History of Film and Media Theory
100 | Session D | CCN: 48235
Why do we watch film, television, and online video? What makes these media pleasurable and central in our lives? And how do these media convey and influence the world in which they are created? This course introduces film and media theory by surveying some of the major questions raised by theorists from the beginnings of film as a medium to the present. We will first consider film as a mass medium and its connection to modernity, realism, and aesthetics. We will then discuss form and structure in terms of semiotics, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and feminist and queer theory. The course will conclude with the more recent turn to interest in bodily and emotional experiences of film, television studies, and new media theory. In order to apply these varied approaches to film theory and analysis, we will watch a mélange of films—both those that are contemporaneous with the theories we are considering and more recent films, in order to test the lasting relevance of each theory. By the end of the course, students will have new perspectives through which to consider contemporary screen culture.