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Maymester Courses

HUMN 3104: Film Criticism and Theory

Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz

This course surveys and engages with the major film theories. It also examines the role and function of film criticism. Students will screen at least one film each week, read pertinent theoretical and critical writings, participate insightfully in discussions, and write analytically and creatively about topics discussed and gestured toward in class. Same as FILM 3104.

HUMN 3660: Postmodern
David Ferris

This course will examine the event of the Postmodern and its effect within literature, film, architecture, culture, and critical theory. Beginning with works that signal and examine the onset of modernity, the consequences of postmodernity for our understanding of the modern as a sign of our intellectual, cultural, and social progress will be presented. Once defined in relation to the modern, our attention will turn to the problems and issues posed by the postmodern with respect to history, perception, and the concept of an era that is also our present. We will also examine various recent attempts to think beyond the postmodern. The course will include a broad selection of works from architectural theory to performance art.

HUMN 3702: Dada and Surrealist Literature
Patrick Greaney

Surveys the major theoretical concepts and literary genres of the Dada and Surrealist movements.  Topics include Dada performance and cabaret, the manifesto, montage, the readymade, the Surrealist novel, colonialism and the avant-garde, and literary and philosophical precursors to the avant-garde.  Taught in English.  Same as GRMN 3702.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.


Term A Courses

HUMN 4093: Advanced Topics in the Humanities: 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. 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).


Term B Courses

HUMN 4004: Topics in Film Theory

Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz

By far the most successful brand name in film history, the “James Bond 007” movies created by Harry Saltzman & Albert R. Broccoli can be considered an essential example of the reliability of formula and the adaptability of generic forms. The series offers a case study in the cultural politics of Western cinemas in general, and genre in particular, and the cinema’s relation to history and society. We will concentrate on the films’ treatment and re-invention of issues such as the Cold War, the sexual revolution, gender politics, feminism, racism, and technological developments. Amidst changing historical and cultural frameworks, the improbable hero invented by Ian Fleming in 1953 remains adaptable and an example of the capability of “classic” genre forms to evolve and address shifting social anxieties and historical contexts. Readings will include scholarly works on the history and cultural politics of the “James Bond” movies, writings on genre theory and film history, contemporary reviews, memoirs, Fleming novels and short stories, and other materials. The purpose of this course is to explore a popular cinema phenomenon from a theoretical and political perspective and to deconstruct its conventions, significance, and re-thinking of culture, history, narrative, ideology, and genre itself. Same as FILM-4004.