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John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

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Western Culture and Film  

2017-06-20 13:16:52|  分类: +西方文化与电影 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Western Culture and Film                                           Zhang Zaixin

Department of English                    Class Email Address: culturefilm@126.com

8:00 - 9:50, Tuesday

Course Objectives

This seminar aims to help students to better understand Western culture and enhance their critical thinking skills by interpreting films from different critical perspectives. The students are expected to watch twelve Hollywood movies (with Chinese or English subtitles) before coming to class for discussions. These movies concern such issues as parent and child, fear of intimacy, man and woman, commodity and ideology, racial conflict, truth and deconstruction, power/knowledge, desire, reality and representation. The critical theories we are going to focus on are psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, postcolonialism, deconstruction, new historicism and cultural criticism, queer theory, postmodernism, etc.

Textbook

Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User-friendly Guide. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Films for Discussion

Tadpole (2000), Elegy (2008), The Ugly Truth (2009), Down with Love (2003), The Million Pound Note (1954), The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), Doubt (2008), Chicago (2002), Gigli (2003), The Truman Show (1998), and Simone (2002).

Optional Texts

Boggs, Joseph M. and Dennis W. Petrie. The Art of Watching Films, 7th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008). Beijing: World Book, Inc., 2012.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2004.

Easthope, Antony. “Postmodernism and Critical and Cultural Theory.” Ed. Stuart Sim. The Routledge Companion to Postmodernism. London: Routledge, 2001. 15-27.

Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. Trans. A. A. Brill. Intro. Stephen Wilson. Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth, 1997.

---. Sigmund Freud on Sexuality. Angela Richards, ed. London: Penguin, 1991.

Frith, Gill. “Women, Writing and Language: Making the Silences Speak.” Introducing Women’s Studies: Feminist Theory and Practice, 2nd ed. Ed. Victoria Robinson and Diane Richardson. Houndmills: MacMillan, 1997. 98-124.

Laz, Cheryl. “Act Your Age.” Sociological Forum 13.1 (1998): 85-113.

Selden, Raman, Peter Widdowson, and Peter Brooker. A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2004.

Spelman, Elizabeth V. “Woman as Body: Ancient and Contemporary Views.” Feminist Studies 8. 1 (1982): 109-131.

Zhang, John Zaixin. Deconstruction and Poststructuralist Cultural Criticism: Lois Tyson’s Misreading. 22 May, 2014. http://bfsutheory.blog.163.com/.

Requirements and Grades

1. Fifteen-minute presentation on an interpretation of an assigned movie (pair work), 15%.

          2. Active participation in discussion, 15%.

3. Term paper on a Hollywood movie of your own choice (around 3,000 words, with a literature review and one of the theoretical approaches you have learned from this seminar), 60%.

4. Five-minute presentation on the term paper, 10%.

Tentative Schedule

Week 1   Introduction

Week 2   Parent and Child

Presentation 1: Tadpole – the Oedipus complex

Reading: Tyson, Chapter 2,   “Psychoanalysis.”

Week 3   Fear of Intimacy

Presentation 2: Elegy – age as performance, fear of intimacy

Readings: Laz, “Act Your Age”; Tyson, Chapter 2,   “Psychoanalysis.”

Week 4   National Day Holiday

Weeks 5-6   Man and Woman

(Week 4) Presentation 3: The Ugly Truth – woman as body (man as mind).

(Week 5) Presentation 4: Down with Love – women and writing

Readings: Frith on women, writing and language; Spelman on body; Tyson, Chapter 4,  “Feminism.”

Weeks 7-8   Commodity and Ideology

(Week 6) Presentation 5: The Million Pound Note – capital as commodity

(Week 7) Presentation 6: The Pursuit of Happyness – the American dream as ideology

Reading: Tyson, Chapter 3 “Marxist Criticism.”

Week 9   Racial Conflict

       Presentation 7: Ghosts of Mississippi – racism

Reading: Tyson, Chapter 12, “Postcolonial Criticism.”

Weeks 10-11   Truth and Deconstruction

       (Week 10) Presentation 8: Doubt – “transcendental signified” doubted

Readings: Tyson, Chapter 8, “Deconstructive Criticism”; Zhang on Tyson (blog).

Week 12   Power/Knowledge

Presentation 9: Chicago – power/knowledge

Reading: Tyson, Chapter 9, “New Historicism and Cultural Criticism.”

Week 13   Desire

Presentation 10: Gigli – sex/gender as performance

Readings: Butler, 10-23, 141-3, 178-80; Tyson, Chapter 10, “Lesbian, Gay, and Queer Criticism.”

Week 14   Reality and Representation

Presentation 11: The Truman Show – hyperreality

Presentation 12: Simonesimulacrum

Readings: Easthope on postmodernism; Selden, Chapter 8, “Postmodernist Theories.”

Weeks 15-16   Presentations on term papers

Week 18       Term paper due

Academic Honesty

       To plagiarize means “to take (words, ideas etc) from (someone else’s work) and use them in one’s own work without admitting one has done so. If you plagiarize at university in Britain or the US you may be refused a degree” (Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture). Any act of plagiarism in this class will be reported to the dean.

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