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  1. 1. MSTU2009 SCIENCE FICTION FILM & TELEVISION Semester 2, 2005 School of English, Media Studies & Art History Date of this Course Profile: 18 July 2005 Unit value #2 Course convenor: Dr Frances Bonner Prerequisite: CCST1300 Introduction to Film and Television Studies Incompatible: CCST2340 or CCST2210 (previous codes for same course) Contact Hours: 12 x 1.5 hr lectures and 10 x 1 hr tutorials. Plus two screenings which are not an optional extra, but integral to the course. Lecturing Staff Dr Frances Bonner (FB) Rm 515 Michie Building, Phone: 33651438; (Convenor) email: Consultation hours: Wed. 10 -12 noon Dr Michele Pierson (MP) Rm 516 Michie Building, Phone: 33653136 email: Tutors Dr Frances Bonner (FB) Ms Heather Stewart (HS) Rm 534, Tel 33652502. Email: Consultation hours Tues. 10-11am Lecture Monday 12 -1.30pm 45-104 (Mansergh Shaw) Tutorials: (all held in the Michie Building) 1. 2-3pm Mondays R542 (FB) 2. 2-3pm Mondays R435 (HS) 3. 3-4pm Mondays R435 (HS) Course Description MSTU2009 develops from the introductory courses in Communication and Cultural Studies and in Film and Television by focussing on the area of genre. As a genre study, it is concerned with a body of related texts and their continuities and discontinuities. It considers the generic staples of repetition and difference, but also asks questions about modulation, boundary wars and blurred boundaries within the genre and between it and its near associates. The key questions organising the course are: why is science fiction such a particular cinematic and televisual genre? and why does it engender such strong responses in audiences? Part of the special character of science fiction is that unlike other genres, it has as its overriding theme the matter of politico-social organisation and progress (including its obverse, regress). The overriding themes of virtually all other popular genres - love/sex and law & order - are certainly evident and at times individually dominant, but science fiction constantly structures its existence around other ways of being which implicitly and explicitly comment on how things are here and now; how they could be better; and how they could be worse. Obviously utopian (not to mention dystopian and heterotopian) fictions are one version of this, but they are not as common in film and television as they are in print, so the focus will be on the other ways in which progress or other ways of being are explored, including encounters with aliens, space opera, time travel, and artificial beings. Course goals Students should: 1. develop a familiarity and competence with genre study through a detailed examination of a particular genre - science fiction. 2. relate the theoretical tools used to the areas studied in other courses in film and television. 3. be able to use the theoretical tools provided to analyse and discuss both contemporary and non- contemporary texts and their social, political and cultural contexts. 4. become more aware of the specificities of film and of television by examining how a single genre (and sometimes a single title) is varied to suit the medium for which it is produced.
  2. 2. Text: MSTU2009 Course Reader Screenings There are two screenings which are an integral (ie necessary, not optional) part of the course structure. These will be held in the Schonell cinema on Mondays at 4.30pm. Students should attend these screenings if at all possible, whether or not they have previously seen the films. DVDs or videos of the films will be available in the High Use section of the Library for those students who have classes or are working during the screening times. 1st August: 4.30 - 6.30pm Gattaca (Andrew Niccol, 1997) 106 mins 12th September: 4.30 6.30pm Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998) 100 mins. GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES The particular character of the genre of science fiction, discussed above, means that this course has as one of its chief graduate attributes ETHICAL AND SOCIAL UNDERSTANDING. This is pervasive but will be particularly notable as a feature of the first worksheet. The major essay will be the site where students’ abilities in EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION and in the exercise of CRITICAL JUDGEMENT are most tested. The final worksheet, reflecting on the course as a whole will provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF THE FIELD