Related Courses, Spring 2010
|ASLC-30 India in Film: Hollywood, Bollywood, Mollywood|
|David B. Reck (Section 01)|
|ASLC-39 Asia Pop!|
|Timothy J. Van Compernolle (Section 01)|
|Paola Zamperini (Section 01)|
|ENGL-01 Film and Writing|
|Helen L. von Schmidt (Section 04)|
|ENGL-84 Topics in Film Study: Five Contemporary Filmmakers|
|John Cameron (Section 01)|
|ENGL-84 Topics in Film Study: Cinema and Everyday Life|
|Amelie Hastie (Section 02)|
|ENGL-89 Production Seminar in the Moving Image: Performance, Video and Sound|
|Baba Hillman (Section 01)|
|Wendy Woodson (Section 01)|
|Amelie Hastie (Section 04)|
|GERM-47 Weimar Cinema: The "Golden Age" of German Film|
|LJST-52 Film, Myth, and the Law|
|Austin D. Sarat (Section 01)|
|SPAN-33 Spanish Film|
|James E. Maraniss (Section 01)|
Amherst College Film and Media Studies for 2014-15
110 Film and Writing
(Offered as ENGL 180 and FAMS 110.) A first course in reading films and writing about them. A varied selection of films for study and criticism, partly to illustrate the main elements of film language and partly to pose challenging texts for reading and writing. Frequent short papers. Two 80-minute class meetings and two screenings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester: Dean's Faculty Fellow Cornett. Spring semester: Visiting Professor Pritchett.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016
210 Coming to Terms: Cinema
(Offered as ENGL 280 and FAMS 210.) An introduction to cinema studies through consideration of a few critical and descriptive terms, together with a selection of various films (classic and contemporary, foreign and American) for illustration and discussion. The terms for discussion will include, among others: cinematic verisimilitude, spectatorship and affect, sound, narrative, and the avant-garde. Three class meetings and one screening per week.
Limited to 35 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Brennan.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015
213 Knowing Cinema
Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov claimed that the movie camera is different from, even superior to, human vision and thus allows us to see in new ways. Many others have echoed this idea about cinema’s powerful impact on our ways of seeing and knowing the world. As an introduction to the study of cinema, this course cultivates in students what Vertov called “the Kino-eye.” Our emphasis will be on narrative film, but with some attention paid to experimental, documentary, and animated works as well. This course treats cinema as an international art form: we will examine a wide range of films from many countries over the past century and more. Through exposure to the great variety of filmmaking and writing about film around the world, from the silent era to the digital revolution, students will receive a comprehensive introduction to the key formal features of film and to the major debates that inform film studies.
Limited to 35 students. Fall semester. Professor Van Compernolle.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
215 Knowing Television
(Offered as ENGL 282 and FAMS 215.) For better or worse, U.S. broadcast television is a cultural form that is not commonly associated with knowledge. This course will take what might seem a radical counter-position to such assumptions--looking at the ways television teaches us what it is and even trains us in potential critical practices for investigating it. By considering its formal structure, its textual definitions, and the means through which we see it, we will map out how it is that we come to know television.
Prior coursework in Film and Media Studies is recommended, but not required. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Hastie.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2013
220 Foundations and Integrations: Film and Media Studies
(Offered as ENGL 281, FAMS 220, and ARHA 272.) “Foundations and Integrations” will be an annual team-taught course between a Critical Studies scholar and moving-image artist. A requirement of the Film and Media Studies major, it will build on critical analysis of moving images and introductory production work to develop an integrated critical and creative practice. Focused in particular around themes and concepts, students will develop ideas in both written and visual form. The theme for spring 2013 will be “Film and Inner Life.”
Requisites: A foundations course in Critical Studies of Film and Media (such as “Coming to Terms: Cinema”) and an introductory film/video production workshop. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Hastie.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016
221 Foundations in Moving Image Production
(Offered as ARHA 221 and FAMS 221) This introductory course is designed for students with no prior experience in moving image production. The aim is both technical and creative. We will begin with the literal foundation of the moving image--the frame--before moving through shot and scene construction, lighting, sound-image concepts and final edit. In addition to instruction in production equipment and facilities, the course will also explore cinematic form and structure through weekly readings, screenings and discussion. Each student will complete a series of exercises, a collaborative project and a final video assignment. Two 3-hour classes a week (one workshop/seminar and one lecture/screening).
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Levine.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015
222 Production Workshop in the Moving Image
(Offered as ENGL 289 and FAMS 222.) The topic changes each time the course is taught. In spring 2013 the topic was “Production Foundations: Image and Sound.” What is the relationship between image and sound in video? How does listening affect what we see and imagine? This class will cover the technical and aesthetic fundamentals of video production including composition, framing, camera movement, lighting, audio recording, and digital editing using Final Cut Pro. Sonic expression will play a leading role in our exploration of video production and interpretation. The art of audio and the function of sound for the screen will be considered through hands-on exercises, screenings, readings, and discussion. Students will create non-fiction and narrative videos with dynamic employments of sound as we develop a critical vocabulary of the audiovisual medium. One three-hour class meeting and one film screening per week.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Please complete the questionnaire at https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/english/major/course_applications. Omitted 2014-15.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2011, Spring 2013
225 Image, Movement, Sound
(Offered as ARHA 225 and FAMS 225.) This course is a hands-on, in-depth exploration of the formal elements of moving images and sound. We will begin with a study of the camera, and, through in-class projects and individual assignments, we will explore framing and composition; light, color and texture; camera movement and rhythm; editing and relationships between image and sound. We will approach set-up and documentary situations from a variety of formal and conceptual perspectives. We will consider all equipment not simply as technology, but as creative tools to be explored and manipulated. Our goal is to make the camera an extension of our eyes and minds, to learn to see and think about the world around us through moving images and sound. An individual final video project will give students the opportunity to bring the concepts explored throughout the term into a work with an expressive, cohesive cinematic language. In Scenario du Film Passion, Jean-Luc Godard expresses his desire to turn a camera movement into a prayer. It is this profound engagement with the world and intense, thoughtful consideration of the medium that we seek to achieve.
Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2014-15.
2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Fall 2012
227 The Film Portrait
(Offered as ARHA 227 and FAMS 227.) This introductory production workshop focuses on the history and practice of film and video portraiture. The class will begin by considering the portrait’s origins in figurative art and still photography before identifying the ways in which the film portrait uses strategies unique to the moving image to convey character and meaning. We will then trace the development of the genre while also considering its intersections with narrative, documentary and experimental film.
The aim of the course is both analytic and creative. We will be looking at a variety of approaches and issues related to portraiture in an attempt to develop both common and contested definitions that can be applied to our own filmmaking practice. Each student will complete in-class exercises and individual video projects that seek to reveal the nature of people, places and objects through sound and image. The class will also cover the fundamentals of cinematography, lighting, audio recording and editing and discuss how these technological considerations influence the portrayal of a subject.
Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Levine.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014
228 Introduction to Super 8 Film and Digital Video
(Offered as ENGL 287 and FAMS 228.) This course will introduce students to basic Super 8 film and digital video techniques. The course will include workshops in shooting for film and video, Super 8 film editing, Final Cut Pro video editing, lighting, stop motion animation, sound recording and mixing. Students will learn to think about and look critically at the moving and still image. Students will complete three moving image projects, including one Super 8 film, one video project, and one mixed media project. Weekly screenings will introduce students to a wide range of approaches to editing, writing, and directing in experimental, documentary, narrative, and hybrid cinematic forms. Screenings include works by Martha Rosler, Bill Viola, the Yes Men, Jennifer Reeves, Mona Hatoum, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Dziga Vertov, D.A. Pennebaker, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Cécile Fontaine, and Johanna Vaude.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Please complete the questionnaire at https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/film/infostu/forms. Limited to 13 students. Spring semester. Five College Professor Hillman.
2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Fall 2013
(Offered as ENGL 388 and FAMS 240.) A first workshop in narrative screenwriting. Through frequent exercises, readings, and screenings we will explore the fundamentals of scene and story shape as they’re practiced in mainstream commercial filmmaking, while taking a broader look at what a screenplay might be outside of that world. In the process, we’ll juxtapose two modes of writing that are not mutually exclusive but are often at odds with each other, both historically (within the industry) and aesthetically: the well-established craft of three-act screenwriting, on the one hand, and the more elastic possibilities of the audio-visual medium as exemplified by the art film, on the other. One class meeting per week.
Requisites: Two classes from any of the following categories in any combination: critical studies of film and media; film/video production; creative writing workshops (fiction or non-fiction); playwriting; photography or drawing courses. Preference will be given to English, Film and Media Studies, and Art majors. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2014-15.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015
310 Global Sound
(Offered as MUSI 124 and FAMS 310.) This course explores the global scale of much music-making and musical consumption today. Migration, diaspora, war, tourism, postsocialist and postcolonial change, commerce, and digital technology have all profoundly reshaped the way musics are created, circulated, and consumed. These forces have also illuminated important ethical, legal, and aesthetic issues concerning intellectual property rights and the nature of musical authorship, the appropriation of "traditional" musics by elites in the global North, and local musical responses to transnational music industries, for instance. Through a series of case studies that will include performances and workshops by visiting musicians, Global Sound will examine how musics animate processes of globalization and how globalization affects musics by establishing new social, cultural, and economic formations. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Engelhardt.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2013
312 Pioneer Valley Soundscapes
(Offered as MUSI 238 and FAMS 312.) This course is about exploring, participating in, and documenting the musical communities and acoustic terrain of the Pioneer Valley. The first part of the course will focus on local histories and music scenes, ethnographic methods and technologies, and different techniques of representation. The second part of the course will involve intensive, sustained engagement with musicians and sounds in the Pioneer Valley. Course participants will give weekly updates about their fieldwork projects and are expected to become well-versed in the musics they are studying. There will be a significant amount of work and travel outside of class meetings. The course will culminate in contributions to a web-based documentary archive of Pioneer Valley soundscapes. We will also benefit from visits and interaction with local musicians. Two class meetings per week.
