Film History

Sarah Lawrence students approach film, first and foremost, as an art. The College’s film history courses take social, cultural, and historical contexts into account; but films themselves are the focus of study and discussion. Students seek artistic value equally in Hollywood films, art films, avant-garde films, and documentaries, with emphasis on understanding the intentions of filmmakers and appreciating their creativity.

As a valuable part of a larger humanistic education in the arts, the study of film often includes the exploration of connections to the other arts, such as painting and literature. Close association with the filmmaking and visual arts departments enables students working in those areas to apply their knowledge of film to creative projects. And within the discipline, the study of film gives students insight into stylistic techniques and how they shape meaning. Advanced courses in specific national genres, forms, movements, and filmmakers—both Western and non-Western—provide a superb background in the history of film and a basis for sound critical judgment. Students benefit from New York City’s enormously rich film environment, in which film series, lectures, and festivals run on a nearly continuous basis.

2019-2020 Courses

Film History

History and Aesthetics of Film

Open , Lecture—Year

This class will provide a detailed survey of the history of moving-image art, as well as an introduction to key aesthetic and theoretical concepts in the study of film. We will study the major elements of film form—editing, photography, shot composition, sound, mise-en-scene—as phenomena emerging from specific historical contexts and chart their development both over time and as they travel around the world. While the emphasis of the earlier part of the course will be on film art’s European and American origins, we will approach it as a truly global phenomenon, with considerable attention devoted to East and South Asian, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern cinemas. While the basic structure of the course will be chronological, we will develop the vocabulary and viewing skills necessary to identify and analyze the key components of film texts as we proceed; for example, our examination of editing will be situated within our discussion of 1920s Soviet cinema, while possible uses and aesthetic implications of sound will be examined alongside a number of diverse early experiments with sound. Other key moments to be studied will include the development of the “classical” Hollywood cinema (and challenges to it), the emergence of new national art cinemas in the post-World War II era, the radical cinema traditions of the 1960s and ’70s, and developments in film aesthetics since the introduction of digital filmmaking techniques in the 1990s. Key theoretical approaches in film studies will also be situated in their historical context, including early debates around film’s status as art from the 1910s and ’20s, inquiries into the relationship between photography and reality from the post-World War II period, and Marxist and feminist analyses of the ideological implications of film form and its relationship to the spectator from the 1960s and ’70s.

Faculty

Introduction to Animation Studies

Open , Lecture—Fall

Students who are interested in pursuing a film-making project for their final project have the option of registering for this class under Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts.

To animate is to bring to life, to instill movement into that which would otherwise be still. Animated films grant their viewers access to imaginary worlds that are frequently populated by anthropomorphic animals, fantastical environments, and utopian societies. But animation takes many forms. This course offers a broad survey of the global history of animation by embracing the diversity of those forms and by encouraging students to draw connections between the techniques and materials employed by animators and the political, social, and cultural functions of animated texts. Students will be introduced to a wide variety of ways in which animation has historically been created, including works made with sand, paper, puppets, pixels, clay, cels, pinscreens, garbage, and other unconventional materials. Along the way, students will familiarize themselves with key films, filmmakers, filmic technologies, and filmmaking traditions by studying animation from various eras, genres, industries, and countries. In addition to featuring numerous works from Japan and the United States, weekly screenings will incorporate animated shorts and feature films from many different regions, including Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Iran, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and Swaziland. In-class discussions and course assignments will urge students to grapple with complex questions and issues in the field of animation studies.

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Ut pictura cinema: How Visual Artists Are Portrayed in Film

