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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Zhuoyi Wang
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

How to avoid essentialism in genre studies? How do genre conventions change historically according to different ideological, cultural and economic conditions? What are the strengths and limits of a genre theory that is historically an intellectual product of Euro-American academia frequently concerned with theorizing the marketing categories of Hollywood film? We will establish a critical perspective on genre theory by reading genre theory and Hollywood film against the socio-historical context of postwar Chinese cinema. In the course of watching Chinese films from the three exceptionally distinct periods of civil war, socialist and post-socialist and related Hollywood films we will discuss specifically how the historical position of China in the global economy affects the validity of genre theory to the categorization of film, and generally how to establish a productive approach to genre.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

No linguistic prerequisites. General knowledge of film genre theory is recommended, but not required.

Class assignments and grading

Requirements for the course will include group presentations and one final paper.


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 Zhuoyi Wang
Date: 09/26/2006