The Imagined Past: Other Times

Sophomore Seminar
Course Number: 
221 Kroeber
Rosemary Joyce
W 11 - 12 pm

Popular movies offer an unparalleled opportunity to show what we think another time or place was like, engaging our senses and giving a more vivid impression of actually being there. In the hands of some filmmakers, these creations of the past can make us feel a simultaneous sense of difference and connection. Other filmmakers simply use the past as an exotic backdrop for stories that could be taking place today. In this course, we will view and discuss clips of films including Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, and Salvador Carrasco's The Other Conquest/La Otra Conquista, to understand how an imagined past can help us understand other times and places or fail to promote our understanding. If you have ever wondered whether a film set in the past is giving you a real sense of what it would have been like to live in another time or place, this course is for you. Format and requirements: This is a seminar, and you are expected to read in advance, attend regularly, and come prepared to engage in active discussion. Each of you will lead discussion of one article. There are two writing requirements for each participant: (1) a critical essay about a film representing a past time and place, fiction or nonfiction, of your choice; (2) a final comment appropriate for posting online (assignments to be discussed more in class). Most important, you are expected to attend every week.
Required films and texts: required films will be presented in class. Texts will either be available through bCourses, or/and on reserve at the Anthropology library in Kroeber Hall.