Module Information

Module Identifier
TFM0920
Module Title
Ecocriticism and Ecocinema
Academic Year
2020/2021
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Reflective journal  (2,500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Critical essay  (3,000 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Reflective journal  (2,500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Critical essay  (3,000 words)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of the concept of Anthropocene and its relevance to art practice.

2. Demonstrate an advanced and in-depth critical understanding of debates in ecocriticism and how they relate to the medium of film, particularly through forms of representation.

3. Carry out detailed analyses of a range of film texts, from mainstream documentaries to avant-garde works, using an eco-critical method.

4. Understand the relationship between representation and ethics by relating ecocritical ideas to the concepts of realism and identification.

5. Produce insightful subjective reflections on the learning process, indicating an active processing of the ideas, concepts and films.

Brief description

This module introduces students to the expanding field of ecocriticism, an environmentally conscious approach to the study of cultural productions that has impacted significantly upon film theory and practice. It takes as its starting point the contested concept of the Anthropocene and the recent emphasis on the need to develop ways of relating to the world that extend beyond the human. As such, the module assesses a range of theoretical positions on post-humanism, ecology and what has been described as ‘new materialism’, creating a broad critical framing for the films discussed. It also aims to stimulate debate about questions of representation and realism in film, drawing parallels between classical and contemporary film theory and inviting reflection on the ethical implications of both documentary and fictional approaches to the non-human.

Content

​ Indicative content:

Seminar: Ecocriticism: some introductory perspectives
Screening: Deep Blue (Alastair Fothergill and Andy Byatt, 2003)

Seminar: Art and the Anthropocene
Screening: Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, 2012)

Seminar: Nature Writing: from Opal Whiteley to Mary Oliver
Screening: 16mm films by Charlotte Pryce

Practical: Small Acts of Noticing
Screening: Experimental films by Jean Painlevé, Paul Clipson, Robert Todd

Seminar: Representing Animals
Screening: Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005); Blua (Carolina Charry Quintero, 2017); vulture (Phil Hoffman, 2019 – extracts)

Seminar: Representing Landscape
Screening: Perestroika (Sarah Turner, 2010)

Seminar: Representing Waste
Screening: The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2000)

Seminar: Representing Botany
Screening: In the Conservatory (Caryn Cline, 2010); Bouquets 1-10 (Rose Lowder, 1994-95); Glimpse of the Garden (Marie Menken, 1957); The Garden of Earthly Delights (Stan Brakhage, 1981); Athyrium filix-femina (Kelly Egan, 2016)

Seminar: Representing Climate Change
Screening: tbc

Seminar: Film and Ecological Activism
Screening: Earthlings (Shaun Monson, 2005)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Students will develop verbal and written communication skills throughout the module. They will be encouraged to discuss and debate ideas in the seminars, working in both large and small groups. They will also be encouraged, through the diversity of the assignments, to explore different modes of written communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance There will be a significant feedback component to the module. The reflective journal entries are read by the module coordinator and advice will be given on how to improve on this form of writing, which is essentially also a way of improving understanding by writing about one’s own learning. It is also anticipated (following successful use of this assignment method on other modules) that the reflective journal will give the students more confidence in expressing their views and opinions in the seminars and in their essays.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to use electronic resources throughout the module. This will be a necessary part of the research for both assignments. The reflective journal is an online exercise, which requires that students make an entry each week. The module co-ordinator will set up an online blog for the sharing of ideas, references and resources.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is part of an MA programme that requires students to consider their work within a context of professional practice. They will have the opportunity, throughout the module, to reflect on how the knowledge they are gaining will be applicable in their future careers. They will also have the opportunity to network with filmmakers and other industry professionals.
Problem solving The module will develop problem solving and time management skills primarily through the assignments. Students will be required to be pro-active in working through intellectual problems both in their essays and in their weekly reflective journals.
Research skills Students will be assessed on their ability to research their critical essays using appropriate primary and secondary sources. They will also be assessed on how well they incorporate seminar material into their reflective journals.
Subject Specific Skills The module is interdisciplinary in nature, asking students to be aware of the different ways in which representation in film intersects with key areas such as ecology, the environment, ethics and activism. It gives students an advanced insight into one of the key intellectual fields currently affecting intellectual and creative discourses in the Humanities.
Team work Students will have the opportunity to work in groups in the seminars, the field trip exercise and the practical phytogram workshop.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 7