Spring 2017

Inventing Film Theory

Listed in: English, as ENGL-486  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-421


Amelie E. Hastie (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 486 and FAMS 421.)  As an upper-division seminar in film theory, this course will offer an in-depth examination of historically significant writings that analyze film form and its social functions and effects.  Our particular focus will be on the production of film theory in a collective setting:  the film/media journal.  Thus, the course will consist of several units, each centering on a particular journal in generally chronological order (such as the Modernist Close Up; two phases of the French Cahiers du Cinéma, which has set foundations for both studies of authorship and semiotic-ideological analysis; the U.S. journal focusing on experimental and independent film, Film Culture; and the leading feminist journal of media studies, Camera Obscura).  Through this structure, we will consider how ideas have developed and transformed, often in dialogue with one another and on an international stage.  Our purpose will be threefold:  to understand the context for the production and development of film theories; to comprehend a wide range of changing theoretical notions, writing styles, and critical methodologies; and to create our own dialogue with these works, considering especially their impact on their own contemporaneous film viewers and on viewing positions today.  The final project, which we will develop through the semester, will be a web-based journal of film studies, which will put into practice the ideas and conversations of the course.  One three-hour class meeting and one film screening per week.

Prior coursework in Film and Media Studies is strongly recommended.  Open to juniors and seniors.  Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester.  Professor Hastie.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to junior and senior English and FAMS majors.


Attention to Research, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017