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Philosophy, Film and TV

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How can film and TV offer us a window onto some of the most fundamental questions about our existence? In an age of on-demand viewing, has the way we consume film and TV changed? How can philosophy shed light on popular culture?

This module will introduce you to critical approaches to philosophy, film and TV, exploring the ways in these fields of study overlap and inform each other. It will examine different kinds of genres across TV and film, from the self-referential drama to the sit-com, through the lens of philosophical perspectives.

No previous knowledge is required, but an appetite for on-demand viewing and a passion for questioning the very meaning of life itself will certainly help.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through ten 2-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to you via Learning Central.

Indicative topics may include:

  • Films as philosophy
  • TV and genre hierarchies
  • What is real? The philosophical questions of The Matrix
  • Are we the sum of our memories? Philosophy and the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • TV on demand: NBC’s The Good Place and Philosophy

Coursework and assessment

To award credits, we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

You may choose to write two short assignments (500-word analysis + 1000 word essay) or produce a writing portfolio. The portfolio may take the form of short critiques, reviews, short analyses of critical theories, creative writing and any other appropriate elements.

Reading suggestions

You may find the following texts useful for wider reading but the tutor will provide a full reading list at the beginning of the course.

  • Freeland, Cynthia A., and Thomas E. Wartenberg. Philosophy and film. Routledge, 2016.
  • Livingston, Paisley, and Carl Plantinga, eds. The Routledge companion to philosophy and film. Routledge, 2008.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.

Accessibility

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.

Location

21-23 Senghennydd Road
Cathays
Cardiff
CF24 4AG