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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Visual)

VISU2021: The Art of the Moving Image 2: Theories and Contexts

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2021/22 Module Cap 30 Location Durham

Prerequisites

  • None

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None

Aims

  • To develop students' ability to analyse and critique the art of the moving image
  • To familiarise students with the complexity and specificity of the moving image by focusing on how the evolution of the moving image has intersected with political, social and cultural developments across the globe.
  • To develop students’ knowledge and understanding of key theories in the fields of film and visual studies in the wider context of cultural studies,
  • To develop the students' research skills and methodologies in the field of the moving image.
  • To explore the moving image in a range of formats, genres, histories, media, national contexts, and styles.

Content

  • Focusing on representative case studies the course will explore the contexts in which the evolution of the moving image has intersected with political, social and cultural developments in in a range of national and transnational contexts from the Arab world to the Americas, Asia and Europe.
  • Building on MELAXXXX (Art of the Moving Image 1), students will deepen their knowledge and understanding of the contexts necessary to critically engage with the moving image. These may include: classical Hollywood cinema, auteur cinema, independent cinema, genre, videoart, spectatorship, or the star system and specific theories and branches of the discipline associated with each of these concepts. The course will also broaden and deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of relevant theories for the study of the moving image and cultural criticism more widely, including studies of age, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, national identity, nationalisms, postcolonialism, race or sexuality among others.
  • Specific texts to be studied will vary from year to year: Possible topics include: Early cinema and its contexts; Dada/surrealist cinema; the politics of documentary cinema; cinema at war; neo-realism; national cinemas and new waves; feminist politics, queer politics and forms of the moving image; technological revolutions in the moving image; social media, the moving image and revolution.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module students should:
  • recognise key milestones in the history and evolution of the moving image from the 19th century until today,
  • have advanced knowledge and understanding of the key terminology necessary for the analysis and interpretation of the moving image,
  • understand complex theories relevant for the study of the moving image, including both well-established concepts and new ideas,
  • value the importance of the moving image in national, transnational and global contexts,
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of this module students will develop:
  • critical skills in the close reading and analysis of the moving image,
  • confident command of a broad range of technical vocabulary and critical terminology necessary for the analysis of the moving image,
  • an ability to write critically and convincingly about the evolution of the moving image, and on case studies from a wide range of national and transnational contexts,
  • a sensitivity to generic conventions and relevant cultural/socio-historical contexts,
  • an ability to discern aesthetic and formal specificities of the moving image,
  • an ability to construct a coherent argument informed by major (classic and cutting-edge) theories for the study of the moving image,
  • an ability to assess and critically approach a wide range of writings about the moving image (both academic/scientific research and journalistic reviews about specific films/performances/videoart pieces, etc).
Key Skills:
  • visual analysis,
  • critical analysis and reasoning,
  • independent research,
  • academic essay writing,
  • organisation,
  • time management,
  • presentation and team work
  • IT: word-processing, using online databases and moving image archives, image and video capturing for presentations.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This team-taught module will be taught weekly throughout the academic year.
  • Lectures (once weekly) will deliver key information about the module.
  • A fortnightly seminar with smaller groups will allow for small-group presentations and team work, including active discussions of primary and secondary sources.
  • The film analysis allows students to demonstrate their critical and close-reading skills, as well as their ability to historicise and contextualise the film under discussion. In the first summative essay, a conceptual understanding of one selected critical topic, as well as the students' expository skills will be tested. The second, longer, summative essay will test all learning outcomes of the module. All three components will assess the students’ critical and analytical skills as well as their writing and argumentation, their understanding of the global context and the historical development of the medium and its associated discipline.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminar 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Film Analysis seen paper Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Commentary 1000 words 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1500 words 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Seminar presentations


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University