Cinema Sudies: Historiography, Theory, Research Methods & Language

- Prof Ira Bhaskar and Prof Ranjani Mazumdar

This is an advanced level research methodology course in Cinema Studies. Charting out the specific debates linked to the development of film theory and history, the effort is to focus on the research and methodological issues pertaining to the field. Semiotics and Formalism, once the bedrock of Film Studies, faced a serious challenge with the interventions made by film historians and the field of Cultural Studies. This broadened the scope of Film Studies as research methods like archival investigations, ethnography and political economy got incorporated within the discipline. The new historiographic impulses and research modes turned to place film within the realm of production, circulation and consumption. Archival documentation of material produced around film production and ethnographies of film sets, theatrical releases, and star studies made the film text alive as a historical document. Along with this, film was located within other debates on culture and history. This course seeks to focus specifically on this journey of film as art object to film as social text. Students will be encouraged to develop their own innovative research projects through a combination of archival, ethnographic, cultural/historical/ideological discourses and methodologies.

Key Readings:



Allen, Robert & Douglas Gomery. Film History: Theory and Practice. New York: McGraw- Hill, Inc., 1987.

• Appadurai, Arjun. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

• Carroll, Noel. Mystifying Movies: Fads and Fallacies in Contemporary Film Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

• Gaines, Jane. Ed. Classical Hollywood Narrative: The Paradigm Wars. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1992.

• Ginzburg, Carlo. Clues, Myths and the Historical Method. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.

• Gledhill, Christine & Linda Williams. Eds. Reinventing Film Studies. London: Arnold, 2000.

• Guha, Ranajit and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Eds. Selected Subaltern Studies New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.

• Jaikumar, Priya. Cinema at the End of Empire : A Politics of Transition in Britain and India. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2006.

• Rosen, Philip. Ed. Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.

• Stam, Robert & Toby Miller. Eds. Film and Theory: An Anthology. London: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.

• Stam, Robert & Toby Miller. Eds. A Companion to Film Theory. London: Blackwell Publishers,1999.