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October 2007, Week 2


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"Frank, Michael" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 10 Oct 2007 10:12:58 -0400
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i once again find that i need to turn to screen-L with a classroom


among the classes i teach is an intro to cinema studies course taken
entirely by first year students with absolutely no background either in
film study or in academic conventions . . . i'm eager to get them to
start reading in cinema studies, and  [importantly] to learn how to
write about cinema, by assigning good solid essays that deal with any
aspect of the field and are [with some hard work] accessible to total
novices . . . but i find that almost everything i know -- everything in
the anthologies or the journals -- requires a degree of sophistication
that my students don't come close to having:  concepts and terms such as
"representation," "ideological," "the gaze," "frankfurt school,"
"semiotic," "overdetermined," "postmodern," and the like so dot our
texts -- are are so much taken for granted by experienced readers --
that my students can barely get through a single paragraph . . . of
course i could explain all of these terms and concepts, but they are so
common in our essays and play such a structuring role that in effect i'd
have to explain the whole essay to the class which would eliminate the
whole point of the assignment


the most obvious alternative is to assign an intro textbook - and these
in fact do operate on the level that i'm looking for  . . . but
textbooks don't work the way essays work, and represent a kind of
discourse that i'm not interested in modeling for my students . . .
so, i'm wondering if any screen-L folks can suggest respectable essays
[or books] on some aspect of our field [especially material that raises
larger theoretical, conceptual, or methodological questions] that
someone fresh out of high school might be able to read and understand 


thanks in advance for any suggestions



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