This course is designed to give graduate students a basic grounding in the theory, history and criticism of cinema and media studies, and introduce them to central debates, topics, and methods in the field. The central objectives of the course include familiarizing class participants with the:
- theories most germane to film and media critics since the early 20th century
- methods and problems of textual analysis and interpretation of films
- representative cannon of films and related media texts from diverse historical periods
- historical and cultural paradigms as they relate to film and media studies (mass culture/modernity/nationalism/etc.)
In order to achieve these goals, this seminar meets twice a week. One session each week will be devoted primarily to discussion of theoretical, methodological and historical readings. The second weekly session will be devoted primarily to screening the “feature” film(s) of the week, although the screening session will often begin with a series of clips or excerpts from an array of films, and these presentations will foster techniques for assessing and teaching film’s many formal and stylistic registers: editing, cinematography, sound, mise-en-scene, etc, in a historical context. Throughout the quarter, your reading materials will mention films or media products that we do not have the opportunity to watch together. I encourage you to view as many of these titles on your own as time allows, so as to engage more specifically with the theories under discussion, and to broaden your knowledge of film and media history more generally.
Since another of our overarching goals is to encourage a professional relationship to the field of cinema and media studies, the quarter will end (last week of quarter) with a "course conference" in which each member will present a 20-minute presentation of their research to that point. Presentations will be organized into respective panels, and q&a will follow each respective panel. Participants will then revise and expand their conference paper for the final seminar paper.