OF STUDY. Background assumed All students are assumed to have taken the prerequisite course CCST1300 Introduction to Film and Television and there will be no provision in this course for revision of the basic concepts taught there. Assessment work will draw on this knowledge. Students also will be assumed to have studied either CCST1000 or MSTU1000. Experience watching a range of science fiction films and television programs is also assumed. Students who also read science fiction (novels and comics) are very welcome, although this background will be in no way required. Teaching and learning modes The course consists of lectures and tutorials both of which need to be attended for satisfactory completion of MSTU2009. The lectures will set the ambit of the week’s concerns and establish ways of approaching the subject material while tutorials will centre around set readings relating to the topic. The readings must be done before attending the tutorial, otherwise informed participation is not possible. Additionally students need to see the two set films and from time to time particular broadcast television programs related to each week’s tutorial concerns. Student Support Services: Any student with a disability who may require alternative academic arrangements in the course (i.e. subject) is encouraged to seek advice at the commencement of the semester from a Disability Advisor at Student Support Services. Student Support Services offers appointments with counsellors, disability advisers, learning advisers, international student advisers and financial assistance advisers. You many either phone, or drop in and make the appointment in person. Appointments are up to 50 minutes in duration. Contact Numbers for St. Lucia Campus: (07) 3365 1704 Emergency: (After Hours) 1800 800 123 WEEK-BY-WEEK STRUCTURE What is science fiction? Week 1. 25 July Lecture: Historical development of sf film and television - FB No tutorials but students are asked to read the first two chapters of Adam Roberts Science Fiction London: Routledge, 2000, many copies of which are held in the library to start developing their approach to the academic study of science fiction. Week 2. 1 August Screening Schonell Cinema Monday 1 August 4.30-6.30pm Gattaca Lecture: What is sf and why is it special? - FB
  3. 3. Tutorials: the special character of science fiction Reading: Kirby, David A.” The New Eugenics in Cinema: Genetic Determinism and Gene Therapy in Gattaca”, Science-Fiction-Studies 2000 July; 27.2 (#81): 193 -215 Week 3. 8 August Lecture: What’s special about sf on film and TV: the joy of SFX - MP Tutorial: Special Effects Reading: Landon, Brooks "The Aesthetics of Ambivalence: Spectacle and Special Effects, Trickery and Discovery", in The Aesthetics of Ambivalence: Rethinking Science Fiction Film in the Age of Electronic (Re)Production. Westport, Conn. and London: Greenwood Press, 1992. 61-92.
  4. 4. Week 4. 15 August Lecture: What’s special about sf on film and TV: audiences - FB Tutorial: Fans Reading: Brooker, Will. Using the Force: Creativity, Community, and Star Wars Fans. New York: Continuum, 2002. (Epilogue). 239-274. First worksheet due 4pm 18 Aug. 2005 Thinking through science fiction Week 5. 22 August Lecture: Outer Space - FB Tutorial: Getting from A to B (or X) Reading: Johnson-Smith, Jan. American Science Fiction TV: Star Trek, Stargate and Beyond. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan UP. 2005. (Chap. 5 “Wormhole X-Treme! Images of Time and Space”). 153-184. Week 6. 29 August Lecture: Aliens - MP Tutorial: BEMs (bug-eyed monsters) and other life-forms Reading: Adam Roberts Science Fiction London: Routledge, 2000. (Chapter 4) 118-145 Week 7. 5 September Lecture: Artificial life - FB Tutorial: Robots, androids and other thinking machines Reading: Lavender, Isiah. “Technicity: AI and Cyborg Ethnicity in The Matrix” Extrapolation 45.4 (2004): 437-458 Week 8. Monday 12 September Screening: Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998) 100 mins. Schonell Cinema 4.30-6.30pm No classes this week, students working on major essay Week 9. 19 September Lecture: Future Cities - FB Tutorial: Cities on earth or elsewhere. Reading: Wong, Kin Yuen “On the Edge of Spaces: Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell and Hong Kong’s Cityscape” Science Fiction Studies 27.1 (2000): 1-21. Essay due 4pm 23 Sept. 2005 MID-SEMESTER BREAK Week 10. 