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All courses which MAY count toward the World Cinemas minor program are listed on this page.

Please Note:
For a course to count towards fulfilling a program requirement, a substantial focus of the course must be on film. If you have a question concerning a particular course, please contact a World Cinemas advisor.

Please check individual departmental websites if there is information, such as the course schedule, missing from the descriptions below. 

 

Required Courses

ENGL 277: Introduction to Film Studies

Prerequisites: The course is limited to majors in Cultural Studies and/or minors in World Cinemas.

Description: This course is designed to prepare students for future film courses at McGill.  It is therefore dedicated to three main goals: establishing a frame of reference for the history of film and film theory, introducing key analytical concepts and skills, and inspiring an ongoing interest in film.
NOTE: This course is for Cultural Studies majors/minors and Film Studies minors only, and to maintain fairness no exceptions can be made. 

Required Texts (subject to change): James Monaco How to Read a Film, 3rd edition; and a coursepack.
Evaluation: Journal 20%, conferences 15%, quiz 10%, 5-page paper 20%, final 35%
Format: Lecture and conferences plus weekly screenings

Required Films: TBA

FILM 279: Introduction to Film History

Description: The second of two required courses for the minor in World Cinemas, Film History is an introduction to representative periods, movements and styles in the history of cinema, as well as questions of film historiography. From precinematic practices and the early “cinema of attractions” through to contemporary debates around globalization and the place of cinema in an increasingly digital world, this course will explore social, technological, aesthetic and cultural shifts across cinema history. It is strongly recommended that students take ENGL 277 (Introduction to Film Studies) before FILM 279.

Expected enrollment: 175 students.

 

Complementary Courses

Students must complete a minimum of six (6) credits in non-U.S. cinemas.

Students may take a maximum of six (6) credits in any one department.

NOTE: No more than six (6) credits may be taken in the same department as the student's other Major or Minor Concentration(s).


ANTH 304: Chinese Popular Culture through Ethnography and Film

Description:This course is an introduction to anthropological work on China focusing on the People's Republic of China (1949-present) through the mediums of ethnography and film. We will use both these mediums to learn about Chinese history in the twentieth century and in particular popular culture and the history of the Chinese revolution and its aftermath. Most of the course will focus on the emergence of post-Cultural Revolution Chinese cinema and anthropological research in the last twenty years. Chinese cinema in the 1980s is unique because it is when Chinese directors of “the fifth generation” began to receive critical international acclaim for their experimental narratives and bold visual styles. During this same time period, anthropologists after a long hiatus had the ability to conduct lengthy fieldwork inside the socialist middle kingdom. The themes the course focuses on include: China in the Cold War; the Cultural Revolution; the Tiananmen uprising; gender, orientalism and representations of Chinese ethnic minorities; the fifth and sixth generation of Chinese film makers; migrant labor; authoritarian-capitalism, and, the rise of Chinese environmental activism.


ANTH 408: Sensory Ethnography

Description:“If it were possible to say it with words, the films would be useless.” Artavazd Ashoti Peleshyan
This course will explore ways of knowing made available through ethnographic and experimental film (e.g., Forest of Bliss, Robert Gardner; Wedding Camels, David and Judith MacDougall, Reassemblage, Trinh T. Minh-ha; Okay Bye-Bye, Rebecca Baron) — we will ask what and how such films communicate. Does ethnographic film generate different forms of knowledge than the ethnographic text? Or better, how do such films convey (in ways that complement and challenge written anthropological texts) the embodiment of the human subject and thus take seriously forms of sensory experience often missed in textual accounts? And what is it about film as an iconic and indexical mode of representation that allows a particular kind of access to that embodied experience? The fact that the primacy of language and text is subverted in many of the films we will study lead us to question the role of the senses and emotions in knowledge production more generally. Attending to potentially non-word based, non-propositional forms of knowing poses some risks to received epistemologies and we will ask why, in the end, the visual causes so much anxiety within the discipline of anthropology.


