Library of Film Studies Course Descriptions
Welcome to the Film Studies Course Library. The descriptions on this page represent recent offerings in Film Studies, with currently offered courses designated by a black and gold icon. Please use the list to learn about other courses available in the Film Studies Program.
Art History 205 - History of Film I (Fall Only)
This course is an introduction to film history covering the period 1895-1941. Students will study the major industrial, technological, aesthetic, and cultural developments in motion picture history. Topics will include the invention of motion pictures, the establishment of a film industry and audience, the narrativization of film, developments in the use of cinematic technique, the history of theatrical film exhibition, the establishment of national cinemas, the idea of film as art, changing notions of cinematic realism and its alternatives, and technological innovation (especially the widespread adoption of synchronized sound). Films will includes shorts by the Lumière brothers, Méliès, Smith, and Porter, one-reel films by Griffith, and feature films such as Broken Blossoms (Griffith), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene), Nosferatu (Murnau), Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein), Un Chien Andalou (Dalí and Buñuel), Sunrise (Murnau), Rules of the Game (Renoir), and Citizen Kane (Welles).
English 290 - Introduction to Film Studies
This course introduces students to the basics of film analysis, cinematic formal elements, genre, and narrative structure and helps students develop the skills to recognize, analyze, describe and enjoy film as an art and entertainment form. To understand how films are constructed to make meaning and engage audiences, students will be introduced to the basic "building blocks" and formal elements (narrative, mise-en-scene, cinematography, sound and editing) that make up the film as well as some fundamental principles of analysis, genre, style, performance and storytelling. The class includes weekly readings, screenings, and short writing assignments.
English 390 - Classical Film Theory and Criticism (Fall Only)
This course offers students an in-depth analysis of the history of film theory and criticism. Beginning with early debates about the cinema (in the light of wider debates about the significance of an emerging mass culture), we will survey cognitive, formal and ideology-focused theories of film, in order to better comprehend the nature of the medium and its relationship to the other arts, society, and spectatorship. The writings of the following theorists and others will serve as the major texts for the course: Hugo Munsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Sergei Eisenstein, Andre Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Jean-Louis Commolli, Christian Metz, Noel Burch, Stephen Heath and Laura Mulvey.
Film Studies 590 - Contemporary Film Theory and Criticism (Spring Only)
This course will investigate contemporary theories and criticism of cinema and/or television, from 1960 to the present. Theoretical approaches considered may include structuralism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, feminism, post-structuralism, queer theory.
Art History 206 - History of Film II: Development of an Art
This course is a global survey of cinema from the 1940s to the present. Topics include the demise of the American studio system in the 1950s, innovations in moving image technology, changes in filmexhibition, the spread of international art cinema, filmmaking in the developing world, the contemporary Hollywood blockbuster, the rise of independent cinema and film festivals, and the structure of the contemporary global media industries. Films screened may include Rebel Without a Cause (USA), Bicycle Thieves (Italy), Wild Strawberries (Sweden), Pather Panchali (India), Memories of Underdevelopment (Cuba), Yeelen (Mali), Raiders of the Lost Ark (USA), and Chungking Express (Hong Kong).
English 111 - Entertainment Arts
From cinema to cell phones, the multimedia context of contemporary life is rapidly changing; this course will examine some of those shifting and ubiquitous technologies and images. Entertainment Arts offers a general introduction to the critical study of film, television, and new media. While examining each technology individually we will also work in a state of persistent comparison, endeavoring to comprehend media culture as a larger phenomenon. Through readings, screenings, and discussions, students will develop sophisticated understandings of media culture in terms of technical properties, industrial practices, representation, cultural theories, social responses and more. This course counts towards the Digital Arts and Cultures Certificate.
English 291 - Intro to Television Studies
For decades, television has been an important fixture in our daily lives. Now, we also increasingly watch TV on the go--using computers, cell phones, DVRs, and DVDs to keep up with our favorite shows. This course provides an introduction studying television both by looking back and forward. We will watch a wide variety of TV shows, including: The Twilight Show, West Wing, Battlestar Galactica, Bob's Burgers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, basketball games... sometimes you'll even be assigned to watch the commercials! We will learn more about TV's past and the factors shaping what television shows look like today. We will also discuss more recent technological changes, including the digitization of television, and how these things may affect what television looks like in the years to come.
