Undergraduate Courses
Summer 2017



MTWR 2-4                    Firunts

Cross listed with CIMS 103/ENGL 078/ARTH 107

How and when do media become digital? What does digitization afford and what is lost as television and cinema become digitized? As lots of things around us turn digital, have we started telling stories, sharing experiences, and replaying memories differently? What has happened to television and life after “New Media”? How have television audiences been transformed by algorithmic cultures of Netflix and Hulu? How have (social) media transformed socialities as ephemeral snaps and swiped intimacies become part of the "new" digital/phone cultures? This is an introductory survey course and we discuss a wide variety of media technologies and phenomena that include: cloud computing, Internet of Things, trolls, distribution platforms, optical fiber cables, surveillance tactics, social media, and race in cyberspace. We also examine emerging mobile phone cultures in the Global South and the environmental impact of digitization. Course activities include Tumblr blog posts and Instagram curations. The final project could take the form of either a critical essay (of 2000 words) or a media project.



                                          T 4:30-8:20                   Ramu

                                          ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR

                                          Cross listed with ENGL 100.900

                                          11-week course: May 22 – August 4


What could it mean to desire the world, to want to become a world-citizen? The study of faraway literature has been crucial to the modern dream of a common world that all of humanity can claim as its own. In this survey-course, we will study some problems and promises of this dream, with a wild selection of classics (poems, novels, memoirs, films) that zigzags in time and across regions (Europe, Africa, North America, South Asia, the Caribbean). We will thus introduce ourselves to the appreciation and critical analysis of literary texts. In the company of drunken kings, botanical witches, and storytellers who’ve lost their voice, we will reflect on our own encounters with the faraway and the familiar, sketch a beginner’s map of the field of literary theory, and train to explore keywords like ‘narrative' and ‘ideology’ productively in our own practices of reading and writing. There are no prerequisites; all texts are in English translation; students of all backgrounds, including those with no prior exposure to literary study, are welcome.




                                          THE ANIMAL

                                          W 6-9                 Cavitch

                                          Cross listed with ENGL 105.900

                                          11-week course:  May 22 – August 4

                                          Online Course Fee: $150 (in addition to course tuition and fees 

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR (for students admitted in Fall 2006 and later)


This course is an introduction to the new, interdisciplinary field of Animal Studies, which seeks to challenge traditional assumptions about the human/animal divide and to imagine new ways of co-existing with our fellow creatures.  “The question of the animal” is actually a large set of interrelated questions about rights and responsibilities, language and representation, consciousness and personhood, politics and violence, economics and environmentalism, companionship and difference.  We’ll explore these questions by studying the mediation of human/non-human animal relations (e.g., in literature, film, photography, social media, gaming, and robotics), and the contexts of human/non-human animal encounters (e.g., homes, factory farms, zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, museums, laboratories, undeveloped wilderness, and urban infrastructure).  Our work will include: re-evaluating aesthetic, historical, and philosophical representations of non-human animals; assimilating surprising recent scientific discoveries about various species’ behavior, social structures, cognitive and communicative capacities, and emotional experiences; wrestling with new ethical and legal perspectives on the vast scale of exploitation and suffering of non-human animals; considering radical new forms of interspecies relationships; and, last but not least, questioning our understanding of what it means to be human.  Course materials and assignments will include readings, audio-visual galleries, lectures, virtual “field trips,” live workshops and discussion groups, blog posts, and several short essays.



COML 123.920          WORLD FILM HISTORY TO 1945

                                          MTWR 2-4                    Schmenner

                                          ARTS  LETTERS SECTOR

                                          Cross listed with CIMS 101/ENGL 091/ARTH 108


This course surveys the history of world film from cinema’s precursors to 1945. We will develop methods for analyzing film while examining the growth of film as an art, an industry, a technology, and a political instrument. Topics include the emergence of film technology and early film audiences, the rise of narrative film and birth of Hollywood, national film industries and movements, African-American independent film, the emergence of the genre film (the western, film noir, and romantic comedies), ethnographic and documentary film, animated films, censorship, the MPPDA and Hays Code, and the introduction of sound. We will conclude with the transformation of several film industries into propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi, Soviet, and US film industries). In addition to contemporary theories that investigate the development of cinema and visual culture during the first half of the 20th century, we will read key texts that contributed to the emergence of film theory. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to attend screenings or watch films on their own. Fulfills the Arts and Letters Sector (All Classes).



COML 124.910          WORLD FILM HISTORY 1945 – PRESENT

                                          MTWR 4:30-6:30      Palis

                                          ARTS AND  LETTERS SECTOR

                                          Cross listed with CIMS 102/ARTH 109/ENGL 092


Focusing on movies made after 1945, this course allows students to learn and to sharpen methods, terminologies, and tools needed for the critical analysis of film. Beginning with the cinematic revolution signaled by the Italian Neo-Realism (of Rossellini and De Sica), we will follow the evolution of postwar cinema through the French New Wave (of Godard, Resnais, and Varda), American movies of the 1950s and 1960s (including the New Hollywood cinema of Coppola and Scorsese), and the various other new wave movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. We will then selectively examine some of the most important films of the last two decades, including those of U.S. independent film movement and movies from Iran, China, Greece and elsewhere in an expanding global cinema culture. There will be precise attention paid to formal and stylistic techniques in editing, mise-en-scene, and sound, as well as to the narrative, non-narrative, and generic organizations of film. At the same time, those formal features will be closely linked to historical and cultural distinctions and changes, ranging from the Paramount Decision of 1948 to the digital convergences that are defining screen culture today. There are no perquisites. Requirements will include readings in film history and film analysis, an analytical essay, a research paper, a final exam, and active participation. Fulfills the Arts and Letters Sector (All Classes).






Last modified January 18, 2015
Maintained by Cliff Mak
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania