|Semester and Year||FA 2012|
|Time||11:00 AM - 1:45 PM|
It is not surprising that concepts of spectacle have been of great importance for studies of visual media. From the earliest modernist theories that linked spectacle to medium specificity, historians, theoreticians and critics have attempted to understand the centrality of spectacle to mass media. This class looks at some of the pivotal ways in which spectacle has been understood, exploring the differences between modern and post-modern critics and the distinctions and overlaps between historical and theoretical investigations. Starting with Tom Gunning’s idea of attractions, a concept that revolutionized understanding of early cinema and its seemingly cavalier approach to narrative, we will explore how the concept of spectacle links history/theory and representation/reception. We will look at modernist debates around the image and consider their consequences for theories of perception, exploring the impact of consumerism in reshaping the image. We will also consider the relationship of spectacle and narrative, looking at how theorists like Laura Mulvey tied this regimen into the presentation of sexual difference. Mulvey is one of many critics to link spectacle to femininity, a topic we will explore as we consider the relationship of spectacle to sexuality. Finally, we will consider the postmodern consumerist spectacle and the creation of a “virtual gaze,” explored by Anne Friedberg. Readings will include Tom Gunning, “An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the (In)Credulous Spectator,” Anne Friedburg, Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern , Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle and Modern Culture .
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)