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HUMN 4093-3 Hitchcock/FreudHUMN 3104-3 Film Criticism & Theory
Jennifer Peterson

Melodrama has often been dismissed as overwrought with emotion, moralizing, and sensationalism. Film studies, however, has come up with ways to understand melodrama as an intriguing “mode of excess” which has powerful resonance for film audiences. This course will examine how and to what purposes melodrama has been used in cinema. We will look at different aspects of melodrama: its pictorialism, acting style, and music; its uses of paranoia and entrapment, and also fast-paced action. This course will examine the form and function of film melodrama in different historical periods, asking questions such as: How does melodrama affect and “move” its spectators? How does it address questions of social justice? Why is music so important to the genre? How does it allow space for the representation of marginalized voices (women and African Americans, for example), and yet how does it also contain those voices within conventional ideology? How has melodrama been viewed by oppositional audiences and fan cultures? What are the implications of film style for melodrama, and why is music so important to the genre? Films may include: Way Down EastBody and SoulShow BoatStella DallasLetter From An Unknown WomanImitation of LifeRebel Without A CauseKramer vs. KramerBrokeback Mountain.Prerequisite FILM 1502. Same as FILM 3104.

Paul Gordon
This class will apply Freud’s psychoanalytic method of interpreting works of art to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Although Hitchcock is often self-consciously Freudian in his art (eg. in VertigoSpellbound, etc.), the true “latent content” of the films is only to be revealed by an application of Freud’s theories of narcissism, the Oedipus-complex, the uncanny, etc. “against the grain” of the manifest content of Hitchcock’s works themselves. For example, we will seek to explain Hitchcock’s recurrent and complicated use of “maternal super-egos” (as in Psycho), of male narcissism (as in Rear Window), of a violent “male protest” (Shadow of a Doubt) and of a female and trans-gendered violence of nature and the unconscious (MarnieThe Birds). And above all, we will examine the persistence figure of “Mother” in Hitchcock’s films as it informs all of his leading female characters.

Requirements: Weekly viewing of the films will be accompanied by class presentations and discussions, culminating in a final research project involving the psychoanalytical interpretation of at least one of Hitchcock’s films.
Prerequisite: HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing.

HUMN 4120-3 Greek and Roman Tragedy
John Gibert

We will be reading a selection of the surviving works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides (all works written at Athens in the 5th c. BCE) and Seneca (whose 1st century CE tragedies represent the sole examples of the genre at Rome surviving in non-fragmentary form). There will also be substantial secondary or background reading to guide the development of an understanding of the religious and moral dimensions of tragic drama in context. In this course, the aim will be to develop skills and habits of close observation, analysis and argument, as well as respect for ideas, nuances and differences. As we read, we will attend to the importance of the texts in the literary historical tradition and their role in shaping cultural norms, habits of thought and the imaginative landscape of western civilization. We will also consider what they tell us of what it is to be human in a complex and ever-changing world. There is no formal prerequisite, but experience writing and talking about literature will be helpful. Same as CLAS 4120.
This course is approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 4502-3 Nietzsche: Literature and Values
Adrian Del Caro

Emphasis is placed on Nietzsche’s major writings spanning the years 1872 – 1888, with particular attention to the critique of Western values. A systematic exploration of doctrines, concepts, and ideas leading to the values of creativity.
Restricted to sophomores/juniors/seniors. Same as GRMN 4502.Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: ideals and values.


Term A Courses

In addition to Nietzsche (The Gay Science) and Freud (“Character-Types Met in Psychoanalytical Work”), other works to be studied include: AntigoneMacbethNotes from UndergroundA Good Man is Hard to Find (Flannery O’Conner), The Stranger, and The Executioner’s Song. Films include Herzog’s Aguirre the Wrath of God, and the films of Scorsese (Taxi DriverCape Fear, etc).Prerequisite: HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing.HUMN 4093-3 Advanced Studies: The Criminal as Hero
Paul Gordon

In this comparative, interdisciplinary course we will examine Freud’s, Nietzsche’s, and other theories of criminality and apply those to the study of a number of films and literary works which focus on heroic figures who are also, paradoxically, criminals.