3 October Lecture: Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives - FB Tutorial: The appeal of the all-but-destroyed world Reading: Whelehan, Imelda & Esther Sonnet “Regendered Reading: Tank Girl and Postmodern Intertextuality” in Deborah Cartmell, I.Q. Hunter, Heidi Kaye and Imelda Whelehan eds Trash: Popular Culture and its Audience London: Pluto Press, 1997 Week 11. 10 October Lecture: Time travel - FB Tutorial: Moving backwards and forwards in time Reading: Gordon, Andrew “Back to the Future: Oedipus as Time Traveller” Liquid Metal: The Science Fiction Film Reader. Ed. Sean Redmond. London & New York: Wallflower Press, 2004 . Variations Week 12. 17 October Lecture: Satire/spoof/comedy - FB Tutorial: Funny futures or generic parodies Reading: Helford, Elyce Rae “Reading Masculinities in the 'Post-Patriarchal' Space of Red Dwarf” Foundation. 64. (1995): 20-31
  5. 5. Week 13. 24 October Lecture: Conclusion and the shifting boundaries - FB No tutorials this week - Second worksheet due 4pm 27 Oct. 2005 ASSESSMENT The assessment will comprise three elements: tutorial attendance and participation (10%) an essay (50%) and two worksheets (20% each). Topics for the essay will be distributed at the beginning of the second week and it will be due on 23 Sept. 2005. The first worksheet will be due in Week 4 and the Second in Week 13. Marking: The percentage range for the final grade will follow the School marking system: Grade 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Mark 100–85% 84–75% 74–65% 64–50% 49–45% 44–25% 24–0% ASSESSMENT CRITERIA The worksheets will be assessed using the following criteria: 1. Legibility. (Since worksheet answers are written in the spaces provided on the sheets themselves, legibility is important. Illegible answers cannot be awarded marks.) 2. Succinctness. 3. Precision. 4. Accuracy in paraphrasing. (Quotation from secondary sources will not be necessary - paraphrasing will almost always be preferable.) Directions given on the worksheets about appropriate form and approximate length for answers will need to be followed.
  6. 6. The research essay will be assessed using the following criteria activated as indicated on the criteria sheet attached to the topic sheet. 1. How well you have critically analysed the material discussed. 2. The appropriateness of the primary texts selected. 3. Evidence of research and its incorporation into your arguments. 4. How well you have applied the theoretical concepts you use. 5. How logically you have developed your argument. 6. The selection and use of examples from your texts. 7. The standard of writing style, essay structure and general presentation. 8. The extent to which the essay answers and remains focussed on the question posed. 9. Accurate referencing of primary and secondary sources in the terms set by the School Style Guide. ASSESSMENT POLICIES Plagiarism The School does not accept plagiarism which is regarded as a major infringement of the University’s academic values to which academic penalties will be applied. The Handbook of University Policies and Procedures has a clear policy on plagiarism in section 3.40.12, Academic Integrity and Plagiarism. You should read this at and make yourself thoroughly familiar with its contents. It defines plagiarism as “the act of misrepresenting as one's own original work the ideas, interpretations, words or creative works of another. These include published and unpublished documents, designs, music, sounds, images, photographs, computer codes and ideas gained through working in a group. These ideas, interpretations, words or works may be found in print and/or electronic media’ (2.1). Some examples of plagiarism where the source has not been acknowledged are given in 2.2 and include: !Direct copying of paragraphs, sentences, a single sentence or significant parts of a sentence; !Direct copying of paragraphs, sentences, a single sentence or significant parts of a sentence with an end reference but without quotation marks around the copied text; !Copying ideas, concepts, research results, computer codes, statistical tables, designs, images, sounds or text or any combination of these; !Paraphrasing, summarising or simply rearranging another person's words, ideas, etc without changing the basic structure and/or meaning of the text; !Offering an idea or interpretation that is not one's own without identifying whose idea or interpretation it is; !A ‘cut and paste' of statements from multiple sources; !Presenting as independent, work done in collaboration