Cinema and the Late 20th Century
This course examines the relationship between cinema and the late twentieth century. We will, on the one hand, begin to periodize the late twentieth century as a historical era with its own contours, and the reading will include cultural theory produced in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as retrospective accounts of the time. On the other hand, we will examine changes in film aesthetics, production, and industrial structures that unfold in that era.
Topics will include (among others): postmodern theory and cinema; the blockbuster and other key transformations in the economic logic of the film industry; the relationship between cultural studies and film scholarship; the heritage and nostalgia film; alternative conceptions of heritage; the influence of video and television; and the rise of digital media. We will also consider the challenge to classical and modern film theory posed by the "aging" of cinema in an era when it no longer represents the vanguard of entertainment and artistic technology.