190: INTRODUCTION TO FILM, VIDEO,
Section 002: W, 7
to 10:30 p.m, Screenings,
and R, 2 to 4:30
p.m., Discussions, HHH 321
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
PROFESSOR BOB NOWLAN
Office: HHH 425,
Office Hours: MW
4:20-5:15 p.m., W 10:40-11:30 p.m., R 4:40-5:30 p.m.,
MWF 12 noon to 1
p.m., and By Appointment.
JOHN DALLMANN and PHIL GREGORY
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
English 190: Introduction to Film, Video, and
Moving-Image Culture is an introduction to the critical study of film and video:
to the interpretation and evaluation of film and video in cultural context.
includes everything that we, as human beings, have created, built,
learned, and conquered in the course of our entire history, in
distinction from what nature itself has given us. Specific cultures (as well as
specific subcultures) comprise the sum total of the particular
knowledges, capacities, fields of work (and fields of play), customs
and habits, traditions, values and attitudes, social roles and
identities, and shared ways of thinking, feeling, acting, interacting,
and behaving that characterize and, more importantly than merely
characterize, that internally unify and externally differentiate
particular regions, classes, and other social groups.
Film and video constitute principal constituents of
1.) moving-image culture (i.e., culture produced, distributed,
exchanged, and consumed in the form of constellations of
moving-images), 2.) human culture at large, and 3.) myriad specific
national, regional, local, racial, ethnic, class, gender, sexual,
generational, political, religious, artistic, philosophical,
recreational, and avocational cultures (and subcultures). (For
the sake of simplicity of expression, I will refer from this point
forward in much of the rest of this course explanation statement to
'films' when I am actually describing films, videos, and other kinds of
moving-image cultural productions.)
This course is designed neither to teach you how to
make your own films, nor to provide you with an opportunity simply to
enjoy watching films. We will examine the ways that films provide
pleasure for their audiences. Yet our goal will not be simply to
experience these pleasures ourselves, describe what they feel like, and
then offer merely impressionistic and purely opinionated reactions on
top of these descriptions that recount how far we can or cannot
personally identify with and relate to what the films depict and what
they attempt to make us feel. Instead, our objective will be to
seek to understand how and why films produce these pleasures in the
ways that they do-and also to understand what else always happens,
simultaneous with the provision of pleasure, as a result of the kinds
of pleasures and the ways of providing pleasures films
We will in fact give considerable attention to the
many other effects-other than providing pleasure-that films can and do
achieve, whether deliberately so or not. In particular, we will inquire
into films as providing us valuable knowledge about the real historical
societies and associated specific cultures out of which these films
emerge and into which they exert their impact-even where offering this
kind of insight does not constitute a conscious aim of the film makers
themselves, and even when we must critique the film's representations
in order to produce this knowledge.
Throughout the history of world cinema, three
principal objectives have driven forward the production, distribution,
exhibition, and reception of film:
1.) the provision of entertainment, especially as diversion,
distraction, and amusement;
2.) artistic expression and communication-concerned with aesthetic
issues such as capturing and conveying the felt experience of the
ordinary and the extraordinary, the everyday and the unusual, the
familiar and the unfamiliar, and, especially, "the beautiful" and "the
sublime"-in both the natural world and human society;
3.) social critique-as contribution to, and instrument of, social
Many films, as well as many cinemas, aspire to meet two or three of
these goals, often employing one as means toward the achievement of at
least one of the other two (e.g., artistic expression as a vehicle of
social critique). Yet it is still useful, in beginning to come to
terms with the aims of different kinds of film and cinema, to recognize
these as primarily oriented toward serving one of these three
ends. (“Cinema” here refers to a particular institutional form
governing the production, distribution, exhibition, and reception of a
series of films, especially a series of films sharing common subjects,
styles, social vantage points, and cultural backgrounds: e.g., “German
Expressionist Cinema,” “Classical Narrative Realist Hollywood Cinema,”
“Italian Neo-Realist Cinema,” “French New Wave Cinema,” “Dogme 95
Cinema,” “1960s American Underground Cinema,” “British Free Cinema,”
and “The New Queer Cinema.”)
The kinds of pleasures film can provide us in fact
come in many forms, at times quite complicated and sophisticated,
including those that usefully subvert culturally dominant ways of
making sense. Yet Hollywood (along with other, allied sectors of
the bottom-line profit-driven, corporate capitalist, multinational
conglomerate mass media) often encourages us to approach the pleasure
we experience from film primarily, if not exclusively, as a purely
escapist form of entertainment. In other words, Hollywood
frequently encourages us to retreat from, rather than to confront,
understand, and strive to overcome life's problems and difficulties.
Rarely does Hollywood inspire us to believe we can
and should act as critical citizens. Critical citizens work both
within their local communities and beyond the confines of local,
regional, and even national boundaries by collaborating with others who
share the same commitments. These commitments involve combating
injustice, inequity, discrimination, prejudice, and the other socially
systemic and institutionally entrenched forms of violent abuse which so
many of our fellow human beings suffer every day of their lives-as well
as striving to foster ecologically sustainable relations with the rest
of the natural world that we as a species have so miserably failed to
What's more, even when mainstream media productions
do address serious issues, they often do so in reductively simplistic
and sentimentally trivializing ways. Usually they don't extend messages
quite as trite as "everything always turns out for the best," "don't
worry, be happy," "crime never pays," or "good always triumphs over
evil," yet they still usually embrace, rather than critique, cultural
clichés. For example, a film might suggest that hard work
and a positive outlook on life will overcome all obstacles, or that the
support of a loving family and true friends should be all we ever need
to pick us up when and if we are down and need help, or that heroic
individuals can always defeat even the most brutal (ab)uses of state
and corporate power.
At the same time, another popular current in
contemporary Hollywood film rejects, even mocks, these naive attitudes
but does so only to support a cynical view of contemporary social
existence as an alienated quest for survival in an essentially selfish,
corrupt, and vicious world where might makes right, style (in the sense
of superficial "flash" and "glitter") matters far more than substance,
and maintaining an outward facade of cool, confident control, along
with a pose of proudly defiant self-reliance, always trump
manifestations of fellow feeling, shared concern, and social
solidarity. In addition, of course, other common trends in
contemporary Hollywood involve making films a.) that function as little
more than opportunities to demonstrate the look, sound, and feel of the
latest special effects technology, or b.) that delight in facile forms
of pseudo-comedy-comedy devoid of wit, charm, and even humor-so as to
revel in the gross, the mean, and the cruel.
Contemporary Hollywood films often tend, moreover,
to discourage us not only from questioning, challenging, and critiquing
the social status quo but also from thinking for ourselves as we come
to terms with what they represent to us in the course of our experience
watching (and listening to) them. These films frequently tell tales
that represent "the way things are" as simply "the way they have to
be"-or, even more insidious than that, as "the only way they can and
should be." They manufacture worlds that comfort us with
infantilizing illusions that we are invited to accept, without
question, at least for the duration of a film, as the simple equivalent
of "reality" itself. They insert us into positions within the illusory
worlds they construct such that we experience no incentive to reflect
either upon the process of construction or the meaning of illusion,
where we are reassuringly protected from having to confront any
genuinely unsettling thoughts or feelings-i.e., thoughts or feelings
that linger to trouble us long after the film has ended. These
films, moreover, flatter us by providing us with a false sense of our
omniscience-false because these films not only do our seeing and
hearing for us but also because they attempt to take charge as well of
our thinking, feeling, reacting, and responding in relation to
virtually everything we encounter from the beginning to the end of the
film's running time.
In this course we will reflect critically upon the
processes of manipulation I have just recounted as well as examine a
number of alternative models of film production and reception that
challenge this interpellation of the film spectator-auditor
(viewer-listener) into the position of uncritical, passive
consumer. We will also consider the contradictions involved in
processes of film production, distribution, exhibition, and reception
that spark usefully critical engagements with even the most
"conservative," "mind-numbing," "desensitizing," and "trivializing"
forms of mainstream Hollywood "blockbuster" film.
