Assignments

English 4110/5110 Literary Criticism, Spring 2017

TR 3:30-4:45PM, Arts & Sciences 353

Film Availability

This chart provides links to our class's required films that are available from Apple (digital purchase or rental), Amazon (digital purchase, rental, or streaming), Internet Archive (free download or streaming), Netflix (streaming), or GCSU Library (4 hour reserves). Check Can I Stream It?, a clearinghouse of film and television streaming sites, for availability to purchase films from Amazon, rented on disc from Netflix, or stream on services like Cinemax, Crackle, Encore, Epix, HBO, Hulu, Google Play, Showtime, Starz, Vudu, and XBox, XFinity Streampix, and YouTube. Check Drew's Script-O-Rama and The Internet Movie Script Database for screenplays and transcripts to use as a a helpful reference for dialogue; however, if you write about the film, you should verify dialogue from the film itself.

 

Film Availability

The 400 Blows

Apple | Amazon | GCSU

Un Chien Andalou

Archive | GCSU

Copy Shop

YouTube

Eraserhead

Apple | Amazon | GCSU

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Apple | Amazon | GCSU

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Apple | Amazon | GCSU | Netflix

Film

UbuWeb

Gone Girl

Apple | Amazon

Hotel Chevalier

Vimeo | GCSU (special feature on The Darjeeling Limited DVD)

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels

GCSU | In Class Screening (course schedule)

Pariah

Apple | Amazon | GCSU | Netflix

The Psychology of Dream Analysis

Vimeo

Rear Window

Apple | Amazon | GCSU

The Rules of the Game

Apple | Amazon | GCSU

The Shining

Apple | Amazon | GCSU | Netflix

Spider-Man

Apple | Amazon

A Trip to the Moon

Apple | Amazon | Netflix | YouTube

We Need to Talk about Kevin

Apple | Amazon | Netflix

In Class Activities

1. Film Analysis

Before we examine psychoanalytic film theory, we're going to study film technique. Today, you will

  1. divide into 6 groups of 3-4,
  2. review the assigned film element from the Film Analysis handout,
  3. watch A Trip to the Moon, and
  4. interpret how the film technique functions in A Trip to the Moon.

Here are the film element groups:

  1. mise en scène: the staging of the film
  2. characterization
  3. cinematography: film stock, lighting, and the camera
  4. editing
  5. graphics and sound
  6. narrative

2. Psychoanalysis and Surrealism

Before we examine psychoanalytic film theory, we're going to study the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan and analyze how those ideas are incorporated in a surrealist film. Today, you will

  1. divide into groups,
  2. define key Freudian concepts by explaining two significant passages from the article,
  3. interpret how the Freudian concepts function in Luis Buñuel's Un Chien Andalou (or if your group's Freudian idea is not present in the film, an example from another film of your choosing)
  4. and analyze any applicable film techniques (mise en scène, characterization, cinematography, editing, graphics and sound, narrative)

Here are the article groups:

  1. "Repression"
  2. "The Unconscious" and "The Structure of the Unconscious"
  3. "Mourning and Melancholia"
  4. "Negation"
  5. "The Instincts"
  6. "The Theory of Dreams"
  7. "The Oedipus Complex" and "The Origins of Culture"

3. Reviewing and Applying Lacanian Film Theory

Let's review McGowan's introduction to psychoanalysis and Lacanian film theory by defining and applying key terms and concepts. Spend a few minutes defining your individually assigned term, then brainstorm how it might function in the short film's The Psyschology of Dream Analysis and Film, and finally, share your tentative definitions and conclusions with the class.

  1. the unconscious (17)
  2. biology and culture (23)
  3. need, demand, and desire (25)
  4. the symbolic order (29)
  5. the real (34)
  6. the imaginary (39)
  7. desire (41)
  8. the two objects [objet petit a and the object of desire] (45)
  9. fantasy (49)
  10. enjoyment (53)
  11. the gaze or what is not seen (70)
  12. the voice or what is not heard (75)
  13. antagonism elided (78)
  14. antagonism exposed (82)

Now that we have reviewed the important concepts of Lacanian film theory, as a class, let's Interpret The Psychology of Dream Analysis first through the lens of screen theory (the film is a mirror of identification and a symbolic ideological fantasy), then interpret it through the lens of Lacanian film theory (the real of desire and the gaze). Next, interpret Film through the lens of screen theory, then Lacanian film theory.

Article Summary

Written Summary

You will write an article summary and post it to GeorgiaVIEW > Course Work > Dropbox > Article Summary on the day before we are scheduled to discuss the article so I have time to read your response before class. The article summary should

Informal Presentation

You will also be responsible for a brief, informal presentation. The presentation should introduce the essay by defining key points and terms (without simply reading your written summary) and broaching issues for class discussion.