Requisite: MUSI 111, 112, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Valentine Visiting Professor Mendonca.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014
313 The Soviet Experience
(Offered as RUSS 234 and FAMS 313.) With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the great utopian experiment of the 20th century–a radical attempt to reorganize society in accordance with rational principles–came to an end. This course explores the dramatic history of that experiment from the perspective of those whose lives were deeply affected by the social upheavals it brought about. We begin by examining the early visions of the new social order and attempts to restructure the living practices of the Soviet citizens by reshaping the concepts of time, space, family, and, ultimately, redefining the meaning of being human. We then look at how “the new human being” of the 1920s is transformed into the “new Soviet person” of the Stalinist society, focusing on the central cultural and ideological myths of Stalinism and their place in everyday life, especially as they relate to the experience of state terror and war. Finally, we investigate the notion of “life after Stalin,” and consider the role of already familiar utopian motifs in the development of post-Stalinist and post-Soviet ways of imagining self, culture, and society. The course uses a variety of materials–from primary documents, public or official (architectural and theatrical designs, political propaganda, transcripts of trials, government meetings, and interrogations) and intimate (diaries and letters), to works of art (novels, films, stage productions, paintings), documentary accounts (on film and in print), and contemporary scholarship (from the fields of literary and cultural studies, history and anthropology). No previous knowledge of Soviet or Russian history or culture is required; course conducted in English, and all readings are in translation. Students who read Russian will be given special assignments.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2014-15.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2013
(Offered as GERM 360, ARCH 360, EUST 360 and FAMS 316.) What is performance? What constitutes an event? How can we address a phenomenon that has disappeared the moment we apprehend it? How does memory operate in our critical perception of an event? How does a body make meaning? These are a few of the questions we will explore in this course, as we discuss critical, theoretical, and compositional approaches in a broad range of multidisciplinary performance phenomena emerging from European--primarily German--culture in the twentieth century. We will focus on issues of performativity, composition, conceptualization, dramaturgy, identity construction, representation, space, gender, and dynamism. Readings of performance theory, performance studies, gender studies, and critical/cultural studies, as well as literary, philosophical, and architectural texts will accompany close examination of performance material. Students will develop performative projects in various media (video, performance, text, online) and deliver a number of critical oral and written presentations on various aspects of the course material and their own projects. Performance material will be experienced live when possible, and in text, video, audio, digital media and online form, drawn from selected works of Dada and Surrealism, Bauhaus, German Expressionism, the Theater of the Absurd, Tanztheater, and Contemporary Theater, Performance, Dance, Opera, New Media, and Performance Art. A number of films, including Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadische Ballett, Fernand Léger’s Ballet Mécanique, and Kurt Jooss’ Der Grüne Tisch, will be also screened. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Omitted 2014-15. Professor Gilpin.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2014
320 Japan on Screen
(Offered as ASLC 234 [J] and FAMS 320.) Is the concept of national cinema useful in the age of globalization? Given the international nature of cinema at its inception, was it ever a valid concept? In this course, we will consider how the nation is represented on screen as we survey the history of film culture in Japan, from the very first film footage shot in the country in 1897, through the golden age of studio cinema in the 1950s, to important independent filmmakers working today. While testing different theories of national, local, and world cinema, we will investigate the Japanese film as a narrative art, as a formal construct, and as a participant in larger aesthetic and social contexts. This course includes the major genres of Japanese film and influential schools and movements. Students will also learn and get extensive practice using the vocabulary of the discipline of film studies. This course assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese, and all films have English subtitles.
Omitted 2014-15. Professor Van Compernolle.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016
321 Russian and Soviet Film
(Offered as RUSS 241 and FAMS 321.) Lenin declared “For us, cinema is the most important art,” and the young Bolshevik regime threw its support behind a brilliant group of film pioneers (Eisenstein, Vertov, Kuleshov, Pudovkin, Dovzhenko) who worked out the fundamentals of film language. Under Stalin, historical epics and musical comedies, not unlike those produced in 1930s Hollywood, became the favored genres. The innovative Soviet directors of the 1960s and 1970s (Tarkovsky, Parajanov, Abuladze, Muratova) moved away from politics and even narrative toward “film poetry.” Post-Soviet Russian cinema has struggled to define a new identity, and may finally be succeeding. This course will introduce the student to the great Russian and Soviet film tradition. Conducted in English. Two class meetings and one or two required screenings a week.
Omitted 2014-15. Professor Wolfson.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Fall 2012
322 South Asian Feminist Cinema
(Offered as SWAG 469, ASLC 452 [SA], and FAMS 322.) How do we define the word “feminism”? Can the term be used to define cinematic texts outside the Euro-American world? In this course we will study a range of issues that have been integral to feminist theory--the body, domesticity, same sex desire, gendered constructions of the nation, feminist utopias and dystopias--through a range of South Asian cinematic texts. Through our viewings and readings we will consider whether the term “feminist” can be applied to these texts, and we will experiment with new theoretical lenses for exploring these films. Films will range from Satyajit Ray’s classic masterpiece Charulata to Gurinder Chadha’s trendy diasporic film, Bend It Like Beckham. Attendance for screenings on Monday is compulsory.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Shandilya.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2015
323 Weimar Cinema: The "Golden Age" of German Film
(Offered as GERM 347 and FAMS 323.) This course examines the German contribution to the emergence of film as both a distinctly modern art form and as a product of mass culture. The international success of Robert Wiene’s Expressionist phantasmagoria, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), heralded the beginning of a period of unparalleled artistic exploration, prior to the advent of Hitler, during which the ground was laid for many of the filmic genres familiar today: horror film (F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu), detective thriller (Fritz Lang’s M), satirical comedy (Ernst Lubitsch’s The Oyster Princess), psychological drama (G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box), science fiction (Lang’s Metropolis), social melodrama (Pabst’s The Joyless Street), historical costume film (Lubitsch’s Passion), political propaganda (Slatan Dudow’s Kuhle Wampe), anti-war epic (Pabst’s Westfront 1918), a documentary montage (Walther Ruttmann’s Berlin – Symphony of a Big City), and the distinctly German genre of the “mountain film” (Leni Riefenstahl’s The Blue Light). Readings, including Siegried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, Lotte H. Eisner, Béla Balázs, and Rudolf Arnheim, will address questions of technology and modernity, gender relations after World War I, the intersection of politics and film, and the impact of German and Austrian exiles on Hollywood. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Spring semester. Professor Rogowski.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2012
327 Toward the New Wave
