Screen and Cultural Studies
What will I study?
The majority of Arts Majors require 100 points of study for attainment. This means out of the 300 point program, you have the opportunity to achieve two Majors in your course. Along with this, the Faculty of Arts offers a variety of Breadth Subjects designed to enhance your learning with options from a variety of fields.
Students completing a Major in Screen and Cultural Studies must complete:
- One Level 1 Elective subject
- One Arts Foundation subject
- 37.5 points of Level 2 Elective subjects
- 25 points of Level 3 Elective subject
- One Level 3 Compulsory Capstone subject
Students completing a Minor in Screen and Cultural Studies must complete:
- One Level 1 Elective subject
- One Arts Foundation subject
- 25 points of Level 2 Elective subjects
- 25 points of Level 3 Elective subject
Explore this major
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this major.
Who we are and what we do is all tangled up in our identity. This subject considers how identities are constructed and maintained through mediated processes of self and other. The subject investigates the myriad demands and devices that figure in constructing our senses of self and other (including language, leisure, beliefs and embodied practices). By exploring identity in diverse contexts, across time and place, the subject maps varying conceptions of self and other and how these conceptions are constructed and maintained. A key focus is on how these mediated conceptions of self and other are translated into material practices of inclusion, exclusion, discrimination, violence and criminalisation.
Language plays a central role in the central disciplinary areas in the humanities and social sciences. This subject gives students tools for thinking about language in a range of disciplines, including linguistics, history, sociology, politics, literary studies, anthropology, language studies, psychology and psychoanalytic theory. It shows how language can be analysed as a system, but also how language features centrally in politcal and social contexts: for example, in the processing of the claims of asylum seekers, in developing views of ethnicity, race and nation, and in colonialism; and in the construction of gendered and sexual identity. The role of language in the psyche, and the process of acquisition of languages in children and in adults, are also important topics. Knowing how to think about language, and familiarity with the main thinkers who have discussed language in a range of humanities and social science disciplines, provide an indispensable basis for study in any area of the Arts degree.
The idea of power is a way to grasp the character of social relations. Investigating power can tell us about who is in control and who may benefit from such arrangements. Power can be a zero-sum game of domination. It can also be about people acting together to enact freedom. This subject examines the diverse and subtle ways power may be exercised. It considers how power operates in different domains such as markets, political systems and other social contexts. It also examines how power may be moderated by such things as regulation and human rights. A key aim is to explore how differing perspectives portray power relations and how issues of power distribution may be characterised and addressed.
Reason, many believe, is what makes us human. Until recently, most scientists and philosophers agreed that the ability to use the mind to analyse and interpret the world is something intrinsic to the nature of our species. Reason has a long and extraordinary history. We will explore a number of inter-related themes: the nature of reason from Ancient Greece to our contemporary world; the ever shifting relationship between reason and faith; reason's place in the development of scientific experimentation and thinking; shifting perspectives about the uses of Reason and, finally, how reason relates to theories of the mind, exploring the tensions between reason, the passions and the will.
Reason will take you on a journey from Plato's cave to the neuro-scientists' lab. We will visit revolutions in science, thinking and politics. We will explore the impact of some of the great philosophers of history, including Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Bentham, Coleridge, Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault and many more besides. By the end of this subject you will have a deep understanding of the importance of the idea of reason to human history and philosophy. You might, even, be able to answer the question: 'does reason exist?'
Reason is an Arts Foundation Subject and we will argue that understanding the history and philosophy of reason provides great insights into many aspects of the humanities from political philosophy to understanding history. We will, of course, be paying particular attention to the foundational skills that will help you successfully complete your Arts major: particularly critical thinking and argument development.