Due Dates

  1. Your written assignment will be due in GeorgiaVIEW > Course Work > Dropbox > Article Summary on the day before we are scheduled to discuss an article. Summaries will be penalized one letter grade for each day, not class period, that they are turned in late. It is your responsibility to check the sign up schedule and complete the assignment on time.
  2. Your brief, informal presentation will be due on the day we discuss the essay in class. This date is approximate for we will sometimes fall a day behind. Failing to present the article to the class without providing a valid absence excuse will result in a one letter grade penalty.
  3. I will return your graded assignment to you in GeorgiaVIEW > Course Work > Dropbox > Article Summary approximately one week after we discuss the article in class. Due to GeorgiaVIEW limitations, I am unable to return graded assignments to you unless and until you submit them to the Assignment dropbox.
  4. For example, we are scheduled to discuss Altman on Tuesday, 1-24. Therefore, someone's summary will be due in GeorgiaVIEW on Monday, 1-23. In class on Tuesday, 1-24, that student will informally present the main ideas of Altman's essay. I will return the graded article summary to her the following week in GeorgiaVIEW > Course Work > Assignments > Article Summary. Here's how to calculate your course grade.

Sign Up

Written Due

Date

Oral Due Date

Reading

Student
M, 1-23
T, 1-24

Altman

1 Daniel Todesca

W, 1-25
R, 1-26

McGowan, 17-90

2

M, 1-30
T, 1-31

McGowan, 91-170

3 Madeline Benford

W, 2-1

R, 2-2

Metz, "Story/Discourse"

4 Madeline Johnson

M, 2-6

T, 2-7

Baudry

5

Metz, "Imaginary Signifier"

6 Emily Moore

M, 2-13

T, 2-14

Doane, "Voice"

7 Abigail Bishop

Johnson

8 Matt Dombrowski

M, 2-20
T, 2-21

Deleuze

9 Christine Hammond

Fuery

10 Kendall Crowe

M, 2-27
T, 2-28

Creed [either/or]

11 David Boughton

M, 3-6
T, 3-7

Mulvey

12 Sarah Ehrhart

Studlar

13 Gideon Smith

M, 3-13
T, 3-14

McGowan, "Looking/Gaze"

14 Laura Borland

Žižek

15 Rachel Frantz

W, 3-29
R, 3-30

Lebeau, "Daddy's Cinema"

16 Breonna Walker

Lebeau, "Femininity/Fantasy"

17 Sarah Ehrhart

W, 4-5
R, 4-6

De Lauretis

18 Alexa Sims

Doane, "Masquerade"

19 Leslie Peterson

Scene Analysis and Presentation

The scene analysis and presentation assignment has four goals:

  1. the rigorous psychoanalysis of a film scene in terms of both content and formal technique (how the scene is shot, lit, edited, and so forth, drawing on at least three film techniques exemplified in the Film Analysis handout, the as well as what the scene says about the psyche of the character[s]),
  2. the focused discussion of psychoanalytic film theory and interpretation outside of class,
  3. the collaborative process of writing, as opposed to the solitary writing practice we English majors are all so well-used to, and
  4. the formal presentation of the main ideas of the collaborative paper, without simply reading the essay.

Sign up in pairs to analyze a 2-3 minute scene in a formal 5-6 page paper and formal 7-10 minute presentation, which includes screening the scene. Your essay and presentation should 1) psychoanalyze the film scene in terms of both formal technique (how the scene is shot, lit, edited, and so forth, drawing on at least three film techniques exempified in the Film Analysis handout) and psychoanalytical content (what does the scene say about the psyche of the characters, the creators, or the audience), and 2) interpret how the scene broaches the core psychoanalytical conflict and overall theme of the film. Your single, collaboratively written essay should be driven by a thesis that argues the work's theme and logically organized by close reading of the scene: unpack the tension and conflict, idea and theme. Your well-organized presentation should clearly convey your ideas to the class, and each member should speak during the presentation.

Parameters

Sign Up

Date Film Student

R, 2-9

The 400 Blows

1

2

R, 2-16

We Need to Talk about Kevin

3 Sarah Ehrhart

4 Matt Dombrowksi

R, 2-23

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (students who present on Eternal Sunshine will have their theoretical paper extended to R, 3-2)

5 Rachel Frantz

6 Breonna Walker

R, 3-2

The Shining

7 Gideon Smith

8 Madeline Johnson

R, 3-9

Eraserhead

9

10

R, 3-16

Rear Window

11 David Broughton

12 Emily Moore

T, 3-28

Spider-Man

13 Christine Hammond

14 Abigail Bishop

T, 4-4

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

15 Daniel Todesca

16 Laura Borland

T, 4-18

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels

17 Madeline Benford

18 Leslie Peterson

T, 4-20

Pariah

19 Kendall Crowe

20 Alexa Sims

Theoretical Paper

We have studied overviews of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic film theory, primary texts of psychoanalysis, and primary texts of psychoanalytic film theory. While the scene analysis paper and presentation requires you to put theory into practice by psychoanalytically interpreting a film scene's form and content, the theoretical paper calls for you to compare and contrast how two theorists conceptualize an issue or idea in psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic film theory, and concretize the abstract correlation by discussing what the theorists would say about one of our class's films. Where and why do the two theorists' systematic understanding of the issue converge; where and why do they diverge? How would the theorists' respond to a film in our class?

