Daily Archives: January 28, 2015

Responses (HUM415)

I’ve pulled a few responses to the prompt I gave you on Tuesday– “What is capitalism?” You might consider whether or not you agree with some of these definitions (and, crucially why/not).

Capitalism is…

“…one of the many types of government where money has big influences on things.”

“…an economic system which relies on the free market and supply & demand in order to create economic growth.”

“…a term used for a society with no maximum to how much you can make or own.”

“…government stuff.”

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From My Notes (HUM415)

One of the ideas that I wanted to get across on Tuesday was that culture doesn’t simply “reflect” the world in a direct, unproblematic manner– i.e., as mere “content”. In any case, “reflection” is just a metaphor. It’s a way of saying that culture acts like a mirror. But why can’t it act as a prism or a pistol or a sponge?

Cultural forms are historical. To read form (i.e., to engage in formal analysis)  is to suggest that the how of a text is as important as the what of a text.

This notion is something like what Zizek has in mind when he argues that Children of Men functions according to the principle of anamorphosis. It’s by looking from an odd angle– focusing on the background of the visual field rather than the foreground– that the socio-political “truth” of Cuaron’s film becomes apparent. In order to understand this fully we need to know a few film terms, such as mise-en-scene. But there are other formal elements in play here as well: framing, camera movement, sound, etc.

Finally, tomorrow we’ll watch this remarkable film text by Mark Boulos:

Reader (HUM225/ HUM303)

I sent this as an email this morning.



The course blog is analepsis.org. Everything you need to know is there. Look at the tabs at the top of the page for the syllabus, the electronic version of the reader, and the course filmography. The Passport tab contains directions for your first graded assignment. This is an easy A.

I want you to bring hard copies of every reading we discuss in class. You can print out the reader in your own time or buy a bound hardcopy at Dragon Printing at 450 Taraval off of 19th. If you’re headed toward Geary it is on the right.


Truth told buying the bound hardcopy is probably the cheaper option unless you have access to a free printer.