PHILOSOPHY AND FILM
|Dr. Julie Ward|
|Office Phone...||(773) 508-2297|
|Office Hours....||T/Thn 10:15-11:15 am, 1:30-2:15 pm, and by app't|
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND REQUIREMENTS
This course aims to examine and critically evaluate various philosophical themes and problems by means of the visual medium of film. To this end, philosophical texts and essays are integrated with the viewing of our films. Since the class is designed as a seminar and is discussion and not lecture oriented, it is imperative that students read and study the assigned texts before the class discussion of the film -- even if the film itself is scheduled for the same class meeting. The success of this class will depend upon the joint contribution of the seminar members in the discussion.
To aid discussion, students write various summaries on the weekly readings: these are ungraded, but a certain percentage of the grade depends upon completing the minimum number. The summaries are only due on the scheduled day and cannot be made up. In addition to class discussion and summaries, students need to be prepared to spend some hours viewing and re-viewing films outside of class.
Some class readings, either chapters of books or selected essays, have to be xeroxed by students themselves. This was unavoidable given the nature of the class. This required reading material is on class reserves at Cudahy Library and is noted as such in the syllabus. Copies of all films for the class are also on AV class reserves and may be checked out for viewing.
In addition to course reading and summaries, the course requires a substantial
term paper. Students may elect to write one long term paper or two shorter ones:
the choice of two short (8-9 pp. typed, due week 7 and week 15) or one long
(16 pp. typed, due week 15) needs to be made by week 4, and communicated to
1. S. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling.
2. J. S. Mill, On Liberty, Subjection of Women.
3. S. de Beauvoir, The Second Sex.
READINGS (Cudahy Library)
1. K. Schmitt, Political Romanticism.
2. C. Ketcham, The Influence of Existentialism on Ingmar Bergman.
3. K. Conboy, et al. (ed.), Writing on the Body.
4. B. Wallis (ed.), Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation.
5. L. Harlan, P. Courtright (ed), From the Margins of Hindu Marriage.
6. Readings on Senegal (TBA).
|Week||Date||Topic and Reading(s)|
|1-2||Jan. 18; 25||Week 1: Intro. and Rashomon
Week 2: Hobbes, Leviathan, chs. 13-14 ; Kurosawa (my handout).
Summary #1: How does Rashomon display Hobbes' "state of nature"? Due Wk. 2.
Seventh Seal (screening), and discussion of God, Fate, Problem of
Revelation 8 ; Myth of Sisyphus, problem of evil (link); essay from Bergman and Existentialism, on 7th Seal (Cudahy Reserve); see also Ebert's Review.
|4||Feb. 8||Seventh Seal, discussion cont.'d; Faith, Absurdity of Life. Babette's Feast (screening). Summary #2: Why does Bergman's Knight save the family? Does he believe God exists?|
|5||Feb. 15||Babette's Feast: discussion of and of reading: Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, Knight of Faith. Summary #3: What does Babette represent -- a secular or religious figure?|
|6||Feb. 22||Decadence: Music Room (screening), and discussion of aestheticism and decadence; read K. Schmitt, Political Romanticism (Cudahy Reserve), selections TBA. Link to Ebert's review. Summary #4: What are the features of the aesthetic or romantic attitude Schmitt describes?|
|7||Feb. 29||Female Subjects and Feminist Criticism: Devi, The Goddess (screening), essay on Hindu women and religion (Cudahy Reserve); also John Locke, sec. on Faith and Reason, Religious Enthusiasm (from Locke's Essay on Human Understanding, Bk. IV, chs. 28, 19). Discussion on Locke.|
|8||Mar. 7||Mid Semester Break, No Class.|
|9||Mar. 14||Discussion and readings cont'd. from Feb. 29th, Devi. Also Beauvoir, Second Sex, ch. 24, The Mystic. Also Vertigo (screening). Summary #5: Does Devi act as her own agent in her role as goddess, or not?|
|10||Mar. 21||Texts: Beauvoir, Second Sex, Intro. (all), chs. 2, 21-23: focus on "The Woman in Love;" read also M. Doane, "Film and the Masquerade," in Writing on the Body, and L. Mulvey, "Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," in Art After Modernism (both Cudahy Reserve). Discussion of texts & Vertigo. Link to Ebert's review. Summary #6: Use Doane (e.g., film "evicts the female spectator"), Mulvey (e.g., "the male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure"), or Beauvoir (e.g., woman as alterity, self abandonment of the woman in love) to analyze Vertigo.|
|11||Mar. 28||A Special Day (screening); texts: Beauvoir, ch. 17, "The Mother;" also Lord Devlin essay (my handout); discussion of film on oppressed groups (women, gays) under fascism. Summary #7: What conditions support maternity as an authentic choice, according to Beauvoir?|
|12||Apr. 4||Individual and Society: Freedom and Responsibility - Amarcord (screening); discussion of Mussolini's essay, "Fascism" , Riva Interview with Fellini (my handout); Kant, "What Is Enlightenment?" (my handout).|
|13||Apr. 11||Cont'd discussion of texts and Amarcord from last week. Summary #8: Discuss Fellini's notion of political "infantilism" in relation to some character in Amarcord.|
|14||Apr. 18||Woman in the Dunes (screening),
and Mill, On Liberty, chs. 3, 4, and Isaiah Berlin, essay (my handout).
See also Ebert's Review.
Summary #9: Is individuality the primary value? What limits should society place on it? (Mill.)
|Hyenas (screening); discussion of
the social context of freedom and responsibility. Readings: TBA (Cudahy
Long Term Paper Due, 4 pm; Default Date May 2nd (Tuesday), noon. Place papers in my mailbox, or under my door, Crown #365.
FOR PAPER TOPICS
1. Make use of the summary topics you wrote on to construct your paper topic. The term paper is not a research paper, it is an extended critical essay. It should include the course texts, and films; additional essays are not required.
2. A short paper should include at least one text plus analysis of your selected film. A short paper should, nonetheless, give in-depth, critical analyses of the philosophical topic in relation to the film.
3. A long paper should include a number of texts and essays plus analyses of the selected film or films. For example, you might choose to write on political fascism and infantilism in both Amarcord and Special Day, or on the erasure of the female spectator (Doane), and Beauvoir's concept of female immanence in certain films.
4. You are welcome to discuss prospective paper topics with me in advance.
**Click here for more information on criteria on grading papers
** Plagiarism in term papers will be dealt with as per Loyola Handbook Policy.
1. Written Summaries (8 minimum, on time) 30 pts.
2. Discussion (0, 5, or 10 pts.) 10 pts.
3. Term Paper (s) (either 60, or 30 pts. x 2) 60 pts.
** Attendance is not counted formally, but it is imperative that students attend conscientiously and on time because of film screenings.