 

For instance, you could compare and contrast how Freud and Lacan conceive of the unconscious and hypothesize what they might say about Copy Shop's protagonist's unconscious, how Baudry and Metz theorize film's imaginary function and discuss how the imaginary operates in The 400 Blows, or how McGowan and Johnson envision the use of the Lacanian gaze in film in general and Film in particular.

 

You may consider any writer or film on the course up to Tuesday, February 21 (not including Tyson, Allen, or Evans because they provide general overviews and definitions). While your primary focus should be on developing out the two theorists' harmony and distinction by using a class film to illustrate your understanding, you may also, if you wish, set up definitions and frameworks using pertinent overviews by Tyson, Allen, and Evans.

Parameters

Research Paper

While the scene analysis asks undergraduates to psychoanalyze a scene's form and content, the annotated bibliography and presentation compels graduate students to research, evaluate, and teach a scholarly criticism of a film, and the theoretical paper requires all to compare and contrast how two theorists conceive of and apply a psychoanalytical idea, the research paper requires you all to analyze a film or film issue using psychoanalysis and/or psychoanalytic film theory to ground your method and scholarly film criticism to support your interpretation.

 

Your research paper should

  1. Make a psychoanalytic interpretation of a film or film issue (do not use a film written about previously in a scene analysis, theoretical paper, or annotated bibliography; it may be an outside film).
  2. Exemplify the psychoanalytical film critical methodology by integrating at least three psychoanalytic and/or psychoanalytic film theoretical articles from in class reading (do not use theoretical articles already written about in the theoretical paper).
  3. Support its interpretive claim, if researching a film, by incorporating at least three scholarly articles of film criticism; or support its theoretical claim, if researching a film theory issue, by incorporating at least three additional theoretical articles of psychoanalytic film theory from outside our class.

Fine print: you may also use theoretical paper articles written about in the theoretical paper, but they don't count toward the required three; you may use the same theorists from your theoretical paper but you must use different articles; as with the theoretical paper, overviews by Tyson and Allen don't count toward the three theoretical articles. If you are researching a film, then you should have six sources comprised of three theoretical articles from our course reading and three critical articles interpreting the film from scholarly journals and books. If you are researching an issue in film theory, then you should have six sources comprised of three in-class theoretical articles and three outside-class theoretical articles.

Graduate Students

In order to prepare for giving conference presentations, graduate students only will compose a 250-word research proposal due Thursday, April 13 and present a 15-minute version of their work-in-progress to the class and answer questions on Thursday, April 27, approximately one week before the final graduate research due date of Tuesday, May 2. If warranted, graduate students should incorporate any pertinent ideas developed from the Q&A into their final essay.

Parameters

Final Exam

Undergraduate students will compose two 5-6 page essays selected from a set of 4-6 questions. We will generate topics as a class on Thursday, April 20, and I will create 4-6 questions from those topics on Tuesday, April 25.

 

Answer one theory question and one practice question from the list of questions below. Do use theorists and films from in class on the syllabus; do not use a theorist or film in more than one essay; and do not repeat your theoretical or research paper topics. Not all theorists or in class films are appropriate for all essays. Choose works which afford adequate material to address the question at hand. Have a controlling idea, an interpretation, a thesis that bridges the works. Make connections and distinctions among the texts; compare and contrast the works' key ideas. Support your points with textual evidence (pertinent quotations). Organize essays by argument and analysis. You will be graded on your understanding of psychoanalytical film theory and practical interpretation of film as well as your ability to compare and contrast meanings and issues.

 

Topics and Questions

Parameters

Annotated Bibliography and Presentation

Graduates students will research a film on the syllabus, compose an annotated bibliography of at least 10 scholarly sources interpreting the text, and teach the work to the class, i.e., lecture and moderate class discussion, with some help from one of the articles on the work. One week before the presentation/teaching demonstration, graduate students must meet with the professor to go over their lesson plan. The citations in the annotated bibliography should be formatted to MLA style, and each annotation should be approximately 100 words long.

Parameters

Sign Up

Date Film Student

R, 2-9

The 400 Blows

1

 

R, 2-23

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (students who present on Eternal Sunshine will have their theoretical paper extended to R, 3-2)

2

R, 3-2

The Shining

3

R, 3-9

Eraserhead

4

R, 3-16

Rear Window

5

T, 3-28

Spider-Man

6 Sammy-Jo Watt

T, 4-4

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

7

Book Review

While the annotated bibliography and presentation require graduate students to research, evaluate, and teach a text, the book review compels you to read and evaluate a book of psychoanalytic or psychoanalytic film theory. After consulting with the professor on a suitable book (for instance a book from which our class is reading an excerpt, or another of your choosing, but not a book that your theoretical paper discussed), write a 9-10 page essay that summarizes the book's overall critical claim and then evaluates the thesis and methodology. Your essay should both appreciate and interrogate the book. The GeorgiaVIEW course packet contains book reviews by Ayers, Carroll, and Pursley; and you can find more examples using GALILEO.

Parameters