- First Peoples in a Global Context12.5
First Peoples in a Global Context
This subject will provide students with an introduction to the complexity, challenges and richness of Australian Indigenous life and cultures. Drawing on a wide range of diverse and dynamic guest lecturers, this subject gives students an opportunity to encounter Australian Indigenous knowledges, histories and experiences through interdisciplinary perspectives. Across three thematic blocks - Indigenous Knowledges, Social and Political Contexts and Representation/Self-Representation - this subject engages contemporary cultural and intellectual debate. Social and political contexts will be considered through engagement with specific issues and a focus on Indigenous cultural forms, which may include literature, music, fine arts, museum exhibitions and performance, will allow students to consider self-representation as a means by which to disrupt and expand perceptions of Aboriginality.
Humans grapple with representations of themselves and their contexts. They also like to imagine other possible worlds. We use words, language, images, sounds and movement to construct narratives and stories, large and small, about the trivial and the profound, the past and the future. These representations can help us to understand worlds but they can also create worlds for us. This subject explores how different genres such as speech, writing, translation, film, theatre and art generate representations of social life, imagination and the human condition. A key aim of the subject is to develop a critical appreciation of how language, images and embodied gestures are used to construct empowering and disempowering discourses.
- Introduction to Screen Studies12.5
Introduction to Screen Studies
This subject provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the study of film language and theory. It is organised around these two separate but related areas. The film language component covers two interrelated topics that are essential for an understanding of the cinema; film aesthetics and film history. The subject begins with the early cinema and progresses through to an analysis of contemporary Hollywood. Key topics of narrative, editing, sound, mise-en-scene, cinematography and the studio system are studied in this historical context. The film theory component of the subject presents a study of the key theories, including: genre theory, auteurism, the classic text, gender, psychoanalysis, entertainment and new media theory, that have informed film aesthetics and the history of the cinema.
- Media, Identity and Everyday Life12.5
Media, Identity and Everyday Life
Media saturate almost every aspect of our experience, and provide a powerful lens through which we come to understand our selves, other people, and the world around us. This subject offers an introduction to cultural studies by focusing on the media and their impacts in everyday life. Case studies are drawn from a range of popular transnational media including advertising, television, film, Internet cultures and social media. We focus on approaches to representation and social practice; and consider how people interact with media in everyday life, especially how our identities are constructed through our media practices. The subject provides students with a reflexive understanding of the media’s cultural significance today, and advanced critical skills in evaluating media discourses and texts. It offers students a deeper understanding of many naturalised aspects of their own everyday media experience, and a grasp of the complex relationships between formations of social power and audience pleasures.
- Media Histories 12.5
The subject will explore the intimate connections between screen and media technologies and changing understandings of culture in the 20th century. It focuses on how innovations in print and photographic technologies, telegraphy and telephony, the moving image, sound recording, radio, film exhibition, TV and video, and the transformation of analogue by digital technologies, have enabled changing visions of culture. It studies terms such as mechanical reproduction and the culture industry, the optical unconscious and trauma, massification and broadcast, public sphere and media literacy, fragmentation and globalisation. Students will be encouraged, and given the confidence, to move between cultural histories and cultural studies. They will be introduced to the histories of key media technologies, and examine attempts to theorise the significance and influences of those technologies within cultural studies. As a result, students should have, on completion of the subject, a strong critical knowledge of how histories of media technologies are central to contemporary culture.
- Rock to Rave 12.5
Rock to Rave
This subject provides an overview of cultural studies approaches to contemporary popular music. Students will be introduced to the interdisciplinary traditions of scholarship that have emerged in the study of popular music's relationship to its social, cultural and political contexts. Topics will include musical evaluation and taste; music genre; sexuality and gender in pop; music industries and music distribution formats; music videos; youth subcultures; politics and radio broadcasting; and race in popular music, with a focus on global hip hop.
