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Course Descriptions - Summer 2015

For the most up-to-date information, please consult the UW Time Schedule. Keep in mind that future course listings are tentative and subject to change.

Summer 2015 A-term

MTWTh 10:20am - 12:30pm
THO 231 - SLN: 10600
Instructor: Katherine Morrow
GE Requirements Met: C, W

This course will focus on developing students’ writing skills through critical analysis of documentary films from the 1960s to the present. Beginning with the cinema vérité and direct cinema movements in the mid-20th century, filmmakers and scholars have continually questioned methods of documentary filmmaking and their implications. How do non-fiction films present the world? Who has the authority to narrate history? What about someone else’s personal life? What relationship is there between how a film was made and the kind of narrative it presents? Through close formal and rhetorical analysis of films from various countries, students will reflect on the films’ style and argumentation while honing their own textual craft. In addition to discussing the films, much of the in-class time will be devoted to working on each step of the writing process, with particular attention to peer review and editing. Students will learn to develop compelling, analytic arguments with specific, arguable claims supported by detailed evidence drawn from the filmic texts. Films may include Chronicle of a Summer (Morin/Rouch, 1961), The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (Hara, 1987), The Thin Blue Line (Morris, 1988), Meishi Street (Ou, 2006), and Waltz with Bashir (Folman, 2008) among others. Students who would like to begin viewing the films in advance may contact the instructor for a complete list.

MWF 12:30pm - 2:20pm
CMU 226 - SLN: 14244
Instructor: Britta Simon
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

w/ GERMAN 298 A/CHID 270 B//ENGL 210 B

Summer Quarter 2015 A-term

MWF 12:30-2:20

Dr. Britta Simon


Course Description:

What are the origins of King Arthur and the Holy Grail and why are modern audiences still fascinated by stories about guilt, love, and redemption? Why did medieval audiences consider plagiarism a sign of erudition? How does a blueprint of a church represent the earth? Why do we blush in the presence of the person we fall in love with? This course will examine medieval sources to help answer these and other interesting questions. It provides an introduction to the European Middle Ages, focusing on the time from 500 to 1300 CE. We will listen to medieval music, examine Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and explore how the Middle Ages created new forms of literature, music, and the arts.  And we will read Wolfram of Eschenbach’s Parzival, the famous medieval courtly epic featuring knights from King Arthur’s court and the quest for the Holy Grail.  The course will help you understand the relationship between medieval and modern concepts and ideas and modern popular culture’s take on the Middle Ages as depicted in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” and Terry Gilliam’s movie “The Fisher King”.

MTWTh 1:10pm - 3:20pm
SMI 304 - SLN: 10602
Instructor: Sudhir Mahadevan
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Introduction to the analysis of film. Covers major aspects of cinematic form: mise en scene, framing and camera movement, editing, and sound and color. Considers how these elements are organized in traditional cinematic narrative and in alternative approaches.

MTWTh 10:50am - 1:00pm
SAV 131 - SLN: 10603
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Covers the vast changes in filmmaking since 1960. Topics include the continuing influence of the French New Wave, the New German Cinema of the 70s and the "New Hollywood" of the 70s, American independent film of the 80s, and the resurgence of Chinese filmmaking since 1980.

MTThF 2:20pm - 4:30pm
PCAR 297 - SLN: 10606
Instructor: Claudio Mazzola
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

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.

MTWTh 9:40am - 11:50am
MLR 301 - SLN: 10609
Instructor: Sarah Ross
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA, W

This course will address the impact of modernization at the turn of the twentieth-century on the cultural, social, and individual consciousness of European artists and writers. Through an examination of fictional works, essays, and poetry from England, France, Germany, and Central Europe, we will study the many avant-garde movements and ideas that came to be understood as “modernism” in a European context.
Discussions will introduce relevant themes such as alienation, the city, consciousness, “the New Woman,” amongst others. Texts by Franz Kafka, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Hermann Hesse, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Albert Camus, and others. Selected samples of art, architecture, films, etc. will be introduced and discussed in class. 

MTWTh 1:10pm - 3:20pm
SAV 164 - SLN: 14181
Instructor: Cynthia Steele
Department Requirements Met: Elective for both Literature and Cinema
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

C LIT 357A / JSIS 480A

Calling all Heroes: Mexico Today


MTWTh 1:10-3:20

Was the Mexican Revolution a “frozen revolution,” i.e., were the impulses toward economic and social reform unleashed by the Revolution of 1910-20 side-railed by authoritarianism and corruption? Since Mexico elected its first non-PRI president in 2000, has the country made progress toward democratization and economic development? How can we understand immigration flows and the sharp rise in drug-related violence in Mexico? How can the United States influence these developments in a positive way, in light of our troubled historical relations with our neighbor to the south?