It is important that we subject film to critical
study because, over the course of the past 110 years, audio-visual
texts, especially audio-visual texts organized around the moving image,
have come to exert an extremely powerful impact upon the shape and
substance of individuals' lived experience of their relationship to the
conditions of their own existence. This impact is today prospectively
as powerful, if not indeed often considerably more powerful, than that
exerted by traditional print media. In fact, film, television,
video, and "cyberspace" have become principal sites within our
contemporary Western societies for the production and dissemination, as
well as the reproduction and reinforcement, of meanings, values, ideas,
ideologies, and social modes of thinking, understanding, feeling,
believing, acting, and interacting, even when presented to us as "sheer
This course will begin, first, with a brief
introduction to the rudiments of “critical media literacy” and the
“elements of meaning” involved in “reading film.” From that
point, we will turn, second, to learn about film makers' use (to
express and communicate meaning) of techniques of a.)
“mise-en-scène,” b.) “cinematography,” c.) “editing,” and
d.) “sound.” We will here concentrate on influential and
innovative uses of these techniques, including representation from
"independent" film makers working outside of Hollywood and beyond the
United States as well as examples from historically significant
Hollywood films. After this, we will, third, inquire into the art and
politics of representation in (especially) American (primarily
Hollywood) film. In this third section of the course, we will
begin with an introduction to and overview of the study of film form
and representation, turn from there to discuss the structure and
history of Hollywood filmmaking, and proceed in turn to examine
representations of issues of race and ethnicity, class, gender, and
sexuality in (American) film.
The films I have selected to screen in this course
represent a critically acclaimed and historically influential
variety. As I see it, one of my principal responsibilities in
teaching this course, as an expert in cinema studies, is to introduce
you to titles of films, and kinds of film making-as well as ways of
interpreting and evaluating films-that you have not encountered
before. Like past students in the many English 190 classes I have
previously taught, I hope you too will come to appreciate the
opportunity this course provides for an "eye-opening" experience.
The following two required texts are available for
purchase at the UWEC Bookstore:
1.) Kasdan, Margo, Christine Saxon, and Susan
Tavernetti. The Critical Eye: an
Introduction to Looking at Movies. 3rd Edition, Revised
Printing. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 2002.
2.) Benshoff, Harry and Sean Griffin. America on Film: Representing Race, Class,
Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies. Malden, MA:
In addition, I will supply you copies of all films
screened for study in this class. We will screen these in DVD and VHS
formats with large-screen projection and high-fidelity stereo sound
reproduction. Most of the films I screen in the courses I teach
at UWEC are my own personal copies (or copies I rent, without
reimbursement, at prices that can range well over $100 a shot), as this
university at present maintains no regular source of funding to pay for
films used in film classes. Therefore, if you miss a class where we
watch a film, you will need either a.) to rent a copy from a local
video store or library collection, or b.) arrange with me to schedule a
make-up screening session on campus. In short, I prefer not to
loan out copies of titles screened in class for you to take home.
W 1/28: Screening, The Truman Show and
Out: the Making of a Revolutionary.
R 1/29: Introduction and Orientation. Discussion, The Truman Show and Out: the Making of a Revolutionary.
W 2/4: Screening, Mulholland Drive
and Thou Shalt Not Kill (A Short
Film About Killing).
R 2/5: Discussion, Critical Media Literacy/Elements of Meaning, Mulholland Drive, and Thou Shalt Not Kill (A Short Film About
for Class: The Critical Eye
(CE), Chapters 1-2, 2-32.
W 2/11: Screening, Seconds and
R 2/12: Discussion, Cinematography, Seconds,
Read for Class: CE, Chapter 3, 33-60.
W 2/18: Screening, Clerks and
R 2/19: Discussion, Mise-en-Scène, Clerks, and Disco Pigs.
Read for Class: CE, Chapter 4, 61-90.
W 2/25: Screening, The Battle of
Algiers and Bloody Sunday.
R 2/26: Discussion, Editing, The
Battle of Algiers, and Bloody
Read for Class: CE, Chapter 5, 91-108.
* First Learning
and Contribution Reflection Paper Assigned. *
W 3/3 and R 3/4: First Exam.
W 3/10: Screening, The Harder They
Come and Teenage Kicks: The
R 3/11: Discussion, Sound, The
Harder They Come and Teenage
Kicks: The Undertones.
Read for Class: CE, Chapter 4, 109-126.
* First Learning
and Contribution Reflection Paper Due. *
W 3/17: Screening, Casablanca and
Play It Again Sam.
R 3/18: Discussion, Introduction to the Study of Film Form and
Representation, Casablanca, and Play It Again Sam.
