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FILM 310

Film Theory

(may be cross-listed with ENG 395) Provides students who already have a background in introductory film studies with a sense of the most important theoretical issues in cinema. Topics may include the following: early film theory; film and (anti-) narrative; auteur theory; genre theory; semiotics; psychoanalysis; ideology and politics; feminist film theory; theories of documentary; postmodernism; post-colonialism and "third cinema"; new media and the digital era. Prerequisites: FILM 100 (ENG 167) or FILM 200 (COMM 237).

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Spring Semester information

Seth Friedman

310A: Film Theory

What is cinema? This seemingly simple question will be the primary focus of this upper-level seminar on film theory because it has consistently inspired great debate about the medium since its emergence. Indeed, many critics argue that an interrogation of the essence of cinema has only become more salient in the digital age, as the ways that films are now constructed, distributed, viewed, interpreted, and discussed have both dramatically changed and remained remarkably similar amidst the advent of new media technologies. As this example begins to suggest, scholarly examinations of the meaning of cinema are often centered on two ostensibly contradictory concerns: the medium's specificity and its connections to other arts and modes of communication. Consequently, this class will survey a number of the most influential classic and contemporary writings on cinema to help us gain a better understanding of how the medium is distinct as well as related to other forms of expression, social institutions, and cultural practices.