Fall 2016 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course is designed to familiarize graduate students with the history and formal and stylistic elements of narrative cinema as a medium of expression, and the tenets and theoretical basis of the academic discipline known as film studies. Roughly the first half of the course will be devoted to considering film as a set of historically contingent and intertwined technologies involving representation, reproduction, distribution, and spectatorship, with a lot of attention devoted to formal analysis and the features and techniques that produce film art (mise-en-scène and color, camerawork and cinematography, editing, sound) and the ways these elements have been employed in various canonical films, modes, and genres from Hollywood and elsewhere over the past hundred-plus years. In the second half we will turn to a sampling of topics and questions and methods of study to which the field has devoted considerable scholarly attention throughout its history, and that continue to form the basis of much ongoing research and published work. By the end of the course, students will have learned the rudiments of film history and theory as well as formal analysis and, in the process, become more sophisticated viewers and evaluators of the moving image. Generally, classes will consist of some lecture (especially in the first half of the semester) augmented by brief screenings of relevant material, and discussion of the reading and screening for the week.
Michael Wood, FILM: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION (Oxford University Press, 2012), ISBN 9780192803535.
In addition, several book chapters and articles from a variety of sources will be posted on eLearning or electronic reserve for reading, printing, and/or downloading. Films are also assigned each week for out-of-class viewing; all will be on reserve at McDermott Library but are also available from a variety of other sources (Netflix and the like).
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Attendance and participation, 15%; presentation and review essay, 30% total; two critical/analytical essays (4-5 pages each), 30% total; final formal paper (10-12 pages), 25%.