Here’s what I’m slated to teach this summer, for 3 weeks beginning May 20.
Ecology – Film – Philosophy
How have movies changed our perception of ourselves, the Earth, and the relationship between the two? How are they continuing to do that as we plunge into an era of digital media — a world of slippery, morphing, dynamic and interactive images that are ever more immersive, even as they often bear less and less relationship to the physical world of objects, landscapes, and other organisms? How do they generate meanings as well as affects — feelings, emotional responses, desires, motivations, sensibilities, and identities — related to nature, place, ecology, and the nonhuman? How might they facilitate a more ecological sensibility?
This course will examine the intersections between films and filmmaking, ecology, and philosophy. It will apply the tools of ecocritical cultural/media studies and ecologically informed philosophy to cinematic practice and to representations of the relationship between humans and the natural world. We will explore and discuss a wide range of film forms and genres, including Hollywood blockbusters, Disney animation, nature documentaries, science-fiction cinema, along with foreign, independent, ethnographic, experimental, and art films. We will contextualize these within the evolving history of environmental and sociopolitical movements, including Romanticism and the American conservation movement, the 1960s New Left and counterculture, Third World and indigenous peoples movements, critiques of neoliberal globalization, and the climate justice movement.
Screenings will be accompanied by readings across a range of critical theories and interpretive methods. In particular, the course will draw on ecophilosophical approaches (rooted in the processual and relational philosophies of A. N. Whitehead, C. S. Peirce, and Gilles Deleuze) to understanding how visual media affect us, and how we might use them to affect the world differently.