Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2014

  • The Craft of Writing

    Film R1B Section 002 | CCN: 31630

    Justin Vaccaro

    4 Units

    This course fulfills the second part of the Reading and Composition requirement. We will continue to work on writing analytical, argumentative papers but with an added emphasis on research. This means both doing research – from generating research topics to locating and evaluating sources – and writing research papers which will integrate and correctly cite sources in support of your own original and provocative claims. Our subject this fall is the mediation of time. We rely on a variety of technologies and techniques to understand our world and ourselves as existing in time. To plan for the future or learn from the past, from hunting game in the pre-historic era to modeling the global climate of the coming century, we continually, incessantly mediate time. Photos, stories, hash marks, clocks, records, artifacts, scars, archives, memories, predictions, extrapolations, and physical laws are some but not all of the ways we have of knowing and mastering time. This course examines various technologies of time and how they affect both how and what we know about our past, present, and future.

    We begin with a case study, World War II, from the trauma of combat to the Holocaust to Hiroshima, as an object of history, memory, and mediation. We then step back to the “beginning,” to the most basic of media—the world and the traces left on it. We will look at the simplest of narratives, cause and effect. We will consider the alphabet, the scroll, chronologies, the epoch making influence of the clock and the radical reorientation brought on by photographs and phonographs. Throughout our class we will be putting these older temporal devices in dialogue with the most important time-based media of the past 150 years – film, television, and the computer. We will consider media as time machines and examine time travel narratives. will ask not only how have we mediated time but also if time can only be known through mediation.