- Hollywood and Entertainment 12.5
Hollywood and Entertainment
This subject explores developments in the American film and television industry since its beginnings. The evolution of contemporary styles, techniques and genres belongs to a history of refusal, reinvention and departure from older norms. The consolidation of streaming can only be understood when we know how Hollywood weathered earlier crises. US show business is the quintessential cultural industry, and allows us to explore the tensions between art and commerce, mediations of race and gender, the synergies of theatre, TV and pop music, the work of audiences and the significance of marketing strategies over more than a century of rapid social, economic and political change.
- Television, Lifestyle & Consumer Culture 12.5
Television, Lifestyle & Consumer Culture
What is lifestyle? When and how did the concept develop, and what functions does it serve in consumer culture today? How is it represented and constructed through television? How does it relate to parallel concepts like taste, style and identity? This subject frames lifestyle as the site where consumer culture and individual identity intersect, where identities are produced through our interactions with the commodities and media we consume. It approaches lifestyle as the relatively recent invention of advertising, marketing, popular media and related institutions and discourses, contextualizing it within the broader rise of modern consumer culture, in order to provide a historical framework for understanding the rise and global spread of lifestyle culture today. The subject engages key theories for understanding consumer culture and media from Marxist accounts of commodity fetishism and alienated labour to contemporary television studies and social theories of DIY-selves and reflexive individualism. On completion of this subject, students should be able to analyse the complex relations between contemporary consumer culture, lifestyle discourse, popular media and individual identity formation, and to trace the workings of these relations through selected cultural sites that may include advertisements, television programs, and Internet sites, and everyday practices like shopping.
- Australian Film and Television 12.5
Australian Film and Television
This subject is an introduction to the study of Australian film and television. Beginning with post-war Australian film and television, we will trace the emergence of the modern entertainment industry in Australia locating it within national and international frameworks and examining the growing debates around what constitutes a national cinema and television industry. The focus will be upon examining specific films and a range of media in television locating products within local and global contexts, analyzing cosmopolitan and nationalist impulses that drive the industry forward. We will study a range of indigenous and non-indigenous products and genres including feature films, video, documentaries, television series, sitcoms and news programs. Road movies, comedy, history films, animation, romance and melodrama are among the genres studied.
- Ensemble Filmmaking, Art and Industry 12.5
Ensemble Filmmaking, Art and Industry
This subject re-thinks the enduring notion of authorship and its central place in the production and reception of films and other screen media. Through a detailed examination of films and filmmakers operating in global art cinema and Hollywood, students will encounter critical ideas about authorship and artistry beyond persisting misconceptions of filmmaking as the exclusive creative province of male auteurs and multi-national business conglomerates. This subject demonstrates the notion of ensemble authorship which takes into account the significant collaborating role of producers, writers, designers, technicians, actors, studios, critics, audiences and their relationships to other visual and performing arts. This subject’s focus on ensemble filmmaking critically asserts the historical and contemporary significance of female filmmakers in the re-evaluation of this tenacious industrial and critical paradigm.
- Thinking Sex12.5
How do we come to experience ourselves as having a gender and a sexual orientation? How do social constructions of gender relate to understandings of sexuality? How have categories like masculinity and femininity; heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality transformed over time? This subject approaches gender and sexuality as historically and culturally contingent rather than as natural expressions of a private self. It provides the historical and theoretical frameworks for understanding the rise of specific genders and sexualities in relation to available medical, psychoanalytic, philosophical, political and popular discourses. Drawing from recent formations in both feminism and queer studies, this subject engages with a diverse range of cultural texts from the proceedings of court cases to personal advertisements, from celebrity gossip columns to popular film. On completion of this subject students should be able to explicate the complex imbrications of gender and sexuality and to analyse the representation of gendered and sexual identities and desires in selected cultural texts, which may include television, film, Internet and print media.
