Fall 2007

Topics in Film Study

Listed in: English, as ENGL-84


Dale M. Hudson (Section 01)


The topic changes each time the course is taught. In fall 2007 the topic will be "Cinema and New Media." Like television before it, new media is often considered the death knell to cinema. This course complicates such assumptions, focusing on understanding and writing about ways that new and old technologies converge. Students will consider key issues relating to social, philosophical, legal, geopolitical, economic, and aesthetic implications of new media on cinema. New media transforms production through high definition video (HDV) and computer-generated imagery (CGI) in commercial, avant-garde, and amateur film, video, and animation. New media also transforms distribution, exhibition, and reception though broadband, multimedia compression formats, and the Internet. The course examines media fandom and political activism through online fic and role-playing games, wikis, blogs and vlogs, machinima, and virtual worlds. More significantly, the course asks questions about access to technologies "in real life" (IRL) through readings and documentaries on the digital divide and racial ravine both in U.S. classrooms and in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as questions on piracy, file sharing, and copyright. The course explores the interface of technology and the environment in its broadest definition, such as virtual migrations in information technologies (IT) and business processing outsourcing (BPO) industries in India, state control of user access to content within the so-called borderless frontier of the Internet, and digital mobilizations for environmentalism and human rights. Weekly screenings and in-class streamings explore new media as a theme in commercial narrative filmmaking, as in The Matrix or The Blair Witch Project, and as a practice, as in hacking, culture poaching and jamming, clip culture, and tactical media. A previous course in film studies or media studies is recommended. First semester. Visiting Professor Hudson.