2017 - 2018

  Body in Cinema  
Slava GreenbergMexico - Arts119Wed1000-1400 Sem  2
University credit hours:  2.0

Course description

The Body in Cinema


Since the 20th-century philosophers and critical theoreticians have been preoccupied with revealing the social restrictions of the human body. Gender and sexuality scholars (Foucault, Butler) have challenged presumed connections between bodies and identities. Postmodern writing (Haraway) proposed rethinking the body beyond its skin and imagine a less limited reality of cyborgs; organisms composed of flesh and technology. Phenomenological philosophy, feminist theory, and postcolonial studies have contested the overlooking of the skin, its senses, gestures, and color. In turn, queer theory and disability studies have further challenged the paradigms of the normative body and society. At the same time, cinema offers new aesthetical and political ways of interrogating the human body, and social anxieties regarding it, the most prominent of which is the fear of deformation and decay.

The Body in Cinema addresses cinematic explorations into the social perceptions, desires, and anxieties as represented through images of the body. The course poses questions such as: How does cinema embody the human? What are the means in which films liberate characters of their bodies, and what ethical questions may this evoke? What does the “skin” of the character entail? These questions and others will be examined through an analysis of the films –The Piano, Freaks, Crash, Mask, The Elephant Man, Boys Don’t Cry, and The Terminator II: Judgment Day - through phenomenological film theory, gender studies, psychoanalysis, postcolonial and race studies, queer theory, and disability studies.


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