Read for Class: America
on Film (AF), Chapter 1, 1-22.
W 3/31: Screening, The Bad and the
Beautiful and The Player.
R 4/1: Discussion, The Structure and History of
Hollywood Filmmaking, The Bad and
the Beautiful, and The Player.
Read for Class: AF, Chapter 2, 23-46, and CE,
* Second Learning
and Contribution Reflection Paper Assigned. *
W 4/7: Screening, Pleasantville,
Blood in the Face, and Not in Our Town I and II.
R 4/8: Discussion, The Concept of Whiteness and American Film, Pleasantville, Blood in the Face, and Not in Our Town I and II.
Read for Class: AF, Introduction to Part Two and
Chapter 3, 49-74.
W 4/14: Screening, Ethnic Notions and
R 4/15: Discussion, African Americans and American Film, Ethnic Notions, and Bamboozled.
Read for Class: AF, Chapter 4, 75-95.
* Second Learning
and Contribution Reflection Paper Due. *
W 4/21: Screening, Bulworth
and Life and Debt.
R 4/22: Discussion, Classical Hollywood Cinema and Class/Cinematic
Class Struggle After the Depression, Bulworth,
and Life and Debt.
Read for Class: AF, Introduction to Part Three and
Chapters 8-9, 157-199.
W 4/28: Screening, Gilda and Dead Reckoning.
R 4/29: Discussion, Exploring the Visual Parameters of Women in
Film/Masculinity in Classical Hollywood Filmmaking, Gilda, and Dead Reckoning.
Read for Class: AF, Introduction
to Part Four, 203-206, and Chapters 11-12, 229-270.
W 5/3: Screening, Far from Heaven
and Fight Club.
R 5/4: Discussion, Women in Classical Hollywood Filmmaking/Gender in
American Film Since the 1960s, Far from Heaven, and Fight Club.
Read for Class: AF, Chapters 10 and 13, 207-228 and
* Third Learning
and Contribution Reflection Paper Assigned. *
W 5/10: Screening, Victim and
R 5/11: Discussion, Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, and Classical
Hollywood/Sexualities on Film Since the Sexual Revolution, Victim, and Urbania.
Read for Class: AF, Introduction to Part Five and
Chapters 14-15, 293-338.
W 5/17: Second Exam.
R 5/18: Third Learning and
Contribution Reflection Paper Due.
**** PLEASE NOTE: THE PRECEDING
SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ****
CONDUCT OF CLASS SESSIONS
On Wednesday evenings we will screen films. We
will take a brief break of 5 to 10 minutes between each
screening. Students are welcome to bring pillows, blankets, and
folding lounge chairs to use if you find these more comfortable than
the classroom chairs. You may also bring snacks as long as you
take care to eat and drink quietly as well as not to spill anything on
the classroom carpet. Please note well that occasionally
screening sessions will run longer than three and one-half hours, and
occasionally they will run shorter; students are expected to stay
through the end of screening sessions that run late, yet may leave as
soon as screening sessions that run short end-the time commitment will
all balance out in the end.
On Thursday afternoons we will discuss topics in
film, video, and moving-image culture study based upon the assigned
readings for the week as well as the films screened the previous
Wednesday night. Frequently, I will show clips from the films
screened the previous night as well as DVD extras to initiate and
stimulate discussion. I will also, from time to time, show clips from
other videos, DVDs, websites, CD-Roms, and DVD-Roms to help explain and
illustrate key concepts. The student mentors and I likely will
occasionally make use of other kinds of equipment and associated
materials to demonstrate techniques, concepts, and practices as well.
I will direct our discussions, assisted by student
mentors John Dallmann and Phil Gregory, and, as useful, I will combine
discussion with some extended comments and short, informal
presentations of my own. However, I will always ask you to help
out as I introduce and explain positions, concepts, methods, and
practices. I plan to combine largely brief and informal
presentations with extensive questioning of and discussion with
students, following a variety of formats. I always prefer to
teach by way of discussion as opposed to lecture; students learn better
through active engagement and dialogue with each other as well as with
me. Students will frequently spend portions of class time on
Thursday afternoon working in small groups; students will also from
time to time need to prepare short written reflections either prior to
or during our Thursday meetings to share with the rest of the class.
EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS
Although I expect that students enrolled in this
course do appreciate and enjoy watching films (as I most certainly do),
and although I also suspect that a number of you may have already had
some experience in film production or may wish to pursue this work in
the future, as participants within this course students should be
sincerely interested in learning about the critical study of
film. I expect students in this course to be consistently
intellectually serious as well as academically diligent. I expect
students to strive to bring actively and extensively to bear-in your
writing for class essays and your contributions to class
discussion-insights you gain through your engagement with the films we
screen, the required readings, and the topics these films and readings
raise for our consideration. Finally, I expect students to let me
know right away when and if you have any questions or problems in
relation to any aspect of how you are doing with the course, so that I
can do everything I possibly can to help answer these questions and
solve these problems.
AND CURRICULAR INTEGRITY
The English Department aims to provide you with an
intellectually challenging education. This means we will often include
texts and introduce topics in our courses that candidly explore adult
issues, including ones that offer representations that may, on
occasion, prove unsettling, disturbing, and even offensive to some of
The higher educational academy is not a "safe space"
separate from the rest of the "real world" where you can expect to be
sheltered from encountering anything you might find disagreeable or
objectionable. On the contrary, we expect you to take up the challenge
to confront these kinds of texts and topics in a mature, responsible
way, and that means bringing directly to bear your negative
reactions-including your reactions of shock, dismay, and discontent-in
class discussions and in your writings and presentations for class. If
you find a position or practice represented in a text or topic included
in the assigned readings or screenings for class to be objectionable,
it is therefore of crucial importance that you raise your objections
openly and honestly, not simply claim personal exemption from having to
see, hear, or talk, read, and write about these kinds of matters. After
all, disturbing positions and practices exist extensively outside of
the classroom as well as in what we read, see, hear, and otherwise
confront in and for class; what we do confront in class exists in this
institutional space as symptomatic of positions and practices that
operate beyond the confines of the classroom, the course, and the
university. If and when you find any text or topic genuinely appalling,
you maintain the ethical responsibility, as a mature adult and as a
responsible citizen, not simply to try to hide from these positions and
practices but rather to work to critique and change them.
Students should expect therefore that you may well
on occasion encounter representations that you will find troubling, in
this UWEC course and in many others as well; within this Department you
will receive no right of exemption from engaging with these and no
welcome for simply complaining (especially to a higher administrative
authority) about their inclusion. Instead you should bring your
objections forthrightly to bear in your contributions to class
discussion. Finally, to conclude this particular point of discussion, a
professor differs from a high school teacher in many respects, but one
key difference is that we maintain a principal professional, ethical
responsibility forthrightly to represent the most advanced knowledges
in our fields of expertise and to proceed from there to work toward
their further development and dissemination. In short, we must create,
advocate for, and profess these knowledges; you should expect that your
professors may from time to time take strong and indeed controversial
positions on difficult and challenging issues, eschewing the pretense
of disinterested neutrality. To do anything less than assume this
responsibility, and to do so with alacrity, would be to shirk our
professorial responsibility and to render ourselves unworthy of
maintaining our professorial position.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COURSE GRADE
In evaluating all work done for this course, I will
take account of how carefully, seriously, intelligently,
enthusiastically, and imaginatively students engage with the concepts,
issues, positions, and arguments addressed in the course and
represented by the films, videos, and other electronic texts we screen,
the graphic texts we read, by me, by the student mentors, and by each
This course cannot contribute effectively to your
education as critical students of film if you do not attend
class. What happens in class is an indispensable part of this
course. I will take note of student attendance and therefore I expect
students to adhere to the following attendance policy for this course:
1.) Students should not exceed a maximum
of three unexcused absences.
2.) Students should provide me with written confirmation of a serious,
individual or family emergency for any further absences beyond the
maximum of three unexcused absences.
3.) Students who miss more than seven classes total, for whatever
reason, should expect that they are unlikely to pass the course, and
therefore should withdraw from the course and enroll again in a
4.) Attendance at all classes in which films will be screened is
required as well, even if and when the films we screen are readily
available on video for you to watch and listen to elsewhere and at
5.) Students are responsible for finding out and making up whatever you
miss if and when you do miss class.
