Cinema and Cultural Theory

Ran MA Associate Professor

Department: School of Letters / Graduate School of Letters

Class Time: 2013 Fall Thursday
Recommended for: NUPACE students

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Course Description, Objectives

This course engages critical issues and debates on contemporary cultural theories by facilitating the inquiry with three broadly-divided but intricately interconnected themes, namely visual culture, popular culture as well as globalization, all three of which offer various critical lens in examining global socio-cultural conditions and the discontents of modernity; such critical perspectives underpin the way how we perceive and critique the era we are living in.

This course will engage students in sustained analysis and self-analysis of key ideas of cultural and social theories by referring to wide spectrums of cultural objects and practices, with particular interest in visuality and representation in cinematic works, while the survey also extends to painting, photography, video and the cyberspace and so forth. Students will assess the social construction and implications of certain cultural forms, phenomena and texts and evaluate the opposing takes and arguments.

For case studies and certain reference readings emphasis will be given to popular culture in Asia.

Through this course, students are expected to

  • Acquire new knowledge on globalization, popular culture and visual culture through study and analysis of theoretical and cultural texts;
  • Examine and critique issues on contemporary culture and globalization from a range of different theoretical perspectives;
  • Demonstrate a critical and ethical awareness of local and global socio-cultural issues through discussions of cultural texts.

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Course Aims

This course engages critical issues and debates on contemporary cultural theories by facilitating the inquiry with three broadly-divided but intricately interconnected themes, namely visual culture, popular culture as well as globalisation, all three of which offer various critical lens in examining global socio-cultural conditions and the discontents of modernity; such critical perspectives underpin the way how we perceive and critique the era we are living in.

This course will engage students in sustained analysis and self-analysis of key ideas of cultural and social theories by referring to wide spectrums of cultural objects and practices, with particular interest in visuality and representation in cinematic works, while the survey also extends to painting, photography, video and the cyberspace. Students will assess the social construction and implications of certain cultural forms, phenomena and texts and evaluate the opposing takes and arguments.

For case studies and certain reference readings emphasis will be given to popular culture in Asia.

Through this course, students are expected to

  • Acquire new knowledge on globalisation, popular culture and visual culture through study and analysis of theoretical and cultural texts;
  • Examine and critique issues on contemporary culture and globalization from a range of different theoretical perspectives;
  • Demonstrate a critical and ethical awareness of local and global socio-cultural issues through discussions of cultural texts.

Grading

  • 10% Participation
  • 20% contribution to class discussion/presentation
  • 20% Reading Explication Essay:
  • 50% Final Paper (2,000~ words)

Students will discuss and evaluate the arguments and evidences of two essays drawn from either required or reference readings until Nov 28th and write a one to two page explication essay; students could also test the viability of concepts by re-contextualising them in other examples of their own choosing. Late papers will not be accepted. A more detailed explanation will be provided later in the semester.

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Lecture Handouts

Session #1
Introduction (PDF, 11794KB)
Session #2
Debating Images : Seeing is Believing? (PDF, 14266KB)
Session #3
Spectatorship and Gaze (PDF, 4032KB)
Session #4
Surveillance and Panopticon (PDF, 8820KB)
Session #5
Spectacle (PDF, 6460KB)
Session #6
Cool Japan : Cuties and Monsters (PDF, 16811KB)
Session #7
Idols and Fandom in Asian Popular Culture (PDF, 15414KB)
Session #8
Japanese Popular Culture II : Subculture Otaku, Lolita and... (PDF, 11611KB)
Session #9
Circulating Images in the Global Era : International Film Festival Network (PDF, 10934KB)
Session #10
Global City and Cosmopolitanism I (PDF, 10934KB)

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Page last updated July 14, 2014

The class contents were most recently updated on the date indicated. Please be aware that there may be some changes between the most recent year and the current page.

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