Course Information

Course Description | Grade Distribution | Required Texts

Instructor: Lutz Koepnick
Class Time: Wednesday 6:00 - 9:30 pm (includes weekly screening)
Room: Eads 115
Telephone: 935-4350
Office: Ridgley 328
Office Hours: Mon 1:15-2:30 & Wed 1:15-2:30

Course Description

This seminar traces the rise and demise of American film noir during the 1940s and 1950s. A product of highly diverse influences and traditions, film noir is known for its stylized visual aesthetic, crackling dialogue, moral ambivalence, and existential gloom. Its style and language continue to inform filmmakers in Hollywood and worldwide to the day. This seminar positions the aesthetic shapes and traumatic narratives of film noir within the context of American culture and film history during the war and post-war years. As importantly, it explores film noir as a test case in order to probe dominant notions of film history, genre, and authorship, of cultural transfer, national cinema, exile, and the popular.

Grade Distribution

Since this course will be conducted in a seminar fashion, discussion and participation will be crucial. Ideally, the final paper will incorporate re-written versions of the first two papers.

  • Participation, attendance, homework: 30%
  • First Paper (2-3 pages): 20%
  • Second Paper (2-3 pages): 20%
  • Final Paper (8-10 pages): 30%

Required Texts

Xerox packet available from Hi-Tech Copy Center, 375 N. Big Bend Blvd. (Includes all readings marked with an "*" in the Course Schedule.):

  • Silver, Alain, and James Ursini. Eds. Film Noir Reader. 6th ed. New York : Limelight Editions, 2000. ISBN: 0879101970
  • Hill, John W., and Pamela Church Gibson. The Oxford Guide to Film Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN: 0198711247
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