Contribution/Learning and Contribution Reflection Papers
This is and Why it is Important
My foremost aim in teaching this course is to help
you to learn something of significance and value. I will judge
you to a significant degree on what you learn, how- and how hard-you
strive to learn, and on how-along with how well-you contribute to the
learning for the rest of the class.
You cannot learn or help others learn if you do not
contribute. If you don't contribute to the work of this class not only
will you fail to derive as much gain from it as would be the case if
you did contribute, but also you will deprive everyone else of the
benefit of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, knowledge, and
experience. In fact, to remain passively silent in class exploits the
work of others who actively engage.
Class participation represents an important
opportunity to learn, not just a place in which to demonstrate what you
have learned. By raising questions, testing and trying out ideas,
taking risks and making mistakes, you learn a great deal-and help
others learn a great deal as well. You learn through talking, not
just talk to show what you have learned. Don't hesitate to speak
forth in class if you have anything at all to throw into the mix.
At the same time, just talking a great deal does not
necessarily mean that you are making a quality contribution to the
class by aiding the learning that we aim to accomplish. Quality of
participation is much more important than quantity, although a
sufficient quantity is indispensable to insure quality. Still, I want
to emphasize here that I perceive talking for talking’s sake–especially
talking which pulls us off on far-fetched tangents, which remains
disconnected from and disengaged with the reading and the rest of the
class, or which effectively silences others–to be negative
Quality class participation does not, moreover,
involve merely asking questions of me and responding to my questions;
quality class participation requires you to work as assiduously as you
can to advance a serious and substantial discussion with your peers
about the texts and topics subject to discussion. Students should,
therefore, be prepared to engage with and respond to each other in
class discussion, and I will take particular note of how well you do so.
I would like you to come to class with strong
opinions on the topics of discussion, to be ready to share your
opinions with the class, and to be open-minded enough to debate your
own and others’ thoughts and to push them as far as they will go.
In evaluating class participation, I find the
following modification of a system designed by my colleague, Professor
Mary Ellen Alea, useful: A = Nearly daily response, and with
consistently useful, insightful comments and questions; B= Daily
response, with regular, relevant comments and questions; C = Less
frequent, occasional questions and comments; D = Almost always entirely
quiet; F= Engaging in behavior that disrupts the learning processes of
you and your fellow students, such as talking while others are
speaking, not paying attention in class, or doing other work or
attending to other interests during the time class is meeting.
Forms of Contribution
Contribution to the class certainly can extend far
beyond mere speaking in class: it may include a variety of ways in
which you can bring to bear your insights to help yourself as well as
the rest of us gain from the experience of this course.
Excellent writings for and in response to class (on Desire2Learn,
see below) and as part of your learning and contribution reflection
papers (see below as well) can help make up for limitations as far as
participation in class goes. At the same time, listening
carefully, respectfully, and thoughtfully in class discussions is yet
another important means of contribution.
and Contribution Reflection Papers/
Learning and Contribution Reflection Grades
Learning and contribution will constitute a
significant proportion of your overall course grade. As
part of this grade, you will write three learning and contribution
reflection papers. For these papers I will ask you questions that
will require you to address what you have been learning as a student
enrolled in this course, and to assess how, along with how well, you
have been contributing to your own learning, and to that of others in
As I see it, these papers provide you a useful
opportunity to communicate with me how you believe you are doing with
the course, as well as why so, and to demonstrate your critical
self-reflexivity, the hallmark of a liberal arts education. As
you are assessing your own learning and contribution, you may include
thoughts in reaction to issues raised in class discussion that you did
not have the opportunity or did not feel comfortable enough to share in
class; these additional reflections will help me get a better sense of
what you have been thinking about and how you have been responding to
class discussions, as well as to the readings. I will take into
account what you write in determining your learning and contribution
grade for the preceding semester period; performance on these papers
represents a vital component of your learning and contribution grade.
I will provide you specific directions in the
assignments I give you for each of these papers; please note well that
the questions you address will change from the first to the second to
the third reflection paper. These papers should be typed,
double-space, on single sides of standard white letter-sized (8"
X 11") typewriter, computer printer, or photographic paper. All
pages should be numbered, and you should place your name at the top of
each page. You may use any standard font you wish, yet you should
keep your point size between 10 and 12 points. Papers must be
stapled, and you are responsible for doing so, not me. You should
follow rules and conventions of Standard Written English and a
consistent, accurate format for citation and documentation of sources.