(Offered as FREN 365 and FAMS 327.) The class will study films from the French New Wave (1959-63), as well as earlier French films that influenced many New Wave directors. These films will include: Jean-Luc Godard's A bout de souffle, Vivre sa vie, and Le Mépris; Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour and L'annee dernière à Marienbad; Les 400 Coups by François Truffaut and Agnès Varda's Cléo de 5 à 7, as well as Zero de conduite and L'Atalante by Jean Vigo; Boudu sauvé des eaux, la Grande Illusion and La Règle du jeu by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le flambeur; and Robert Bresson's Un Condamné à mort s'est echappé. This course will also provide basic training in the analysis of films. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Caplan.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Fall 2011
328 Representation and Reality in Spanish Cinema
(Offered as SPAN 236, EUST 232 and FAMS 328.) Once severely constrained by dictator Francisco Franco’s censorship laws and rarely exported beyond the country’s borders, Spanish film has been transformed into an internationally-known cinema in the last decades. This course offers a critical overview of Spanish film from 1950 to the present, examining how Spain’s culture and society are imagined onscreen by directors such as Berlanga, Erice, Bollaín, and Almodóvar. Students will analyze works of Spanish cinema alongside theoretical and critical texts, exploring such topics as gendered roles in contemporary society, immigration, globalization, censorship, and experiences of war and violence. We will also track the sociological, cultural, and political forces inside Spain that have inspired such cinematic representations. This course provides an introduction to visual analysis and critical writing about film and will be conducted in English. Students are expected to attend weekly screenings where films will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles. Spanish majors who wish to count this course toward fulfillment of requirements will be asked to write papers in Spanish.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Brenneis.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2013
333 Videogames and the Boundaries of Narrative
(Offered as ENGL 277 and FAMS 333.) In this course we will engage in a comprehensive approach to narrative video gaming–-play, interpretation, and design–-to explore how video gaming helps us to conceptualize the boundaries between our experiences of the world and our representations thereof. We will ask how play and interactivity change how we think about the work of narrative. What would it mean to think about video games alongside texts focused on similar subjects but in different media? How, for instance, does Assassin’s Creed: Freedom’s Cry change how we understand C.L.R. James, Susan Buck-Morss, Isabel Allende, or others’ discussions of the Haitian Revolution? And how do video games help us to reconceptualize the limits of other media forms, particularly around questions of what it means to represent differences in race, gender, physical ability? Finally, how might we more self-consciously capitalize on gaming’s potential to transform the work of other fields, for instance education and community development?
In this course, students will play and analyze video games while engaging texts from a variety of other critical and creative disciplines. Assignments for this course will be scaled by experience-level. No experience with video games or familiarity with computer coding is required for this course, as the success of this method will require that students come from a wide variety of skill levels.
Spring semester. Professor Parham.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
341 Video Production: Bodies in Motion
(Offered as THDA 250 and FAMS 341.) This studio production class will focus on multiple ways of tracking, viewing, and capturing bodies in motion. The course will emphasize working with the camera as an extension of the body to explore radically different points of view and senses of focus. We will experiment with different techniques and different kinds of bodies (human, animal, and object) to bring a heightened awareness of kinesthetic involvement, animation and emotional immediacy to the bodies on screen and behind the camera. In addition, we will interject and follow bodies into different perceptions of time, progression, place and relationship. In the process, we will express various experiences and theories of embodiment and question what constitutes a body. Depending on student interests, final projects can range from choreographies for the camera to fictional narratives to documentary studies. The class will alternate between camera sessions, both in the studio and on location, and sessions in the editing suite working with Final Cut Pro.
Requisite: Previous experience in composition. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Woodson.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2014
342 Performance in Place: Site Specific
(Offered as THDA 352, FAMS 342 and MUSI 352.) The focus of this studio course will be to create performances, events, happenings and installations in multiple locations both on and off campus. This course is especially designed for students in dance, theater, film/video, art, music and creative writing who want to explore the challenges and potentials in creating performances outside of traditional "frames" or venues (e.g., the theater, the gallery, the lecture hall, etc.). At the center of our inquiry will be questions of space, place and community. In the first few weeks of the semester we will tour different sites and research multiple historical and contemporary examples of site-specific performances and artists across media. We will then select different sites--based on student interest and location access--and spend the rest of the semester creating events/performances on site. Students will work in collaborative teams to create these performances for these places. Interaction with communities at these sites will also be explored, connecting the artistic work to community engagement and raising awareness of the issues and ethics involved in site-specific performance. These projects will be performed in process and at the end of the semester in a three-day festival. Different guest artists in dance, theater, art, sound and political activism will join the class and work with designated groups. (Class meeting Fridays 1-4; outside rehearsal/lab sessions TBA.)
Requisite: Previous experience in improvisation and/or composition in dance, theater, performance, film/video, music/sound, installation, creative writing, and/or design is required. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Woodson with Guest Artists.
2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013
343 Lost and Found: Appropriated, Recycled and Reclaimed Images
(Offered as ARHA 343 and FAMS 343) From the found-footage experiments of the avant-garde to the digital remixes of the networked age, artists have used pre-existing material to question the ideologies of dominant media, explore technological possibilities and play situationist pranks. With the advent of file-sharing platforms, streaming video and cheap DVDs, we live in an era dominated by what Hito Steyerl calls “the poor image” – low resolution, second- or third-generation images whose quality has been sacrificed for accessibility. The availability of this material has allowed artists to work economically and to borrow the aesthetics of cinema and television for their own purposes, but it also foregrounds many problematic questions of authorship and ownership.
This course is a hands-on investigation into the practice of recycling, recontextualizing and remixing moving images. We will screen found-footage work, collage films and remakes in addition to discussing readings by filmmakers, artists and theorists that will provide ideas and models for our own production. The class will also review the fundamentals of editing as we create projects both entirely from found material and in combination with our own footage. Two 2-hour classes per week (one seminar/critique and one lecture/screening).
Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013
345 Performance Studio
(Offered as THDA 353 and FAMS 345.) An advanced course in the techniques of creating performance. Each student will create and rehearse a performance piece that develops and incorporates original choreography, text, music, sound and/or video. Experimental and collaborative structures and approaches among and within different media will be stressed. The final performance pieces and events will be presented in the Holden Theater. Can be taken more than once for credit.