ARCH 566: Cultural Landscapes Seminar: "Miniature Worlds"

Description:This seminar surveys spaces of consumption that are organized around themes such as theme parks. Miniature theme parks abound around the world and often reveal much about their contexts. Some scholars link their origins to the sixteenth to eighteenth century European landscape gardens while others privilege the economic and cultural transformations of the post-World War II period. The public pleasure gardens of the eighteenth century were joined during the nineteenth century with new types of commercial environments, where different social classes could come together, such as world exhibitions, open-air parks and wax museums, and during the twentieth century with amusement parks and movie palaces. Today’s miniature parks go one step further from their antecedents because among other aspects they increasingly relinquish their claim to authenticity. Theming has extended beyond the miniature park into other areas of life so much so that most of our daily life occurs in a material environment that is organized around overarching motifs and closely connected to the media world of advertising, television, film, and the world-wide web. Even historical and natural environments are renovated and manicured with themes to attract outsiders rather than serve locals or speak to local histories and sentiments—prisons are turned into prison themed hotels while museums can go to lengths to orchestrate visitors’ experience as prisoners; former incarceration sites as well as the living environments of the urban poor become the immersive reality shows of global tourists. Cities increasingly turn to theming to develop and justify urban projects and policies. Since Baudrillard’s theorization of simulacra, cultural theorists have increasingly treated theming and themed landscapes as metaphors of postmodern urbanism (i.e. Disneyfication). Despite the apparent convergence of the forms of themed landscapes around the world, there remain important differences between the processes through which they come into being, the ways in which they are experienced and are received in the specific contexts they emerge and take form. This seminar seeks to interrogate these differences through specific case studies drawn across the world.


CANS 300 Topics in Canadian Studies 1


EAST 214 Japanese Animation & New Media


EAST 216 Chinese Action Film


EAST 303 Current Topics: Chinese Studies 1


EAST 304 Current Topics: Chinese Studies 2


Current Topics, Korean Studies I: South Korean Cinema: Gender, Genre, Nation

Description:This course explores the cinema of South Korea, proceeding chronologically and thematically, interrogating the key problematics of gender and genre. Our task will be to think about cinema's role as a medium for visual storytelling and as a site for producing cultural norms and values. Across films from Korean cinema's "golden age" (1950s and 60s) to post-authoritarian realist cinema to the contemporary era of globalized, transnational genre films, we will question the formation and effects of South Korea's cinematic imaginary of nation. Students will learn to analyze the visual and verbal rhetorics of the films and critical texts we watch/read in the seminar, while also learning about 20th century Korean history and the discourses and events that have shaped the post-war period. Questions of geopolitics, modernization, democratization, and economic development will be a particular focus.
No previous knowledge of Korean language is required. All films will be screened with English subtitles. Prior coursework on film and media and/or the history of East Asia is required (EAST212, EAST213, or FILM279), and students are expected to have a firm grounding in the methods of critical reading and writing, textual analysis, and scholarly argumentation.


EAST 353: Approaches to Chinese Cinema


EAST 362: Japanese Cinema


EAST 368 Chinese Cinema Meets Hollywood


EAST 369 Topics in Gender and Sexuality in Chinese Film


EAST 454: Reinventing Cinema and Media in Post-Mao China

Description: This course focuses on cinematic production and media culture in the mainland China since the late 1970s. How was cinema reinvented beyond the conventions of socialist realism? In what ways did cinema transform itself under the pressure of commercialization, and as a result of its competition and dynamic with other media, such as television, cassette tapes, videotapes, and video games as well as the internet? Taking the constantly changing notion and practices of “cinema” as a contested site, this course frames key issues of cinematic aesthetics within the socio-economic and political changes of contemporary China. Another goal of this course is to introduce the methods of sound studies, examining sound as the material and sensory register of contemporary China. The materials examined in this class range from 1980s experimental and entertainment films to documentary films, as well as gaming and internet culture-inspired video art.
Prior coursework on film and media and/or the history of East Asia is required (EAST212, EAST213, or FILM279).


