Approaches to Textual Analysis

Module code: HA7203

Module co-ordinator: Professor James Chapman 

Module Outline

This module examines different approaches to the formal analysis of film texts, including both individual films and groups of films. Students will analyse the complex formal and ideological processes at work in the creation of meaning and considers different theoretical approaches including authorship, genre, structuralism and semiotics.

Intended Learning Outcomes

This module is intended to equip students with: knowledge of a range of different approaches to the formal analysis of individual films and groups of films, including but not limited to theories of aesthetic s, ideology, authorship and genre; understanding of the complex formal, cultural and ideological processes that produce meaning within the film text; knowledge of the key critical literature dealing with the textual analysis of films and the ability to engage critically with that literature; and the ability to demonstrate skills of close textual analysis in relation to both whole films and extracts.

Teaching and Learning Methods

The module will be team taught by staff from the Department of History of Art and Film and the School of Modern Languages. It will be seminar-based and will run over ten weeks in Semester 2. The course will be structured around subjects including: Form and Aesthetics, Ideology, Authorship and Genre. Seminars will include discussion of key secondary sources and selected films, though as with the other core module 'Films and Film Cultures in Historical Contexts' there will be scope for students to pursue their own interests. It is not envisaged that there will be screenings of 'set films' as such, though film viewing, both guided and independent, will again form an essential part of students' learning experience.

Assessment Methods

Assessment for the module will be based on two assignments, equally weighted. One will be a conventional essay (c.3000 words), while the other will be an extended textual analysis of a film or film extract (c. 3000 words) that will test students' skills of formal analysis and textual criticism.