7AAQS501 Film and Philosophy
Teaching method: 2-hour screening & 2-hour seminar
This module explores the various relationships between film and philosophy. The programme is divided into three sections. In the first of these, we introduce and explore the core philosophical areas of epistemology, ethics and existentialism through film, examining how film is uniquely able to raise philosophical questions and illustrate thought experiments. We then move onto a historical study of what philosophers have had to say about cinema, starting with the work of Hugo Munsterberg, and moving through the radical philosophy of Gilles Deleuze to postmodern thinking on the simulacrum and the hyperreal. In the final block of sessions, we will explore the notion that film itself can philosophise. We will end with a consideration of Daniel Frampton’s provocative claim that film should be understood as ‘minded’ – that it expresses thoughts, intentions and emotions about the world it depicts – and can be considered a form of philosophy, or in Frampton’s neologism, ‘Filmosophy’.
This is an advanced introduction to the fast-growing field of film and philosophy, in all its various iterations. Students who have not completed a first degree in film studies will need to do some preliminary reading.
Essential reading pre-requisites for this course include: David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction (New York: McGraw-Hill, any edition); Christine Gledhill and Linda Williams, eds., Reinventing Film Studies (London: Arnold, 2000); John Hill and Pamela Church Gibson, eds., The Oxford Guide to Film Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).
Recommended reading includes: Pam Cook, ed., The Cinema Book, 3rd ed. (London: British Film Institute, 2007); Jill Nelmes, ed., Introduction to Film Studies, 4th ed. (London and New York: Routledge, 2007); Timothy Corrigan, Patricia White, and Meta Mazaj, eds., Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011).
Assessment: 1 x 5000 word essay (100%)
Coursepacks: Are a vital part of your learning at King's and normally contain extracts from books and other useful documents that will inform your study. You will be expected to pay a modest charge for hard copies of these coursepacks and this will save you the extra expense of buying all the books recommended for this module.