Requisite: THDA 252 or the equivalent and consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Woodson.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015
351 Cinema and Everyday Life
(Offered as ENGL 381 and FAMS 351.) Film theorist Siegfried Kracauer declared that some of the first films showed “life at its least controllable and most unconscious moments, a jumble of transient, forever dissolving patterns accessible only to the camera.” This course will explore the ways contemporary narrative films aesthetically represent everyday life–capturing both its transience and our everyday ruminations. We will further consider the ways we incorporate film into our everyday lives through various modes of viewings (the arthouse, the multiplex, the DVD, the mp3), our means of perception, and in the kinds of souvenirs we keep. We will look at films by Chantal Akerman, Robert Altman, Marleen Gorris, Hirokazu Koreeda, Marzieh Makhmalbaf, Terrence Malick, Lynne Ramsay, Tsai Ming-liang, Agnès Varda, Wong Kar-wai, and Andy Warhol. Readings will include work by Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Marlene Dietrich, Sigmund Freud, and various works in film and media studies. Two class meetings and one screening per week.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Hastie.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2015
352 Hispanic Genre Films
(Offered as SPAN 238, EUST 248, and FAMS 352.) This course will be an introduction to genre films from Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, and Spain. We will study Hispanic interpretations of filmic genres such as melodrama, thriller, comedy, horror and musical. How did these genres develop? How stable are genre conventions? Is it possible to study national cinemas in the time of transnational films? This course will include critical readings and mandatory weekly screenings of films by Luis Buñuel, Juan José Campanella, Pedro Almodóvar, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Conducted in Spanish.
Requisite: SPAN 199, 211 or 212 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Priority given to Spanish majors. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Rodriguez-Solas.
2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
353 A Decade Under the Influence: U.S. Film of the 1970s
(Offered as ENGL 373 and FAMS 353.) U.S. film in the 1970s was evident of tremendous aesthetic and economic innovation. Rife with but not limited to conspiracy, disaster, love and war, 1970s popular films range from the counter-cultural to the commercial, the independent to the industrial. Thus, while American cinema of the first half of the decade is known as the work of groundbreaking independent “auteurs,” the second half of the decade witnessed an industrial transformation through the emergence of the giant blockbuster hit. With a focus on cultural and historical factors shaping filmmaking and film-going practices and with close attention to film form, this course will explore thematic threads, directors, stars, and genres that emerged and developed during the decade. While the course will largely focus on mainstream film, we will set this work in some relation to other movements of the era: blaxploitation, comic parodies, documentary, and New American Cinema. Two class meetings and one screening per week.
Prior coursework in Film and Media Studies is recommended but not required. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Hastie.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Spring 2014
355 Buñuel, Saura, Almodóvar: Spanish Auteurs
(Offered as SPAN 239, EUST 249, and FAMS 355.) This course will consider the filmography of directors who have borne the label “auteur” as a distinction both within Spanish and transnational cinema. Students will explore how “auteristic” cinema has been used as a strategic practice for branding Spanish films, and will study stylistic features associated with each auteur. We will investigate fetishism and dream sequences in Buñuel’s filmography (Un chien andalou, El ángel exterminador, Viridiana). Saura’s metaphorical films will be analyzed as representations of the opposition to Francoism (The Hunt, Cría cuervos). We will study Almodóvar’s mastering of the language of melodrama in films such as All About My Mother and Volver. Finally, we will study lesser-known Spanish auteurs such as Luis García Berlanga (Welcome Mr. Marshall), Víctor Erice (El Sur), and Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me). Conducted in Spanish.
Requisite SPAN 199, 211, 212 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Rodriguez-Solas.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
357 Ethnographic Film
(Offered as ANTH 206 and FAMS 357.) This course will examine ethnographic film beginning in the early twentieth century. Through a combination of critical readings and film viewings we will address issues of representation, vision, gender, film techniques, knowledge production, and our relationships with difference vis-à-vis ethnographic film. While not specifically a production course, the making of student videos is encouraged, and student-made videos will be screened in class at the end of the semester.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Hall.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
358 Spike Lee’s Joints
(Offered as ENGL 374, BLST 330 [US], and FAMS 358.) In offering extended formal considerations of Spike Lee’s cinematic oeuvre–in particular his uses of light, sound, and color–this course is interested in how shifting through various modes of critical inquiry can enable or broaden different kinds of cultural, political, or historical engagement with a film. This semester we will also pay special attention to the question of what it means to encapsulate a particular cultural moment, particularly vis-à-vis the often differing demands of fictional and non-fictional representation.
Omitted 2014-15. Professors Parham and Drabinski.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2016
(Offered as GERM 368, ARCH 368, EUST 368, and FAMS 368.) This research seminar will explore conceptions of space as they have informed and influenced thought and creativity in the fields of cultural studies, literature, architecture, urban studies, performance, and the visual, electronic, and time-based arts. Students will select and pursue a major semester-long research project early in the semester in consultation with the professor, and present their research in its various stages of development throughout the semester, in a variety of media formats (writing, performance, video, electronic art/interactive media, installation, online and networked events, architectural/design drawings/renderings), along with oral presentations of readings and other materials. Readings and visual materials will be drawn from the fields of literature and philosophy; from architectural, art, and film theory and history; from performance studies and performance theory; and from theories of technology and the natural and built environment. Emphasis on developing research, writing, and presentation skills is a core of this seminar.
Preference given to German majors and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, film/video, interactive installation, and/or the environment. Conducted in English. German majors will select a research project focused on a German Studies context, and will do a substantial portion of the readings in German.
Limited to 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at the first class meeting. Spring semester. Professor Gilpin.
