Madhavi Mohan Murty
Examines modern nationalism as a vast, contested, and crucial subject. Addresses current theories and historical evidence about the origin and nature of nationalist ideologies and their relationships to the modern nation-state.
The visual image, in particular the moving image, formulates, represents and reinforces the nation as a significant modern concept. In this class, we will examine the complex unity formed by the intertwining of visual cultures with the nation as a concept and nationalism as a set of ideologies. Through a critical engagement with global cinema, we will examine how 1) moving images construct historical memory and a historical narrative for the nation, 2) cinema shapes anti-colonial politics and resistance into nationalism, 3) film is used a medium by the nation-state at particular historical periods to mobilize people through an identification with the nation and 4) how the moving image itself comes to stand in for or represent the nation in a global world.
We will watch films made around the world each week to discuss these thematics and learn to examine the moving image as a text that we can carefully read and as an audio-visual commodity whose production, circulation and consumption we can track. At a time when the film industry globally gears up for the annual award season - the Oscars, the BAFTAs etc. - we will pay attention to the ways in which the cultures that develop around cinema (including the award culture and the festival culture) construct and circulate the nation as a concept. While learning to be careful readers of film, we will also work to become careful producers of visual cultures ourselves by working with the visual medium to communicate an engagement with the core themes of the class.
Student learning goals
Understand the relationship between visual cultures and the nation as a concept.
Understand the most significant theories on nationalism and nationalist thought.
Become careful and critical readers of the moving image.
General method of instruction
Film screenings, lecture, discussion.
Class assignments and grading