Undergraduate Course: Cinematic Cities (GEGR10117)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||An essential part of human geography and consistent with the developing focus of the Human Geography Research Group. The course builds upon and extends existing courses, enabling students to gain in-depth knowledge of diverse aspects of urban, cultural and political geography. This course responds to increased numbers of honours students in the geography degree program from September 2014 and the need for additional honours option courses.
This is an honours option in a field that is currently not covered by other courses and which complements the research expertise and activities of faculty staff. The course takes up the growing demand in existing urban geography courses, evidenced in the over-subscription to Encountering Cities and Divided Cities. It is unique in that it offers film as an innovative means and social text through which to glean predominant political and cultural issues shaping contemporary urbanisms.
Each week, following an orientating lecture, we will watch a film. This will be followed by a group discussion engaging a set of readings that students are expected to read closely. This is a seminar and not a lecture course, meaning that students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss course materials. Each week different students will be responsible for leading seminar discussions.
This course examines the complex and longstanding interrelationship and exchange between film and city. We will watch and discuss a series of films that animate some of the central hopes and aspirations, anxieties and ruptures that characterize urbanism throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. Facilitating a sensory and critical encounter with cities, film is considered a mobile representation in which social, geopolitical and cultural meanings are documented, imagined, reassembled, circulated and contested. Each week, following an orientating lecture, we will watch a film. This will be followed by a group discussion engaging a set of readings that students are expected to read closely. This is a seminar and not a lecture course, meaning that students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss course materials. Each week different students will be responsible for leading seminar discussions.
This course examines the complex and longstanding interrelationship and exchange between film and city. Throughout the semester, we will watch and discuss a series of films that animate some of the central hopes and aspirations, anxieties and ruptures that characterize urbanism throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. Facilitating a sensory and critical encounter with cities, film is considered as a mobile representation in which social, geopolitical and cultural meanings are documented, imagined, reassembled, circulated and contested.
Wk 1: Film and Modernity
Wk 2: Post-War Reconstruction: Disorder and Possibility
Wk 3: Film Noir and Cities of Night
Wk 4: French New Wave
Wk 5: Militant Cinema
Wk 6: Hope and Struggle in an Indian Metropolis
Wk 7: Splintered Urbanism
Wk 8: Urban Containment and Evasion
Wk 9: Spaces of Exception
Wk 10: Disposable Lives and Melancholic Realism
Wk 11: Art and Affective Politics
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
|Additional Costs|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2015/16, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
Participation (10%): attendance during seminars is mandatory, and the grade is based on your active engagement with and contribution to class discussions.
Written Assignments on Course Readings: Each student will facilitate seminar discussions that integrate questions drawn out of the readings and films. You will do this twice during the term. This assignment does not involve a summary of readings; rather students are meant to bring 3-4 questions that will generate discussion and encourage the class to think more fully about the themes and issues raised in articles and films. You will hand in and be assessed on a one-page (max) outline of the questions that you bring to class. After each question, students should provide a brief (short paragraph max) statement explaining the significance of the question and what issues it raises. These assignments are to be handed in at the end of the class. You have to sign up to facilitate two seminar discussions.
Film Review: (1000 words max, 30%): Review a film. You are free to choose any film as long as it is not covered in the course. I have no fixed template of what you review should look like, but it must engage and make connections between the film and geographical concerns and debates.
Research Essay: (3000 words, 60%): Your research paper explores a topic of your choice, but must examine the interrelationship between cinema and city. If your topic entails archival or library research, I anticipate at least one-page bibliography. You may also opt to do some form of primary research.
||Formative feedback will be provided throughout the term via informal interactions with the course assistant and teaching staff, in lectures and seminars, and via class and degree assessments. You can expect to receive written feedback on your written assignment as well.
You are encouraged to approach your personal tutor, course assistant and/or teaching staff to discuss course-related issues and questions during the semester. All feedback is meant to be constructive, and to help you improve your written work.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Develop an understanding of the interrelationship between film and city, and in doing so, glean some of the great challenges and aspirations that characterize urbanism in the Western and non-Western world.
- Acquire knowledge on a range of theoretical approaches to cities and film and develop analytical skills to critically engage film as a site of popular cultural production.
- Be able to present verbally and constructively debate ideas with colleagues and develop written skills in an essay proposal and substantive term paper.
- Enhance specialist knowledge and understanding, including a range of established techniques and research methodologies.
- Interpret, use and evaluate a wide range of specialist data.
|Week 1: Film and Modernity |
Donald, James. (1992) Metropolis: city as text. In Social and Cultural Forms of Modernity. R Bocock and K Thompson (eds). Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 417-470.
Benjamin, Walter. (1930) The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. Illuminations. New York: Schocken Books, pp. 217-242.
Morss, Susan Buck. (1994) The cinema screen as prosthesis of perception: a historical account. In The Senses Still: Perception and Memory as Material Culture in Modernity. N Seremetakis (ed). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 45-62.
Pinder, David. (2005) Modernist calls to order. In Visions of the City: Utopianism, Power and Politics in Twentieth-Century Urbanism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 57-87.