I recommend an
approximate target range of between 1250 and 1750 words (roughly 5-7
and contribution grades (including learning and contribution reflection
papers) will be worth the following percentages of the overall course
grade: #1, 10%, #2, 15%, and #3, 20%.
The first exam
will take place, in class, in two parts, on Wednesday evening March 3
and on Thursday afternoon March 4. The first exam will
address key concepts covered, as well as films screened, through the
first five weeks of the semester. Part one of this exam
will run for two hours Wednesday evening the 3rd, and will consist of a
series of short response essays on questions related to the
re-screening of a selection of clips from films screened in the
preceding five weeks of the semester. Part two will begin with
the screening of a film over the course of the last 85 minutes of class
on Wednesday evening March 3 (this will be a film not previously
screened this semester in class). The next day, Thursday afternoon
March 4, students will write an extended essay in response to an
assignment distributed, and the screening of a refresher clip from the
preceding night's screening, at the beginning of this (Thursday) class
session. You may use any textbooks, photocopied handouts, notes,
guides, outlines, et. al. you want as you write your short essays on
Tuesday evening and your long essay on Wednesday afternoon. Parts one and two of
the first exam will each be worth 10% of the overall course grade, for
a total of 20% of the overall course grade.
The second exam
will take place, in class, on Wednesday evening May 19. This exam will once against consist of two
parts. As with the first exam, the first part of the
second exam will run for two hours, and consist of a series of short
response essays on questions related to the re-screening of a selection
of clips from films screened in the preceding eight weeks of the
semester. Part two of exam two will consist of the screening of
two short films followed by students writing an essay in response to a
single set of questions about these two short films. Once again,
the second exam will be an "open-book" examination. Parts one and two of the second exam will
again each be worth 10% of the overall course grade, for a total of 20%
of the overall course grade.
I have created a Desire2Learn electronic classroom
website for this class. Beyond me posting material here for you to
retrieve, I am also asking you periodically to post short reflections,
comments, and critiques on this site that engage with readings and
screenings in dialogue with your fellow classmates and student mentors
John Dallmann and Phil Gregory. I will explain how to access this
site, and make sure you can do so, very early in the semester.
Here's how this assignment will work. After each
Thursday discussion class meeting you will have the opportunity to post
a short, informal reflection, comment, and/or critique on issues
directly related to the films and readings discussed in class that
Thursday. Then, once your fellow students have posted their
thoughts, you will have the opportunity to write a second short,
informal paper responding to what one or more of your classmates has
Your postings may be quite informal, yet you should
nevertheless try to write as clearly and cogently as possible. I
will also expect your postings to demonstrate you are taking this
I will ask John and Phil to offer evaluations of how
you have done with this work, and take into account their
recommendations in grading your Desire2Learn postings. This will
be a space where you can engage in discussion primarily with your peers
and with John and Phil, largely free from having to worry about
directly addressing me with anything that you here write.
You need not post on Desire2Learn every week; I
expect you to write a minimum
of three initial posts and six response posts during the first
half of the semester (through spring break). I will then
expect you to write a minimum of
three additional posts and six additional responses during the second
half of the semester (after spring break).
You will have up
to ten days after each Thursday discussion class to post your initial
comments, reflections, and/or critiques and then up to fourteen additional days to post your
responses (except at the very end of the semester where we
won't have quite this much time left).
I recommend an
average of approximately 500 words for each post (i.e., if you
are concerned about how much or how little you ‘should write’, estimate
posting the equivalent of roughly two double-space typed pages each
time). This is not hard and fast at all; it's just to give you
something to use as a guideline in drafting your reflections, comments,
Overall, I expect the opportunity to engage in this
kind of supplementary, informal dialogue will help you in your learning
and contribution, as well as make the course more interesting and
meaningful for you. It will also give you the chance to test out
and receive potentially helpful feedback on ideas you might want later
to pursue in class discussions, and in learning and contribution
reflection papers. In addition, this will give you a chance to
share ideas that you thought of after class discussion, or that you
needed more time to think out and formulate effectively in your own
mind before sharing these, and Desire2Learn postings should help
students who are shy about speaking forth extensively in class
discussion. I know everyone in class has much of value to offer,
including those who do not feel as readily inclined or as comfortable
to voice this in class discussion as some others.
will grade you twice on your Desire2Learn papers: 7.5% for the first
half of the semester, and 7.5% for the second half of the
semester. Again, I will take into account John’s and
Phil’s recommendations in determining these grades, but this will in
every case be my decision, and mine alone; John and Phil cannot,
according to law, be officially responsible for grading you in any
aspect of your performance as part of this course.