English 295 - Women and Film
This course examines the representation and construction of women in American film. Readings and screenings will guide students through rigorous investigations of gender, sexuality, and feminism. We will employ and interrogate the following analytical approaches: images of women theories, feminist film theory, queer theory, industry studies, and historical film analysis. Screenings may include: Mildred Pierce, Thelma and Louise, Mississippi Masala, American Beauty, Rebecca, A Question of Silence, Orlando, Eve’s Bayou, Stella Dallas, Silence of the Lambs, Vertigo, Imitation of Life, Some Like it Hot, Aliens, Bend it Like Bekham, and Baghdad Café.
Film Studies 192 - First-Year Seminar: Rock and Roll Cinema
Film Studies 212 - Intermediate Topics in Film Studies: Alternative Dimensions: 90’s Cinema
This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of Postmodernism such as eclecticism, pastiche, parody, irony, intertextuality, hypertextuality, self-reflexivity, self-consciousness and nostalgia — with reference to some fundamental texts and films. Beginning with the 90s, the cinema has undergone important structural changes. Films have become quite self-reflexive by focusing on subjects such as operations of cinema, film production methods and the experience of the spectator. In this period, the films have also become enormously intertextual by having many quotations from and references to other films, by turning the filmic text into a collage of past films. This way cinema breaks away from the invisible narration of classical cinema once and for all. This course will investigate this structural change in the 90s cinema.
Film Studies 212 - Intermediate Topics in Film Studies: U.S. Independent Cinema
Students in this course will engage with a variety of recent examples of independent film produced in the United States. In the course, we will examine the narrative, stylistic, industrial and cultural aspects of contemporary U.S. independent film. To structure our course, we will be reading both academic and popular criticism about the films and about the seemingly inexhaustible and endlessly regenerative independent film movement. Among others, we will discuss films by Kelly Reichardt, Lance Hammer, and Rahmin Bahrani.
Film Studies 212 - Intermediate Topics in Film Studies: Genres of Romance Across Media
Film Studies 212 - Intermediate Topics in Film Studies: Introduction to Horror
American Horror Films have been a genre with a rich history spanning more than nine decades. These popular movies have also given rise to social outrage, scholarly research, and particular marketing practices. This course will explore horror films, public responses to them, and the academic work done on them. It will consider historical approaches to these movies that explore thematic changes over time, genre studies that attempt to define what constitutes and distinguishes horror movies from other types of film, philosophical inquiries that attempt to understand why audiences take pleasure in being horrified, formal analyses that examine the cinematographic elements particular to horror films, classifications of subgenres that recognize the differences among different kinds of horror movies, and cultural analyses that investigate what trends in horror films can tell us about the societies that produce and consume them.
Among other, this course will consider the following films: Frankenstein (1931), Cat People (1942), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Psycho (1960), Blood Feast (1963), Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Exorcist (1973), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Halloween (1978), The Shining (1980), The Thing (1982), Death Scenes (1989), Scream (1996), The Blair Witch Project (1999), The Ring (2002), Saw (2004), and Hostel (2005).
Film Studies 212 - Intermediate Topics in Film Studies: Introduction to the Road Film
Film Studies 212 - Intermediate Topics in Film Studies: Violence and Disorder in the Midwest
As a region, the Midwest is situated uniquely within the American popular imagination. Often labeled as being "flyover country," this space and its inhabitants are depicted both as "authentically" American and as a cultureless mass. This course will explore the complex (and often contradictory) ways in which the Midwest has been represented in a variety of texts from 1950 to the present, with a particular emphasis on the recurrence of violence and disorder that emerges in such representations. Through close analysis of films, television, and literature, students will consider how these texts construct the region in symbolic and explicit ways; the purpose of such analysis is not to assess the "accuracy" of texts representing the Midwest, but to consider the purposes and meanings of prescribing a popular identity for the region. What characteristics are identified as essentially "Midwestern"? Why are these particular cultural qualities and practices attributed to the Midwest? We will address these questions and our course texts with the perspective that there are significant and underlying values inherent in the numerous and varied popular representations of the region.
Film Studies 212 - Intermediate Topics in Film Studies: Introduction to Comedy
This class traces a number of trends in the history and theory of American comedic cinema. Proceeding chronologically, it first categorizes and contextualizes classic American comedies throughout the studio system and into the present day. The class then uses contemporary comedies to discuss theories of comedy and laughter. Screenings might include: The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Philadelphia Story among many others.
