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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Yizhong Gu
C LIT 240
Seattle Campus

Writing in Comparative Literature

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.

Class description

How can we understand a film from the perspective of culturally distinct audiences? How can we organize clear and cogent arguments when faced with complex human issues such as self-sacrifice? The primary goal of this writing course is to explain the basic terms and concepts of film analysis, introduce the approaches to writing analytical papers with accuracy and poignancy, and provide essential procedures for peer-editing and essay revision. To investigate different perspectives on martyrdom, the primary texts of the course (feature films) will cross various cultural contexts and genre boundary. Revolving around the contested concept of martyrdom in war film genre, this course will tease out specific topics in cinema studies, including genre theory, cinema and nationalism, ideology construction and gender politics. Besides the required textbook (Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing about Film), we will read some analytical essays focusing on the cinematic representations of martyrdom in multiple layers. Key questions include: can we clearly delineate the boundary between the sacrificed subjects as martyrs (self-sacrifice) and as scapegoats (forced to sacrifice)? How do some films make us take for granted of martyrsí voluntary sacrifice for the nation, whereas some other films explicitly (or implicitly) subvert this assumption? How do the representations of martyrdom differ thematically or stylistically among national cultures? How does the genre hybrid influence the representations of martyrdom when war film genre is mixed with the generic elements from action, comedy, melodrama, martial-arts, spy film, etc? Films discussed in class will include recent Hollywood cinema (Flags of our Father; Tropic Thunder); European art cinema (Ivan's Childhood; The Carabineers); East Asian cinema (Hero; Lust, Caution; Patriotism); and Middle Eastern cinema (Paradise Now). There will be two in-class film screenings. Students are required to watch the rest films in the Media Center Reserves on their own.

Student learning goals

master the basic terms and concepts of film analysis

write analytical papers with both accuracy and poignancy

learn the ropes of essay editing and revision

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

No prerequisite or backbround

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 Yuko Mera
Date: 02/12/2013