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The heart of the course is in the second part — the films. Our course has a budget of$6,000, which is included in the history department budget. Most ofthis money is for film rentals (approximately 120 feature films). We felt that students in our course must see them in a chronological order and in clusters of genres or national groupings. So we show films everyday — sometimes two a day - at 4:00 to 7:00 in a large film auditorium on the campus (seating 500). Students in the course are given film passes to let them in. Other students must contribute a donation to defer other expenses ofthe course. The films are shown once, preceded by a short introduction, and sometimes followed by a discussion in special cases (see film list). But the discussion ofthe films are kept to the lectures ~ where certain films are discussed in detail — and the students run discussion sections. The discussion section (30 in number) is the third aspect ofthe course. They are led by the 20 to 25 students who participated in the film seminars first semester. These students are given a credit for the teaching. There are weekly meetings ofall discussion leaders with the lectures and all problems with the course are discussed at these seminars. The sections (average 1 5 students) discuss in detail the films, lectures and readings. Special reports are prepared by students and delivered to the sections. Certain films, usually one a week, are designated required and all students must see them. They serve as a basis for the discussion sections. In most cases the student also has the script of the film (Simon and Schuster series) to read before and after the film screening. The written requirements for the course are: (1) a research paper on a specific area or topic offilm and society. Topics must be approved by the section leader and the lecturers. These papers average about 15 to 20 pages and are read by the discussion leaders, and Xerox copies are made available to other members ofthe the discussion section for their comments and suggestions, (2) a short 2-5 page review of one film the student has seen outside the course, the object ofthis paper is to relate the approach ofthe sociology ofknowledge — the theoretical framework ofthe course — to a contemporary film, (3) a final exam on the general aspects ofthe course. As you can appreciate, the student who takes our course commits a great deal of time to the subject (lectures, discussions, readings, viewings). The attempt to relate such a broad topic with detailed readings, weekly discussions, and daily screenings is a difficult one. We still have several problems with integrating and directing all aspects of the course, but we have been quite happy with our results so far. We have already placed several students in the top film study departments in the U.S. - thus bringing an hitherto neglected historical orientation to film schools ~ as well as in several history graduate schools ~ thus bringing an hitherto neglected area of study into history departments. It's beginning, but a promising one. WEEKLY SCHEDULE OF LECTURES AND ASSIGNMENTS Week I Lectures Introduction to the course The Film as Social and Intellectual History - 1 The Film as Social and Intellectual History - Il Readings Gerald Mast, A Short History of the Movies, pp. 9-18 Sergi Eisenstein, Potemkin (Classic Film script) complete Week II Lectures The Origin of the Film: 1880's to World War I: France, Italy, Britain The Origin ofthe Film: The American Experience Readings Mast, pp. 18-63 Arthur Knight, The Liveliest Art, pp. v-3 1 Lewis Jacobs, The Rise of the American Film, pp. VII-95 Week III Lectures The Film as Intellectual and Social History: D. W. Griffith, a case story The Russian Film in the 1920's: The Reconstruction of Social Values Readings Mast, pp. 63-99, 189-225 Knight, pp. 31-56,69-87 Eisenstein Potemkin (reread) Jacobs, pp. 95-202 Harry M. Geduld, ed. Focus on D. W. Griffith, complete WeekIV Lectures The German Film in the 1920's: The Destruction of Social Values The American Film in the 1920's: Comedy and Alienation Readings Mast...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9922
Print ISSN
0360-3695
Pages
pp. 10-14
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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