This course will begin by examining two pivotal historical moments in Mexican and U.S. history: the US-Mexico War of 1846-1848, including the US invasion of Mexico City, and the student movement of 1968, which in Mexico’s case ended in state repression. We will then move to the recent emergence of a vital border culture and shifting trends in immigration, as well as the increase in violence related to drug trafficking between our two nations. Our readings will include Jürgen Buchenau, Mexican Mosaic: A Brief History of Mexico (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), Carmen Boullosa’s Texas: The Great Theft (Deep Vellum, 2014), Ignacio Solares’ Yankee Invasion: A Novel of Mexico City (2009), Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s Calling All Heroes: A Manual for Taking Power (PM Press, 2010) and 68 (Seven Stories, 2004), Luis Humberto Crosthwaite’s Out of their Minds (Cinco Puntos, 2013) and Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World (And Other Stories, 2015). We will also examine several documentary and fiction films about the US-Mexico War, the Mexican Revolution, and the current drug wars.

Students will keep a reading and film viewing journal, give a group presentation, write a final 5-7-page analytical essay and take four quizzes, in addition to participating actively in our class discussions.

MTWTh 10:20am - 12:20pm
SIG 134 - SLN: 10611
Instructor: Jonathan Tomhave
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

This class will critically examine how American Indians have been presented in various media productions by both native and non-native media producers.

Summer 2015 B-term

MTWTh 9:10am - 11:10am
SMI 304 - SLN: 10598
Instructor: Milan Vidakovic
GE Requirements Met: VLPA, W

Reading, understanding, and enjoying literature from various countries, in different forms of expression (e.g., dramatic, lyric, narrative, rhetorical) and of representative periods. Emphasis on the comparative study of themes and motifs common to many literatures of the world.

MTWThF 9:10am - 11:20am
MGH 085 - SLN: 10599
Instructor: Guntis I. Smidchens
Course Website
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

Comprehensive overview of the field of folkloristics, focusing on verbal genres, customs, belief, and material culture. Particular attention to the issues of community, identity, and ethnicity. Offered: jointly with SCAND 230.

PCAR - SLN: 10601
Instructor: Paul Morton
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Live-action film, animation and the modern comic all originated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  This course will examine how these three media interact.  We will begin by studying direct adaptations of comics, such as Winsor McCay’s animated versions of his comic strips and Sam Raimi’s adaptation of Lee and Romita’s Spider-Man comics, and then progress to looking at more subtle affinities between the three forms.  We will consider, for instance, how watching a superhero movie compares to watching a superhero cartoon or reading a superhero comic and whether a comic can tell jokes a live-action movie can’t.  You will write different types of short papers that will train you to think critically about different forms of visual culture. We will read Shuster and Siegel’s Superman comics from the 1930s, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and John Romita’s Spider-Man comics from the 1960s and Neal Adams’s Batman comics from the 1970s.  We will watch various animated cartoon appearances of each of the three characters, and we will watch at least one of the following live-action films: Spider-Man 2, Batman Returns and Superman.  We will also watch either Ruttmann’s Berlin: Symphony of a Great City or Fellini’s Roma.

MTWTh 1:10pm - 3:20pm
THO 101 - SLN: 10605
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

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.

MTWTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
DEM 112 - SLN: 14185
Instructor: Cynthia Steele
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

C LIT 321A / JSIS 480B

Love, Art and Revolution in Contemporary Fiction

B Term

MTWTh 1:10-3:20

This course will focus on two recent novels from the Americas that address the intersection between love, art and revolution, set in Mexico City during the 1920s-1950s: Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna (Harper Perennial, 2010) and Leonardo Padura’s The Man Who Loved Dogs (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014). These novels, written by an American and a Cuban, portray the intertwined lives of Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo with that of the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky; the assassination of Trotsky in Mexico City in 1940 by Spaniard Ramón Mercader, and the trials of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the U.S.. In order to place our readings of the novels into artistic context, we will read James Oles’ new Art and Architecture in Mexico (Thames and Hudson, 2013) and Hayden Herrera’s Frida Kahlo: The Paintings (Harper Perennial, 2002). In addition, we will study several documentary and fiction films about Frida, Diego, Trotsky, and their era.

How does fiction serve as an echo chamber for the lives, artistic creations and struggles of actual historical figures? Why was Mexico City a magnet for artists, particularly those committed to social change, during the 1930s and 1940s? How did the actual people portrayed in these novels negotiate love, politics and art across various cultural and social environments, including Moscow, Paris, Mexico City and New York? How did the art that Rivera and Kahlo created relate to the history of Mexican art and the experiments of their contemporaries?

Students will keep a reading journal, give a group presentation, take four quizzes, and write a short essay. Texts are in English or in English translation; students who are fluent in Spanish may read the Padura text in the original.


SAV - SLN: 10610
Instructor: José Alaniz
Department Requirements Met: Elective for both Literature and Cinema
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

How do comics communicate? What does their unique language – “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence,”
according to Scott McCloud – tells us about the intersection/overlap of words and pictures? What “magic” takes place in the space between
comics panels, i.e. the gutter? This introductory course examines these and other fundamental questions regarding how comics – a unique
art form – function to produce effects, create associations and tell stories in ways no other medium can. We will read important theorists
and scholars as well as the works of cartoonists and poets to help us\ answer the primary question, “What is comics?” from several different
angles. Authors include Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Jason Shiga, Thierry Groensteen and Nick Sousanis.