BA Film Studies and East Asian Studies / Course details
Year of entry: 2020
Course unit details:
American Film Studies
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Offered by||English and American Studies|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
The course unit will examine a range of analytical approaches used in Film Studies by applying them to specific American films. This strategy will allow students to identify key issues and engage with important debates in the study of American film, to explore the implications of certain theoretical positions, and to test the usefulness of various methodologies in the actual analysis of films. The course will take a close look at the textual operations of individual films and discuss their meanings in relation to theories about American society and culture, to specific empirical audiences, and to the operations of the film industry.
The aim of this unit is to develop student understanding of popular cinema in the United States, dealing with theoretical/critical debates and with film analytical practices. The course may concentrate on a particular period or on particular themes in American film history.
By the end of the course unit, students should be able to:
- recognise the influential role of the film industry in American culture and society
- recognise the importance of social and historical contexts in the study of film
- demonstrate the ability to conduct thematic, narrative and stylistic analyses of films
- engage with and apply a range of conceptual models to American film texts
- demonstrate an increased precision and thoroughness in written and oral communication
- critically analyse different kinds of texts
- work independently and collaboratively in undertaking a range of written, oral and research tasks.
Teaching and learning methods
Weekly 2-hour lecture + weekly 1-hour seminar
Online databases and journals accessed through John Rylands Library.
- Analytical skills
- Students taking this unit will be able to analyse and evaluate arguments and texts. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with an advanced capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently. Students will conduct an audience survey and writing up their survey findings in a report, developing directly transferable skills for various real-world work place activities.
- Group/team working
- Students taking this unit will be able to work courteously and constructively as part of a larger group.
- On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by texts and other media.
- Students on this unit must take responsibility for their learning and are encouraged not only to participate in group discussions but to do so actively and even to lead those discussions.
- Project management
- Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
- Oral communication
- Students taking this unit will be able to show fluency, clarity and persuasiveness in spoken communication.
- Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
- Written communication
- Students on this unit will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling.
Research task (10%)
- written feedback on research task
- written feedback on essays
Film texts TBC
Readings for 2017-18 may include:
Thomas Ellsaesser and Warren Buckland, Studying Contemporary American Films, ch. 2
Robert Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), esp ch. 11
Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (New York: New York University Press, 2006)
Geoff King, New Hollywood Cinema: An Introduction (London: I.B. Taurus, 2002)
Peter Kramer, “Post-classical Hollywood” in John Hill & Pamela Church Gibson (eds.), The Oxford Guide to Film Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 289-309
Kristin Thompson, Storytelling in the New Hollywood (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999)
David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson, Film Art (London: McGraw-Hill, various editions)
Susan Hayward, Key Concepts in Cinema Studies (London: Routledge, 2006)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|Ian Scott||Unit coordinator|
Timetable for 2019/20
Thu 1pm - 3pm