Class # 7047
This course is only open to Cinema Studies MA students. This course fulfills the MA Film Theory Core requirement.
This course closely examines a variety of theoretical writings concerned with aesthetic, sociocultural, and psychological aspects of the cinematic medium. Theoretical frameworks are approached thematically, rather than chronologically, in order to formulate new conceptual connections between different modes of cinematic inquiry. The course uses the innovative organizational structure of Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener’s Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses to address the multisensory relationship between spectators and cinema. Sound, sight, touch, smell and taste provide a way to access and compare theories ranging from classical to digital, and to explore areas that have been marginalized from overarching canons of film analysis. Approaching film theory through the senses opens up new ways of thinking about the screen-spectator relationship as the course moves from “external” to “internal” [cognitive/mnemonic] associations. Students will study the writing of classical theorists such as Eisenstein, Metz and Bazin, as well as contemporary thinkers such as Sobchack, Mayne, and Friedberg. Questions addressed range from the nature of cinematic representation and its relationship to other forms of cultural expression, to issues of theorizing film spectatorship. Theory will also be studied alongside examples from popular culture, digital contexts, and contemporary media in order to interrogate certain ideas about cinema and spectatorship that persist despite the medium’s material and technical changes. By the end of the semester, students will acquire the critical skills to apply a broad range of analytical perspectives to films and other media.