- Asian Cinema and Media12.5
Asian Cinema and Media
This subject focuses on contemporary Asian cinema and media with a special emphasis on their transnational aspects. Students will encounter examples mainly from cinema (both popular and 'art' film), but the subject also engages with other forms of media culture like television, computer games, music video and Internet cultures. These texts will be approached through analysis of the contexts of their production, distribution, and consumption as well as through textual analysis. Students will learn about new approaches to contemporary Asian cinema and media that understand these cultures as formed through transnational flows rather than as the product of discrete and bounded 'civilisations' as in traditional area studies approaches. On completion of this subject students should have an understanding of the transnationalism of Asian cinema and media today, knowledge of some of the key recent movements in Asian film and media, an appreciation of the historical contexts that underlie these patterns, and a sound grasp of the major scholarly approaches used to analyse these phenomena. Students completing the subject will be familiar with case studies including those from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and India.
- Art Cinema and the Love Story12.5
Art Cinema and the Love Story
This subject is a study of many manifestations of the love story represented in Australian, Italian, French, British and North American art cinema traditions. Through detailed close-analysis of a range of films, the subject explores topics such as romantic love, Surrealism and mad love, the marital gothic, adultery, gay and lesbian love, inter-racial romance, perversion, loss and melancholia. Concentrating on art cinema treatments of romantic comedy, melodrama, the backstage musical, horror and gothic romance, the subject highlights the various formal strategies employed to create the love story in art cinema. The subject looks at the way in which film theory has explained the idea of love and desire in the cinema by drawing on Freudian psychoanalysis, mythology and gender studies. In addition to the close reading of the love story through prescribed films, the subject also explores the way film intersects with theatre, television, literature, art and popular music on the subject.
- City Cultures12.5
This subject provides an introduction to a variety of ways in which city cultures have defined and articulated popular culture and critical social theory. Students will be introduced to contemporary urban narratives of places and spaces through a focus on city cultures, from Melbourne, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai. Students will explore and analyse issues around immigration and mobility, social identities and urban spaces, environmental sustainability, post-industrial economies and creative industries, in order to consider how cities have become central to our theoretical understanding of contemporary cultures.
- The Digital Screenscape12.5
The Digital Screenscape
This subject explores the impact that digital technologies have had in the world of screen media and in mediating the world around us. Film and television had, over the last century, become an integral part of reality. Since the advent of the digital era, screen media have become even more integrated into the social sphere. This subject will focus on: applying diverse and interdisciplinary interpretative tools to analyse the impact of digital special effects on the cinema; the forms of player engagement made possible by the digital nature of video games; the advent of digital technology; the changing nature of television viewing; and the impact of screen media on the urbanscape.
- Film Noir: History and Sexuality12.5
Film Noir: History and Sexuality
This subject offers a close study of the phenomenon of film noir from its precursors in silent cinema, through classical and B film noir, to digital cinema. Film Noir: History and Sexuality will invite students to consider the way in which cultural, political and technological factors influence the aesthetics, narrative form and style of film noir. A key focus of this subject will be the changing representations of gender and sexuality and the challenges posed to regimes of censorship in cinema. Movements studied will include the silent film; German expressionism; classical Hollywood noir; noir revised by New Wave directors (particularly in France and Hong Kong), postmodern noir, post-noir and digital noir in the broader media ecology. Students should complete the subject with an understanding of various approaches to film historiography (including an exploration of archival histories, media archaeologies, intersections of memory and history as well as digital histories), a comprehensive synthesis of noir and its variants and an opportunity to connect theory and practice using digital tools.
- Contemporary Film and Cultural Theory12.5
Contemporary Film and Cultural Theory
This subject introduces students to some of the major theoretical traditions in the field and considers these with a contemporary and future focus. Emphasis on historical, textual, ethnographic, institutional and other theories will be grounded in examinations of various contemporary screen examples and cultural case studies. This combination of theoretical traditions and contemporary approaches will allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to a range of diverse, real world projects. By apprehending diverse theoretical frameworks, students will be given opportunities to explore some of the significant challenges of the cultures we inhabit. This subject will also allow students to consider a range of ways of extending their degrees into research and professional pathways.