EAST 467 Topics in the Study of Japanese Cinema


EAST 470: Japanese Experimental Film and Video

Description:This course critically examines the historical and theoretical implications of experimental film and video art in Japan. Emphasis will be placed on the nexus between aesthetics and politics that structures this form of practice.


EAST 504: Historiography of Chinese Cinema


EAST 560: Screen Cultures and Media Arts

Description: This course explores the modern and contemporary screen cultures in Asia, analyzing media forms such as television, digital media and architecture through historical and theoretical frameworks. Emphasis will be placed on comparative approaches to media practices in Asia and beyond.


EAST 563: Images, Ideograms and Aesthetics: Japanese Media Theory – From Architecture to New Media


EAST 564: Structures of Modernity: Japan


ENGL 280 Intro to Film as Mass Medium


ENGL 350 Studies in the History of Film 1


ENGL 351: Studies in the History of Film 2: The War Film in U.S. Cinema

Description: Director Samuel Fuller famously argued that “there’s no way you can portray war realistically … For moviegoers to get the idea of real combat, you’d have to shoot at them every so often from either side of the screen. The casualties in the theater would be bad for business.” This course will explore the dilemmas of representation that are posed by the war film, as well as the highly charged political stakes of the genre. We will examine the ways in which the war film serves to articulate and stage central questions about U.S. national identity as well as those of racial, ethnic, and sexual difference. We will also attend to the “home front” war films, as they investigate the effects of military conflict on those not involved in combat, as well as the aftermath for those who were. Given the exceedingly masculine nature of most war films, the course will also pay particularly close attention to the circulation of gender signification within the genre. Finally, we will also consider the existential issues raised by a cinema that focuses, metaphorically and literally, on questions of life and death.

Prerequisites: There are no official prerequisites for this course. However, some familiarity with cultural studies concepts and terminology will be useful. Furthermore, previous experience with courses in film studies will obviously aid you in navigating the material under consideration.

Format: Lecture, discussion, weekly screenings

Evaluation: TBA

Required Texts: 
J. David Slocum, ed., Hollywood and War: The Film Reader
Linda Dittmar and Gene Michaud, eds. From Hanoi to Hollywood: The Vietnam War in American Film
Course reading pack

Required Films:

All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone, 1930)
Sergeant York (Howard Hawks, 1941)
Guadalcanal Diary (Lewis Seiler, 1943)
The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)
The Dirty Dozen (Robert Aldrich, 1967)
The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978)
Coming Home (Hal Ashby, 1978)
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (George P. Cosmatos, 1985)
Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987)
Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg, 1998)
Three Kings (David O. Russell, 1999)
Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott, 2001)


ENGL 354 Sexuality and Representation


ENGL 359: The Poetics of the Image

Description: This course is designed to teach students how to meaningfully close read image-based cultural texts. Using multiple strategies of visual analysis, students will learn how to perform perceptive, informed and medium-specific interpretations of both still and moving images. Focusing our critical lens on some of the most innovative photography and film texts of the last century, we will study the nuances of composition, color, mise-en-scène, framing, camera movement, editing and sound. Paying close attention to the ways in which visual style creates meaning, students will learn to look beyond narrative and dialogue in order to understand both the semiotics and poetics of the image. In addition to numerous close-reading exercises, we will be supplementing our investigation of images with several classical texts on photography and film, by theorists such as John Berger, Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes, Laura Mulvey, Andre Bazin, Kaja Silverman, and Mary Ann Doane. Students must come to class prepared with all of the assigned reading, and will be expected to participate verbally in class on a weekly basis.

Lectures will be illustrated by copious examples. In addition to lectures, there is a mandatory screening every week and a mandatory discussion session led by a Teaching Assistant.

