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FILMSTUD 181Q: Alternative Viewpoints: Black Independent Film (AFRICAAM 181Q)

Preference to sophomores. Do you want to learn more about independent film as it was practiced in major urban centers by young filmmakers? This class focuses on major movements by groups such as the Sankofa Film Collective and the L.A. Rebellion. Learn how to analyze film and to discuss the politics of production as you watch films by Spike Lee, Julie Dash, Melvin Van Peebles, Ngozi Onwurah and more. We will discuss representation, lighting, press material, and of course the films themselves. This course includes a workshop on production, trips to local film festivals and time to critique films frame-by-frame. It matters who makes film and how they do so. When you have completed this class you will be able to think critically about "alternative viewpoints" to Hollywood cinema. You will understand how independent films are made and you will be inspired to seek out and perhaps produce or promote new visions.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Spring 2015 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

FILMSTUD 211N: Childish Enthusiasms and Perishable Manias

This course has a simple premise: Effective scholarship need not suck the joy from the world. College is serious stuff. Serious questions need to be asked in serious fields; serious meanings need to be derived from serious texts. College and graduate school are sites of gravitas; weighty work is expected. But what of levitas -- a lighter, more playful category? Does such a concept have a place at such institutions of higher learning as Stanford? Gravitas and levitas can co-exist; one need not preclude the other. Writers and artists have long sought to incorporate a playful spirit, recognizing virtue in levity. Encountering Times Square in 1922, the British writer G. K. Chesterton reflected, ¿If a child saw these colored lights, he would dance with as much delight as at any other coloured toys; and it is the duty of every poet, and even of every critic, to dance in respectful imitation of the child.¿ What does it mean to do scholarship that respects a child¿s engagement with the world? more »
This course has a simple premise: Effective scholarship need not suck the joy from the world. College is serious stuff. Serious questions need to be asked in serious fields; serious meanings need to be derived from serious texts. College and graduate school are sites of gravitas; weighty work is expected. But what of levitas -- a lighter, more playful category? Does such a concept have a place at such institutions of higher learning as Stanford? Gravitas and levitas can co-exist; one need not preclude the other. Writers and artists have long sought to incorporate a playful spirit, recognizing virtue in levity. Encountering Times Square in 1922, the British writer G. K. Chesterton reflected, ¿If a child saw these colored lights, he would dance with as much delight as at any other coloured toys; and it is the duty of every poet, and even of every critic, to dance in respectful imitation of the child.¿ What does it mean to do scholarship that respects a child¿s engagement with the world? To retain (or recover) the pleasurable relation to particular objects or habits that we were allowed when younger? Does intellectually credible work depend upon ¿critical distance¿ between the scholar and the object of study? Can we take something seriously without imposing a seriousness that it may not possess (or want)? Do you have to be serious to be serious? This seminar will try to answer some of those questions. We will explore such ¿unserious¿ media as amusement parks, comics, cartoons, musicals, and children¿s books, and encounter modes of critical engagement that stress experience over meaning, and investment over critical distance.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Bukatman, S. (PI)

FILMSTUD 213: Theories of Melodrama (FILMSTUD 413)

Commonly derided for being over the top, with films in this mode put down as weepies, tear-jerkers, and women's films, melodrama as a genre and a cinematic mode has been reclaimed by feminist-queer-film scholars as providing a powerful site of ideological struggle and sustained engagement with individual and social subjection and suffering. Melodrama, a transgeneric mode of emotional dramaturgy, centered around body and community, delay and chance, realism and excess, affords radical critiques of discourses of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation. We will consider melodrama's careful calibration of sensation and affect through its employment of cinematic form (color, music, editing etc.), and sweeping performative gestures. Through an analysis of films from Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, by auteurs such as Douglas Sirk, Ritwik Ghatak, Wong Kar-wai, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Pedro Almodovar, among others, we will study global and transnational flows in the adoption of the politics and aesthetics of the melodramatic mode. The seminar is conceived to be interdisciplinary and participants are encouraged to work with texts from disciplines other than film studies as well, including theatre, visual arts, music, dance, literature etc.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Iyer, U. (PI)

