Senior Seminar: The Promises of Cinema
105 | CCN: 44696
This undergraduate research seminar focuses on the promises and possibilities of early cinema as seen through the lens of contemporary media. Is cinema as we know it a thing of the past? The rise of new media has provoked no shortage of discussions about what cinema once was and may yet be. Looking at the dynamic first thirty years of cinema from the perspective of our turbulent media culture today, we find a wealth of astonishingly prescient ideas that deal with fundamental issues in cinema theory and history, such as the nature of the moving image, spectatorship, and cinema’s impact on other arts as well as its uses for politics, war, and propaganda. These issues and questions remain urgent in our current media environment. We will bring original writings about early cinema into dialogue with representative American and European films from the period and study these films as blueprints for later avant-garde, documentary, and popular cinema. Viewing the past in light of present concerns, we will develop our own theories of cinema’s future, then and now. The seminar will also introduce students to archival resources and research methods and thus provide the groundwork for possible Honors theses.