Texts:
Selections from:

  • Roland Barthes
  • Andre Bazin
  • John Berger
  • Stan Brakhage
  • Maya Deren
  • Mary Ann Doane
  • Sergei Eisenstein
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • Jacques Lacan
  • Christian Metz
  • Craig Owens
  • Adrienne Rich
  • Kaja Silverman
  • Susan Sontag

Art and Film by:

  • Andy Warhol
  • Cindy Sherman
  • Dorothea Lange
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • Chris Marker
  • Sergei Eisenstein
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • Gillo Pontecorvo
  • Maya Deren
  • Stan Brakhage
  • Yoko Ono
  • Barbara Hammer

Evaluation: Attendance and participation 15%; mini-paper 20%; two small papers (first worth 25; second worth 35) 60%; section assignments 5%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 363: Studies in the History of Film 3: American Film of the 80s

Prerequisites: None.

Description: This course will survey U.S. cinema during what we might call the decade of Reagan. Indeed, critic Andrew Britton diagnosed the special effects-laden blockbusters that had displaced the more politically and aesthetically adventurous American filmmaking of the 1970s as examples of “Reaganite entertainment,” which acclimated its audience to the military adventurism and “authoritarian populism” of the Reagan administration. But the 1980s also saw the birth of a series of “new” independent cinemas (New Queer Cinema, New Black Cinema, etc.), which generated innovative filmic vocabularies of race, gender, sexuality and class to dissent from Reagan’s political hegemony, as well as the cultural hegemony of Hollywood’s testosterone-fueled, action-adventure fantasies. Meanwhile, older Hollywood genres (the teenpic, the horror film) were being revamped for a new generation of filmgoers. And of course, the 1980s was the decade in which “postmodernism” became a household word. This class will examine all of these developments to trace the ways in which the cinema of this period worked through the political and cultural dilemmas of the period. We will do so while keeping in mind that, as Stephen Prince has observed, the 1980s was the decade in which “film ceased to be primarily a theatrical medium, based in celluloid. … Movies took their place as one ‘software’ stream among others … merchandised by global media companies who viewed their marketplace as the planet itself.” In other words, the decade also marks a moment in which the definitions of “cinema” and even the “national audience” underwent dramatic changes.

 


ENGL 366: Film Genre: The Classic Horror Film

Description: This course will pursue the idea of “classic” horror not in terms of notoriety or acclaim, but as a way to designate films that articulate a particularly intense set of historical concerns. Most of our films will be more than thirty years old, and many will be in black and white, though by the end we will creep close to the current state of the genre. Divided up into a range of subgenres (the slasher film, the gothic, institutional horror) and special issues (the problem of sound, the horror of film itself), the course will introduce students to the versatility of horror and pose the question of its ongoing adaptability.
Central to our approach will be the complication of affect. In other words, no longer will we be content to judge simply whether a horror film is “scary;” instead, we will explore the genre’s production of a broad palette of feeling, including key cousins of fear such as disgust, humour, and shame. Indeed, even fear itself may be usefully divided into slow dread and fast panic (which is one reason why the speed of zombies matters). It is ultimately this rich interplay of response that will help us articulate the genre’s corresponding socio-political work, including its special importance for feminism and queer theory.

Possible films include: Halloween, Suspiria, The Haunting, Freaks, Night of the Living Dead, and Cure.

Texts: Coursepack
Evaluation: Film journals 35%; term paper 40%; participation 15%; quizzes 10%
Format: Lectures and discussions
Average enrollment: 70 students

Films: (The required films will likely be selected from the following list)

