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Interterm Courses

Winter Interterm Courses

ENGL 2708: Detectives, Thugs and Femme Fatales in American Film Noir

Detectives, Thugs, and Femme Fatales in American Film Noir

ENGL 2708 - 4 credits

On Campus Dates: Dec. 2-6, 2013
On Campus Days: Monday - Friday
On Campus Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., remainder online
Instructor: Dr. Billy J. Stratton

*This is a hybrid course that requires work to be completed online during the Winter Interterm session.

Description: In this course, students will examine the nature and significance of noir aesthetics within the medium of modern cinema.  Beginning with examples stemming from the classic era and ending with modern adaptations, students will analyze the various ways in which notions of agency and deviance have been represented and how the plot, setting, tone, and visual style of such films are used to produce meaning.  Throughout the course, students will trace some of the prominent themes of noir aesthetics established in melodramas and films of the 1950s typified by the work of Charles Laughton and Alfred Hitchcock to explore the ways in which this unique stylistic has evolved and was later adapted in more recent films such as Blade Runner, Pulp Fiction, and Sin City. Of particular interest will be the representation of systems of social power and the reification of gender, class, and authority, which are conventionally defined vis-a-vis normative behavior and social conformity. Throughout the course, students will also discuss how the noir aesthetic functions to articulate a critique of postindustrial American society that is predicated upon the notions of equality, freedom, and the achievement of the American dream.  Finally, this class will consider questions concerning cultural contestation and power relations, the implicit association between film, historical and literary production, representations of otherness, fetishism, and the semiotics of popular culture.

Contact: Dr. Billy J. Stratton at