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Visual Cultures Unit 3: Spring Term

Unit 3: Dr. Julie Lobalzo Wright

The first part of the Spring term will introduce you to Television Studies and will concentrate on theories of television as a medium (television flow, address, intimacy) and develop your skills in the critical textual analysis of television, and to enable you to describe, discuss, and analyse what might be understood as a ‘televisual aesthetic’. By the end of the first part of the module, you should be able to offer clear and precise critical analyses of a wide range of television programming, both orally and in writing. You should be familiar with several key critical approaches within Television Studies, and be able to mobilise and critique a range of theories of television in order to perform your own analysis of this key medium and its programmes and viewing cultures. While you will be able to concentrate in more detail on specific histories of television and its genres in the year two/three module, Television History and Criticism, your textual analyses of television programming should also begin to be enriched by an understanding of the historical and national contexts in which programmes were made and broadcast. We will concentrate largely on UK and US television on this module, but it will always enrich our discussions if you can compare and contrast our objects of study with those made and broadcast outside of the UK and US.

The second part of the module will introduce you to Animation, providing the opportunity to investigate and discuss the history of animation, an understanding of the different styles and techniques of animation, introduce key theoretical questions associated with understanding and interpreting animated film and situating animated film within the context of live action cinema. This part of the module furthers our consideration of medium specificity through an example that is often set apart as distinct, but, as we will find, shares many similarities with narrative cinema and television. Some of the questions we will want to tackle in the second part of the module are: why is animation considered separate from cinema and television? What is animation’s history? How has animation been incorporated into live action cinema?