Open , Lecture—Spring

Inspired by the Horatian epigram Ut pictura poesis (“as is painting so is poetry”) that compares painting and poetry, this lecture class will offer students an opportunity to consider the representation of creativity through the lives of visual artists in film. It’s worth noting that several major filmmakers began their careers as painters (for example, Maurice Pialat, Robert Bresson, Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Mann, and Derek Jarman); and, for many, it’s clear that the model of the painter remains a metonym for creativity tout court. Already in the 1930s, international film companies began engaging in prestige productions focused on artistic biopics, as in Alexander Korda’s Rembrandt (1936). Interestingly, that film’s photography by French cinematographer Georges Périnal approximates the effects of the Dutch master. A decade later, Europe saw a proliferation of films on artists, with a series of short films by the young Alain Resnais (Van Gogh, Gauguin, Guernica, etc). That trend is generally interpreted as a search for eternal values after the devastation of World War II. In the 1996, “bad boy” painter Julian Schnabel moved beyond painting on canvas to work on the larger medium of film, starting with his Basquiat. To date, the artist most frequently portrayed on film has unquestionably been the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. A screening of at least one Van Gogh biopic will enable us to reflect on the everlasting appeal of that artiste maudit. We will also consider several women artists in film, notably the 17th-century Italian artist, Artemisia Gentilleschi, who was one of the first women to emerge as a painter in her own right; the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in Julie Taymor’s Frida; and the talented sculptress Camille Claudel, who had worked as Auguste Rodin’s assistant. We’ll also look at Andrei Tarkovski’s Andrei Rublev, about a 15th-century Russian icon painter; Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio and Blue; as well as Peter Watkins’s Edvard Munch, an absolute paragon in the genre. In addition, while we will concentrate primarily on fiction films, we will also view several documentaries, including Emile de Antonio’s 1973 documentary on American painters of the postwar period, Painters Painting, and Victor Erice’s The Quince Tree Sun. Our class will end with a screening of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Never Look Away, the 2019 Oscar-nominated dramatization of the life of Gerhard Richter, one of the most important painters working today.

Faculty

The Birth of Third World Cinemas and Contemporary Latin American Film

Open , Seminar—Fall

This seminar seeks to examine the development of the vibrant national cinemas across Latin America and, in particular, the genesis of the Marxist-inspired Third World Cinema movement in the 1960s and 1970s that was founded as an alternative to both Hollywood (First Cinema) and European arthouse film (Second Cinema). Beginning with Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished ¡Que Viva México! (1931) and continuing with Mexico’s Golden Age of cinema (1933–64), we will concentrate on the film production of five principal countries: Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, and Chile. In Cuba, the heady influence of the revolution there spawned a revitalized political language across Latin America, and our course readings will include the rousing manifestos of filmmakers Glauber Rocha, Fernando Solanas, and Octavio Getino. We will follow Latin American cinema until recent international blockbusters like Alfonso Arau’s Like Water for Chocolate (1992), which was the highest-grossing Spanish-language film until that time; Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries (2004); and Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). The seminar will highlight key auteurs in Latin American cinema, like Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (Cuba), Walter Salles (Brazil), and Patricio Guzmán (The Battle of Chile); several important Latin American women directors, like Argentina’s María Luisa Bemberg, Cuba’s Sara Gómez, and Argentina’s Lucrecia Martel; and some of the principal technicians, like Gabriel Figueroa—one of the most talented cinematographers in the history of film.

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Indian Cinemas

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course is designed to introduce the different periods, forms, and idioms of Indian sound cinema (post-1931) to both those who are initiating their study of Indian cinema and those who are interested in contextualizing and expanding their current understanding of the cinematic medium within the Indian subcontinent. The course aims to: (i) provide a systematic introduction to the historical and linguistic range of production that Indian cinema studies attempts to address; (ii) introduce the key films, directors, stars, genres, formal techniques, and themes of Indian sound cinema; and (iii) emphasize the interdynamic relationship between India’s regional, national, and global cinema. Starting with pre-independence Indian cinema, the course moves chronologically through the decades to the contemporary period, all the while providing a political, economic, social, and cultural background to the universe of these plural film practices. The required readings encompass a multidisciplinary approach to the study of cinema in India and include both conceptual and historical writings on the different aspects of Indian cinema. The lectures, along with the readings, intend to introduce students to the predominant critical approaches in the field of Indian cinema studies. The writing component of the course encourages students to develop their skills of analysis and interpretation to address either/both formal questions (such as issues of aesthetics, narrative, genre, visual style) and sociocultural questions (such as issues of representation, tradition/modernity, private/public, nationalism, globalization, etc.).