THE GOALS OF THE
This university is, as many of you know, a liberal
arts institution; education in the liberal arts (and sciences)
represents the historic and central commitment of what we do together
on this UW campus-not vocational training and pre-professional
development. The university administration and faculty support this
commitment so strongly that they have asked that all syllabi elaborate
the official goals of the baccalaureate, as well as identify which ones
the course in question will help you achieve. According to the UWEC
administration, the baccalaureate degree shall work to develop the
following for UWEC students:
1.) an understanding of a liberal education.
2.) an appreciation of the University as a learning community.
3.) an ability to inquire, think, analyze.
4.) an ability to write, read, speak, listen.
5.) an understanding of numerical data.
6.) a historical consciousness.
7.) international and intercultural experience.
8.) an understanding of science and scientific methods.
9.) an appreciation of the arts.
10.) an understanding of values.
11.) an understanding of human behavior and human institutions.
UWEC strives to help
you meet these objectives in the course of the higher education you
pursue here. Please note that in making these our foremost aims,
we at UWEC clearly distinguish ourselves from technical colleges as
well as from all other UW schools, especially places like Stout, River
Falls, and Stevens Point. This section of English 190 will help
contribute to you meeting goals 1-4, 6, and 9-11.
These goals cannot be met passively by the student:
each requires your striving toward it to be met. Striving means learning actively,
completing assignments in a thorough and timely fashion, participating
in class discussion, and making connections (above and beyond those
emphasized by us in the classroom) between what we do while meeting in
class and what you do when engaged outside of the classroom.
I encourage you to meet with me in conference during
office hours or at another mutually convenient time to discuss any
issue of interest or concern related to what we are doing in this
course. Learning that takes place in conferences can at times be
equally as important, and in fact occasionally even more important,
than what takes place in class. Please do not hesitate to meet
with me during office hours or to ask for an appointment at any time
you think this might be helpful; I regard making myself available for
conferences with you outside of class to be an indispensable part of my
responsibility as your teacher. Moreover, I always sincerely do
welcome getting to know and work with my students outside as well as
inside of class. I am ready to do whatever I can to help you in your
understanding of issues addressed in discussions, readings, and
screenings, as well as to help you in your writing for and
participation in this course. I want to make sure that I do all
that I can to help you succeed in this course and I want to help you,
as far as I can, to gain as much out of it as possible through your
participation in and work for it. You may also feel free to write
me via e-mail, and to call me-or leave a message for me on the
answering machine-at my office. I enjoy meeting and working with
students outside as well as inside of class; I really do. I would
rather talk with you during my office hours than do anything else, so
please do not worry about "disturbing" me in coming to talk with me; my
office hours are time that I have set aside to meet, talk, and work
with you. PLEASE DO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY!
And, remember, once again, taking the time to meet and talk with me
periodically in conference is a great way to contribute to the class.
Also, John Dallmann and Phil Gregory have signed on
as student mentors with this class because they want to work with and
help you. Please feel free to contact and meet with them
outside of class about any matter of interest or concern; they too will
hold regular office hours and be readily accessible to assist
you. John and Phil can be of great help do you; take advantage of
the opportunity to work with them.
Any student who
has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please
contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities
I strive to be as responsible and as accountable to
my students as possible. I believe it is crucial that students become
aware of the ideas and the values which shape and direct their
education, and I believe students should expect that all of their
teachers will be prepared to explain why they teach as they do. Please,
therefore, take the time, as early as you can this semester, to read
through and think carefully about my "Statement of Teaching Philosophy"
that I have posted on my UWEC faculty website:
This statement explains WHY I teach as I do. I think it is extremely
important that you know and understand where your teachers are coming
from in teaching you as they do. You will find me one who trusts you
sufficiently always to be frank and honest about this with you.
Professor Bob Nowlan's Home Page
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Professor Bob Nowlan
Last Updated: January 19, 2004