Despite more than forty years of steady critical explication, the films of Alfred Hitchcock are as uncanny as ever. And while no doubt the sheer scope of Hitchcock’s career has made it singularly hospitable to film scholarship, this variable alone does not account for the juggernaut currently rumbling under the name of “Hitchcock Studies.” His films are exemplary sites for speculative theory and the radical recasting of critical protocols. Indeed, the most notable gains in the Auteur Theory, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, and recent studies that situate Hitchcock in his historical context, come from careful attention to, and sensitive analyses of, Hitchcock’s work. The films themselves will take the lead in our discussions. But we will use the films as a means of understanding the major contributions to Hitchcock Studies, as well as to film theory in general. In addition, we will examine closely the historical and cultural underpinnings of these films.
This course will have at least 3 objectives:
—To understand Hitchcock’s importance for the development of film theory.
—To examine how Hitchcock’s films both record and shape changing cultural forces (gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and the family) in America from the 1940s through the 1970s.
—To carry out personal research.
General Education Student Learning Outcomes, Humanities:
—Students analyze how ideas are represented, interpreted or valued in various expressions of human culture.
—Students examine relevant primary source materials as understood by the discipline and interpret the material in writing assignments.
—These outcomes will be assessed using the final essay.
A Hitchcock Reader, ed. Marshall Deutelbaum and Leland Poague. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
Modleski, Tania. The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory, 3rd edition. New York: Routledge, 2015.
Additional required readings are to be found on OAKS
The Lodger: a Story of the London Fog (1926); Blackmail (1929); Rebecca (1940); Shadow of a Doubt (1943); Notorious (1946); Rope (1948); Strangers on a Train (1951); Rear Window(1954); Vertigo (1958); North by Northwest (1959); Psycho (1960); The Birds (1963); Marnie (1964)
Attendance/participation – 20%
Short essay (due in OAKS Feb. 23 @ 11:59pm) – 25%
Study Guide Responses (5 total, 2 typed pages each) – 25%
Final Paper (12 pages, due in OAKS April 25 @ 11:59pm) – 30%