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CMS 320 A: Cinema And Nation

Meeting Time: 
TThF 3:30pm - 5:20pm
DEN 113
Joint Sections: 
NEAR E 386 A, NEAR E 586 A
Terri DeYoung

Syllabus Description:

NEAR EAST 386 A/586 A

CMS 320 A


The Middle East Through Cinema


Autumn Quarter 2017



Instructor: Terri DeYoung

Class Location: 113 Denny Hall

Class Time: TTh 3:30-5:20

         with an optional class session F 3:30-5:20

Office: 246 Denny Hall (just inside the west entrance of Denny Hall )

Office Hours: TTh 2:30-3:20 or by appointment

SLN: 19245 (386), 19257 (586) or 12747 (320)

Telephone: (206)543-6184

or (206)543-6033 (dept. office: leave message)





Course Description This quarter the course will focus on the history and development of Egyptian cinema as the venue where Arab film-making most clearly confronted the opportunities and challenges inherent in creating a national film tradition. It will examine a range of topics, including: the transition to sound, the differentiation into genres (with a focus on the examination of the musical and the historical epic), the nationalization of the film industry in the 1960s, the role of the director as auteur (through an assessment of the career s of Youssef Chahine and Hasan al-Imam ) and the recovery of the Egyptian film industry after 2000


Since this is a NE prefix course we will only be viewing films subtitled in English. Therefore, no

knowledge of Arabic (or any other language except English) is required


Films will be screened in class during the optional Friday session. If you can access and screen the films yourself (instructions for this will be given in the first class session), then you will not be required to attend the Friday sessions


Course Requirements: The grade for this course will be determined through evaluation of the student's written projects for the course.

Writing Assignments:

1)  A position paper (at least 2 pp. long) will be due tentatively on Tuesday 10 October 2017. The topic of the paper should be either: a) Why am I taking this course? or b) What does the short Lumiere film by Yousef Chahine mean? This paper will count for 5% of the final course grade.

 2) A second position paper, answering either the question 1) Who is more important to the history of the Egyptian musical, Umm Kulthum or Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab?  or, 2) How is the nation presented in Egyptian cinema of the 1930s? will be due tentatively on Thursday 26 October 2017. It will also count for 5% of the final course grade.

 3) sets of three questions  will be due at the beginning of discussion about each of the following films 1) Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt  2) Cairo Station (Bab al-Hadid), 3) Salah al-Din (Al-Nasir Salah al-Din, and 4) Asmaa. See the Calendar for exact due dates. Guidelines for these questions will be distributed in class. The questions will count for 40% of the total grade.

Exams: There will be one exam, a take-home final exam (tentatively due Friday 15 December, 2017 at 5:00 PM). Students will have the option to substitute (with the instructor's permission, obtained at least two weeks in advance of the end of classes) a final paper (about 5-8 pages in length) for the take-home final exam. This paper will be due at the same time as the final exam.

The Take-Home Final Exam or Paper will count for 40% of the final grade.


The remaining 10% of the grade will be based on in-class participation. This means that you will be expected to have read (or viewed) the Primary Readings before coming to class, and do whatever other reading is necessary so that you can participate actively in the class discussions. Regular attendance records (according to University Regulations) may not be included in this portion of the grade, so it is up to the student to participate in the class discussion, in order to receive full credit for class participation.

Failure to turn in any assignments or take any tests on time will result in an automatic .3 deduction in the student's grade for that assignment or test. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all assignments are submitted on time and in readable format to the instructor.


For 586 Students:

Those taking this course under the 586 number will be required to turn in a paper (of at least 10 pp.) instead of the take-home exam

 In addition, those enrolled in 529 will be required to prepare 1 presentation (about 15 minutes) to be given in class outlining the background of one of the directors covered in the course. Students enrolled in the 596 section of the course should consult the instructor about these presentations as soon as possible. The two presentations will count for 10% of the final grade.


The general policies about plagiarism in force at the University of Washington will be observed in this course (this applies to both 386 and 586 numbers).


Course Schedule and Readings:

The exact schedule of course readings will be found on Assignments page of the Canvas website for this course, once the class begins.

Primary Readings. The section on the Assignments page for this class will identify films to be viewed (primarily on YouTube) before the indicated class meetings. In addition a selection of translated texts will be listed for some weeks of class. These texts will be made available by e-mail directly to students during the quarter. If you think you cannot receive texts by e-mail attachment, please talk to the instructor individually as soon as possible, in order to make suitable arrangements so that you can get access to the texts as quickly as possible. These same Readings should also be available through Canvas.

Recommended Readings are for the most part available in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library, either on reserve or in the stacks.

Supplementary and other listed background readings will mostly be found in the Suzzallo/Allen library, either in the Reference area or the stacks. You should see the instructor if you have any difficulty obtaining one of these recommended or optional readings.



 Recommendations: Professor DeYoung will be happy to write a recommendation for any student who receives a 3.8 (or above) in this course or any other of her courses.

Exam Comments: If you would like to have your Final Exam questions returned to you (with comments), please leave off a hard copy, with a stamped, self-addressed envelope in Professor DeYoung's box in the NELC Main Office (211 Denny), or make arrangements to pick them up in Winter Quarter 2018.

Additional Credits: If a student wants to sign up for additional credits for the class or do independent studies (including senior essays) in other quarters, s/he needs to contact the instructor as soon as possible. All such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


For Students With Special Needs: If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to the instructor as soon as possible so we can discuss the accommodations you might need for the class.

Classroom Courtesy: Since the consumption of food during class often interferes with class participation and is distracting to others, students are requested to avoid this unless they are prepared to share what they have brought with everyone. Your cooperation will be appreciated.

Communications Devices: Please do not use cell phones (or other communications devices) in the classroom. If you must take a call, please go outside the classroom. Laptop computers and tablets can be used in class for taking notes, but  may not be used during exams (no exceptions).


Background Reading: Many new and useful critical works about Arabic cinema have become available in the last decade. The earliest overview of Arab cinema (and still a very useful work) is Lizbeth Malkmus and Roy Armes, Arab and African Filmmaking (London: Zed Books, 1991). Call Number: PN1993.5 A66 M3 1991, available in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library Stacks. This book was followed by Viola Shafik's Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity, rev. ed. (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2007). Call Number is: PN1993.5 A65 S5313 2007 (also available on-line). Professor Shafik recently published another specifically on Egyptian film, Popular Egyptian Cinema (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2006). Call Number is PN1993.5 E3 S424 2007 (also available on-line). Another useful resource (especially for factual information on individuals, genres and national film traditions) is The Companion Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African Film, ed. Oliver Leaman (London: Routledge, 2001. Call Number is: PN1993.5 A65 C66 2001 (on four-hour reserve in Odegaard) A second valuable informational resource for our course will be Roy Armes, Arab Filmmakers of the Middle East (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010). Available on-line through the UW Library


Catalog Description: 
Examines the cinema of a particular national, ethnic or cultural group, with films typically shown in the original language with subtitles. Topics reflect themes and trends in the national cinema being studied.
Department Requirements Met: 
Cinema & Media Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:24pm