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Unit information: Screen Histories in 2015/16

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Unit name Screen Histories
Unit code DRAMM3011
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Maingard
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit examines screen histories by focusing on a single topic. It offers a close investigation of a key aspect of screen history such as: a particular period (e.g., silent cinema), a central feature of film culture (e.g., stardom), a technological or industrial context (e.g., the uses of colour) or a genre (e.g., fantasy films, documentary, television drama sereis). The emphasis will be placed upon situating this topic within the context of its history, and may also include situating the topic within a broader historical, social and cultural context. The unit will examine key debates in film historiography, the 'histoical turn' in film studies and the ways in which cinema has been seen as participating in broader social and cultural change. Students will engage with the use and interpretation of archival materials, as well as the examination of relevant contextual details for both cinema and a wider cultural field.


  • To provide an understanding of historical methodologies in the study of cinema
  • To acquire skills in the study of archival, contextual and intertextual material
  • To explore in detail a key issue in cinema history
  • To situate cinema within a comparative cultural framework
  • To develop an understanding of the historical intersections of films with film culture and industry.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To understand and be able to apply a range of historical methodologies in the study of cinema
  • To gain skill in gathering and critically analysing a range of primary source material (e.g., archival documents and pressbooks)
  • To understand the broader institutional, intermedial and cultural frameworks within which cinema has operated
  • To be able to write clearly about film texts and contexts.

Teaching details

Seminars and screenings.

Assessment Details

Short Essay/Analysis (1,000 words) 20%; plus Essay (4,000 words) 80%.

Reading and References

  • Allen, Robert and Douglas Gomery, Film History: Theory and Practice (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1993)
  • Chapman, James, Mark Glancy and Sue Harper (eds), The New Film History: Sources, Methods, Approaches (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007)
  • Cook, Pam (ed.), The Cinema Book, 3rd ed. (London: British Film Institute, 2007)
  • Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson, Film History: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2003)
  • Wheatley, Helen (ed) Re-viewing Television History: Critical Issues in Television Historiography (I.B.Tauris, 2007)
  • Grainge, Pail, Mark Jancovich and Sharon Monteith (eds), Film Histories: An Introduction and Reader (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007)
  • Kuhn, Annette and Jackie Stacey (eds), Screen Histories: A Screen Reader (Oxford, Oxford University Press: 1998).