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Charles Chaplin's Film and the Politics of Silence

ENGL 0596.401
also offered as: CIMS 0596
Wednesday 5:15-8:14pm


This BFS seminar focuses on the variety pantomime inherited by twentieth-century film from the Commedia dell’Arte and European Music Hall stages. Emphasis will be placed on how pantomime was used by filmmaker Charles Chaplin between the years 1914–1940. We shall consider important moments in the history of European pantomime that preceded and influenced Chaplin, then concentrate on how the tradition coalesced in his silent films.

In addition to class meetings and homework, you will be expected to participate in three out-of-class events. These events may include performance workshops with a professional mime, public-facing screenings of Chaplin's films, and exhibitions of student work (dates and formats will be listed on the syllabus).


English Major Requirements
  • Sector 1 Theory and Poetics (AETP)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
College Attributes