with others; !Copying or adapting another student's original work into a submitted assessment item (2.2). You should note that it does not define plagiarism only as an intention to deceive. Plagiarism is simply the act of using others' work without acknowledgement, for whatever reasons. The onus is on you to document all of your sources and borrowings, exhaustively and scrupulously. You should see the School Style Guide for details of how to do this. What happens when work is identified as plagiarised Cases of plagiarism will be reported to the Head of School. Penalties include a loss of marks. If there is a demonstrable intention to deceive involved in the plagiarism, you may be charged with misconduct under the University of Queensland Statute No. 4 (Student Discipline and Misconduct) 1999. The procedures for dealing with student discipline and misconduct matters are dealt with in policy 3.60.1 of the Handbook of University Policies and Procedures.:// Extensions Extensions will need to be sought in advance of the due date of the piece of work concerned and will be granted only for substantial reasons (usually medical ones). Pieces submitted late (either after the
  7. 7. due date without extension, or after the date of the extension given) will only be accepted at the discretion of the tutor marking the piece and will be subject to penalty. Required work Class participation is compulsory. You cannot pass the course if you do not attend lectures and tutorials. If you miss a number of classes because of illness or other reasons, please inform your tutor of the situation or you might not be able to pass the course. A minimum of six tutorials must be attended to receive any of the available marks for participation. All pieces of assessment must be undertaken and submitted in order to pass MSTU2009. Ombudsman The School Ombudsman is Dr Rob Pensalfini (Rm 535, phone 33652245). The function of the ombudsman is to help with problems and possible grievances. Students should consult their tutors in the first instance and, if necessary, also the convenor, but in unresolved conflict or in any matter affecting the course may make an appointment to see the ombudsman. They should check his notice board for times when he is available to see students. Postgraduate Students: Students taking this course as part of a postgraduate qualification will be required to submit two pieces of written work totalling 6,000 words as well as attending and participating on the same terms as undergraduate students. The word limit for the first essay is 2,000 words. The word limit for the final research essay is 4,000 words. Topics, criteria and due dates for the essays will be negotiated with such students.
  8. 8. READING LIST Part 1 2005:2 General References Primarily to Print Science Fiction Baccolini, Rafaella and Tom Moylan eds. Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination New York: Routledge, 2003. Barr, Marleen S. ed. Envisioning the Future: Science Fiction and the Next Millennium Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2003. Barr, Marleen S.ed. Future Females, the Next Generation: New Voices and Velocities in Feminist Science Fiction Criticism Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. Broderick, Damien Reading By Starlight: Postmodern Science Fiction Routledge 1995 Bukatman, Scott Terminal Identity : The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction Durham : Duke University press, 1993. Clute, John and Peter Nicholls eds The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction London Orbit 1993 James, Edward Science Fiction in the 20th Century Oxford University Press 1994 Moylan, Tom Demand the Impossible Methuen 1986 Parrinder, Patrick Science Fiction: Its Criticism and Teaching London Methuen 1980 Sayer, Karen and John Moore eds. Science Fiction, Critical Frontiers New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000. Suvin, Darko Metamorphoses of Science Fiction, Yale University Press, 1979. Westfahl, Gary and George Slusser eds. Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002. Yaszek., Lisa. The Self Wired: Technology and Subjectivity in Contemporary Narrative New York : Routledge, 2002. Notes 1. The specialist journals Science Fiction Studies, Foundation and Extrapolation are all dominated by articles on print sf, but do include some consideration of film and television. 2. Students should also check the books from which tutorial readings are taken.