Film Studies 212 - Intermediate Topics in Film Studies: Participatory Culture: Audiences, Viewers, and Fans
From audiences sitting in the dark of the theater, to impassioned fans at conventions, there are many ways for us to engage with media. Popular culture inspires our passion, our anger, and sparks public conversation. This class explores different ideas about audiences, viewers, and fans. The class will look at a variety of film, television, and digital media texts, including Hard Days Night, The Blair Witch Project, Battlestar Galactica, and the Harry Potter franchise. We'll also check out what's happening on YouTube, play some digital games, and look at remix projects like Wizard People Dear Reader. The class also asks students to take an active role in discussions by reflecting on their own experiences as viewers and by making remix projects in response to different media texts.
Comp Lit 233 - Literature and Film: Existentialism from Page to Screen
This course explores the rise of existentialist philosophy in some of the most enduring works in literature and cinema of Europe, North America, and the Far East. Our cross-cultural and interdisciplinary survey of existentialist thought will feature work by writers and film makers who are preoccupied with the meaninglessness of existence and the responsibilities that consequently fall onto our shoulders in the wake of that proposition. We will also consider the stylistic and narrative strategies by which these artists represent the most familiar and troubling aspects of existentialist crisis - like despair, boredom, angst, sleeplessness, and alienation from modern life - and the ways these ideas develop in response to painful historical traumas. Literary texts will probably include novellas by Osamu Dazai, Leo Tolstoy, and Albert Camus and plays by Eugene Ionesco and Jean-Paul Sartre; cinematic texts will probably include feature-length films by Kurosawa and Godard, as well as selected episodes of the TV series Mad Men and music videos from contemporary American, French, British and Icelandic recording artists.
Comp Lit 233 - Literature and Film: Body & Desire from Hollywood to Bollywood
The human body, by dint of its placement in culture and history, is laden with meaning. Its movement in space, posture, stylization, affect and sensation, cannot but signify. But besides this semiotic inevitability, the body also lives a life in materiality. This material body, though unsymbolizable, is intensely explored in cinema, by way of crises that endanger its being, producing narrative tension and visual fascination. This being body in crisis reveals a complex of desire, desire both as a sociohistorical imprint that structures the body's meaning and as a material transgression against that meaning. Through a group of films produced in different parts of the world, this class will study how the human body in cinema is often straddled between meaning and being, performing the paradoxical function of creating an otherness within the symbolic. We'll examine how films from different cultures stage unusual situations to call forth the material body, and what critical agency such a body often brings forth. We'll observe how such psychosomatic practices as religion (eastern), martial arts, music and dance, occult rituals, dragging, psychiatric therapy, scientific experiments, etc., mold, affect, or produce the body's meaning and desire, and how film diegesis mediates that meaning and desire through its own cultural codes. The objective of our study is to discover how this unique cinematic body opens up dimensions of truth we do not normally see, truth that undermines the entrenched norms of society by overstepping many boundaries, from those of race, class, gender, sex, to what it means to be human. The course satisfies the international requirement of the College of Letters & Science.
Comp Lit 233 - Literature and Film: The Gangster Film in the East and West
This class will study the gangster film as a genre originating in America and how after traveling to other parts of the world, especially Asia, it undergoes interesting changes while retaining important generic features. Although as in other continents the genre has been frequently bent, hybridized, or parodied to fit the cultural needs of the local, its transplant has also made it truly global. By comparing Asian gangsters with their Western counterparts in theme, style, visual content, and social function, we want to find out what common qualities bind them. A good knowledge of how this popular cultural form travels and finds home in the East may lead to a deepened understanding about the processes of global modernity that has been inexorably transforming the spatial and temporal structures of our lives. Our objectives are to learn to analyze film texts from different parts of the world with a comparatist approach, and to learn to construct interpretive arguments that are clear, coherent, persuasive, and well organized. The course satisfies the international requirement.
