Showing posts from January, 2012

Film Theory and the Problem of Chronology

Jason Sperb has posted a couple of his syllabi, including one for a film theory class. His class has some terrific choices, which are already inspiring me as I fine tune my syllabi for my film theory classes this semester. He's also using the same anthology I'm using, Corrigan, White, and Mazaj's Critical Visions in Film Theory (Bedford St. Martin's).
I'll post my syllabi soon, but I wanted first to highlight a conceptual issue I've been wrestling with in teaching the film theory class: how much should I arrange a syllabus in chronological order? I don't mean chronology in the strictest sense, in which all writing form 1978 has to come before that from 1985. Rather, I mean organizing the syllabus according to the intellectual history of the field, with identifiable theoretical schools following one after the other. To be honest, this is my first inclination. There are a few reasons, but the biggest is that film theory itself tends to refer to prior schools a…