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German Cinema and Cultural Memory (1947–2018)

Open , Seminar—Spring

This seminar will consider recent German history through German film, one of the most consequential and influential national cinemas, over the past 75 years. The class will open with Helmut Käutner’s rubble film, In Those Days (1947). The late 1940s and 1950s saw a rise in escapist melodramas, like the Austrian Sissi trilogy that was so popular during the postwar presidency of Konrad Adenauer. In 1962, several ambitious young men, fed up with the moribund state of German cinema, penned the Oberhausen Manifesto and declared: “The old film is dead. We believe in the new one.” From there, we will look at the very first stirrings of what would become New German Cinema. Our seminar will focus on German auteurs Rainer Werner Fassbinder (The Marriage of Maria Braun), Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum), Wim Wenders (Kings of the Road), Werner Herzog (Nosferatu the Vampyre), Alexander Kluge (Yesterday Girl), and two women of the group Margarethe von Trotta (Marianne and Julianne) and Helma Sanders-Brahms (Germany Pale Mother). We will also consider at least one film from the former GDR and the DEFA film studio. The final weeks of class will be devoted to several recent blockbuster hits, including Wolfgang Becker’s Goodbye Lenin!, Fatih Akin’s Head-On, Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others, and Christian Petzold’s Phoenix.

Faculty

Mainland Chinese Cinema, Culture, and Identity From 1949 to the Present

Open , Joint seminar—Spring

Students will be divided evenly between the two professors for conferences, using the regular model of biweekly meetings.

This seminar course will examine both the historical and cultural context of mainland Chinese cinema from 1949 to the present. The course will be focused on full-length feature films from the People’s Republic of China, providing an eclectic mix of movies covering socialist propaganda of the high Maoist period (1949-76), the critical stances of the “Fifth Generation” (of graduates from the Beijing Film Academy) in the 1980s and early 1990s, the more entertainment-focused films of post-Deng (2000s) China, as well as contemporary art films that are largely seen outside of the commercial exhibition circuit. This wide variety of films will open up questions of cinematic representations of Chinese identity and culture in at least four major modes: socialist revolutionary (1949-76), critical reflections on China’s past and the revolution (1982-1989), what one might call neoliberal entertainment (1990-present), and the more underground art cinema that has emerged as mainstream Chinese cinema has become increasingly commercial. Along with the close analysis of films (their narrative structure, audiovisual language, relationship to other films from both China and beyond), the course will deal with Confucian legacies in Chinese society, communist revolutionary spasms and the censorship system, and the more open market and ideology of the post-Mao reform era. Assigned readings will be varied, as well. Several key movies will be paired with their textual antecedents (e.g., LU Xun’s New Year’s Sacrifice will be read alongside HU Sang’s by the same title, while LI Zhun’s The Biography of LI Shuangshuang will accompany the 1962 movie that followed). Appropriate readings will cover important historical background in some detail; for example, the Great Leap Forward (1959-62) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) are both crucial events for understanding the revolutionary experience, while the latter is particularly relevant for its impact on reform-era filmmakers. Other readings will focus specifically on cinema, ranging from broad historical overviews on the material/financial conditions of production, distribution, and exhibition; close analyses of individual films; the transition from socialist to postsocialist cinema and the construction of “Chineseness” as a object for the Western gaze to the avant-garde/independent responses to the current global/commercial Chinese cinema. This course is an open superseminar (capped at 30 students), meeting once a week for two and half hours in order to facilitate in-depth discussions of paired material; for example, two movies or a movie and significant historical texts (either primary or secondary). In addition to this weekly class time, there will be required screenings of film (one or two per week).

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First-Year Studies: Histories and Theories of Photography

Open , FYS—Year

What is a photograph? This course looks at that question from many different vantage points, including photography theory, social history, art history, media theory, and material culture studies. How is a photograph both a transcription of the world—an index, decal, or one-to-one transfer of a thing—and a representation, a culturally-encoded image that tells us about how we see ourselves and others in the world? We each hold thousands of photographs on our phones, but they are digital, disembodied, and dematerialized images that are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. What can the history of photography (from 1839 to the present) teach us about the medium’s materiality—or how photographs were to be found in albums, lavish frames, photobooks, archives, the wall in a museum, or as slides projected on a screen? What do these material histories tell us about what photography was—and now is? This course will look closely at specific themes within the history and theory of photography, including: documentary aesthetics and discourses of colonization; photography’s archival practices and forms of social control; identity politics and the photographic representation of visibility; digitization and contemporary photography; globalization, labor, and photojournalism; and the ethics and politics of the photography of war and violence. Not a comprehensive survey, this course instead looks at focused case studies structured chronologically. We will do close readings of theoretical and primary source texts and consider scholarly, literary, and aesthetic texts. The course also places strong emphasis on what it means to write about and describe photographs. Whenever possible, we will look at photographs in person. Individual conference meetings will alternate biweekly with group activities that may include field trips to New York City collections, writing workshops, and research sessions in the library.

