Studies in Film

The history of land is a history of violence: stolen land, colonised land, the extraction of wealth from land via deforestation and mining, and land divided by segregation, occupation, and apartheid. This class will look at various ways in which these violent struggles play out and how they are resisted by the peoples living on the land who are affected. We will look at films (both narrative and documentary) and writing (novels and theory) from locations including Australia, Native North America, Palestine, South Africa, and the United States

Course readings will explore a wide range of issues including race and urban planning, gentrification, globalisation, indigenous and aboriginal claims to land, land divided by apartheid and occupation, and the ecological devastation caused by global capitalism. We will also look at the work of activists, film makers, and writers who offer counter-visions that challenge (and at times unintentionally reinforce) the status quo of the present.

This is an advanced seminar, the highest level course in the humanities at MIT. The prerequisite is one introductory course in film or media studies and at least one further subject in Literature/CMS. I am willing to waive the prerequisite on a case-by-case basis; however, you should have a strong background in analytical writing in the humanities and understand the workload and expectations for the course.