  9. 9. MSTU2009 SCIENCE FICTION FILM & TELEVISION READING LIST Armitt, Lucie ed. Where No Man has Gone Before: Women and Science Fiction. London & New York: Routledge, 1991 Badmington, Neil. Alien Chic: Posthumanism and the Other Within. London & New York: Routledge, 2004. Barker, Martin and Kate Brooks Awkward Audiences of Judge Dredd. Luton, Bedfordshire : University of Luton Press, 1998. Barnett, P. Chad “Reviving Cyberpunk: (Re)Constructing the Subject and Mapping Cyberspace in the Wachowski Brothers' Film The Matrix” Extrapolation. 41.4: (2000): 359-74 Barrett, Michele and Duncan Barrett Star Trek The Human Frontier. Cambridge: Polity, 2001 Bernardi, Daniel Leonard. Star Trek and History : Race-ing toward a White Future. New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 1998. on High Use Bignell, Jonathan and Andrew O'Day Terry Nation Manchester & New York : Manchester University Press ; New York, 2004 Brooker, Will. Using the Force: Creativity, Community, and Star Wars Fans. New York: Continuum, 2002. on High Use Bukatman, Scott “Zooming Out: The End of Offscreen Space”, in The New American Cinema, Ed. Jon Lewis. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1998. 248-271. Gregory, Chris Star Trek: Parallel Narratives Basingstoke : Macmillan, 2000. Gwenllian-Jones, Sara and Roberta E. Pearson. eds. Cult Television. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. Harrison, Taylor et al eds Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek. Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 1996. Helford, Elyce Rae. ed. Fantasy Girls: Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction & Fantasy Television. Lanham, Md.: Rowan & Littlefield, 2000 Heller, Lee E. “The Persistence of Difference: Postfeminism, Popular Discourse, and Heterosexuality in Star Trek: The Next Generation” Science Fiction Studies. 24.2 (1997): 226-44 Highmore, Ben. Cityscapes: Cultural Readings in the Material and Symbolic City. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Hills, Matt Fan Cultures London & New York: Routledge, 2002 on High Use Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992 on High Use Johnson, Catherine Telefantasy London: BFI Publishing, 2005 [on order, then High Use] Johnson-Smith, Jan. American Science Fiction TV : Star Trek, Stargate and Beyond. Middleton, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2005. on High Use Kapell, Matthew & William G. Doty. eds Jacking in to the Matrix Franchise: Cultural Reception and Interpretation New York & London: Continuum, 2004 King, Geoff. Spectacular Narratives : Hollywood in the Age of the Blockbuster. London ; New York : I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2000. On High Use King, Geoff & Tanya Krzywinska. Science Fiction Cinema: From Outerspace to Cyberspace. London: Wallflower, 2000 on High Use Kitchin, Rob & James Kneale eds Lost in Space: Geographies of Science Fiction London: Continuum, 2002 Kuhn, Annette. ed. Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema London; New York : Verso, 1990. Kuhn, Annette. ed. Alien Zone II: The Spaces of Science Fiction Cinema. London ; New York : Verso, 1999. Lavery, David, Angela Hague and Maria Cartwright. eds. Deny All Knowledge: Reading the X-files London : Faber & Faber, 1996. Penley, Constance NASA/Trek: Popular Science and Sex in America London ; New York : Verso, 1997. Penley, Constance et al eds Close Encounters: Film, Feminism, and Science Fiction Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1991.
  10. 10. Redmond, Sean. ed. Liquid Metal: The Science Fiction Film Reader. New York & London: Routledge, 2004 on High Use Roberts, Robin Sexual Generations: Star Trek, The Next Generation and Gender University of Illinois Press, 1999 Rushing, Janice Hocker & Thomas S. Frentz Projecting the Shadow: The Cyborg Hero in American Film. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Sardar, Ziauddin & Sean Cubitt. Aliens R Us: The Other in Science Fiction Cinema London: Pluto, 2002 Sekuler, Robert and Randolph Blake. Star Trek on the Brain: Alien Minds, Human Minds New York : W.H. Freeman, 1998. Sobchack, Vivian Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film New York : Ungar, 1987. (Nb this is the second edition of her Limits of Infinity: The American Science Fiction Film 1950-1975 with an extra chapter extending the period examined to 1985) on High Use Swope, Richard “Science fiction cinema and the crime of social-spatial reality” Science Fiction Studies 29.2 #87 July 2002 221-246 Telotte, J.P. Replications: A Robotic History of the Science Fiction Film Urbana, Ill.: University of Illonois Press, 1995. Telotte, J P Science Fiction Film Cambridge UP 2001 on High Use Tulloch, John & Henry Jenkins Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Dr Who and Star Trek London and New York: Routledge, 1995 on High Use Wachhorst, Wyn “Time-travel romance on film: archetypes and structures” Extrapolation 25.4 Winter 1984. p. 340-59 Westfahl, Gary ed. Space and Beyond: The Frontier Theme in Science Fiction Westport conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000 on High Use Wood, Aylish Technoscience in Contemporary American Film: Beyond Science Fiction Manchester University Press, 2002