Spring 2023

Cinematic Worlds

Listed in: English, as ENGL-369


Joshua M. Guilford (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 369 and FAMS)

In the last decade, film studies has witnessed a wellspring of scholarship on the subject of cinematic “worlds.” This has coincided with a broader wave of discourse on “world-making” and “world-building” that has spread through diverse registers of contemporary culture, including popular media, critical theory, art criticism, and activism. In this course, we will survey a range of film scholarship that engages such issues, examining what it means to speak of “cinematic worlds,” and why cinema is so closely associated with world-making practices. Yet we will also ask whether cinema’s status as a world-making technology is a good thing, and whether we—as worldly inhabitants—should be working to preserve, reconstruct, or dismantle the world itself. We will explore these issues through weekly screenings of films from various genres, such as science-fiction, animation, art cinema, fantasy, and documentary. And we will also read and discuss critical texts from related fields that undergird analyses of cinema’s worldliness, such as queer theory, Black studies, Indigenous studies, ecocriticism, and philosophy, asking what lessons such disciplines hold for makers and viewers of film.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Guilford.

If Overenrolled: In the event of over-enrollment, priority will be given to FAMS majors.


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023