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Courses

Fall 2020
 

FSCP 81000/ Film Histories & Historiography, [3 credits], Tuesdays, 4:15pm-8:15pm. Crosslisted with MALS 77200. 

Instructor: Leah Anderst 


Film Histories & Historiography surveys the cinematic medium from its inception to the present day with a focus on major historical, cultural, technological, and industrial developments. These may include: the growth of international silent cinema, Hollywood and the industrialization of film in relation to Bollywood, Nollywood, and the development of other sites of film production, nonfiction and nontheatrical traditions, European New Waves, Third Cinema, independent film movements, and the rise of television, digital, and streaming cinema. The course will also cover different strategies and theories of historiography that reflect the research interests of the students in the class and may include a unit linked to a local archive under the auspices of the New York Public Library’s research divisions. The semester will include instruction on research methods taught in conjunction with the Mina Rees Library staff. 
 
 
FSCP 81000/ Reenactment from Post War to Contemporary Cinema, [3 credits], Mondays, 4:15pm-6:15pm. Crosslisted with ART 89600 and THEA 81500 

Instructor: Ivone Marguiles 


Re-enactment, a common strategy for reconstructing past events in cinema, has, in the last four decades gained a new critical currency as a way to articulate history and the embodied self. This course, composed of lecture, discussion and in class presentations, explores the impetus for selfrevision via reenactment looking at cinematic appropriations of pedagogic, clinical and legal models (such as talking cures, psychodrama, public testimony and truth and reconciliation commissions) to deal with the past. The questions that guide the course relate to the distinct temporalities involved in replaying past events as they are mediated and displayed in film. When and how does it matter if an event is unique or recurring, or that a person acts their story? What is the status of ageing in reenactment? We will discuss the part reenactment plays in memorial and testimonial practices and what is the interface between theatrical and therapeutic repetition and how verbal recall differs from mimetic replay; the role of reenactment in social documentaries, in historical and biographical films; in classic examples of cinema verité and role-play; and in testimonial and allegorical films featuring the original protagonists on camera. We consider the ritual, psychological and evidentiary connotations of reenactment in cinema and in related practices (commemorative pageants, mass theatrical spectacles, battle reenactments; psychoanalysis and tribunals) as well as its currency in contemporary art. We will examine related discourses and debates on affective history; on performance and the archive (the relation between live and reproduced events) and the relation of reenactment with other realist and referential modes.The course is loosely organized historically moving from the 30s (the heyday of social documentaries and early formulations on reenactment) to neorealist instances of exemplary; from verité cinema of the sixties (engaged with psychodrama and self-analysis) to contemporary testimonials starting with Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (1985) and The Thin Blue Line (1985).


FSCP 81000/ An Archipelago of Stories: Caribbean Fiction and Film Since 1945, [3 credits], Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Crosslisted with CL 80100 

Instructor: Jerry Carlson 

For the Caribbean the period since 1945 has been the most joyous, turbulent, and traumatic since the “discovery” by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Recent historical events include independence, decolonization, revolution, civil war, invasion, rapid modernization, and massive emigration to Europe and North America. It has also been 75 years of robust artistic activity in response to the region’s social, cultural, and political history. Our course will investigate how novels and feature films have contributed to that artistic wealth. We will study works from the three imperial language groups: English, French, Spanish. Our scope will consider the greater Caribbean that includes continental territories (for example, Cartagena. Colombia) and cities of diasporic concentration (most obviously, New York). We will examine how Caribbean storytelling has rendered three chapters common to the territories: plantation economies supported by slavery; agrarian post-abolition colonial societies; and urban cultures in the region and its diaspora. What makes these works Caribbean? We will not be looking for the one true story of origin. Eschewing essentialism, we will try to describe the many entangled aspects that exist as a dynamic system of relations. Prose fiction may include works by, among others, Alejo Carpentier, Patrick Chamoiseau, Jean Rhys, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Maryse Conde, V. S. Naipaul, and Leonardo Padura. Films may include, among others, The Other Francisco (Cuba), Sugar Cane Alley (Martinique), The Harder They Come (Jamaica), Strawberry and Chocolate (Cuba) and Cocoté (Dominican Republic). Critical writings will be drawn from theorists such as Paul Gilroy, Edouard Glissant, Sylvia Winter, and Antonio Benitez Rojo. 
 
 
FSCP 81000/ The City in Contemporary Spanish Literature, Cinema, and Visual Arts, [3 credits], Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15. Crosslisted with SPAN 85000 and CL 86500. 

Instructor: Paul Julian Smith 

 

This course, which is taught in Spanish, examines the modern Spanish city. It addresses the media of novel (Martín Santos, Laforet, Goytisolo), visual art (painter Antonio López, web artist Marisa González), and, especially film (Almodóvar, Amenábar, Alex de la Iglesia, Montxo Armendáriz, Ventura Pons) and television (TVE’s classic serials Fortunata y Jacinta and La Regenta, El Deseo's urban dramedy Mujeres, Antena 3's sitcom Aquí no hay quien viva).  

Each class examines an urban theorist (e.g. Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, Manuel Castells), a work of criticism by a scholar of Spanish urbanism, and one or more creative works.  

The aims of the course are thus to familiarize students to the representation of the Spanish city in visual media; to train them in textual and formal analysis; and to integrate urban theory into media studies. 

Grading is by written exam (25%), student oral participation, weekly web posting, and presentation (25%) and final paper (50%).