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MLA Proseminar: Cinema and Globalization

ENGL 592.940

In this course, we will study a number of films (mainly feature films, but also a few documentaries) that deal with the complicated nexus of issues that have come to be discussed under the rubric of "globalization." Among these are the increasingly extensive networks of money and power; the transnational flow of commodities and cultural forms; and the accelerated global movement of people--whether as tourists or migrants. At stake, throughout, will be the new ways in which the geographical, economic, social and political order can be understood and represented. What new narrative forms have arisen to make sense of contemporary conditions? Films may include: The Year of Living Dangerously, Hyenas, Tsotsi, Mystic Train, Lost in Translation, What Time is it There?, Dirty Pretty Things, Monsoon Wedding, Babel, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Crash, Darwin's Nightmare, Black Gold, Life and Debt, The Constant Gardener, Syriana, and 9/11. In addition to studying the assigned films carefully, students will also be expected to read a selection of theoretical works on globalization (including Zygmunt Baumann's Globalization: The Human Consequences) and, where appropriate, the novels on which the assigned films are based. Advance viewing of the films is required as is a twelve to fifteen page-long final paper. Please feel free to ask for a final syllabus closer to the beginning of the summer session.