Film: Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
Week 2: Post-War Reconstruction: Disorder and Possibility
Bazin, André. (2005) An aesthetic of reality: neorealism. In What is Cinema?: Volume II. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 16-40.
Deleuze, G. (2001 ) Beyond the movement-image. In J Orr and O Taxidou (eds). Post-war cinema and modernity: a film reader. New York: New York University Press, pp. 89-102.
Film: Bicycle Thieves/Ladri Di Biciclette (Vittorio de Sica, 1948)
Week 3: Film Noir and Cities of Night
Davis, Mike. (2001) Bunker Hill: Hollywood¿s dark shadow. In M Shiel and T Fitzmaurice (eds). Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 33-45.
Boyer, Christine. (1996) Crimes in and of the city: the femme fatale as urban allegory. In D Agrest, P Conway and L Weisman (eds). The Sex of Architecture. New York: Harry Abrams, pp. 97-117.
Davis, Mike. (1998) Chinatown, part two? The ¿internationalization¿ of downtown Los Angeles. New Left Review 164: 65-79. (Available online)
Film: Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
Week 4: Hope and Struggle in an Indian Metropolis
Appadurai, Arjun. (2000) Spectral housing and urban cleansing: notes on millennial Mumbai. Public Culture 12(3): 627-651. (Available online)
Roy, Ananya. Slumdog cities: rethinking subaltern urbanism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35(2): 223-238. (Available online)
Film: Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008)
Week 5: Gendered (In)mobilities in the City of Love
Benjamin, Walter. (1983) The Flaneur. In Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism. London: Verso, pp. 35-66.
Wolff, Janet. (1985) The invisible flaneuse: women and the literature of modernity. Theory, Culture and Society 2: 37-46. (Available online)
Wilson, Elizabeth. (1992) The invisible flaneur. New Left Review 191: 90-110. (Available online)
Film: Amelie (Jean Jeunet, 2001)
Week 6: Unrest, Periphery and Splintering Urbanisms
Dikec, Mustafa. (2006) Two decades of French urban policy: from social development of neighbourhoods to the republican penal state. Antipode 38(1): 59-81. (Available online)
Fassin, Didier. (2011) Interpellation. In Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing. Malden, MA: Polity, pp. xxii-xxiii; 1-12.
Wacquant, Loic. (2008) Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, pp. 1-12.
Film: La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995)
Week 7: Urban Containment and Evasion
Poudeh, R and M Shirvani. (2008) Issues and paradoxes in the development of Iranian national cinema: an overview. Iranian Studies 41(3): 323-341. (Available online)
Afshar, Haleh. (1998) Islam and Feminisms: An Iranian Case-Study. New York: St. Martin¿s Press, pp. 1-15.
Razai-Rashti, Goli. (2007) Transcending limitations: women and the post-revolutionary Iranian cinema. Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 16(2): 191-206. (Available online)
Film: The Circle (Jafar Panahi, 2000)
Week 8: Spaces of Exception and Carceral Archipelagos
Agamben, Giorgio. (1998) Home Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 1-12; 166-180.
Gregory, Derek. (2004) Defiled cities. In The Colonial Present. Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp. 107-143.
Mountz, Allison. (2011) The enforcement archipelago: detention, haunting, and asylum on islands. Political Geography 30: 118-128. (Available online)
Films: District 9 (Peter Jackson, 2009)
Week 9: Urban Anxieties
Reddy, Reid. (1998) Unsafe at any distance. Film Quarterly 51(3): 32-44. (Available online)
Wallace, Robert. (2009) Breeding influenza: the political virology of offshore farming. Antipode 41(5): 916-951. (Available online)
Hinchliffe, S. and S. Lavau (2013). Differentiated circuits: the ecologies of knowing and securing life. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31(2): 259-274. (Available online)
Keil, Roger and Harris Ali. (2007) Governing the sick city: urban governance in an age of emerging infectious disease. Antipode 39(5): 846-873. (Available online)
Film: Safe (Todd Haynes, 1995)
Week 10: Street Art and Spatial Disruptions
Rancière, Jacques. (2004) The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. London: Continuum, pp. 12-19.
Cresswell, Tim. (1992) The crucial ¿where¿ of graffiti: a geographical analysis of reactions to graffiti in New York. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 10: 329-344.
Beyes, Timon. (2010) Uncontained: the art and politics of reconfiguring urban space. Culture and Organization 16(3): 229-246.
Film: Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy, 2010)
Week 11: Global/Local Hong Kong
Yau, Esther. (2001) Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World. In E Yau (ed). At Full Speed: Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 1-19.
Marchetti, Gina. (2000) Buying American, consuming Hong Kong: cultural commerce, fantasies of identity, and the cinema. In P Fu and D Dresser (eds). The Cinema of Hong Kong: History, Arts, Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 289-313.
Film: Chungking Express (Wong Kar-Wai, 1994)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Caleb Johnston
Tel: (0131 6)50 2548
|Course secretary||Miss Sarah Mcallister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4917
© Copyright 2015 The University of Edinburgh - 18 January 2016 4:04 am