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August 2000, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 7 Aug 2000 11:24:58 -0400
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>Do you consider it legitimate to teach a course on national cinemas >of countries whose language you don't speak so that you will not be >able to give any attention to the dialogues in their original

I'm not a teacher but this seems completely legitimate to me; to argue otherwise would be an attempt to restrict us to narrow strips of turf.  It would mean that as an English-speaker I could only teach literature from the Elizabethans on (even Chaucer being almost another language) despite having much more in common with, say, Kafka, Proust, Simenon or Baudelaire.  The practical problem is that you're going to miss something in the translation and the cultural differences but that's true even within a language:  British, American, Canadian and Indian English are all not entirely compatible.

The real question seems to me how legitimate it is to base a class on something as ambiguous as the concept of a national cinema.  You say "asian" but which one?  The relations between Chinese (mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan) are quite complex; Japanese, Korean and Indian are even more different.  Does Indonesian count?  It's not a question of dubious national differences but that this might be a limited approach.


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