UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Graduate

Spring 2017

201 | CCN: 15219

Film Historiography

Kristen Whissel,

4 Units

This course investigates a range of methodologies and approaches for writing film and media history from the perspective of technological and historical change. Each week we will focus on recent examples of historiography that engage with, historicize, and theorize media emergence, transformation, and (in some instances) obsolescence. In the process we will focus on historical periods often regarded as transitional, including the cinema’s silent era from 1908-1916, the rise of radio as a form of commercialized leisure in the US, the cinema’s transition to synchronous sound, the rise of television in the late 1940s and 1950s, the shift to widescreen and color film in Hollywood cinema, the emergence of new digital media, the cinema’s digital turn, media convergence, and the return of 3D. Each week we will address a specific era of historical investigation as well as one or more methodological approaches to writing media history and the various questions about the practice of film and media historiography raised by both. At the same time, this course will provide the opportunity for graduate students to develop a detailed and nuanced knowledge of film and media history.