Cinema and Globalization
In this course, we will study a number of films (mainly feature films, but also a few documentaries) that deal with a 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 ways in which our present geographical, economic, social, and political order can be understood and represented. What new narrative forms have arisen to make sense of contemporary conditions? Films will include: The Year of Living Dangerously, Perfumed Nightmare, Dirty Pretty Things, Monsoon Wedding, Babel, Y Tu Mama Tambien,Maria Full of Grace, In This Word, Darwin's Nightmare, Black Gold, Life and Debt, The Constant Gardener, Syriana, and Children of Men. 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. (I find it is best to place films on reserve for students' use, or to ask that students get their own DVDs from Amazon or Netflix, but screenings can certainly be arranged.) Writing requirements: a mid-term and final paper, plus occasional voluntary in-class presentations.