Part of the Global Classroom Project. The Global Classroom Project uses videoconferencing technology to connect Amherst classes with courses/students outside the United States.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013
370 Traumatic Events
(Offered as ARCH 363, GERM 363, EUST 363, and FAMS 370.) How is memory constructed and represented? How is it possible to bear witness, and what exactly is involved? Who is authorized to testify, to whom, when? Whose story is it? Is it possible to tell "the story" of a traumatic event? What are the disorders of testimony, and how and where do they emerge? This course will observe the workings of trauma (the enactment and working-through of collective and individual symptoms of trauma), memory, and witnessing in various modes of everyday life. We will examine notions of catastrophe, disaster, accident, and violence, and explore the possibilities and impossibilities of bearing witness in many forms of cultural production: in fiction, poetry, architecture, critical theory, oral and written testimonies, visual art, monuments, memorials, philosophy, science, cartoons, film, video, theater, television reportage, newspaper documentation, performance, online, and in our public and domestic spaces. We will study various representations of trauma, paying particular attention to events in Germany and Europe from the twentieth century, as well as to 9/11 and other recent international events. Material to be examined will be drawn from the work of Pina Bausch, Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Cathy Caruth, Paul Celan, Marguerite Duras, Peter Eisenman, Shoshana Felman, Florian Freund, Jochen Gerz, Geoffrey Hartman, Rebecca Horn, Marion Kant, Anselm Kiefer, Ruth Klüger, Dominick LaCapra, Claude Lanzmann, Dori Laub, Daniel Libeskind, W.G. Sebald, Art Spiegelman, Paul Virilio, Peter Weiss, Wim Wenders, Elie Wiesel, Christa Wolf, and others. Conducted in English with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Fall semester. Professor Gilpin.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2010
371 Film, Myth, and the Law
(Offered as LJST 225 and FAMS 371.) The proliferation of law in film and on television has expanded the sphere of legal life itself. Law lives in images that today saturate our culture and have a power all their own, and the moving image provides a domain in which legal power operates independently of law’s formal institutions. This course will consider what happens when legal events are re-narrated in film and examine film’s treatment of legal officials, events, and institutions (e.g., police, lawyers, judges, trials, executions, prisons). Does film open up new possibilities of judgment, model new modes of interpretation, and provide new insights into law’s violence? We will discuss ways in which myths about law are reproduced and contested in film. Moreover, attending to the visual dimensions of law’s imagined lives, we ask whether law provides a template for film spectatorship, positioning viewers as detectives and as jurors, and whether film, in turn, sponsors a distinctive visual aesthetics of law. Among the films we may consider are Inherit the Wind, Call Northside 777, Judgment at Nuremberg, Rear Window, Silence of the Lambs, A Question of Silence, The Sweet Hereafter, Dead Man Walking, Basic Instinct, and Unforgiven. Throughout we will draw upon film theory and criticism as well as the scholarly literature on law, myth, and film.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor Umphrey.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012
373 Race and Empire: Film and Literature
(Offered as ENGL 378 and FAMS 373.) Anti-racists, dark comics, revolutionary anarchists, queer dystopians, and communitarian futurists have long sought aesthetic means to resist common-sense understandings of racial identity and imperial politics. Exploring film and literature, in texts of both fiction and non-fiction, we will ask how life has been lived in the context of race and empire, as well as how it might be lived otherwise. We will address intimate and local forms of racism but, following Frantz Fanon’s claim that race is a fundamental component of culture and “never a superadded element,” we will also theorize ways in which race and empire also structure our present. We will incorporate insights gained through formal analysis with critical readings in history and political theory, in films from Imitation of Life to Born in Flames to Machete, and in literary writing by authors including Richard Wright, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Peter Dimock.
Open to sophomores and juniors. Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Tierney.
2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
374 Reading Popular Culture: Girl Power
(Offered as ENGL 271, BLST 332 [US], FAMS 374, and SWAG 271.) Girl Power is the pop-culture term for what some commentators have also dubbed “postfeminism.” The 1990s saw a dramatic transformation in cultural representations of women’s relationships to their own sense of power. But did this still rising phenomenon of “women who kick ass” come at a cost? Might such representations signify genuine reassessments of some of the intersections between gender, power, and the individual? Or are they, at best, superficial appropriations of what had otherwise been historically construed as male power? With such questions in mind, this class will teach students to use theoretical and primary texts to research, assess, and critique contemporary popular culture. Each student will also be trained to produce a critical multimedia project. One class meeting per week, which includes a 135-minute seminar and a 60-minute workshop and lab.
Open to first-year students with consent of the instructor. Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Parham.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013
375 Jazz Film: Improvisation, Narrativity, and Representation
(Offered as MUSI 225 and FAMS 375.) Jazz occupies a special role in the development of American film. From The Jazz Singer (1927), the first American film that included synchronized sound, to the sprawling Jazz: A Documentary by Ken Burns (2001), filmic representations of jazz speak to fundamental ways that Americans negotiate difference and imagine national identity. This course examines the relationship between jazz and American culture through three modalities: improvisation, narrativity, and representation. How might jazz improvisation influence the construction of film? Is there an "improvised film"? Moreover, jazz musicians often speak about "telling stories" through their music. How might this influence narrative structure in film and inform the ways that stories about jazz musicians are constructed in film? And how might these stories about jazz musicians reflect larger debates about race, gender, sexuality and nationality? Assignments will include guided viewing of several important jazz films, required reading, and a series of essays.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Robinson.2014-15: Not offered
376 Introduction to Music and Film
(Offered as MUSI 122 and FAMS 376) Introduction to Music and Film acquaints students with the primary concepts and methods used in contemporary scholarship on film music. Through a combination of readings, in-class discussion, and outside film screenings, students will gain skill in the analysis and interpretation of films with special focus on the contributions of sound to the cinematic experience. In addition, the selection of films for study will familiarize students with a broad range of film genres and styles. The course is designed to be welcoming to non-majors, and knowledge of musical notation and technical vocabulary in music or film is not required to enroll.
