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(Re-)Reading “Classic” Film Theoretical Texts of the 1910s, ‘20s and beyond

Reading Group organized by Bianka-Isabell Scharmann (b.i.scharmann@uva.nl) | The aim of this reading group is to (re-)read “classic” film theoretical texts of the 1910s, 20s and beyond (the writing of Maya Deren comes to mind) to rediscover them.

After film had been around for a while, about 15 years, slowly but steadily many writers of different backgrounds set out to criticize, theorize and philosophize about film: Most of these writings – short articles or book length treatise – are nowadays considered canonical classic film theoretical texts by the likes of Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs or Georg Lukács. Their thought has found its way in many shapes and forms, sometimes acknowledged other times as a (constant) undercurrent, into the work of generations of film theorists and philosophers as well as media scholars since.

The aim of this reading group is to (re-)read “classic” film theoretical texts of the 1910s, 20s and beyond (the writing of Maya Deren comes to mind) to rediscover them. While canonical texts will comprise part of the readings, we will also bring lesser known or obscure authors into the fold of the group to subvert the established canon. Understanding the key arguments as well as reading the texts with concrete notions in mind is the main focus of the group. Yet queer-feminist, post-colonial, in general critical lenses will be brought to the selected texts to straddle the historical context and a contemporary reading.

 

Participants are encouraged to carry their own projects into the sessions and to read the texts with these in mind, but it is not a requirement to participate in the reading group.

If you want to join the reading group or if you have any questions, please send an email to Bianka-Isabell Scharmann (b.i.scharmann@uva.nl). The group meets online on Zoom, we will discuss the timetable during our first session on Feb. 8th, 4 pm ECT.