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Histories of Modern and Contemporary Art

Open , Lecture—Year

This is a yearlong course but will be open to new enrollments in the spring.

This course is an introduction to modern and contemporary art from 1880 to the present. In the fall semester, we will explore modernist histories of art, investigating how artists responded to a world that was ravaged by fascism, colonialism, and war; altered by industry, technology, and rationalized forms of labor; and tested by shifting national, ethnic, and gendered identities. What representational strategies did artists use to respond to those upheavals? How is the history of Western avant-gardist art also one of colonization and cultural appropriation? The course serves as an introduction to the historical avant-gardes in the United States, Mexico, and Europe—including Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Constructivism, Vorticism, Dada, Surrealism, Muralism, the Harlem Renaissance, and Abstract Expressionism—and to alternative modernisms that fall outside the canon, including so-called “outsider” art, queer modernisms, and modernisms in India, Japan, and Latin America. In the spring, we will explore a sea change that began in the 1960s—against a changing social, economic, and political sphere—as artists tested modernist categories of painting and sculpture; incorporated new technologies such as television and video into their art; and questioned the hierarchies of art’s production, reception, and display through protest, activism, and audience participation. We will look closely at how artists embraced radicality by protesting for civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ+ rights and by claiming an antiwar politics. In the last 20 years, all of this shifted with the return to traditional categories of painting and sculpture and the rise of the global art market. Although we will look at art since the 2000s, the main focus is art from 1960 to 2000, including Gutai, happenings, neoconcretism, pop art, Fluxus, minimalism, global conceptual art, site-specificity, earthworks, the Chicano Art Movement, AfriCOBRA, feminism, video art, institutional critique, installation, activist art, participatory art, relational aesthetics, craft, and new media. Throughout, we will focus on specific artworks and gain a vocabulary for close looking while also attending to primary sources (manifestos, letters, statements, poems) and secondary art historical and theoretical accounts. Group conferences will closely investigate works by a single artist. Assignments will include visual analysis papers based on works in New York City collections, exams, and reading responses.

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Architectures of the Future: 1850 to the Present

Open , Seminar—Year

Visionaries and builders; users and functions; thoughts, practices, and theories of architecture from the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution to today...all claim in one way or another to rethink the past, realize the present, and, most importantly, create the future. Through PowerPoint presentations, readings, and discussion, this course gives a challenging, inclusive, and nuanced understanding of buildings and monuments. We will learn to read architecture in depth with architects, critics, historians, and philosophers; to analyze the concept of form and its urban, sociopolitical, and epistemological implications; and to see how architecture gives shape and meaning to its context, sense to our spatial and historical experience, and image to philosophies of human collective action. We will analyze major movements (arts and crafts, technological sublime and Brooklyn Bridge, art nouveau, Bauhaus, modernism and nachine villas, archigram and walking cities, postmodernism and DisneyWorld, deconstruction, new pragmatism, figural, digital, sustainable) and figures (William Ruskin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Sam Mockbee, Zaha Hadid, Jean Gang, and BIG—Bjarke Ingels, not "the Notorious"). Readings will be drawn from history, philosophy, literature (realist, sci-fi, and visionary), Edmund Burke, William Blake, William Morris, Buckminster Fuller, Heidegger, Foucault, Benjamin, and others. Monuments include the Eiffel Tower, the Houses of Parliament, the Einstein Tower, the World’s Fairs of 1925 and 1939, the Bauhaus building, Fallingwater, the Seagram’s building, New York monuments at Ground Zero and in Lower Manhattan, the Irish Hunger monument, among many other structures. Projects, papers, an architectural notebook dedicated to class notes, readings, drawings, musings, etc. will be required, along with a conference project in the history, theory, philosophy, and sociopolitical context—including women as users, patrons, and makers of art and architecture. Well-formulated design projects are a possibility. This course shares connections with visual arts, film, and a broad range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences.

