Course Offerings for Screen Studies
Undergraduate Courses Offered
ENGL 2453: Introduction to Film and TV
This course is an introduction to the formal analysis of moving images—film, television, and new media—in aesthetic, cultural, and political contexts. Students discuss and write about films and other moving images screened in class.
ENGL 3263: Screen Theory and Criticism
An inquiry into the major concepts and debates of mass-media theory. Issues addressed include the nature of the relation between images and reality; the psychological and cultural significance of style in film, television, and new media representations; and the role that mass-media play in the organization of social and political relations.
ENGL 3353: Film and Literature
The theory and practice of the relationship between verbal and visual texts, including adaptation of literary works for the screen, and examinations of the aesthetic, industrial, and cultural relationships between visual and literary media.
ENGL 3433: Topics in Television Studies
A focused examination of one aspect of television culture, technology, history, and/or style. While the particular topics to be considered vary, and include everything from TV genres to TV theories, in each instance the course gives students an in-depth understanding of how television shapes the social and political world in which we live.
ENGL 3443: Studies in Film Genre
A comparative study of film genres, both in and outside the Hollywood system. The course will provide students with a focused knowledge of the hisory and aesthetics of selected genres, along with a sense of the economic imperatives that necessitate generic "contracts" between film producers and viewers. Genres likely to be taught include the film noir, the romantic comedy, and the horror film.
ENGL 3453: History of American Film
This course examines the history of cinema in the U.S. from its beginnings until the present, addressing such issues as: the origins of cinema, the coming of sound, American film genres, the Hollywood studio system, censorship, the challenge of television, the new American cinema of the 1970s, the politics of independent film production, and the rise of computer-generated imagery.
ENGL 3463: History of International Film
Introduction to the history of international cinema and the principal eras in film history, focusing on the moments when different national cinemas flourished.
ENGL 4263: Moving Image Aesthetics (formerly "Aesthetics of Film")
Prerequisite: ENGL 2453. A historical and theoretical examination of the stylistic and affective dimension of moving images, including questions of beauty and ugliness, cuteness and the graphic, enjoyment and disgust, high and low culture. Screenings will vary from semester to semester, but may include examples of realism, lo-fi production, prestige pictures, documentary, music videos and cult cinema, and will include material from both American and international contexts..
ENGL 4350: Contemporary International Cinema
Examines major trends in contemporary international cinema of the last fifteen years. National cinema may include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, China, Taiwan, India, South Korea, and Russia, amongst others.
ENGL 4450: Culture and the Moving Image
Prerequisite: ENGL 2453. An advanced class that examines in depth the relation between moving images and a particular cultural phenomenon, including mass media and the production of violence, the moving image as common culture, television and the construction of domestic life, to name only a few possibilities.
Recent Graduate Courses Offered
Graduate seminars in the Screen Studies Program are taught under a variety of course headings, and reflect the diverse interests of our six faculty members. The specific courses listed below may or may not be taught in the future; however, this list will provide a sense of the kinds of graduate research and instruction supported by the OSU Screen Studies program
Critical Approaches to Screen Studies: Theory and History (Offered Regularly) This introductory graduate course is designed to provide students with an overview of the basic theoretical and historical models in the fields of film and television studies. Students will encounter not only fundamental texts in the discipline, but also very recent work in the field. Our aim here is to see that students understand the traditions and approaches employed by screen studies scholars and also have a sense of how certain discourses, theoretical and historical, are developing. Students should leave the course with a sense of what it will require to make an intervention in the field. Moreover, this course will help students to understand not only the differences between theory and history, but also the very important ways in which they intersect. Likewise, students will become acclimated to doing close readings of theory, history and the moving image. The course should have the added benefit of enabling students to come to some understanding of their own scholarly inclinations, which they can continue to pursue and develop in a more explicit fashion. (Note: this course is offered regularly).
Post-Fordist Hollywood (Dr. Menne, Spring 2013) There is debate within cinema studies about whether Hollywood classicality—the style whose development overlapped the studio system—was ever overcome, or whether it cannot now be deemed the triumphal poetics of moving-image artifacts, from the Paramount decree down to our own moment. We will read certain key studies, from Thomas Schatz, Jerome Christensen, and Murray Smith, in order to clarify what's at stake in naming Hollywood practices in the aftermath of studio monopoly. Discourses of classicality, we'll come to see, offer us little in a periodizing project, for what they say about style—that harmony obtains between maker and audience, that going conventions are broadly legible—fails to disclose anything much about the changing base of Hollywood production. This seminar proposes that giving priority to the poetics of moving- image artifacts, as some do, tends to distort our understanding of the mode of production (in Hollywood and beyond); another method is that we first study arrangements of production so they might let us interpret moving-image artifacts in their light. Taken in this order, a poetics is henceforth shown to accommodate, and even help guide, the industrial change underfoot. Looking at a set of post-studio films, we will see that leaving behind factory production and adopting flexible economies (Fordism to Post-Fordism) was a historical passage that registered powerfully, and was negotiated culturally, in the Hollywood product of the late 1960s and the 1970s. Films to be considered include Seconds (1966), I Am Curious Yellow (1967), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), A New Leaf (1971), The Conversation (1974), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), and An Unmarried Woman (1977). In our manner of inquiring, classicality will simply mark the dominance, with disturbance (or romanticism, as Robin Wood puts it) marking the emergence and decline, of a mode of production.
Cuban Cinema and the Body Politic (Dr. Menne, Fall 2011) The study of Cuban cinema presents unique conditions for reflecting on the relation between art and the state—culture and politics, more broadly put—because post-1959 Cuba developed its cinema and state coextensively. Shortly after expelling Batista from Havana, the revolutionary government started a film institute, ICAIC, on the notion that cultivating cinema and the body politic were roughly the same project. This seminar will consider the careers of the filmmakers who emerged within Cuba's revolutionary cinema—namely Santiago Álvarez, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Julio García Espinosa, Sergio Giral, Sara Gómez, and Humberto Solás—in the context of the explicitly and implicitly theorized part cinema should play in statecraft. We will consider such films as I Am Cuba, Death of a Bureaucrat, Lucía, and Memories of Underdevelopment, among others; read the manifestos of the filmmakers themselves; read theoretical writings from Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Perry Anderson, Nicos Poulantzas, and Jean-Paul Sartre alongside those of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; and assess historical reports from Ernest Mandel, C. Wright Mills, and Jose Yglesias, among others. No Spanish-language knowledge required.
Examining the Screen (Dr. Takacs, Spring 2011) This course will examine the shifting relationship between the screen as a material framework for exhibiting visual imagery and the screen as a metaphor for spectatorship. How has the size, shape, and orientation of the screen influenced the construction and consumption of the virtual worlds displayed there? Or, rather, how has it influenced the way media theorists and historians have discussed these issues? The course will examine how screens look, act, and are acted upon in different eras of media history, with particular attention to the era of digital convergence and the concept of "virtuality."