Films: (The required films will likely be selected from the following list)
Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
Friday the 13th, Part 2 (Steve Miner, 1981)
Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1982)
Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
El Norte (Gregory Nava, 1983)
Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983)
The Brother from Another Planet (John Sayles, 1984)
Sixteen Candles (John Hughes, 1984)
Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (George P. Cosmatos, 1985)
Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidelman, 1985)
Lost in America (Albert Brooks, 1985)
Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)
Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986)
Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
Something Wild (Jonathan Demme, 1986)
Down By Law (Jim Jarmusch, 1986)
Mala Noche (Gus Van Sant, 1986)
Parting Glances (Bill Sherwood, 1986)
Working Girls (Lizzie Borden, 1986)
Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
Longtime Companion (Norman René, 1989)
sex, lies, and videotape (Steven Soderbergh, 1989)
To Sleep with Anger (Charles Burnett, 1990)
Poison (Todd Haynes, 1991)


ENGL 374: A Film-Maker 1: French Feminist Filmmakers: Varda, Denis, Breillat

Description: This class explores the work, over fifty years of French art cinema, of three exceptional filmmakers.  Agnes Varda was one of the most significant filmmakers, and the only woman filmmaker, of the French New Wave, and a member of the Left Bank Group; her work has continued to the present day, rewriting conventional distinctions between documentary and fiction.  From the brilliant Cléo de 5 à 7, with the main character’s real time dérive through streets of Paris, to her recent series of experimental and autobiographical documentaries, Varda remains a powerful and original voice well into her 80s.  Claire Denis, born in France and raised in Africa, has produced one of the most significant sets of films on the body of the last three decades, since her film debut in the late 1980s.  Especially notable for her complicated intersections of race, masculinity and desire, Denis’ highly formalist style is shockingly affective, in works such as her updating of Billy Budd, Beau Travail, set amidst the French Foreign Legion, to the modern bio-horror of Trouble Every Day. The audacious works of Catherine Breillat are relentless explorations of questions of gender, sexuality, social convention and fantasy. From her feminist re-imaginings of fairy tales, to her controversial and explicit portrayals of sexuality, through the body politics of fat and feminism, Breillat extends the legacy of a French feminist filmmaking through the contemporary moment. Through exploring the works of these three filmmakers, this course will consider how questions of the body and sexuality, film form and aesthetics, politics, power and subversion have played out on screen in French cinema of the last fifty years.

Films may include: Agnes Varda Cléo de 5 à 7, La Pointe Courte, Sans Toit ni Loi, Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse, L'Une chante, l'autre pas, Loin du Vietnam; Claire Denis Chocolat, Trouble Every Day, J’ai pas sommeil, 35 rhums, Beau Travail, Catherine Breillat Une vraie jeune fille, 36 fillette, Romance X, À ma soeur, Anatomie de l’enfer, Barbe Bleue.


ENGL 379 Film Theory


ENGL 381 A Film-Maker 1


ENGL 382 International Cinema 1


ENGL 385 Topics in Literature and Film


ENGL 389: Studies in Popular Culture: Shakespeare on Film


ENGL 391: Special Topics: Cultural Studies 1:David Cronenberg


ENGL 393 Canadian Cinema


ENGL 450 Film Aesthetics


ENGL 451 A Period in Cinema


ENGL 472: Special Topics: Cultural Studies Race in American Cinema

Description: From its earliest iterations at the turn of the twentieth century, the development of American cinema has been inextricable from the social construction of race in American society.  Likewise, American perceptions and conceptions of racial difference have been heavily influenced, challenged, and transformed by representations of race in film, television and other mass media.

This course examines the complex representation of race in American cinema from the depictions of blackface, "yellowface," and minstrelsy in the silent films of D.W. Griffith to contemporary depictions of the multi-racial nation in the Obama era.  Along the way, we examine the relation between key film movements and the historical, social, and political circumstances from which they emerged.  The course is deliberately balanced in focus between commercial films made by a predominantly white industry, and critical, auteurist, or experimental narrative films authored by white and non-white directors working within and outside of the dominant film industry.

