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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michelle S. Liu
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

This course examines the American film musical as a genre from its beginnings in The Jazz Singer (1927), through its heyday in the Ď50s and Ď60s, and to the present with Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001). We will explore the development of the musical from a technical and thematic standpoint. An investigation of the musicalís role in the development of such technical landmarks as sound and Technicolor will be carried out in tandem with a look at the musical as a vehicle using song and dance to explore fissures in the American social fabric. Questions to be explored throughout the quarter are: why has the musicalís popularity risen and ebbed in the 20th century? Why are audiences more inclined towards musicals at some historical moments rather than others? How and why is the musical a format often used for exploring sensitive racial, class, gender, and sexuality issues?

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 Michelle S. Liu
Date: 11/19/2002