War and Media 1914/2014
Film 240 Section 004 | CCN: 31948
This research seminar takes the centennial of the beginning of World War I as an occasion to reflect on the media-technological implications of war, both a hundred years ago and today. What role did the emergent mass medium of film play in re-presenting and shaping the first global war? What visual tropes did film develop to express grief, death, and trauma? How did postwar cinema construct a popular memory that is equally repelled and enthralled by war? The centennial is likely to produce fresh insights into the meaning of World War I, which has been called the Ur-catastrophe of the modern era. We will discuss these present-day critical writings as they become available over the course of the semester. Alongside these retrospective readings, we will examine primary sources from the period (Freud, Jünger, Benjamin, and a good deal of anonymous writing), as well as theoretical classics such as Virilio’s War and Cinema. The focus will be on feature films and documentaries from Germany, France, Britain, and the United States in which the experience of war is directly or indirectly addressed. A small symposium is planned as part of the seminar.