Art History 307 - Film Directors: Women Directors
While women have worked in all sectors of film production, this course specifically considers the legacies of women film directors in the history of cinema and into the present. This class will examine the particular challenges that women filmmakers face, as well as the unique and innovative contributions they have made to film aesthetics and narrative form. This class will also introduce students to some of the central debates within feminism from the 1970s and into the present, in particular feminism's influence on women's independent film production, and with a focus on the question of female authorship. What kind of aesthetic and narrative strategies have women filmmakers used to create alternative fictions and documentations of gender conventions, female pleasure, everyday life and social experience? Analyzing the work of female filmmakers who have broken with, resist or work outside classical Hollywood conventions, this course will address the relationship between film form and ideology. Discussing directors such as Alice Guy Blache, Lois Weber, Maya Deren, Germaine Dulac, Dorothy Arzner, Yoko Ono, Barbara Loden, Chantal Akerman, Vera Chytilova, Lizzie Borden, Agnes Varda, as well as the more recent works of Cheryl Dunye, Lucrecia Martel, Claire Denis, Catherine Breillat, Lynne Ramsay, Kelly Reichardt, and Samira Makhmalbaf, this course will take a retrospective and prospective vantage point on the relationship between different generations of women's films and feminist theories, within the broader cultural contexts of the feminist movement, gay, lesbian, and queer studies, and developments in the fields of race, class and post-colonial studies.
Art History 308 - Film Styles: History of Animation
English 312 - Topics in Film Studies: Cinema and Digital Culture
From the kinetoscope to the iPhone, moving image culture has never stopped making itself anew. In this course, we examine the nature of "new" or digital media from a wide variety of perspectives: technological, economic, and particularly cultural and aesthetic. We will look at how new media, such as digital photography, video games, virtual reality, and the internet, refashion earlier media forms, such as cinema, as well as how the latter is itself influenced by emerging media. In addition to the shifts and changes effected by digital technologies in contemporary society, we will consider the place of the Self within the context of new media. To this end, in addition to reading critical texts, students will have opportunities to explore these questions on a personal and practical level, from blogging and video gaming to social networking and culture jamming. Class discussions will focus on weekly readings, film viewings and website visits. Course Poster (pdf)
English 312 - Topics in Film Studies: Queer Cinema
This course examines the way in which the political and cultural manifestation known as "queerness" has found articulation, particularly since the 1990s, in contemporary US cinema and media practices. In specific, queer cinematic texts question what our society has edified as normative roles and behaviors in terms of gender and sexuality, specifically as they relate to understanding identity as an essence. This questioning of "queer" goes beyond calling attention to the hegemony of heterosexuality and its division of gender, to include criticisms of what became the dominant forms of "gay" and "lesbian" identities (usually, white and bourgeois ones whose main aim was to gain recognition and acceptance from mainstream society) as well as other forms of gender and sexual expression that have been historically marked as deviant: prostitution, pedophilia, sadomasochism, and transgenderism, just to name a few. Some of the key directors whose work we will study include Gregg Araki, Cheryl Dunye, Todd Haynes, Tom Kalin, Jenny Livingston, John Cameron Mitchell, Christopher Münch, Marlon Riggs, Rose Troche, Ella Troyano, and Gus Van Sant. In addition, we will look at a few filmmakers — such as R. W. Fassbinder, Derek Jarman, Andy Warhol, and John Waters — who might be historically understood as critical predecessors of queer cinema.
English 312 - Topics in Film Studies: Science Fiction Utopias/Dystopias
What is a city? What is a community? What is utopia? Ordinarily, utopian means fantastic or impossible. But utopia can also be an alternative, a dream, a response to the present. Science fiction film exploits these concepts of utopianism to respond to its own present, sometimes comedically — Woody Allen's Sleeper — and sometimes darkly — A Clockwork Orange. We will combine readings of contemporary scholarly work on film, science fiction, and utopianism, including recent statements by Samuel Delany, Fredric Jameson, and Thomas M. Disch, with screenings of recent films as well as older examples such as Metropolis and Blade Runner.
English 316 - World Cinema: French New Wave
In a few short years, from 1958 to 1962, a group of young French critic-turned-filmmakers made a series of films which transformed the landscape of cinema at home and abroad. This course will explore how this important movement, known as the Nouvelle Vague or French New Wave, radically altered traditional adaptation techniques, the role of the film script, the relationship between documentary and fiction, and almost every aspect of the mise-en-scène of image and sound. We will examine the work of some of its most innovative filmmakers including Agnès Varda, Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut, Alain Resnais and Jean-Luc Godard.
