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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Cinema and Society in Britain (PGHC11235)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the history of the most popular entertainment medium of the first half of the twentieth century. Throughout, the cinema's development is located within its wider social, economic and political context.
Course description The course seeks to examine the economic, social, cultural, and political forces that shaped the development of the cinema industry in Britain from the late nineteenth century to the present day. In addition to tracing changes in the production, exhibition, and reception of films, broader forces shaping the industry, from State support, to censorship, and audience preferences are also examined. Attention is also given to the emergence of non-commercial cinematic forms, including documentary film. Particular emphasis will be given to introducing students to a range of primary sources for analysing film and cinema history, including collections at the National Library of Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland, and the rich documentation available at the Scottish Screen Archive. In the case of the latter, the opportunity also exists to study its extensive collection of moving images.
Weekly Topics:
Introduction: Approaches to Film and Cinema History.
Early Days: From Fairground to Picture House.
A Mature Industry: The Silent Era.
British Cinema under the Quota: the 1930s.
The Cinema Audience.
Our Cinema-Made Children.
The Documentary Movement.
Cinema in Wartime.
Star Gazing: Movie Stars and Fan Culture.
National Cinemas: Britain, Scotland and Wales
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the history of the cinema industry in Britain, locating it effectively in its wider social, economic, and political context
  2. Analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the development of the cinema industry in Britain from the perspective of production, distribution and film exhibition, primary source materials concerning the nature and impact of moving picture shows, and conceptual discussions about approaches to the study of the history of film
  3. Develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
1. R. Maltby, D. Biltereyst, and P. Meers (eds), Explorations in New Cinema History: Approaches and Case Studies (Oxford, 2011).

2. L. Charney and V.R. Schwartz (eds.), Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life (Berkeley, 1995).

3. V. Toulmin, S. Popple, and P. Russell (eds.), The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon: Edwardian Britain on Film (2004).

4. R. Murphy (ed.), The British Cinema Book, 3rd edition (2009).

5. J. Sedgwick, Popular Filmgoing in 1930s Britain: A Choice of Pleasures (Exeter, 2000).

6. S.J. Smith, Children, Cinema and Censorship: From Dracula to the Dead End Kids (2005).

7. I. Aitken, Film and Reform: John Grierson and the Documentary Film Movement (1990).

8. J. Richards and D. Sheridan (eds.), Mass-Observation at the Movies (1987).

9. S. Barbas, Movie Crazy: Fans, Stars and the Cult of Celebrity (2002).

10. A. Higson, Waving the Flag: Constructing a National Cinema in Britain (Oxford, 1995).

11. A. Aldgate and J. Richards (eds.), Britain Can Take It The British Cinema in the Second World War (Edinburgh, 1994).

12. T. Griffiths, Cinema and Cinema-going in Scotland, 1896-1950 (Edinburgh, 2012).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsCinema Society Britain
Course organiserDr Trevor Griffiths
Tel: (0131 6)50 6897
Course secretaryMrs Ksenia Gorlatova
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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