Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Picturing Absence: The Silence and Excess of Trauma
Monday | Wednesday: 8:00 - 9:30am
In this course, we will examine films that have critical reputations marking them as either bombastic and fast-paced, or restrained with very little dialogue. We will investigate the ways in which films from generic traditions can represent marginalized bodies/experiences/voices through stylistic techniques that are primarily visual, and that seem to reject plot and dialogue. We will consider how bodily movement, facial expression, and indeed silence can gesture toward underrepresented groups and experiences. Rather than focusing on films with clear ideological agendas, we will use formal analysis to dissect films that create space and absence at their centers, which can come to replicate the “unrepresentable” of historical/cultural absence.
We will build on the work students began in their R1A or AP courses by marrying a practice of close, thorough visual analysis to a rigorous practice of analytical logic, with our ultimate goal being the production of a full-length research paper. We will learn how to support critical analysis through the use of concrete evidence from primary sources, how to approach source evaluation, how to engage with secondary sources, and how to pose high-stakes questions. Our work will include peer reviews, many opportunities to practice drafting and revision, quick writes, and a 10-page paper structured around one unified analytical argument grounded in original research.