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First-Year Studies: Introduction to Environmental Studies: Cultures of Nature

Open , FYS—Year

In a time of extreme environmental events that include climate change, rising sea levels, flooding, toxics, and radiation, environmental imagery is part of the fabric of daily life and communication: on the Web, on television, in newspapers, and in advertisements. Images of sea rise, genetically modified salmon, or landscapes of environmental devastation in Africa are found in the subway and in Benetton ads, as well as on the front pages of The New York Times and in social media. Representations of nature are not restricted, however, to popular media and texts. They also form the terrain for scientific contestation, debate about environmental ethics, and “high” policy formulation. This FYS seminar introduces students to the insights and methods of environmental humanities, environmental history, science studies, and political ecology. How do stories, images, and maps of nature shape perceptions and practices of environmental management? How is the same patch of “nature” imagined and described by differently positioned observers? How are environmental representations, historical contexts, facts, and rhetoric linked? How are particular forms of environmental representation used? By whom? Where? To what ends? In a time of extreme environmental events, sometimes called the Anthropocene, how are ideas of nature, ecology, and environmental futures changing? How are ideas of resilience now shaping the visions and material interventions of architects, engineers, landscape architects, and urban planners? How do works of fiction, nonfiction, film, and other arts encourage imaginative interventions in an era of increasing environmental risk? In the fall, students will alternate biweekly conferences with biweekly small-group activities. In the spring, students will attend conferences on alternate weeks.

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Introduction to Animation Studies

Open , Lecture—Fall

Students who are interested in pursuing a research project for their final project have the option of registering for this class under Film History.

To animate is to bring to life, to instill movement into that which would otherwise be still. Animated films grant their viewers access to imaginary worlds that are frequently populated by anthropomorphic animals, fantastical environments, and utopian societies. But animation takes many forms. This course offers a broad survey of the global history of animation by embracing the diversity of those forms and by encouraging students to draw connections between the techniques and materials employed by animators and the political, social, and cultural functions of animated texts. Students will be introduced to a wide variety of ways in which animation has historically been created, including works made with sand, paper, puppets, pixels, clay, cels, pinscreens, garbage, and other unconventional materials. Along the way, students will familiarize themselves with key films, filmmakers, filmic technologies, and filmmaking traditions by studying animation from various eras, genres, industries, and countries. In addition to featuring numerous works from Japan and the United States, weekly screenings will incorporate animated shorts and feature films from many different regions, including Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Iran, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and Swaziland. In-class discussions and course assignments will urge students to grapple with complex questions and issues in the field of animation studies.

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Intermediate French I (Section I): French Identities

Open , Seminar—Year

Course conducted in French. Admission by placement test (to be taken during interview week at the beginning of the fall semester) or completion of Beginning French. The Intermediate I and II French courses are specially designed to help prepare students for studying in Paris with Sarah Lawrence College the following year. 

This course will offer a systematic review of French grammar and is designed to strengthen and deepen students’ mastery of grammatical structures and vocabulary. Students will also learn to begin to use linguistic concepts as tools for developing their analytic writing. More than other countries, France’s identity was shaped by centuries of what is now perceived by the French as a historically coherent past. In this course, we will explore the complexities of today’s French identity or, rather, identities, following the most contemporary controversies that have shaken French society in the past 20 years while, at the same time, exploring historical influences and cultural paradigms at play in these débats franco-français. Thus, in addition to newspapers, online resources, recent movies, and songs, we will also study masterpieces of the past in literature and in the arts. Topics discussed will include, among others, school and laïcité, cuisine and traditions, immigration and urban ghettos, women and feminism in France, France’s relation to nature and the environment, the heritage of French Enlightenment (les Lumières), devoir de mémoire, and the relation of France with dark episodes of its history (slavery, Régime de Vichy and Nazi occupation, Algerian war). Authors studied will include Marie de France, Montaigne, Voltaire, Hugo, Flaubert, Proust, Colette, Duras, Césaire, Djebar, Chamoiseau, and Bouraoui. In addition to conferences, a weekly conversation session with a French language assistant(e) is required. Attendance at the weekly French lunch table and French film screenings are both highly encouraged.

