Winter 2022 (Taught by Kerry Soper, Humanities Department)
In this American Studies seminar we’ll be studying popular American genre films from about 1940 to the present. We’ll be exploring theories of popular genre films’ cultural significance (why their narratives and archetypal characters resonate with audiences so deeply); charting the development of narrative patterns and character types in genre films over time, speculating on how those shifts reflect a changing zeitgeist; and considering how cultural anxieties, desires, and values are articulated or addressed (and perhaps sometimes shaped) through popular cinema. Genres that we’ll study include Westerns, Romantic Comedies, Animation, Superhero, Spy Thrillers, and Sci Fi. The final project is a 15-20 page research paper.