R1B-004 | CCN: 31032

The Craft of Writing

Reel Revolutionary Rhetoric: An Aesthetic Interpretation of 20th Century Revolution

Instructor: Megan Alvarado Sagesse & Marcos Cisneros

4 Units

TU/TH 5:00-6:30 PM, Dwinelle 229

This course aims to develop students' critical thinking, reading, and writing skills through close analysis of works of literature, visual art, and philosophy, with a particular emphasis on cinema. Recognizing the importance of the 50th anniversary of the global phenomenon that has come to be known as “Mai ‘68”, we will depart from this particular example to investigate a larger question concerning the relationship between revolution and aesthetics in the 20th century. Some of the questions we aim to tackle are: What is revolution? Can works of art be revolutionary? How do these works construct, inform, and memorialize revolutionary acts? Beginning with some foundational texts on the concept of revolution, this course will go on to consider these questions through close analysis of three case studies: Russia, Mexico, and Cuba. In addition to considering the particularities of each of these national examples, we will also address the conversations and exchanges between them.

Through an examination of revolutionary cinema, this course will facilitate proficiency approaching both text-based and visual works. As such, students are expected to consider what close reading means when applied to a variety of aesthetic forms. Students will be asked to consider how they might cite a film or close read a work of visual art. We will focus not only on the development of exegetical writing, but also research skills. While this course emphasizes the development of writing techniques, to engage in meaningful close analysis, a clear understanding of the courses' texts and any outside works you bring into your essays is essential to successful writing.