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Postmodernism and Hollywood


Module leader: Professor Catherine Constable, room A 1.21, extension 50651.

Module tutor: Matt Denny, room A 1.09.

This module brings together the in-depth study of the philosophy of postmodernism with detailed textual analysis of contemporary Hollywood film. There is no one singular theory of postmodernism so this module will take you through a number of different versions of the postmodern as told by some of its most influential theoretical thinkers. You might begin with Jean Baudrillard’s and Frederick Jameson’s analyses of postmodernism as nihilistic forms of capitalist excess that destroy reality, history and truth, and you’ll discuss their influence/impact on specific films, including The Matrix Reloaded (2003). You will then be asked to consider three different affirmative accounts of the postmodern: Linda Hutcheon’s account of the paradoxical nature of postmodern art, Donna Haraway’s famous ‘Manifesto for Cyborgs’ and Judith Butler’s analysis of identity as performance. In addition to working on specific theorists, we will also consider key issues such as the stylistic features of the postmodern film text, and postmodern performance styles. Seminars will focus on unpicking the complexities of the theoretical accounts we are discussing, and applying these ideas to the film text.

Class Location and Time

Friday 09.15 - 10.30 Lecture
Group 1 (A1.27) Group 2 (A0.26)

10.30 -13.00 Film screening.

13.00 -13.30 Lunch.

13.30 -14.30 Theory seminar.

11.00 -12.00 Theory seminar.

12.00 -12.30 Lunch.

12.30 -15.00 Film screening.

15.00-16.15 Film seminar for everyone (A1.27)


Assessment: 2 x 3,000 word essays 60%

Examination: 2 questions in 2 hours 40%



Module Resources

Module Outline

Module Leader


Professor Catherine Constable


Muppets Postmods