Communication and Culture | Seminar in Media (Topic: Genre, Series, Serial)
C793 | 6093 | Waller, G.


W, 1:00 PM-3:30 PM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 272

Open to Graduates Only!
Meets with AMST-G 751

Instructor: Gregory Waller
E-Mail: gwaller@indiana.edu
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 261
Phone: 855-7282

Genre, it seems, is inescapable—as a category, tool, form of
discourse, and interpretive guide—for viewers, teachers, fans,
archivists, scholars, the industry, and the academy.  This course
will examine certain classic statements about film genre, key
contemporary approaches to genre, and historical case studies of
individual genres.  We’ll also think some about Hollywood’s other
favored multi-film formats: in the pre-World War II era, the serial
and the series and, more recently, the franchise.  Our focus will be
primarily though not exclusively on how genre has been evoked,
theorized, historicized, and interpreted in film studies.

Since this class isn’t a survey of Hollywood genres or an-depth
examination of one or two genres, it will not feature weekly
screenings. But you can expect at least one or two marathon
screening experiences—like, for instance, all eight available films
in Twentieth Century-Fox’s Mr. Moto series (1937-1939) or multiple
episodes of a serial like The Phantom Empire (1935) or multiple
installments in a Hollywood short film series like Crime Does Not
Pay or James A. FitzPatrick’s TravelTalks.   In addition to brief
writing assignments and presentations on the readings, expect also a
required assignment that will ask you to work with IU’s
instructional film collection and think about genre from the
perspective of non-theatrical film.  The primary assignment will be
a semester-long research project.  Please feel free to contact me
about the course and to suggest possible readings.

Readings will probably include:
Selections from Warshow, Cawelti, Todorov, Cavell
Rick Altman, Film/Genre (1999)
Steve Neale, Genre and Hollywood (2000)
Richard Maltby, “Genre,” in Hollywood Cinema, 2nd. Ed. (2003), pp.
74-110
Christine Gledhill, “Rethinking Genre,” in Reinventing Film Studies
(2000)
Noel Carroll, “Film, Emotion, and Genre,” in Passionate Views: Film,
Cognition, and Emotion (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1999), 21-48.
Jason Mittell, Genre and Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in
American Culture (Routledge 2004)
James Naremore, More than Night, 2nd ed. (U of California Press,
2008)
Esther Sonnet, Lee Grieveson, and Peter Stanfield, eds. Mob Culture:
Hidden Histories of the American Gangster Film (Rutgers U Press,
2005) and one other case study of the gangster film, likely either:
Jonathan Munby, Public Enemies, Public Heroes: Screening the
Gangster from Little Caesar to Touch of Evil (U of Chicago Press,
1999) or Martha Nochimson, Dying to Belong: Gangster Movies in
Hollywood and Hong Kong (Wiley Blackwell 2007).