Fall 2016 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
In the wake of post-structuralism, critical theory has insisted that identity is socially rather than biologically constructed. That is, while we all agree that we exist in material, physical bodies, the way these bodies produce meanings in the world (black/white, female/male, gay/straight) depends entirely on social and political negotiations of power. Combine this idea with the realization that among all the six senses, vision has been the most prioritized by the history of thinking and you end up with a clear understanding of why cinema matters so much to those of us interested in matters of identity. In other words, films have historically played a major role in the construction of social identity, â€œshowingâ€ us what it means to be foreign, female, and lesbian, for example. In this class, we explore the history of identity construction in cinema in a wide range of movies, from mainstream Hollywood to experimental and documentary films, from horror to melodrama, and from the US and beyond. Through our readings, we focus our attention on social and historical context as well as the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of difference, identity, and power. This class introduces students to film theory and history, moving image analysis, and critical theories of race, gender, sexuality and ideology.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: