The Craft of Writing – Film Focus – Regarding Violence
R1A 001 | CCN: 10050
Jonathan Daniel Mackris, Miles Herbert Taylor
Location: Dwinelle 229
Date and Time: TU, TH 9:30am - 10:59am
Of the questions asked of representation today, chief among them is the issue of how to properly depict violence and the problem of evil. In everyday small talk, one commonly hears two basic positions put forward, one proposing a complete separation between aesthetic and moral philosophy (“artists should be able to depict what they please”) and the other requiring moral critique through aesthetic means (“artists have a responsibility for what they depict”). Within the latter camp, there is a further divide: whether the critique of violence requires its expulsion from aesthetics (“to depict violence is most often, if not always, to glorify it”) or whether the depiction of violence furnishes critique through its gratuity (“the only way to critique evil is to show how bad it really is). Out of the web of these and other related positions, one arrives at many of the questions at the heart of aesthetics. This class will pursue the issue of the representation of violence through a variety of media, including literature and film, by considering some of the following questions: What is the relationship between art and instruction? Is art a reflection of society, or productive within it? What is the relationship between depiction and critique? What is the relationship between the spectator and the work of art? How does identification work? Additionally, in accordance with the university standards for R1A, we will use these questions as a means to exercise close reading and analysis, as well as practice the habits of critical writing.