SPR20HUM425

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HUM425: THOUGHT AND IMAGE

SPR 2020 TTh 2-3.15 in Hum 115

Sean Connelly, Ph.D Contact: connelly@sfsu.edu

Office hours/ location: M 11.15-12.15 and T 12.30-1.30 in Hum 416

The Project

We live within a maelstrom of endlessly circulating images which provoke us to action: to consume, to confirm, to contradict.

Images shape our sense of the world and penetrate to the core of our self-understanding.

They determine the form we give to our feelings, fears, and desires, and become the materials of our own imagining (imaging).

Taking the image in its verbal, visual, and mental registers as a primary object of study, HUM 425 explores the theme of capitalist modernity— an era of image production in the service of capitalism.

Do different image-forms (ex. a descriptive passage in a novel, the mise-en-scène of a film, a modernist painting) have different effects on their audiences and thus lend themselves to different uses? 

Our studies will function as a brief panning shot across genres and movements such as speculative fiction, Naturalism, and Expressionism. We will consider how fictive events and settings— Progressive Era Manhattan, postcolonial Congo, Europe after the Apocalypse— dramatize the precarious world produced and represented by “market forces”.

How do (visual) texts relate to their historical context? What is the social content of specific cultural forms?  What do images do and how do they do it?

Learning Outcomes

Students who do the work will complete the course with a solid foundation in the formal analysis of literature and film, a general knowledge of 20th century US history, and a toolkit of theoretical concepts with which to explore the relationship between culture and ideology.

Basic Etiquette

ARRIVE ON TIME, work completed, with a hard copy of the assigned text. All assignments should be typed and include name/date/course. Only documented absences for medical or legal reasons are excused.

Electronic devices

On its own, a cell phone is not an adequate educational tool. The course blog, for example, is best viewed on a computer. Unless I specifically request it, NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES SHOULD BE USED DURING CLASS.

Intellectual Honesty

CHEATING DESTROYS TRUST between teacher and student. Any ideas or words that are not your own should be cited. Yet academic fraud encompasses more than plagiarism. Reading a wikipedia entry rather than an assigned novel or allowing others to do your work for you are also examples of cheating.

See http://www.sfsu.edu/~vpsa/judicial/titlev.html

Accessibility

If there’s anything I should know about you as a student, please talk to me RIGHT AWAY and I’ll do my best to help. The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email dprc@sfsu.edu). dprc@sfsu.edu).

Resources

The SAFE Place – (415) 338-2208; http://www.sfsu.edu/~safe_plc/

Counseling and Psychological Services Center – (415) 338-2208; http://psyservs.sfsu.edu/

Additional information on rights and available resources: http://titleix.sfsu.edu

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The Work: Grading Rubric

Effort and Engagement (Attendance, punctuality, cell phone discipline, verbal participation, in-class work) 30%

2 Keyword Tests 10% each for a total of  20% 

Film Analysis Presentation (group presentation and written formal analysis) 25%

Final Exam 25%

In-class kw tests are graded on a scale of 0-4. 

0 = Assignment not completed

1 = Little to no comprehension of the text or its themes, resulting in an inability to connect ideas.

2 = Made an effort and some aspects of the response are adequate, though there is a tendency to repeat what was said in class rather than to think independently. Overall, not good enough.

3 = Competent/ promising.

4 = Superlative.

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Important Dates

2/14: Last day of Drop/Add

*2/20: KW1

*3/12: KW2

3/24:CR/NC Deadline

3/31: Cesar Chavez Day

4/27: Withdrawal Deadline

4/30, 5/5, 5/7: Film Presentations

*5/14: FINAL EXAM

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Required Texts

BUY HARD COPIES of the right books! Read with a pencil. Flag significant passages. Always look for patterns. Talk about what you read.