Topics to be studied include:
 -the "race films" made by and for the black community in response to the racist depictions of mainstream cinema;
-the representation of the "yellow peril" amidst periods of intense anti-immigration and specifically anti-Asian anxieties (the Progressive Era; Jazz Age, the Korean War, the Vietnam War);
-the gender, sexual and racial politics of the representation of the tragic mulatto figure in melodrama;
-the emergence of a liberal, white-authored and ultimately paternalistic "civil rights" cinema in the 1960s;
-the emergence and rapid co-optation of blaxploitation film in 1970s;
-the counter-development of the "LA Rebellion" school of Black Cinema in the 1970s and 1980s;
 -the emergence of high profile African-American and Asian-America auteur cinema in 1980s, and 1990s;
-and contemporary American cinema and the representation of Arab and/or Islamic culture in the post 9/11 era.

We shall supplement our investigation of large historical, political and cinematic trends with in-focus examinations of the impact of several key figures in the cinematic construction of race in American cinema, including: D.W. Griffith, Oscar Micheaux, Shirley Temple, Paul Robeson, Sidney Poitier, and Spike Lee.

In addition to watching films every week at a mandatory screening, we will read influential texts from critical race theory and American film history.

Evaluation:
Attendance and Participation: 15%
Midterms 25%
Final Essay: 60%

Format: Lecture, discussion and mandatory weekly screenings.

Possible films to be screened include:
Uncle Tom's Cabin (Edwin S. Porter, US, 1903)
The Birth of a Nation (D.W. Griffith, US, 1915)
The Cheat (Cecil B. DeMille, US, 1915)
Broken Blossoms (D.W. Griffith, US, 1919)
Within Our Gates (Oscar Micheaux, US, 1920)
The Jazz Singer (Alan Crosland, US, 1927)
The Scar of Shame (Frank Peregini, US, 1927)
The Bitter Tea of General Yen (Frank Capra, US, 1933)
The Little Colonel (David Butler, US, 1935)
Song of Freedom (J. Elder Wills, UK, 1936)
Salt of the Earth (Herbert Biberman, US, 1954)
Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, US, 1959)
Nothing But a Man (Michael Roemer & Robert Young, US, 1964)
In the Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, US, 1967)
Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968)
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasss Song (Melvin Van Peebles, 1971)
Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, US, 1977)
Bush Mama (Haile Gerima, US, 1975/1979)
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, US, 1989)
Surname Viet Given Name Nam (Trinh T. Minh-ha, US, 1989)
Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, US, 1991)
The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee, US, 1993)
Bamboozled (Spike Lee, US, 2000)
Crash (Paul Haggis, US, 2004)

 Required texts include writings on cinema and media by:
Edward Guerrero, Jane Gaines, Richard Dyer, Manthia Diawara, Linda Williams, Robert Stam & Ella Shohat, bell hooks, Richard Fung, Rey Chow, Donald Bogle, Robert G. Lee, Michael Rogin, Gina Marchetti,
Fatimah Tobing Rony, Hamid Naficy, Michelle Wallace, as well as critical race theory by authors including: Frantz Fanon, Henry Louis Gates, Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Cornel West, Gary Okihiro, Angela Davis.


ENGL 476: Alternative Approaches to Media 1: The Matter at Hand


ENGL 479: Philosophy of Film

Description: This seminar will focus on a selection of topics central to the philosophical study of cinema. Those first and foremost among these pertain to the nature of cinema. Here we encounter deep and, for the most part, intractable puzzles about the definitions of such key concepts as "cinema," "film," and "medium." We also tangle with perennial questions about what, if anything, makes movies different from works in all other art forms and whether cinema has a distinct nature or essence. The standard descriptions of cinema's nature--as representation of reality, as the production of illusion, or as signifying system--shall be surveyed and evaluated in light of more recent statements about cinema's ontology. Another of our focal concerns will be cinematic narration. We'll examine in detail the arguments over what differentiates cinematic from literary narration, how unreliable cinematic narration is possible, whether cinematic narrators per se exist, and what or who is the executive source of the narration. Against various theories evoking the shadowy being of a grand imagier, I will make a case for believing that only certain movies have something analogous to a literary narrator and that only an actual "cinematic agent" can be the presenter, the proximal source, of the story. Throughout our seminar, we'll also take heed of some recent and provocative statements about what sorts of contributions cinema might itself make to philosophical thought.

