Teaching: Summer 2021
Melodrama has had many lives. As a theatrical genre in the 19th century, it dominated the popular European stages. In film, it surfaced as historical costume drama in the UK in the 1940s (“Gainsborough melodramas”) and in Douglas Sirk’s domestic Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s, but it also inflected British Social Problem and New-Wave films and hardboiled-detective fictions, and was arguably a defining feature in shaping Nicolas Cage’s career in action films in the 1990s. Melodrama may have owed much of its success to the fact that it continues to question and transcend traditional generic categories. As a modality, it traverses genres and media and works at sensitive cultural and aesthetic boundaries (Gledhill). As a mode of expression, both artistic and political, it is a crucial feature of modernity. This seminar will look at the various incarnations of melodrama in the 19th and 20th century, with a focus on plays, and films.
HS Early Modern and Postmodern Affective Cultures: Staging/Filming Shakespeare
This seminar will look at the affective and emotional impact of Shakespeare’s plays on early-modern and on contemporary audiences. The plays have affected audiences in a bodily sense (from laughter to tears), evoked feelings and enlisted emotions, and we will consider such affects, feelings and emotions in their respective cultural contexts. Our focus will then be on the political and ideological purposes they may serve. In the process, we will consider both early-modern stagings of plays, including Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and The Winter’s Tale, and contemporary film adaptations.
- AS Culture extends the knowledge and skills acquired in GS Culture and is structured along the lines of cultural theory, cultural history, and cultural analysis. The course also comprises case studies of ‘texts’ in various media to illustrate respective approaches. Depending on the lecturer’s field of expertise, these examples will primarily focus on either Great Britain or the United States.
- This seminar provides a first insight into the field of contemporary cultural studies, with a special emphasis on definitions of culture and on the different approaches and methods of cultural analysis. The course also introduces students to special topics such as media studies, constructions of otherness, the role of myths in the production of social meaning, and gender studies.