Current Courses

ETS-320 Hollywood Directors of the 1950s

The 1950s was a decade of socio-cultural change in the United States after World War II and industrial reorganization in Hollywood after the Paramount Case of 1948, the Supreme Court antitrust ruling that broke up the monopoly of the major studios. While surveying key Hollywood directors of the era, this course will introduce you to the critical, theoretical, and historical methods of studying film authorship. Beginning with “the auteur theory” in its French and Anglophone conceptions, we will think about the signature style and personal vision of a director in relation to film aesthetics, identity, and textual politics. We will then build from these formal issues to look at directors in midcentury U.S. contexts, including urbanization and suburbanization, the Cold War, constructions of masculinity and youth culture, and ideologies of consumerism and popular art. Finally, we will consider the practical conditions of working in the industry during the decline of the classical studio system: making films at independent production companies, pushing the boundaries of censorship, and cultivating a directorial celebrity. Cinema studies has long been invested in the Hollywood directors of this profoundly transformative decade. This course seeks to understand why, and also what their legendary films, careers, and reputations still have to teach us about the history of American cinema.

ETS-450 Latinos in Cinema

One of the fundamental qualities of cinema is its ability to mediate particular bodies in particular spaces, but what happens when those bodies and spaces construct racial or ethnic identity and difference for a mass viewing public? Cinema has the power to give visibility to minority groups on a global stage, just as it has the power to render those groups invisible or distort understandings of their lived experiences. This course focuses on the diverse Latino representations in U.S. narrative fiction films. We will look at the questions, problems, and meanings that arise from onscreen images of the Latinos, as well as how the creative labor and self-representation of Latinos have served as artistic expression and social protest from the margins of the film industry. As you learn the styles, themes, politics, and contexts important to this history, you will also learn the cultural competencies to read film texts from a critical ethnic studies perspective. Emphasizing contributions of individual Latino stars and filmmakers, course topics will include: the roles of national borders; relationships of ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality; the Good Neighbor Policy; the Chicano Movement; diasporic communities and migration narratives; transnational genre filmmaking; music, embodiment, and autobiography; and the “global” auteurism of New Mexican Cinema.