Courses / Undergraduate

Spring 2019

  • The Craft of Writing – Film Focus / Film & Media and Policing

    R1A - 002 | CCN: 30824

    Althea Wasow

    4 Units

    T/TH 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, Dwinelle 209; Screening Tu 5:00 – 8:00PM, Dwinelle 219 ///

    This writing-intensive course will introduce students to the study of film and media by investigating the ways in which modern visual culture and modern policing intersect. Students will analyze media including: photographs and mug shots of 19th-century radicals, silent films, American and international studio and independent features, experimental documentaries, dashcam, bodycam, and cell phone footage, and digital technologies that employ crime statistics and predictive policing.

    What is the relationship between photography and early cinema and the state’s increased interest in identifying, classifying, and policing an emergent mass industrial society? In what ways and why are films policed? How do films and sites of cinema police particular subjects and communities? What can the history of photography and film teach us about contemporary debates in policing, punishment, the prison, and prison abolition? The issues with which the texts and films grapple, including: the nature of photographic/filmic truth, the attraction of “reality” and spectacle, theories of criminality, mob psychology, class conflict, surveillance and sousveillance, the production of sexual and racial difference, biometrics, carceral capitalism, occupation, and xenophobia—are aesthetic, social, and political concerns that demand our attention.

    The course will introduce students to college-level close reading, analytical writing, and engaged film viewing. A variety of weekly writing exercises, collaborative in-class student presentations, and three significant essays (which will go through the revision process), will develop the ability of students to formulate strong arguments, analyze in-depth, and edit their work. Throughout the course, we will explore the relationship between film & media and policing in a rigorous and expansive way and consider ways in which we can contribute our own original scholarship to this field through the final essay project.