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The Third Reich: Its History and Its Images

Open , Lecture—Fall

Ever since the defeat of the Third Reich, the term “Nazi” has served as a term to mark political enemies—though in the 1980s the term also acquired a more ironic edge, think of Seinfeld’s “soup Nazi.” The accusation, as well as the ascription of the moniker today, is as much grounded in historical reality as in mythmaking. But today, when real neo-Nazis are marching in the streets—for example, Charlottesville—and the “Death of Democracy” is debated, it has become paramount to understand the actual history of the Third Reich: the policies, culture, and appeal, as much as the deeds and destruction of National Socialism. This lecture begins with the crisis of Weimar democracy and ends with the aftermath of World War II and the attempts to (re)establish a democratic order in Europe. Students will be introduced to the policies of the Third Reich, both from the angle of National Socialists and from that of their victims. This history is a story of exclusion and inclusion; it is also a history of images. From the very beginning, the Third Reich used film to present itself in more or less subtle forms of propaganda. But films also played an important role in defining the Third Reich from the outside. Thus, in addition to the lectures, one weekly film screening will be held at which we will watch movies from the era produced by the Third Reich or its opponents. We will discuss these films in the context of the lectures during our group conferences.

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History and Memory on Screen: The Third Reich in Film, From The Great Dictator to Inglorious Basterds

Open , Seminar—Spring

Movies shape the way we see the world. They also shape the way we think about history. The miniseries Holocaust of 1978 did more to sensitize not only the American but also the German public toward the mass murder of European Jews—and also popularized the term—than most books written about the Holocaust until then. Schindler’s List, 15 years later, once more confronted audiences with the very personal histories of Jewish victims during the Holocaust while, at the same time, introducing the figure of the “good German.” While films about the Third Reich and the Holocaust continue to be reliable box office hits, both as blockbusters and as art house movies— Alone in Berlin, Operation Valkyrie, The Fall, and Inglorious Basterds are just a few examples from the 2000s—attempts to visualize the Third Reich from outside already began during its existence. This course seeks to investigate the changing representations of the Third Reich. The films literally put changing views about its history on screen and shape the public’s idea about the Third Reich. Over the course of the semester, we will analyze the range of genres and approaches to the topic in their historical and national context. Most of the movies will be from the United States and Germany, with forays into Eastern European and Israeli representations of the Third Reich. This is not a film-studies course but, rather, one that explores the legacy and memory of the Third Reich through film. The movie screenings will be accompanied by weekly readings. By the end of the semester, students will have familiarized themselves with the different and historically contingent ways in which the Third Reich was—and is—viewed. Students will be introduced to using films as historical sources and to the influence of movies on public history, as well as to the legacy of the Third Reich in postwar politics. Having taken the fall 2019 lecture, The Third Reich, is helpful but not mandatory.

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Intermediate Italian: Modern Italian Culture and Literature

Intermediate , Seminar—Year

This intermediate-level course aims at improving and perfecting the students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, as well as their knowledge of Italy’s contemporary culture and literature. In order to acquire the necessary knowledge of Italian grammar, idiomatic expressions, and vocabulary, a review of all grammar will be carried out throughout the year. As an introduction to modern Italian culture and literature, students will be introduced to a selection of short stories, poems, and passages from novels, as well as specific newspaper articles, music, and films in the original language. Some of the literary works will include selections from Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino, Natalia Ginzburg, Gianni Rodari, Marcello D’Orta, Clara Sereni, Dino Buzzati, Stefano Benni, Antonio Tabucchi, Alberto Moravia, Achille Campanile, and Elena Ferrante. In order to address the students’ writing skills, written compositions will also be required as an integral part of the course. All material is accessible on MySLC. Conferences are held on a biweekly basis; topics might include the study of a particular author, literary text, film, or any other aspect of Italian society and culture that might be of interest to the student. Conversation classes (in small groups) will be held twice a week with the language assistant; students will have the opportunity to reinforce what they have learned in class and hone their ability to communicate in Italian. When appropriate, students will be directed to specific internship opportunities in the New York City area, centered on Italian language and culture.