Limited to 40 students. Omitted 2014-15.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013
377 Women, Gender and Popular Culture
(Offered as SWAG 105 and FAMS 377.) In this course, students will interrogate the precarious relationship between political and popular culture. As we study how politics has successfully deployed popular culture as an ideological tool, we will also consider how politics has overburdened popular culture as a vehicle of change. These broad issues will serve as our framework for analyzing black femininity, womanhood, and the efficacy of the word “feminism” in the post-Civil Rights era. We will think critically about the construction of gender, race, sexuality, and class identity as well as the historical and sociopolitical context for cultural icons and phenomena. Students will read cultural theory, essays, fiction as well as listen to, and watch various forms of media. Expectations include weekly critical response papers, writing and visual projects, and a group presentation.
Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Henderson.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Spring 2016
378 Visual Anthropology
(Offered as ANTH 241 and FAMS 378.) This course will explore and evaluate various visual genres, including photography, ethnographic film and museum presentation as modes of anthropological analysis--as media of communication facilitating cross-cultural understanding. Among the topics to be examined are the ethics of observation, the politics of artifact collection and display, the dilemma of representing non-Western “others” through Western media, and the challenge of interpreting indigenously produced visual depictions of “self” and “other.”
Requisite: ANTH 110. Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Gewertz.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2016
426 Feminism and Film: A Study of Practice and Theory
(Offered as ENGL 483, FAMS 426, and SWAG 483.) This seminar will be devoted to the study of feminism and film, considering the ways feminism has shaped both film theory and film practice. Though focusing in large part on post-1968 writings, which largely ushered in semiotic, psychoanalytic, and feminist theory to film studies, we will also consider early writings by women from the 1910s-1950s in a range of venues–from fan magazines to film journals–that developed points of view regarding women’s practices as both artists and audience members. We will also consider a range of films, from Hollywood melodrama (also known as “the women’s picture”) of the 1940s to contemporary action films, and from avant-garde feminist works to current independent and international films directed by women. Informed by feminist film theorist Claire Johnston, we will explore how and when “women’s cinema”–whether theory or practice–constitutes or shapes “counter-cinema.” One three-hour class meeting per week.
Requisite: As an advanced seminar in film theory, some previous work with film and media studies is required. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Hastie.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012
443 Experiments in Narrative
(Offered as ARHA 315 and FAMS 443.) What constitutes cinematic narrative, distinct from other forms of storytelling? How do we engage film form to tell a story? Can the camera be a narrator? How can we alter a traditional narrative structure, and, what are the implications of these transformations? How can we use color to construct the subjective space of a character, or use sound to manipulate the temporal order of the story, creating flashbacks, ellipses or flash-forwards?
In this advanced production workshop we will explore cinematic narrative first by closely studying how a group of classical, experimental, and contemporary filmmakers have engaged narrative through filmic form. We will then formulate our own new cinematic narratives. Cinema is no longer restricted to the theater or the gallery. Moving images surround us--online, on our phones and screens, in the streets, and in stores, taxis, and train stations. We will consider the formal parameters of these new cinematic spaces and their possibilities. Coursework consists of film viewing, analysis and discussion, and the production of several short narrative films.
Requisite: Prior film production experience; recommended requisite: ARHA 102 or 111. Limited to 8 students. Omitted 2014-15.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012
444 Films That Try: Essay Film Production
(Offered as ARHA 444 and FAMS 444) Essay filmmaking is a dynamic form with many commonly cited attributes—the presence of an authorial voice, an emphasis on broad themes, an eclectic approach to genre, and the tendency to digress or draw unexpected connections. Yet, true to its nature, the precise definition of the essay film is in constant flux. It can be both personal and political, individual and collective, noble and mischievous. Essay filmmakers themselves are equally diverse, ranging from established film auteurs to Third Cinema activists and contemporary video artists.
If we entertain the notion that the processes of cinema closely resemble the mechanics of human thought, then the essay film may be the medium’s purest expression. To watch or make such a film, we must give ourselves over to a compulsive, restless energy that delights in chasing a subject down any number of rabbit holes and blind alleys, often stopping to admire the scenery on the way. As with thought, there is no end product, no clear boundaries, no goal but the activity itself.
The term "essay" finds its origins in the French essayer, meaning “to attempt” or to try.” In this advanced production workshop, we will read, screen and discuss examples of the essayistic mode in literature and cinema while making several such attempts of our own. Students will complete a series of writing assignments and video projects informed by class materials and group discussion.
Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Levine.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013
445 Cinema Experiments
(Offered as ARHA 445 and FAMS 445.) This advanced production course surveys the outer limits of cinematic expression and provides an overview of creative 16mm film production. We will begin by making cameraless projects through drawing, painting and scratching directly onto the film strip before further exploring the fundamentals of 16mm technology, including camera, editing and hand-processing. While remaining aware of our creative choices, we will invite chance into our process and risk failure, as every experiment inevitably must.
Through screenings of original film prints, assigned readings and discussion, the course will consider a number of experimental filmmakers and then conclude with a review of exhibition and distribution strategies for moving image art. All students will complete one short project on film and one final project on either film or video, each of which is to be presented for class critique. Two 2-hour classes per week (one workshop/seminar and one lecture/screening).
Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014
451 Ghosts in Shells? Virtuality and Embodiment from Passing to the Posthuman
(Offered as ENGL 456, BLST 441 [US], and FAMS 451.) This class begins with narratives about individuals who pass–that is, who come to be recognized as someone different from whom they were sexually or racially “born as.” Such stories suggest that one’s identity depends minimally on the body into which one is born, and is more attached to the supplementation and presentation of that body in support of whichever cultural story the body is desired to tell. Drawing on familiar liberal humanist claims, which centralize human identity in the mind, these narratives also respond to the growing sophistication of human experience with virtual worlds–from acts of reading to immersions in computer simulation. But what kinds of tensions emerge when bodies nonetheless signify beyond an individual’s self-imagination? As technology expands the possibilities of the virtual, for instance surrogacy, cloning, and cybernetics, what pressures are brought to bear on the physical human body and its processes to signify authentic humanness? Rather than ask whether identity is natural or cultural, our discussions will project these questions into a not-so-distant future: What would it mean to take “human” as only one identity, as a category amongst many others, each also acknowledged as equally subject to the same social and biological matrices of desire, creation, and recognition? We will approach these questions through works of literature, philosophy, media history, and contemporary science writing.
Junior/Senior seminar. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2014-15. Professor Parham.2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2016
453 Rhetorics of New Media
(Offered as ENGL 487 and FAMS 453.) Digital technologies tend to be described as absolutely new, without any precedent in history or culture. But these technologies are just the latest to have shaped culture, as well as the many ways that we talk about culture. Ours is a complex present, filled by technologies that are brand new as well as devices and artforms that survive from earlier periods of innovation. In this way, videogames and surveillance systems coexist with books and movies, and technophobes share their world with technophiles. In this course, we will read literature (both print and electronic), watch films, and discuss games and art, while exploring cultural and political theory that spans the past half-century. Is there progressive potential in the trend toward computerization? Or contrarily, in what ways might technophilia and technocracy obstruct the betterment of society? We’ll take up these and related questions, and study the legitimating language by which the increasingly digital world has come to make sense. From this rhetorical and historical perspective, we’ll address topics ranging from globalization to media “evolution,” the aesthetics of code, the newness of new media, technics-out-of-control, gamification of war, technologies of race and gender, and the ideology of computationalism.
Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Tierney.
2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
475 Serial Fictions: The Victorian Novel and Contemporary Television
(Offered as ENGL 475 and FAMS 475.) This course examines the similarities in form and content between the Victorian novel and the modern television series. While contemporary TV and fiction from over a century ago might seem like a surprising pairing, the two forms have a great deal in common. Indeed, serial television finds its foundation in nineteenth-century publication practices: the Victorian novels we now read as massive single-volume books were originally published in small weekly or monthly parts. Focusing on case studies in which we place a Victorian novel and a television series side by side, this course interrogates questions of genre, form, medium, and the dubious division of popular entertainment and high art. Through experiments with our own reading, writing, and viewing habits, we will ask how the serial forms of the Victorian novel and TV illuminate each other, what habits of consumption they promote, and what they have to teach us about seriality itself.
Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester. Professors Christoff and Hastie.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
480 Film Historiography in Theory and Practice
(Offered as ENGL 480 and FAMS 480.) This seminar will introduce students to the methodologies of film history, covering recent questions in the field of cinema studies as well as more general work on historical and archival practice. We will explore concepts such as historical spectatorship and reception, the intellectual history of film theory, production and studio history, the history of narrative and form, and national and transnational film history. Students will also be introduced to the practical matters of historical research such as utilizing special collections (public and private) and handling and assessing archival material. The course will be research intensive; in addition to the assigned readings and discussion in class, students will undertake one major research project and present their findings over the course of the semester. Two class meetings and one screening per week.
Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Brennan.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
488 Early Cinema, Late Cinema
(Offered as ENGL 488 and FAMS 488.) This course will examine questions of the origins of cinema and notions of its demise. From its inception, cinema has shaped and informed a critical relationship to modern popular culture. Recent technological innovations have dislodged the cinema from its position as a distinctive arbiter of public experience and aesthetic engagement, as new mediums and new methods of dissemination proliferate in our networked society. Claims about the “death of cinema” and the predominance of “new media” will be investigated as they have changed over time. The central project of the course is to make sense of the salient features of the cinema while considering the significance of new forms of moving-image practices. Students will collectively research, plan, and curate a repertory theater series that reflects class discussion and alternative modes of film distribution and exhibition.
Recommended requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS or an equivalent introductory film course. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Dean’s Faculty Fellow Cornett.2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
489 Paris and the Banlieues: The City and Cinematography in French and Francophone Cinema
(Offered as ENGL 489 and FAMS 489.) This course in film production and film history will address changing cinematic representations of the architecture and urban space of Paris and the surrounding suburbs. The course will include workshops in cinematography, lighting, editing, and sound recording. We will consider shifting representations of the city and the body of the performer in the films of Feuillade, Vigo, Rivette, Prévert, Cantet, Denis, Kechiche, and Volta. We will analyze performances of identities, emphasizing the body as the primary site of a daily negotiation of language and culture. Students will be encouraged to question how performative languages of movement, architecture, and speech function as aesthetic systems that reflect the ways in which the body is coded. The course will include a study of articles from Présence Africaine, Trafic, Cahiers du Cinéma, and Bref, as well as works by Petrine Archer-Straw, Carrie Tarr, Raphaël Bassan, and Nicole Brenez. Students will complete two film or video projects. One three-hour class meeting and one film screening per week.
Recommended prior coursework: ENGL 287/FAMS 228, Introduction to Super 8 Film and Digital Video, or other introductory course in film and video, photography, or painting. Preference given to FAMS majors. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Please complete the questionnaire at https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/english/major/course_applications. Omitted 2014-15. Five College Professor Hillman.2014-15: Not offered
490 Special Topics
Independent Reading Courses.
Fall and spring semester. The Department.
2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016
498, 499 Senior Honors
Admission with consent of the instructor. Fall semester.2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015