Special Topics in Film Genre – Animation
171 001 | CCN: 15331
Pamela Leandra Weidman
Location: Dwinelle 142
Date and Time: TU, W, TH 10:00am - 12:29pm
This course will think about what it means to be animated. Animation can refer to a specific kind of film—such as the cartoon—and it is also used to describe a way of being in the world, often with the implication of energy, zaniness, and liveliness. This course will explore the history of animation in film, in order to understand what a medium that’s often associated with childhood and play has to do with these broad claims about life or lifelikeness, character, and modernity.
We’ll look at early technologies like the flip book and magic lantern, through a survey of animated films and television (with particular emphasis on Disney and the American animation tradition), and up to our present moment, where we find animation not just in television and film, but also in video games, social media, and arguably everywhere that there are screens. We will read and propose different arguments about what counts as “animation,” and the effect of these claims: a subgenre of film, a more general manipulation of images in time, or yet broader theories of life, labor, movement, and (individual, political, or social) transformation. Readings may include works by Sianne Ngai, Walter Benjamin, Sergei Eisenstein, and Kristin Thompson.