English 316 World Cinema: Japanese Cinema
Join us on a cinematic journey from well-known, epoch-making directors such as Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, and Yasujiro Ozu, to modern directors such as Hirokazu Koreeda, Miike Takashi, and Takeshi Kitano. During this journey, we will see Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and other cities and towns at their best and worse. We will witness love and lust threaten to tear families apart. We will cringe as rival gangs attempt to bloodily exterminate each other. Samurai will fall. Unknown islands will host creatures never before imagined. We will fight tears as people choose to face death with ferocious courageousness, or face life with extreme cowardice. Classes throughout our time together will feature different films from Japanese cinema, with the entire body of film having been chosen to excite the senses through a variety of genres, and provide students with a well-rounded knowledge of Japanese cinema. In addition to film viewings, we will supplement our theoretical and practical understanding of Japanese cinema, through visiting key texts on the subject. (There are no prerequisites to the course. Nor is prior knowledge of Japanese language and culture necessary.)
English 316 - World Cinema: Latin American Cinema
This course provides a comprehensive survey of different cinematic manifestations in Latin America. Due to the availability of films with English subtitles, the course emphasizes filmic works from the 1960s to the present. Screenings and readings will be divided by countries (e.g., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba) allowing us to think about the specific role that cinema has played in the formation of different national contexts. Along with this nation-based approach, films will be analyzed in relation to the continental category of "Latin American Cinema." To that end, the course will also pay close attention to the indigenous theories of cinema that emerged as part of the movement known as “The New Latin American Cinema.” This term refers to a transnational cinematic movement that emerged during the 1960s and that called for the creation of a distinct cinematic language for representing the particular social, cultural, political and national realities and concerns of Latin American countries. Part of our intellectual inquiry when analyzing post-1980s films is to assess if they still follow or not the precepts postulated by the New Latin American Cinema theories. Additionally, questions related to cultural difference, particularly in relation to class, gender and sexuality, will be central to our discussions of the films screened in class.
English 320 - Studies in Film Authorship: Woody Allen
In this course, students will explore the film art of Woody Allen. From his early film comedies through his most recent efforts, we will look at the evolution of Allen's films – both those critically and commercially successful and those that have struggled. We will supplement our discussions and analyses by reading essays from several recent books on Allen's film art. We will watch Annie Hall, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and many more.
English 320 - Studies in Film Authorship: John Sayles and Jim Jarmusch
Students in this course will examine closely the work of two major U.S. independent film directors, John Sayles and Jim Jarmusch. Between 1980 and the present, Sayles and Jarmusch have worked to create their own visions of what movies in the US should be. Along with watching several films directed by each, we will be reading a selection of film authorship theory and criticism to explore how these visions reflect the state of U.S. culture and of film production during this period. Possible screenings include: The Return of the Secaucus Seven, City of Hope, Lone Star, Stranger Than Paradise, Dead Man, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
English 329 - Film and Literature
Students in this course will explore approaches to the art, theory, and cultural politics of movie adaptations. Through readings and screenings, students will be asked to interrogate these and other questions: What is the nature of the "literary" and the "cinematic?" Why do so many of the films described as adaptations derive from canonical literature rather than from other sources? How do the different media affect the ways in which stories are told? Why is the book always "better" than the movie? To support students in developing and focusing their own theories of adaptation, we will also be reading selected adaptation theory and criticism, including writings by Andre Bazin, Robert Stam, and Judith Mayne. Our primary texts might include Fight Club, Devil in a Blue Dress, Contempt, and The Handmaid's Tale.
English 380 - Media and Society: Activism and Tactical Media
English 380 - Media and Society: Animals in Contemporary Culture
English 380 - Media and Society: Cinematic Cities
English 380 - Media and Society: 1960s U.S. Cinema
English 380 - Media and Society: Game Culture
This is a first course in the critical study of games, especially videogames, and the culture of participatory media to which they belong. It will introduce the concept of games and play as pat of a meaning-making activity; it will survey forms, conventions, and practices that inform the design and reception of games; it will outline major theoretical trends within the emerging field of Game Studies; it will examine the place of games in contemporary culture, and consider some of the problems and challenges they pose. Get more info at http://www.tinyurl.com/gameCult.
English 383 – Cinema and Genre: Film Noir
The emphasis of this course will be the Film Noir genre as it is expressed visually and thematically. Through discussions and course readings, students will explore the origins of Film Noir, the Noir visual style, and the cultural, historical, psychological, sociological, and gender issues that are typically reflected in Noir narratives.
