Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2022

  • Special Topics in Film – Attention and Distraction

    170 002 | CCN: 33129

    Emily West

    Location: Dwinelle 188

    Date and Time: M, W 2:00pm - 3:29pm

    4 Units

    This course is about attention and distraction: how optical and digital media from the 19th century to today have contributed to cultural debates about how we attend to our world. We'll read about the moral panics that arise with technologies like cinema, television, and the internet, including social media. We'll discuss how the discourses that take shape around these new mediums define the very concepts of attention and distraction and produce new notions of attention pathology and disorder. We'll read about surveillance capitalism and the attention economy, which monetize attention in ways that condition our cultural habits and personal attitudes. And we'll read about pathways of resistance: practices to enlarge our attention so that we can cultivate deep thought and rich connections to the world. Course texts will unite the disciplines of art history, film and media studies, sociology, cognitive science and neuroscience. We will screen films, go to the art museum, and go for walks.