Fall ETS 170: American Cinema, From Beginnings to Present
Dr. Will Scheibel
Lecture: TuTh 3:30-4:25p.m. | Discussion: F 9:30-10:25a.m. or 10:35-11:30a.m. | Screening: Tu 6:30-9:15p.m.
How does history change film, and film change history?
This course covers the history of American cinema from its emergence as a celluloid-based medium in the late nineteenth-century to its digital development at the intersections of multiple media companies and platforms. We will look at fiction and non-fiction films, narrative and avant-garde modes, and Hollywood and independent productions. Our goal will be to understand how to interpret the aesthetics and ideologies of American films at particular historical moments—in the contexts of the film industry, mass culture, and a national artistic tradition—and how to account for change over time. Topics will include: the rise of cinema as an institution; the standardization of American film genres and storytelling; the classical studio and star systems of Hollywood; the shift to color, widescreen, and location shooting in the late studio era; the promotion of naturalism through Method acting and censorship deregulation; new waves of film school-trained and independent directors; the political effects of the Cold War, the counterculture, and September 11; and the technologies and economics of the twenty-first century blockbuster. Attendance at weekly screenings is required.