Cinema And Spectatorship
King's College London
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
OverviewRecent articulations of spectatorship studies have questioned a historical focus on vision, the visual, and viewing, opening out to broader discussion of sense, the senses and spectatorship. Through a range of theoretical texts and in conjunction with detailed analysis of select films, this module examines and debates the various, competing accounts of the viewer?s contribution to meaning-making in the cinema. How do we understand film? Why does it have the power to move, bore, excite or irritate us? What is our responsibility to the image, if any? These are some of the questions we will address as we chart the history of spectatorship theory from apparatus theory in the 1970s ? which understands the viewer as passive, voyeuristic and even sadistic, through to contemporary theories of cognitive response and haptics. In the module?s first half we will consider the role of texture and touch (haptics), the materiality of the image and embodied response (phenomenology and post-phenomenology), and synaesthesia. In the second half of the module we will examine changes to the material aspect of film and its theorisation, as film moves beyond the cinema and thus problematises conceptions of spectatorship based on the darkened auditorium and the apparatus. Taking on board new media debates with regard to the image, spectatorship as a concept will be examined alongside questions of interactivity, and the screen itself will be explored in its varied guises, from the cinema auditorium, through the television set, to the computer monitor, and the mobile phone.
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