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Advanced Italian: Fascism, World War II, and the Resistance in 20th-Century Italian Narrative and Cinema

Advanced , Seminar—Year

This course is intended for advanced students of Italian who want to better their comprehension, as well as their oral and written skills, in the language and their knowledge of Italian literature. This will be achieved by reading literary works and watching films in the original language, producing written compositions, and also through in-class discussion of the material. The course examines the manner in which crucial historical events that occurred during the 20th century—specifically the rise and fall of fascism, World War II, and the Resistance—were represented within Italian literature and cinema of the time, as well as throughout the decades following the end of the war (up to the 1970s). Literary texts will include those authored by Ignazio Silone, Vasco Pratolini, Italo Calvino, Mario Carli, Renata Viganò, Carlo Cassola, Beppe Fenoglio, Elio Vittorini, Alberto Moravia, and Carlo Mazzantini. Films will include fascist propaganda and documentaries (from the Istituto Luce’s archives), as well as films by Roberto Rossellini (his fascist-era War trilogy, as well as his neorealist films), Vittorio De Sica, Luigi Comencini, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuliano Montaldo, Ettore Scola, Luchino Visconti, Liliana Cavani, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Federico Fellini. Conference topics might include the study of a particular author, literary text, or film that might be of interest to the student. When appropriate, students will be directed to specific internship opportunities in the New York area centered on Italian language and culture. Literary texts will be on reserve in the library or available for purchase; critical material will be available through MySLC. Conversation classes (in small groups) will be held twice a week with the language assistant; students will have the opportunity to reinforce what they have learned in class and hone their ability to communicate in Italian.

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Latin American Literature and Film: Beyond the Boom

Open , Lecture—Spring

This course is taught in English.

This interactive lecture will take as its point of departure the historical context and major works of the Latin American Boom in the 1960s and ’70s, then go on to explore essential voices that were overlooked during this period, as well as contemporary writing and film. As part of our analysis of these works, we will reflect on the creative and commercial dimensions of their appearance in English translation. Readings include works by Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, Clarice Lispector, Samanta Schweblin, Cristina Rivera Garza, Alejandro Zambra, Yuri Herrera, and Valeria Luiselli. We will also view films by Lucrecia Martel and Claudia Llosa, among others. Though this is a lecture, students will participate in group activities and class discussions. Two registration options are available. TRACK 1 (5 credits): participation in both lecture and group conference; assignments include regular reflections on the course materials, a midterm exam, and a final paper. TRACK 2 (3 credits): participation in lecture, a midterm exam, and a final paper.

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The Occupation and Its Aftermath in French Literature and Film

Open , Joint seminar—Spring

This course will explore the fraught relationship between representation and memory by focusing on French literature and film produced during and following World War II. After the fall of France in 1940, the country was divided into two parts: one half under German occupation; the other half ruled by a collaborationist regime headquartered in Vichy. Every aspect of life, including cultural and artistic production, was subject to authoritarian control. Means of political expression and dissemination came up against laws instituting surveillance, censorship, rationing, roundups, and deportations to internment and concentration camps. We will focus on the unique position of writers and filmmakers as witnesses to, and interpreters of, national humiliation, personal catastrophe, and collective shock. Artists, under both the occupation and the Vichy government, were forced to choose whether to speak out, join the resistance, collaborate, or keep silent. During the decades that followed liberation, writers proved integral to the (re)appraisals of France’s conduct during the war. The first half of this course will be devoted to texts and films produced from 1940-1945, while the second half will address postwar efforts to reconcile, contextualize, and, in some cases, justify a political and historical narrative that framed France as both heroic and resistant to Nazi oppression. Interspersed with primary texts and films will be secondary materials drawn from testimony, trauma theory, and memory studies. Texts will be read in English translation; students of French will have the opportunity to read texts in the original. Among the authors to be studied are Sartre, Duras, Beauvoir, Camus, Vercors, Némirovsky, Semprun, Céline, Modiano, Perec, and Salvayre. Filmmakers could include Truffaut, Malle, Lelouch, Melville, Chabrol, Carné, and Ophüls.

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Cuban Literature and Film Since 1959—Vivir y pensar en Cuba

Advanced , Seminar—Spring

Taught in Spanish.