Berger, Ways of Seeing 978-0140135152

Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer 978-0618381869

Mabanckou, Blue, White, Red 978-0253007919

Marx, et al, The Communist Manifesto: A Graphic Novel 978-1910593493

Priest, Inverted World 978-1590172698

E-reader

Crary, “Image”: nkwidenideoimag

Eagleton, “Capitalism and Form”: Capitalism and Form

Gray, “An Illusion With a Future”: GrayIllusion

Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto (sec. 1): ManifestoSec1

Mitchell, “What is an Image?”: WJTMitchell_whatisanimage

Pizer, et al, “Figures” from The Paintings and Drawings of John Dos Passos: DosPassosPaintings

Spindler, “John Dos Passos and Visual Art”: SpindlerDosPassosArts

Thomas, “La Sape”: ThomasLaSape

Villarejo, Film Studies (excerpts): VillarejoGlossaryVillarejoCH2

Williams, “Hegemony”: WmsHegemony

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Schedule

(NOTE: THIS SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO REVISION.)

WEEK ONE

1/28

Introduction

First Assignment: Take the Political Compass test. Print a hard copy of your results and bring them to class. Read Crary, “Image”

1/30

Due: Political Compass test results. Complete part two of the Political Compass Assignment (group work, individual statement). Discuss “Image”.

Assignment: Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto (sec. 1)

UNIT ONE: The Social Construction of Seeing

Readings: Crary, “Image”; Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto; Williams, “Hegemony”; Berger, Ways of Seeing

WEEK TWO

2/4

Due: Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto Sec 1

Screen: All That is Solid Melts Into Air

2/6

Due: Martin Rowson’s graphic novel version of The Communist Manifesto

In-class: Select a sequence of panels from CM and explain how text and images relate to one another.

WEEK THREE

2/11

Due: Berger, Ways of Seeing

2/13

Due: Williams, “Hegemony”; Berger, Ways of Seeing COMPLETE

2/14

LAST DAY OF DROP/ADD

WEEK FOUR

2/18

Due: Berger, Ways of Seeing

2/20

KW1

Clips: Young Marx

UNIT TWO: Images of the City

Readings: Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer; Spindler, “John Dos Passos and Visual Art”

WEEK FIVE

2/25

Due: Manhattan Transfer

In class: Discuss KW1 results in groups, produce one group “revision” of KW1

Clip: Manhatta

2/27

Due: Manhattan Transfer

Screen: Berlin: Symphony of a City

WEEK SIX

3/3

Due: Manhattan Transfer

3/5

Due: Manhattan Transfer

WEEK SEVEN

3/10

Due: Manhattan Transfer COMPLETE

3/12

Online: Ilearn forum

WEEK EIGHT

3/17

Due: Spindler “John Dos Passos and Visual Art”

3/19

Online: Ilearn forum

 

WEEK NINE

SPRING BREAK

 

UNIT THREE: Progress

Readings: Priest, Inverted World; Gray, “An Illusion With a Future”

WEEK TEN

3/31

NO CLASS

4/2

Due: Catch up/ Review

WEEK ELEVEN

4/7

Due by 11.30 pm: KW2

4/9

Due: Inverted World COMPLETE

WEEK TWELVE

4/14

Due: Inverted World; Gray, “An Illusion With a Future”

4/16

Due: Inverted World

UNIT FOUR: Migrants and Ambience Makers 

Readings: Mabanckou, Blue White Red; Thomas, “La Sape: Fashion and Performance”

WEEK THIRTEEN

4/21

Online: Inverted World assignment

The Congo Dandies

4/23

Due: Blue White Red; Thomas, “La Sape”

WEEK FOURTEEN

4/28

Due: Blue White Red

4/30

Due: Blue White Red

FRIDAY by NOON: Online: Check-in assignment

WEEK FIFTEEN

5/5

Due: Blue White Red

5/7

Online: BWR assignment 

WEEK SIXTEEN

5/12

BWR

5/14

Final Exam on ilearn

5/21

Due: Essay by 3.15 pm