FILMSTUD 259: Game Studies (FILMSTUD 459)

This course aims to introduce students to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of game studies. We will investigate what games (including but not limited to digital games) are, why we play them, and what the functions of this activity might be. The bulk of the course will be devoted specifically to digital games, which we will approach from a variety of perspectives: from historical, cultural, industrial/commercial, media-theoretical, and formal (narratological/ludological) perspectives, among others. Thus, we will seek to understand the contexts in which video games emerged and evolved, the settings in which they have been played, and the discourses and practices that have determined their place in social and cultural life. In addition, we will ask difficult questions about the mediality of digital games: What is the relation of digital to non-digital games? Are they both games in the same sense, or do digital media redefine what games are or can be? How do digital games relate to ot more »
This course aims to introduce students to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of game studies. We will investigate what games (including but not limited to digital games) are, why we play them, and what the functions of this activity might be. The bulk of the course will be devoted specifically to digital games, which we will approach from a variety of perspectives: from historical, cultural, industrial/commercial, media-theoretical, and formal (narratological/ludological) perspectives, among others. Thus, we will seek to understand the contexts in which video games emerged and evolved, the settings in which they have been played, and the discourses and practices that have determined their place in social and cultural life. In addition, we will ask difficult questions about the mediality of digital games: What is the relation of digital to non-digital games? Are they both games in the same sense, or do digital media redefine what games are or can be? How do digital games relate to other (digital as well as non-digital) non-game media, such as film, television, print fiction, or non-game computer applications? Of course, to engage meaningfully with these questions at all will require us to investigate theories of mediality (including inter- and transmediality) more generally. Finally, though, we will be interested in the formal and experiential parameters that define (different types of) digital games in particular. What does it feel like to play (various) digital games? What are the relations between storytelling and the activity of gameplaying in them? What is the relation between these aspects and the underlying mechanics of digital games, as embodied in hardware and software? What is the role of the human body? Because these questions can only be approached on the basis of personal experience, students will be expected to spend some time playing digital games and reflecting critically on their gameplay.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Denson, S. (PI)

FILMSTUD 264B: Starstuff: Space and the American Imagination (AMSTUD 143X, ARTHIST 264B)

Course on the history of twentieth and twenty-first century American images of space and how they shape conceptions of the universe. Covers representations made by scientists and artists, as well as scientific fiction films, TV, and other forms of popular visual culture. Topics will include the importance of aesthetics to understandings of the cosmos; the influence of media and technology on representations; the social, political, and historical context of the images; and the ways representations of space influence notions of American national identity and of cosmic citizenship.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Kessler, E. (PI)

FILMSTUD 290: Movies and Methods: The Judy Garland Seminar (FILMSTUD 490)

Judy Garland, an icon of American popular culture, was one of the most accomplished performers of her time. Both a mainstream star and a gay cult figure, Garland's career straddled film, recording, live performance and television. From childhood, her life was lived in the public eye and her personal travails were as well known as the characters she incarnated on screen ¿ in fact, her biography informs some of her later film roles. Her seeming naturalism was a function of fierce discipline. Garland's work in this period occurs primarily in two genres: musical comedy and melodrama (and what we might call the melodramatic musical). Some of her best films were directed by two of the foremost studio directors ¿ Vincente Minnelli and George Cukor ¿ intersections of star, genre, and director will inform the seminar, as will explorations of Garland's work on television and the concert stage. Acting and performance have been prominent in cinema throughout the medium's history, but have received more »
Judy Garland, an icon of American popular culture, was one of the most accomplished performers of her time. Both a mainstream star and a gay cult figure, Garland's career straddled film, recording, live performance and television. From childhood, her life was lived in the public eye and her personal travails were as well known as the characters she incarnated on screen ¿ in fact, her biography informs some of her later film roles. Her seeming naturalism was a function of fierce discipline. Garland's work in this period occurs primarily in two genres: musical comedy and melodrama (and what we might call the melodramatic musical). Some of her best films were directed by two of the foremost studio directors ¿ Vincente Minnelli and George Cukor ¿ intersections of star, genre, and director will inform the seminar, as will explorations of Garland's work on television and the concert stage. Acting and performance have been prominent in cinema throughout the medium's history, but have received relatively little attention in film studies. A course dedicated to Judy Garland proposes, first, that we attend to the centrality of performance in film, and, further, that the work Garland produced across three decades demonstrates not only a coherence and consistency, but also a variety and richness, that merits close examination. The seminar would be useful to students in American Studies, Art History, Film Studies, Music Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, as well as Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Bukatman, S. (PI)

