Media are not just everywhere around us – we consume, use, mediate and digest media on a daily basis. As the media also mirrors and influences the society it is produced in, it is a fruitful subject within the field of cultural studies. This course introduces students to the study of media and its interrelations with culture, society and itself, laying particular emphasis on film studies and gender representations within media. After an overview on various aspects of media history, media theory, and media analysis, we will focus on selected American action movies. Those are usually loud, fast, violent, male-dominated, sexist, interchangeable and brainless, are they not? This is what we will look closer into during the semester. We will also be interested in what aspects make American action movies typically American. Although the course focuses on a specific genre, the students will be provided with a toolkit to critically analyze media productions in general and from various angles.
The films from different subgenres, which will serve us as the basis for our analysis will probably be the following:
Demolition Man (1993)
The Fifth Element (1997)
Miss Congeniality (2000)
The Jurassic Park Trilogy (1993-2001) and the Jurassic World Trilogy (2015-2022)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
The Bourne franchise (2002-2016)
You will watch some of them completely, I will use excerpts from others in class. You may, of course, watch all of them! If you have a specific American action film in mind, which you would like to work on although it is not on this list, no problem. In our first session, we can make some minor adjustments to the list of films according to your general preferences and interests.
Readings and material: A selection of texts will be provided; the films we will work with are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ respectively.
Requirements: The introductory part of the course will be accompanied by readings and small writing assignments, students will give a presentation, either in class or as a recording (depending on the number of participants), and write a short essay, which has to be handed in until September 30.