UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2017

R1A - 003 | CCN: 66970

The Craft of Writing - Divergent Bodies: The politics of difference in Hollywood Cinema

Jennifer Alpert

4 Units

This course engages in a non-exhaustive history of how representations of difference have operated in popular Hollywood movies (and one instance of TV as analytical comparison), and how the politics of these depictions cut across lines of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and personhood. We will make use of valuable methodologies such as close readings in order to understand how these films contribute to constructing categories of difference into something "we can see" on screen. By leveraging corporeality as a visual marker of difference, mainstream cinema has engaged in the creation and reassertion of a set of hierarchical norms that operate in economies of exclusion. At times threatening, and at times neutralized, difference has been an anxiety that Hollywood has tackled across genres and eras. Our task will be to understand the shape that these representations have taken and situate them in contexts that may help articulate explanations regarding the fears of a particular historical moment. In the process, students will gain a greater understanding of how to read, understand, and summarize analytical academic writing, and in so doing, learn to construct an argument and style through a writing intensive curriculum.