Cuba has long exerted a disproportionate fascination for US nationals, perhaps for the world in general. The only socialist country in the Western Hemisphere, Cuba’s relative isolation for decades after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 and the 57-year (and counting) economic embargo imposed by the United States have exacerbated political animosity between Cubans living on the island and the diaspora and have created polarized (and polaroidized) and stereotypical images (black-and-white or in technicolor) that either idealize Cuba as a tropical earthly paradise or denigrate it as a tyrannical dictatorship, a racially integrated island or a landscape of/in ruins, a socialist utopia or nightmarish dystopia leading to massive exodus, and the Caribbean gulag (complete with a US high-security prison in Guantánamo). This course does not aim exclusively to explore and critique these and other ideas about Cuba, though the context is both inevitable and indispensable to fully understand our subject(s). We want to focus on tracing the evolution of Cuba's literature and film since 1959 and learn about how Cubans live and think in/about Cuba. (The title of the course is the title of a Cuban anthology of essays on Cubans born in and raised with the Revolution.) The leaders of the Cuban Revolution were young and consummately aware that literature, film, photography, the visual arts, and popular culture (comics, popular or traditional music) were extraordinarily useful and effective ways to propagate the Revolution at home—especially when one considers that 57% of the population was illiterate—and abroad. We will read a couple of foundational essays (Che Guevara, Fernández Retamar) and excerpts from speeches (Fidel) in order to understand how literature and the arts are ideologically subsumed into the (new) discourse of the nation, how it evolves and changes over several decades, how the new reality impacts and leads to reconfigured genres (testimony, “social realism,” etc.), and the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet regime and the disastrous effect on Cuba (el período especial). We will explore trends since the 1990s—including contemporary and postmodern voices from the island and those of the diaspora (writing back)—as well as how gender and race have been imagined (or not).

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Intermediate Spanish II: Juventud, divino tesoro...

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

Taught entirely in Spanish. Taking the Spanish Placement Test either in the fall of 2019 or early in the spring is recommended before interviewing for this class.

This course will explore Latin American and Spanish literature and film that focuses on youth. Readings will include 20th- and 21st-century authors from as broad a range of countries as possible—as well as films—that consider how gender, race, class, and nationality impact how we perceive the young, how they/we are perceived, and how pressing political or ideological issues are conveyed or displaced through images of youth. We will also review some grammar, mostly aimed at improving writing and expressive skills.

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Media Burn: Moving Image Installation in Practice

Open , Seminar—Year

This yearlong production seminar investigates histories, strategies, and concepts related to the production and exhibition of moving-image installation. Over the year, students will investigate the histories of moving-image installation and create their own works of time-based art. We will look at artworks that use moving images, space, sound, loops, performance, site-specificity, chance operations, multiple channels, and games as tools for communicating ideas. In the fall semester, our work will be inspired by close readings of specific seminal artworks in installation from the late 1960s to the present, including pieces that utilize feedback loops, multiple projections, home movies, and new technologies. Students will learn craft and concept simultaneously through collaborative and individual production. Spring semester, we will engage with our own concepts and ideas of how time-based installation can be activated. Site-specificity, social practice, and interdisciplinary projects are introduced, and students are encouraged to connect their conference in this class to collaborations in theatre, dance, sculpture, painting, and academics. Conference works involve research, craft, and rigorous conceptual and technical practice and are presented in exhibitions at the end of each semester. A component of the class will take place outside the classroom at museums, galleries, nonprofits, performance spaces, and historic sites in and around New York City. (The title of this class, Media Burn, comes from the 1975 performance by the San Francisco-based art collective Ant Farm, https://www.eai.org/titles/media-burn)

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Poetry: What Holds the Unsayable

Open , Seminar—Spring

Poems are not merely feelings, the poet Ranier Maria Rilke has written, but experiences. What is the difference between a feeling and an experience? How can a poem become an experience? How can a poem, originating from the personal, transcend the personal? How can writing the poem transform the writer? Every poem holds the unsayable. How does a poem do that? How can we attempt to do that—using words? If you are interested in these questions, take this course. It is open to experienced writers, as well as to absolute beginners. If you are interested in these questions, you are welcome. This is a reading/writing course. We will spend time every week reading poems that have already been published (by dead poets and living poets) to see how they were made: music, syntax, line, sound, and image. We might spend time generating new work in class through exercises and experiments. And we will spend time looking closely at one another’s work, encouraging each other to take risks and move even closer to the mystery of the poem. Each writer in the class will meet with another class member once a week on a “poetry date.” Each writer will be responsible for reading the assigned work and for bringing to class one written offering each week. We will work hard, learn a great deal about poetry and about our own poems, and have a wonderful time.

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