ENGL 140 Fall 2012 Catastrophe/Apocalypse: The Movie (W)

The film industry has always appreciated the visual and dramatic possibilities of catastrophe, but perhaps unsurprisingly, given the state of our world, the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic sensibility seems to be everywhere in our mass culture these days. In fact, being plugged into the zeitgeist might necessarily entail a familiarity with the emerging tropes and assumptions of this subgenre. This course will consider the ways in which such films help us negotiate our suspicion that, as Hegel noted, we glimpse history only in those moments when our expectations and/or actions collide with the devastating and unforeseeable realities of our physical world and political situation. How do we measure loss when loss occurs at the upper end of the human scale? How do we consider collectively the issue of our own complicity in-if not responsibility for-disaster? Films to be studied will include W.S. Van Dyke's San Francisco, Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Carl Schultz's The Seventh Sign, Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men, Bruce McDonald's Pontypool, and Steven Soderbergh's Contagion.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: four short papers totaling more than twenty pages and in-class presentations
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level English course
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Writing Intensive
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 1578
ENGL140-01(F) SEM Catastrophe/Apocalypse (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive James R. Shepard
TF 1:10 PM-2:25 PM Hollander 241 1578
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