English 383 - Cinema and Genre: Horror Films 1960-1985
The course surveys the gradual transformation of horror films -- mostly but not exclusively in the U.S. -- from B-movie status to a popularly and critically praised genre during the 25-year period between 1960 and 1985. The release of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho in the U.S. and Michael Powell's Peeping Tom in the U.K. in 1960 marks a transition in terms of thematic, ideological and narrative approaches to conveying horror filmically. The historical changes that took place after 1960 (the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, the women's movement, the sexual revolution, the civil rights movement, the end of the Hays Code and the appearance of the MPAA ratings system, among others) further transformed the cinematic configuration of the horror genre, giving many directors the opportunity to create socially relevant and aesthetically challenging texts that were able to engage a wide variety of audiences (e.g., the youth, African Americans).
We will study a number of filmmakers who emerged as horror auteurs during the aforementioned 25-year period — Wes Craven, George A. Romero, Brian de Palma, Larry Cohen, Tobe Hooper, and David Cronenberg. In addition, we will explore some of this period's horror subgenres: demonic entities/ possessions, science-makes-nature-run-amok, and the slasher/stalker films. In order to understand the social relevance of these films as cultural artifacts, the course will pay close attention to these films' relationship to their historical context. Thus, we will examine how these films engage discourses related to gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationality. Warning: The purpose of the class is to understand the horror genre critically. If you cannot tolerate gore, violence, and profanity, or if any of the topics and issues depicted in these films go against your moral and religious beliefs, you should not take this course. There are plenty of other Film Studies courses that would be a better fit to your interests and way of life. In addition, if you are interested in horror films only from the standpoint of a fan or movie buff, this course will not fulfill your expectations.
English 383 – Cinema and Genre: Science Fiction
English 383 - Cinema and Genre: The Western
This course is intended to introduce students to the history of the western as a cinematic genre. In it, we will watch at least sixteen classical, "neo," revisionist, acid, and other Westerns and read a variety of genre and Western criticism. Through essays and discussion, students will critically analyze the formal and thematic elements that create meaning in this genre.
Film Studies 350 - Global Jewish Film and Television: Transnational Jewish Cinema
Film Studies 412 - Global Cinemas: Hong Kong Cinema
Comp Lit 362 - Transnational Asian Cinema: New Chinese Cinema
The course is designed to study the Chinese films produced after the Cultural Revolution. These films are remarkable not only for their visual beauty, but also for their ability to communicate complex social/cultural issues to an international audience. We shall focus on their formal innovativeness in light of their relations to the cultural history that has shaped their artistic meaning. We shall examine how this post-Cultural Revolution cinema demolished socialist realism and expanded its artistic expressions to address the cultural subjectivities of a global spectatorship. The class will include representative films from Hong Kong and Taiwan produced at the same period. The films to be studied includes: Yellow Earth, Judou, Horse Thief, The World, The Puppet Master, and Chungking Express. The seminar is for both undergraduate and graduate students and satisfies the international requirement.
Comp Lit 362 - Transnational Asian Cinemas: Women and Modernity in a Century of Chinese Film
The screen images and stories of women in Chinese cinema provide an embodied history of China’s century-long modernization in all its social, political and cultural aspects. By tracing the vicissitudes of women’s condition and agency represented in Chinese cinema, we’ll see how the thorny issues of modernity have been persistently thought and fought over in China. Women’s changing status in society, their suffering and joy in everyday life and work, their dreams and sacrifices are all elemental to China’s film culture, which participates in and transforms the country’s social life. From the filmic representations of woman-as-nation and of women as class subjects we’ll learn how China first dealt with its subaltern status in the world and its many domestic crises. We’ll explore how women in Chinese films, both as narrative subjects and as visual tropes, help construct and then demolish the communist sublime and how their bodies’ repression and pain are dramatized both to justify and to denounce a postsocialist modernity compatible with global capitalism. With its complex history of coding and decoding, desexualization and resexualization, has the female body ever had a chance of articulating its own need and expressing its own desire on the silver screen? We shall look into that issue as well in terms of the relations between desire, subjectivity, and film. The course satisfies the international requirement of the College of Letters and Science.
