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Spring 2018

FSCP 81000/ Mediatized Performance: Movement and Dance in Film and Video, Wednesday, 4:15 pm-7:15 pm (C419)
Instructor: Edward Miller

This course is an introduction to mediatized dance performance. We address the following: how do choreography and cinematography correlate as modes of inscription and expression? Certainly the cinematic enterprise is concerned with how bodies repeat and refuse a rehearsed trajectory but in what ways do viewers experience how the camera is subjected to a charted course? How does delivery system, media platform, and venue impact reception? In order to share a common vocabulary in the aesthetics of film and video we read selections from Film Theory: An Introduction through the Senses (2015). We complement this with pertinent reading in media theory, including Guiliana Bruno’s Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media (2016), WJT Mitchell’s Image Science: Iconology, Visual Culture, and Media Aesthetics (2015) and Carol Vernallis’s Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema (2013). This vocabulary allows us to analyze the aesthetics of heralded moments in dance/film history including the work of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Gene Kelly, the choreography of Agnes DeMille, Bob Fosse, and Jerome Robbins in the Hollywood Musical, the avant-garde dance films of Maya Deren, films by and about Pina Bausch and her company including those by Wim Wenders and Chantal Ackerman, the collaboration between Merce Cunningham and Charles Atlas, the filmed experiments by Judson pioneers such as Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown, and the dance videos of Michael Jackson, Missy Elliot, and BeyoncĂ©. In our discussions of dancefilms, we foreground the expressivity and performativity of gender, race, and sexuality and how this is enabled by media. Key texts in the exploration of film/video as movement are Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 1: The Movement Image (1986) and Giorgio Agamben’s essay “Notes on Gesture” (1992); key texts in the examination of dance in film/video include Douglas Rosenberg’s Screendance: Inscribing the Ephemeral Image (2012) and Erin Branigan’s Dancefilm: Choreography and the Moving Image (2011). We also read relevant texts by dance theorists/historians including Mark Franko, Tommy DeFrantz, and Sally Banes as well as “classic” texts in mediatized performance from Philip Auslander, Matthew Causey, and Steve Dixon. We complete the course by analyzing the social choreography of political resistance and explore how contemporary protest movements are devised, represented, and amplified via various forms of media.

FSCP 81000/ History of the Cinema II: 1930-present, Tuesday, 4:15 pm-8:15 pm (C419)
Instructor: Elizabeth Alsop

Description forthcoming

FSCP 81000/ Film Theory, Thursday, 2:00 pm-6:00 pm (C419)
Instructor: Elizabeth Alsop

Description forthcoming

Fall 2017

FSCP 81000/ Aesthetics of Film: Form and the Aesthetic Construction of Race, Tuesday, 4:15 pm-8:15 pm (C419)
Instructor: Racquel Gates
This course emphasizes a formal approach to viewing, interpreting, and critically engaging with film. We will organize the semester around a single provocation. How do the formal aspects of film (and media) make blackness comprehensible? In other words, how did audiences learn to recognize blackness, in a visual as well as in a thematic sense, beginning with early cinema? And, what are the formal elements that have since become synonymous with blackness on screen? In order to answer these questions, we will examine a wide array of film and media texts and analyze how mise-en-scene, narrative, cinematography, editing, sound, and genre invented the codes of cinematic blackness. We will also look at the ways that Black filmmakers and performers have used aesthetics to directly interrogate and challenge the limiting tropes typically associated with the black image on screen.
We will use the eleventh edition of David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s textbook, Film Art: An Introduction, as the primer for the course, and we will also read several other books that explicitly address the relationship between aesthetics and race. These include Richard Dyer’s White, Nicole Fleetwood’s Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness, Krista Thompson’s Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice, and Phillip Brian Harper’s Abstractionist Aesthetics: Artistic Form and Social Critique in African American Culture. Screenings will consist of a mix of classic and newer titles, films produced in Hollywood as well as those made by independent filmmakers. Some of these include Birth of a Nation (D.W. Griffith, 1915), Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1934), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Stanley Kramer, 1967), Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1990), Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (Spike Lee, 2014), and Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016).
Students will complete weekly reading reports and a final paper on the topic of their choice.
FSCP 81000/ The City and Film, Wednesday, 11:45 am-2:45 pm (C419)
Instructor: William Boddy
Since the invention of cinema in the late 19th century, filmmakers across the globe have turned to the modern city both as a narrative setting and dramatic subject for films in a variety of modes and genres.  This course examines a range of films from the beginnings of the silent era to the present, offering visions of urban life both utopian and horrific.  The course explores how filmmakers, artists, professional planners, governments, and corporations have used film and visual media to respond to changes in urban life shaped by technology, bureaucracy, and industrialization; immigration and national identity; race, class, gender, and economic inequality; politics, conformity, and urban anomie; and economic development, displacement, sprawl, and environmental degradation. The course assumes no previous experience in film studies and welcomes students from a variety of disciplines.