgency and counterinsurgency. The latter was screened by the Pentagon during the Iraq War to see what lessons could be learned from the short-term successful but long-term failed and counterproductive French counterinsurgency campaign in Algeria. Another film that I love to show is “The Lives of Others” which is set in the former East Germany a few years before the Berlin Wall comes down. It offers tremendous insights into life under Communism for our students who are now typically born well after the end of the Cold War.