History of Film and Media Theory
Film 100 | CCN: 31675
What makes cinema compelling? What kinds of work are involved in watching films, and what kinds of pleasure? How does the experience of cinema shape perceptions about gender, sexuality, race, and the social world? What has changed with the advent of the digital? This course opens answers to such questions through an introduction to the fields of film and media theory. We consider the classical era of film theory through questions of reality and representation, modernity and urban space, mass production and consumer culture. We study the genealogies of the discipline of film and media studies, including influential arguments and the key discourses of “high theory”: semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminist theory, and new inflections of Marxist thought. The course closes with phenomenology and theories of new media and affect, reframing earlier theories of temporality and the body. We will consider the place of Hollywood in the world film system and the methods of reading and understanding transnational cinema cultures. Taking into account influential critiques of the field, students will gain mastery of key critical concepts for the analysis of film and media works in their historical and cultural contexts.