FRENCH 12Q: Humanities Core: Great Books, Big Ideas -- Europe, Middle Ages and Renaissance (DLCL 12Q, HUMCORE 12Q, ILAC 12Q)

This three-quarter sequence asks big questions of major texts in the European and American tradition. What is a good life? How should society be organized? Who belongs? How should honor, love, sin, and similar abstractions govern our actions? What duty do we owe to the past and future? The second quarter focuses on the transition from the Middle Ages to Modernity, Europe's re-acquaintance with classical antiquity and its first contacts with the New World. Authors include Dante, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Cervantes, and Milton. N.B. This is the second of three courses in the European track. These courses offer an unparalleled opportunity to study European history and culture, past and present. Take all three to experience a year-long intellectual community dedicated to exploring how ideas have shaped our world and future. Students who take HUMCORE 11 and HUMCORE 12Q will have preferential admission to HUMCORE 13Q (a WR2 seminar).
Terms: Win | Units: 3-4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

FRENCH 75N: Narrative Medicine and Near-Death Experiences (ITALIAN 75N)

Even if many of us don't fully believe in an afterlife, we remain fascinated by visions of it. This course focuses on Near-Death Experiences and the stories around them, investigating them from the many perspectives pertinent to the growing field of narrative medicine: medical, neurological, cognitive, psychological, sociological, literary, and filmic. The goal is not to understand whether the stories are veridical but what they do for us, as individuals, and as a culture, and in particular how they seek to reshape the patient-doctor relationship. Materials will span the 20th century and come into the present. Taught in English.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2017 | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

FRENCH 87N: The New Wave: How The French Reinvented Cinema

Focus on the French New Wave's cinematic revolution of 1959-1962. In a few years, the Nouvelle Vague delivered landmark works such as Truffaut's 400 Blows, Godard's Breathless, Chabrol's Les Cousins or Resnais' Hiroshima mon amour, and changed forever the way we make and think about movies. Why did these films look so radically fresh? What do they say about France's youth culture in the early 60s? How is the author's theory behind them still influencing us today? Focus is on cultural history, aesthetic analysis, interpretation of narrative, sound and visual forms. Taught in English. NOTE: Class meets Tuesday/Thursday 12:00-1:20pm; film screenings Monday 6:00-8:50pm in room 540-108
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Alduy, C. (PI)

FRENCH 110: French Painting from Watteau to Monet (ARTHIST 110, ARTHIST 310, FRENCH 310)

This course offers a survey of painting in France from 1700 to around 1900. It introduces major artists, artworks, and the concepts used by contemporary observers and later art historians to make sense of this extraordinarily rich period. Overarching themes discussed in the class will include the dueling legacies of coloristic virtuosity and classical formalism, new ways of representing visual perception, the opposing artistic effects of absorption and theatricality, the rise and fall of official arts institutions, and the participation of artists and artworks in political upheaval and social change. The course ends with an interrogation of the concept of modernity and its emergence out of dialogue and conflict with artists of the past. Students will learn and practice formal analysis of paintings, as well as interpretations stressing historical context.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Pesic, A. (PI)
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