Comp Lit 461 - Transnational Asian Cinemas: New Chinese Cinema
Comp Lit 461 - Film-Fiction Interaction: The New South Korean Cinema
Comp Lit 461 - Film-Fiction Interaction: Cinema and Politics
In this course, we will examine a series of questions clustered at the nexus of the political and the theological, such as: What is the role of faith in the transformation of political collectivies? What would it mean to develop a philosophy and a politics without relying upon myths? How is the question of the soul related to the questions of political life? Readings to include V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt, Straw Dogs by John Gray, Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil, Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard, The Fragile Absolute by Slavoj Zizek, and The Telling by Ursula Le Guin. Films to include: The Sacrifice (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, Sweden, 1986), Save the Green Planet! (dir. Jang Joon-Hwan, South Korea, 2003), The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, France, 1939), The Legend of Rita (dir. Völker Schlöndorff, Germany, 2000), and Army of Shadows (dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1969).
Comp Lit 461 - Film-Fiction Interactions: Global Food Narratives
This course is a critical and historical survey of literature and cinema through the lens of food - preparation, farming, production and consumption - in an increasingly globalized world. We will study the unique ways literature and film shape, re-imagine, and sometimes critique our perceptions of food and various food-related issue, including cultural / religious / social identity; the rise of agro-industries and the emergence of "fast food"; the ethics of consumption and the place of food in human rights and animal rights debates; and the rise of global food media. Course texts include Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate; Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals; shorter works by Aesop, Homer, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Baudelaire, Franz Kafka, and Ernest Hemingway; selections from food writers and media figures like Anthony Bourdain and Julia Child; films like Eat Drink Man Woman, Mildred Pierce, Julie and Julia, and Babette's Feast; and film theory and criticism by Andre Bazin, Sergei Eisenstein, Peter Wollen, and more. Satisfies L&S International req.
French 451 - Im(migrants) of France
French 451 - Turning Twenty
Italian 322 - Introduction to Italian Literature and Film
English 742 - Media Culture
English 743 Intro to Film Theory and Criticism
English/Art History 761 - Contemporary Art Cinema: Sensing Time
It may seem a given that cinema is a medium that has a privileged relationship to temporality — cinema takes time and it makes time. Film uses and sculpts time as material, collects the fragmented and the momentary as an archive, a repository of multiple temporalities, and alters and manipulates the spectator's experience of time and duration in its form — from the temporal condensations of montage to the meandering lassitude of the long take. Cinema thus has much to contribute to philosophies of lived time and systematized time, and philosophical accounts of temporality have much to underwrite an understanding of the cinema. This graduate seminar brings together film theory and the philosophy and cultural histories of temporality, placing them in dialogue with the international art cinema, a cinematic tradition that has perhaps most overtly made its project the act of "sensing time." The art cinema — historically associated with a non-normative orientation towards narrative construction, long affiliated with modernist and "post-classical" experimentation with the non-linear, non-teleological, and with an often too slow, ill-paced, durationally challenging retinue - provides fertile material for exploring the political and aesthetic stakes of temporal forms in contemporary global film culture. We will explore cinematic tropes and figures intrinsically bound up with temporal concepts: labor and leisure, the everyday, the instant and the fragment, historicity, archive, nostalgia, speed and slowness, contingency and systematicity, boredom and distraction, stillness and movement, waste and plenitude. Thus, this course both addresses the capacity of the art cinema to operate as a conceptual object that anatomizes and experiments with temporality, and to explore the ways that cinematic time is grounded in sensual experience — as the spectator is called upon to live film's time.
Readings will span across film theory and criticism, aesthetic theory, phenomenological philosophy, poststructuralism, film historiography, queer theory and will include writing by: Martin Heidegger, Henri Bergson, Andre Bazin, Gilles Deleuze, Bernard Stiegler, Zygmunt Bauman, Mary Ann Doane, Laura Mulvey, D.N. Rodowick, Garrett Stewart, Bliss Lim, Yvette Biro, Elizabeth Freeman, Karl Schoonover, Andras Balint Kovacs. Films may include work by: Rene Clair, Alain Resnais, Stan Brakhage, Hollis Frampton, Andy Warhol, Chantal Akerman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Tsai Ming Liang, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Michelangelo Antonioni, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Phillippe Grandrieux, Claire Denis. Course requirements: 20-25 page research paper, paper proposal and preliminary bibliography, bi-weekly journal/blog responses, in-class presentations.