The Craft of Writing – “Like a Video Game”: War, Participation and Detachment
R1B - 007 | CCN: 31639
Chris Goetz and Fareed Ben-Youssef
Date and Time: MWF 1-2P, 109 DWINELLE
Cinema has held a fascination with war since before the “transition” to narrative–an interest which has both developed and changed over time. This course explores the relationship between mediations of war and the dialectic between participation and detachment in American popular culture. It considers a wide array of media, from drones and social applications like Twitter–recent technologies which have changed the face of warzones–to violent videogames and popular cinema (which have long pursued pleasure through simulations and representations of war). Mediation, of course, also has ethical, political, psychological and historical dimensions. These will be explored through this course’s readings and screenings, which include critical, documentary, and entertainment texts. We will pay particular attention to questions of identification across media, and what it might mean to take pleasure in the subject position of the perpetrator of violence. Ultimately, we will probe the question: how does cinema indict or else absolve viewers of complicity in inhumane acts of state violence?
Film R1B is a 4-unit course designed to fulfill the second half of the university’s Reading & Composition requirement. The main goal of this course is to train students to write and conduct academic research at a college level, with particular emphasis on learning across a range of different media. The readings will be manageable in length and difficulty, and are intended to offer students a foundation for independent study culminating in the production of an original research paper.