COMP 236
Screens of Terror: Representations of War,Terror, and Terrorism in Western Films after 9/11
Last Offered Fall 2013
Division I Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed INST 239 / COMP 236
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

How has Hollywood contributed to “the war on terror?” What is the effect of the media on public opinion about this new kind of war? This course will seek to answer these questions through a critical examination of recent Western films with explicit portrayals of 9/11, acts of terrorism, terrorists, Arabs, Muslims, and western military and politicians. Using methods of literary analysis, we will examine such films as Syriana(2005), United 93 (2006), The Hurt Locker (2009), Avatar (2009), and Iron Man 3 (2013) among others to reflect on how experiences of war, terror, and terrorism have been recently represented on screen. We will also investigate how Hollywood practices have been implemented in other world cinemas in the recent years. Among others, we will look into how the on-going Russo-Chechen conflict has been represented in Russian cinema before and after 9/11. Readings in film interpretation will range from early film theorists such as Eisenstein and Krakauer to contemporary literary critics such as Eagleton and Jameson. We will also review relevant cultural theory and criticism addressing questions of orientalism (Said and Shaheen) and the role of media in the construction of public opinion (Zizek, Baudrillard, and Chomsky). This EDI course will engage with questions of ethnic, religious, and national identity in the highly polarized post 9/11 landscape and ask students to (re)consider the tangled notions of perspective and representation. Students will also come away with techniques in film analysis, practice in writing reviews, and a deepened understanding of the relationship between society and film today.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1986
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, frequent short writing assignments (3 pages), a final paper (3 pages), and an oral presentation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Comparative Literature Major or International Studies concentration
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: Meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under INST
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
INST 239 Division II COMP 236 Division I

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Updated 11:57 pm
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  • COMP 236 - SEM Post-9/11 Film
    COMP 236 SEM Post-9/11 Film
    Division I Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
    Not offered

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