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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Cinematic Cities (GEGR10117)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis 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 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.
Course description Syllabus:
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)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  1
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 152 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Participation (10%)
Your attendance during seminars is mandatory, and your grade is based on your active engagement with and contribution to class discussions. Please bring each week¿s readings to class, and if you are unable to attend class for health reasons, please let me know.

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 significant 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%)
I would like you to 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 your review should look like, but it must engage and make connections between the film and geographical concerns and debates.

You are required to submit TWO copies of your film review. One paper copy is to be submitted to the Geography Office. One electronic copy submitted via Learn.

Research Essay (3000 words max, 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 a one-page bibliography. You may also opt to do some form of primary research.

You are required to submit TWO copies of your degree essay. One paper copy is to be submitted to the Geography Office. One electronic copy submitted via Learn.

All degree work is marked anonymously. Therefore you must submit the essay with a standard coversheet attached to the front. The University Common Marking Scheme is used in all assessment, following the Institute of Geography¿s Grade Related Criteria. Please see the Undergraduate Handbook for further information. Feedback on the course degree work will be given at a meeting in semester 2. The date of this feedback session with be published in due course.
Feedback 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
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Be able to present verbally and constructively debate ideas with colleagues and develop written skills in an essay proposal and substantive term paper.
Reading List
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 [1983]) 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)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsCities,film,human geographies
Course organiserDr Caleb Johnston
Tel: (0131 6)50 2548
Course secretaryMiss Kirsty Allan
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
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