Texts: A selection of recent readings drawn from the area of philosophy of film, including essays from Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga, eds., The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film (2009); Noël Carroll and Jinhee Choi, eds., Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures (2006); Richard Allen and Murray Smith, eds., Film Theory and Philosophy (1997).  These articles will be available in a photocopied course pack.

Evaluation: A term paper; seminar participation
Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 480 Studies in History of Film 1


ENGL 481: A Film-maker 2: Alfred Hitchcock

Expected preparation: substantial coursework at the 300-level or above in film or related disciplines. Because of the structure of the course, interested students are expected to attend from the first day.

Description: This advanced course in the film and television work of Alfred Hitchcock will unfold in roughly two halves. The first half will be a crash course in Hitchcock studies—a condensed tour through the most recent and influential statements in the field (by critics such as Tania Modleski, D.A. Miller, Lee Edelman, Susan Smith, and Jonathan Goldberg), and a broad look at many of the major films. Be prepared to move fast.

The second half of the course will be a sustained consideration of the problem of hospitality, the dominant, but oddly undiscovered, idiom of Hitchcock’s work. It is a problem that operates in several registers at once, and our approach in the second part of the course will be to isolate one of these registers each week and study it in several films. Examples might include the party scenes of Rebecca, Notorious, Rope, and Marnie, the refuge plots of The 39 Steps, Saboteur, and North by Northwest, or the contracts secured under hospitable pretences in Dial M for Murder, Vertigo, and Strangers on a Train. We will ultimately consider modern culture itself as a scene of troubling hospitality—a scene all the more vexed as we follow Hitchcock’s work from the cinema into the domestic space of television, where he will explicitly play the host.

Text: Coursepack
Evaluation: Film journals 25%, term paper 40%, participation 20%, quizzes 15%
Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 482 International Cinema 2


ENGL 483 Seminar in the Film


ENGL 484 Seminar in the Film


ENGL 488: Special Topics: Communications and Mass Media: Theories of Film and Television Spectatorship.


ENGL 492 Image and Text


ENGL 529: Topics in American Studies: Hollywood’s Great Depression

Prerequisites: This course is reserved for undergraduates in the Honours program and graduate students.

Description: The 1930s marked a period of massive change for the U.S. as a whole and its film industry. The Great Depression that ravaged the nation’s economy also threatened to destroy the Hollywood studios, forcing them to re-organize themselves less as family businesses and more as modern corporations. The labour radicalism ignited by the Depression sparked union drives within Hollywood as well. Concern over the influence of films on America’s youth prompted the expansion and stricter enforcement of the industry’s Production Code, which imposed multiple constraints on both film form and content. In addition, Hollywood’s transition to synchronized sound necessitated a series of changes, both technological and aesthetic, that transformed the vocabulary of cinema. Operating from an understanding of these multiple social, industrial, and aesthetic contexts, this course will examine several different film genres and cycles that attempted to address—directly and indirectly—the Great Depression while it was underway. Of key interest will be questions of narrative form: how did classical Hollywood narration—whose causal structure is driven by the agency of its individual protagonists—represent a social world that dramatized the ineffectual nature of personal agency in the face of economic collapse? The course will pay special attention to genres and cycles that treated forms of life whose position in the social order was precarious—the gangster film, the fallen woman cycle, the social problem film—while also examining film styles whose relationship to the Depression may seem more tenuous, such as screwball comedy and the musical.

Required Reading: Course pack including essays by Charles Eckert, Robert Warshow, Fran Mason, Thomas Schatz, Henry Jenkins, Richard Maltby, Lary May, Michael Denning, Lea Jacobs, Vivian Sobchack, Brian Neve, Morris Dickstein, Tino Balio, and others.

