2009 HSA204 Politics in Literature and Film

Unit Level: Intermediate

Available as a Student Elective: Yes

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See also   HSA304

Not Offered

A dominant understanding in the teaching of politics contends that political understanding is reducible to scientific method. By contrast, this unit seeks to examine politics as an art and, more precisely, the way that particular idioms of discourse have constituted that art. In order to explore this understanding we shall initially examine how the political can be read through various texts of literature and satire, and visual texts such as film and television and, indeed, how political meaning is constituted through these media. In this context we will consider the work of Marshall McLuhan and Richard Rorty.

The second part of the unit considers the manner in which satire, the novel, nonfiction literature and visual text, inform and constitute contemporary political understandings. Here we shall examine themes such as: vision of the future in George Orwell's 1984 (film and book); dystopia in Anthony Burgess and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (film and book); politics and resources in Agnes Varda's The Gleaners and I; resistance and regime change, Joachim Fest's Plotting Hitler's Death, and Oliver Hirschbiegel's Downfall; media and the Vietnam War in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (film); the individual in Graham Greene's The Quiet American (book and film); the postmodern US Presidency in Mike Nichols' Primary Colours (film and book); and the art of spin doctoring in Barry Levinson's Wag the Dog (film), The West Wing (TV) and Dick Morris's Behind the Oval Office (book). We shall conclude by studying the way in which modern media examines the individual, society and the state. Here we will look at the films Battle for Algiers , Saviour and the documentary Srebrenica.

WEIGHT: 12.5%

ASSESSMENT: 200 level: 2,000-word essay (30%), tutorial assessment (10%), 1,000-word book review (20%), 2-hr end-of-sem exam (40%)

300 level: 2,500-word essay (30%), tutorial assessment (10%), 1,000-word book review (20%), 2-hr end-of-sem exam (40%)

TEACHING PATTERN: Int: 2-hr lecture weekly, 1 tutorial fortnightly;
Dist. Ed: web-based delivery of 13 lectures, 1 online tutorial discussion fortnightly

Note: Class attendance may still be required

   Web supported - H
Online access to some part of this unit online is optional
   Fully online - I,N,L,W
This unit is taught entirely online
   Resource supported teaching & learning - H,I,N,L,W
Additional resources are provided for your optional use; e.g. audio taped lectures
About Flexible Study Options

Prereq 25% at level 100 in Political Science or equiv
M.Excl HAC244/344, FST257/357

STAFF: Dr WW Bostock

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