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FS3010: CINEMA AND SCIENCE: BEYOND SCIENCE FICTION A (2017-2018)

Last modified: 05 Jun 2017 08:53


Course Overview

The course will invite students to explore the relationship between cinema and science beyond the paradigm of science fiction cinema. Underground and mainstream fictional, documentary and educational moving image works will serve the discussion of both theoretical and practical questions at the crossroad of film theory, visual culture and science and technology studies (STS).

The course will engage students with a wide range of experimental, documentary, educational and narrative works such as, among others, films by Brackage, Painlevè, Wiseman, Guzmán, Herzog, Rotha, Malick.

 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Silvia Casini

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Film And Visual Culture (FS) or Literature In A World Context (LW)
  • Programme Level 3
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?

Yes

One or more of these courses have a limited number of places. Priority access will be given to students for whom this course is compulsory. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on this process.


Course Description

Course Aims:

  • Explore the relationship between cinema and science as it extends from the birth of cinema to the twenty-first century.
  • Critically engage with questions related to what constitutes scientific evidence and practice in cinema.
  • Explore how cinema can engage the wider public with topics, debates and controversies related to science and medicine
  • Introduce students to a variety of film genres and styles: underground, mainstream narrative, educational, and documentary.

 

Main Learning Outcomes:

A: Students will develop knowledge and understanding of:

  1. theories and key issues relating to the study of moving images;
  2. the relationship between cinema and science;
  3. significant works and movements in visual culture from around the world and across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

 

B: Intellectual and Practical Skills. Students will develop the ability to:

  1. engage in critical thinking;
  2. identify key claims and summarize arguments;
  3. use appropriate research methodologies and synthesise ideas drawn from a variety of sources;
  4. read images closely, identifying patterns (repetitions, developments, sites of difference and disunity);
  5. engage with the process of learning in a constructive and self-motivated fashion;
  6. participate in reflective discussion, responding with evidence in measured fashion to other points of view;
  7. write clearly and construct coherent arguments;
  8. producing a small-scale creative practice project in a visual medium
  9. give a presentation and lead seminar discussion.

 

Course Content:

The birth of cinema in the nineteenth century was not only motivated by the development of the cinematic spectacle, but also by the need of scientific research to carry out experiments to record physical reality in its dynamic quality for the purpose of analysis and understanding. At present, one of the challenges is to represent on screen the science of the invisible, of what lies beneath our senses.

Through the lens of the cinematic medium students will theoretically and practically reflect upon issues related to representation and the un-representable in science, public knowledge and secrecy, scientific subcultures, experimentation, at the crossroad of film theory, visual culture and science and technology studies (STS).

This course shall invite students to explore the relationship between cinema and science beyond the paradigm of science fiction cinema. Underground and mainstream fictional, documentary and educational moving image works will serve the discussion of both theoretical and practical questions at the crossroad of film theory, visual culture and science and technology studies (STS).

The course will engage students with a wide range of experimental, documentary, educational and narrative works such as, among others, films by Brackage, Painlevè, Wiseman, Guzmán, Herzog, Rotha, Malick.

Through the lens of the cinematic medium each week students will critically engage with questions related to what constitutes scientific evidence and practice on screen, to what extent and how cinema can foster public engagement with science and medicine, to what experimenting means in scientific/medical practice and in artistic practice. Readings shall include (among others): Tim Boon, Peter Galison, Bruno Latour, Bill Nichols, Donna Haraway, Michel Foucault.

Further Information & Notes

Available only to students in MA Film & Visual Culture, Programme Year 3.
This course may not be included as part of a graduating curriculum with FS4010 (Cinema and Science B).

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

None.

Contact Teaching Time

66 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


Assessment

1st Attempt
1 short essay 2000-2500 words (30%)
1 final research essay 3000-3500 words (40%)
Creative project production and presentation (20%)
Seminar Participation (10%)

Resit
1 research essay (100%)

Formative Assessment

Formal feedback will be provided on both essays in the form of written comments provided through Turn-it-In on MyAberdeen. Informal feedback on contributions to seminars will be offered on an on-going basis and students will also receive feedback in the form of a seminar assessment mark and written comments. As part of their seminar participation, students will produce and present in class a small-scale creative practice project in a visual medium on one of the topics touched in the course or, alternatively, agreed with the lecturer. This project will be used to track students' engagement with the readings and images as well as to gauge their preparedness for the summative forms of assessment.

Feedback

Students will receive feedback on their short responses; both of their essays; their seminar presentation; and their seminar participation.

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