Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Tamara Cooper
C LIT 303
Seattle Campus

Theory of Film: Genre

Introduction to the history and significance of film genres from the early days of film to the present. Examines a selection of several genres, drawn from a list including western, melodrama, musical, thriller, road odyssey, film noir, and documentary. Topics include form, ideology, authority, history, innovation, and parody.

Class description

C Lit 303 - Black Contemporary Cinemas is open to AIS, AES, CHID, ENGL, GWSS, DRAMA and C Lit students during Period 1 registration as well as students in performance studies. No prior film analysis knowledge is necessary.

C Lit 303 runs 4 days/ week with two days for screening and two days for lecture. While students are responsible to watch both films, they are welcome to locate streaming versions to make viewing easier.

In this class we will look at a broad range of contemporary filmmakers from around the world who for whatever reason self-identify as Black from the 1970s to the present. Some of them were born in the US, some of were trained in the US and share citizenship elsewhere. If post-Obama does not mean post-racial, then what does it mean? With all of the films recently released, which deal with histories of slavery - are we in a different racial moment? What does it mean to an American public who sees black faces more frequently on screens than ever before, screens where black men are allowed to kiss white women and black men are allowed to kiss each other. We will look at the challenges of black film authorship and will ask: What is at stake in African American cinema? What is the visceral, gut-level function of motion pictures in African American and Black communities? Can we speak of a distinctive practice given the diverse experiences and variable conditions that affect Black lives? What do motion pictures mean for people whose sense of home has been dislocated by migrations and fraught with attacks on their citizenship and humanity, largely through visual representation? We will also trouble notions of nation, ability, gender, sexuality and class as they locate and destabilize blackness.

Together through film watching and interactive lecture, we will explore our present moment and ask ourselves if black citizenship is still in question in America in the same ways it may or may not be around the world?

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Tamara Cooper
Date: 02/15/2014