Course Detail

Studies in Literature and the Visual Arts: A: Film Genres or

Studies in Literature and the Visual Arts




393A-C Satisfy the Visual and Performing Arts distribution.
Check schedule to determine which section is being offered.

393A Film Genres


Originally a means of market differentiation, film genres now are sets of conventions with emotional payoffs, that is, formal devices that promise "repetitive reaffirmation of certain ritualistic experiences" (Gehring).  In other words, film genres are about business, art, and technology.  But they seem to me also about ways of creating or recreating emotions.  In this course we'll look at the formal and psychological markers as well as cultural consequences of a number of film genres that create, recreate, and thus keep certain emotions in circulation. 

393B Love and Art


This is not a course in which we parade our pain or give advice to the lovelorn. But it is an immodest and wholly foolish undertaking.  And an ambitious one, too:  though it's mostly literary analysis it is also part philosophy, part psychology, part history, part film theory, part creative writing and filmmaking.  For to begin to speak of love is to speak of desire, beauty, goodness, creation, immortality (Plato), psychic anatomy and anatomical memory, prophetic dreams, conscious irrationality, obsession, transgression, suffering, repression, sublimation (Freud), selfhood, otherness, will to power, slavery, mastery, surrender (Hegel, Sartre, De Beauvoir), prostitution (Marx and Engels), male conspiracy (Firestone),   Lines between  eros, philia, nomos, agape, and theoria grow faint and not only because they happen to be Greek words and thus equally strange. Appetites sometimes merge and sometimes squabble with reason and spirit.  Loving oneself, loving others, loving God, loving God in others, passion, intimacy, commitment, these states bring up only the first questions: Who/what should be loved? How does a lover choose a/the beloved? What causes love? What does love cause? Egotism? Idealism? Self-knowledge? Marriage? Companionate marriage? Partnership? The sense that the lovers are heroes/heroines of their own stories which they can finally tell? If one's love is a story, or becomes a story, what is the genre of that story? Does love become a story only in love's absence? Is love good? Is love a good? Is there a hierarchy of loves and lovers? What connects love to sexual desire? Do causes and connections differ among cultures and historical periods? What differentiates falling in love from being or staying in love? All of these are good philosophical questions and psychological categories, but talking about love philosophically or treating it as something amenable to psychologizing invariably causes us, as the philosopher Arthur Danto said in the Chambers Gallery, "to lose touch with the reality everyone cherishes."

393C Film Theory


This course explores theoretical approaches to fiction and nonfiction film, television, video and other media. Though no production experience is required, we will make short storyboards  and videos, and students have the option to make a video as a final project. We then consider "ists" and "isms," including realism and reality TV; modernism; postmodernism; materialism; evolutionary criticism, and Freudianism and gender theory. Movies we may consider: Modern Times, Pervert's Guide to Cinema, Bicycle Thieves, Star Wars, Shane, Out of the Past, Waking Life, No Country for Old Men, Man with the Movie Camera, Un Chien Andalou, and a variety of shorter videos.

393D Word Art


You live in a highly visual culture.  To be literate, you need to read and interpret words, images & the interplay between them, both in print and online. This course examines print & digital texts that combine words & images, but it is not a course in mass communications. Instead, we'll study some of the most complex and subtle word/image interactions, including ekphrasis (poems about pictures), illuminated books, graphic memoir, and digital poetry. ENG 393: Word-Art is a double hybrid: a study of words & images via critical & creative writing. The course inhabits both print and digital realms: meet in a classroom & blog on this website; draw in notebooks & write for web publication; hack print books & design a Davidson Domain.


Permission of the instructor required.