Required Films: This list is subject to change, but it will likely include:
Little Caesar (Mervyn LeRoy, First National/Warner Bros., 1931)
Public Enemy (William A. Wellman, Warner Bros., 1931)
The Easiest Way (Jack Conway, MGM, 1931)
Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, Paramount, 1932)
Red-Headed Woman (Jack Conway, MGM, 1932)
Scarface (Howard Hawks, The Caddo Company/United Artists, 1932)
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (Mervyn LeRoy, Warner Bros., 1932)
Baby Face (Alfred E. Green, Warner Bros., 1933)
Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, Paramount, 1933)
Wild Boys of the Road (William A. Wellman, First National/Warner Bros., 1933)
Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy, Warner Bros., 1933)
Gabriel Over the White House (Gregory La Cava, MGM, 1933)
Dinner at Eight (George Cukor, MGM/Loew’s, 1933)
Stand Up and Cheer! (Hamilton MacFadden, Fox Film, 1934)
Our Daily Bread (King Vidor, King W. Vidor Productions/United Artists, 1934)
It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, Columbia, 1934)
Black Fury (Michael Curtiz, First National/Warner Bros., 1935)
Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, Charles Chaplin Productions/United Artists, 1936)
Fury (Fritz Lang, Loew’s/MGM, 1936)
Marked Woman (Lloyd Bacon/Michael Curtz, Warner Bros./First National, 1937)
Make Way for Tomorrow (Leo McCarey, Paramount, 1937)
Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, Selznick International/MGM/Loew’s, 1939)
The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1940)
Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, Paramount, 1941)
Meet John Doe (Frank Capra, Frank Capra Productions/Warner Bros. 1941)


ENGL 585 Cultural Studies: Film


FREN 310 Cinéma français 1


FREN 311 Cinéma français 2


FREN 315: Cinéma quebeçois

Description: Ce cours propose un panorama du cinéma québécois où seront retracées les trajectoires thématiques, cinématographiques et idéologiques d’un échantillon de films réalisés depuis le milieu des années 1950. Il s’agira de comprendre, à travers des analyses filmiques, la «situation» et les choix de quelques réalisateurs en regard des paradigmes esthétiques et idéologiques de leur époque. L’objectif de ce cours consiste à développer des connaissances générales sur l’histoire du cinéma québécois tout en portant un regard critique sur la pratique sociale du septième art au Québec


GERM 357 German Culture in the European Context


GERM 369 German Cinema from 1895


GERM 370 Special Topics in German Film


HISP 301: New Argentine Cinema


HISP 340: Spanish-American Cinema: Women Directors of Latin America


ITAL 329 Contemporary Italian Cinema


ITAL 374: Classics of Italian Cinema


ITAL 375: Cinema and Society in Modern Italy

Description: The course covers key works by eleven major Italian directors in the years from 1945 to the Seventies, a crucial period in the shaping of contemporary Italian society. Exploring this period through the directors’ eyes will allow us to discuss some central cultural issues such as: the representation of historical events (fascism, World War II, the “economic miracle”), the questioning of the traditional pillars of Italian society (the family, the Church, heterosexuality, the role of the mother), and the debates surrounding the role of artists and intellectuals. The course will cover a wide range of topics including: cinema and historical narratives (de Sica, Rossellini and Scola); cinema and other forms of artistic expression (Visconti and Pasolini); the specificity and power of cinematic language (Bertolucci, Antonioni, Fellini); cinema at the intersection of gender and power (Cavani, Wertmüller and the Taviani brothers).
The objectives of the course are: (a) to explore the relationship between cinematic representation and the socio-cultural history of Italy during the period in question; (b) to identify key issues in film studies that can serve as basic points of reference for the study of Italian and Western cinema; and (c) to develop the ability to interpret and respond to cinematic media both in writing and through the moving image."


ITAL 477: Directors in Focus: Italian Women Directors of the 70s and the 90s


LLCU 200: Introduction to European Cinema


MUHL 330: Music and Film