American Film: Pre 1945
Fall 2009

Mondays, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Studio B, CCA
Wednesdays, 2:30 to 5 p.m., Studio B, CCA

Mr. Bryan Cardinale-Powell
Room 6, Children’s Center for the Arts

Office Hours: Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment.
Please be sure to confirm your plans to meet with me via email.

Course Description:
Throughout the 20th century, movies played an important role in the culture of the United States. This course will focus on the development of the Hollywood dream factory from turn of the century experiments in narrative and industrial organization through periods of refinement and transformation, culminating in the efforts to require studio realignment in the face of 1940s anti-trust lawsuits. Along the way, analytical tools like authorship, genre, ideology and social history will help shape not only our understanding of the relationship between the movie industry and American culture, but also our understanding of the movies themselves.

Course Objectives:
Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to demonstrate the following:
  • familiarity with a number of important events, people, and trends in the development of the American studio system.
  • an awareness of a variety of social, economic, and technological explanations for the development of the American studio system;
  • the ability to produce an essay that provides a well-reasoned argument based on historical research materials including movies, periodicals, trade magazines, marketing materials, etc.;
Required Texts:
As deemed necessary by the instructor, additional readings may be assigned during the term. Any additional readings will be distributed in class or electronically via email. More information will be provided as necessary.

Readings assigned for this course were selected to complement class activities and screenings. Therefore,
reading assignments should be completed before attending class.

Course Requirements:
In addition to the assigned readings mentioned above, student requirements for this course include the following:
  • Attendance and participation in classroom activities/discussions
  • Classroom Journal
  • Screening Responses
  • Mid-term Exam
  • Term Paper
  • Final Exam
Attendance and Participation: Your attendance and participation in classroom activities is expected and will be monitored and factored into your final grade for the course. Remember, failure to attend class is the best way to fail class.

Classroom Journal: A class reporter rotation will be set up during our first class meeting. For each remaining class discussion session, the assigned class reporter will take notes of the day’s activities and post a written account online no later than two days following class. Online instructions will be handed out in class.

Screening Responses:
According to our calendar, Monday classes comprise a discussion of the previous week’s screening and assigned readings. To supplement this discussion, students should submit to the online classroom discussion group a short reflection on the week’s film and readings no later than 6 p.m. Saturday following the screening.

Mid-term exam: The mid-term exam will consist of short answer identification questions and/or essay prompts. The exam will require students to use examples from class readings and screenings to support their answers.

Term paper: Each student will complete a 7-10 page essay written on an approved topic related to the study of American film from 1900 to the 1940s. We will discuss ideas for topics in class, a first draft will be required, and students will present research findings to the class in 7-10 minute presentations at the end of the semester. More details will be distributed as necessary.

Final exam: The final exam will require students to use examples from class readings and screenings in response to essay prompts.

! Throughout the semester, class-related information will be communicated via email. To ensure that this works as smoothly as possible, please be sure you have access to your email account, and that you check that account regularly. If you’d rather use a different email address for class-related correspondence, please let me know by the end of the first week of classes.

Plagiarism, cheating, and/or academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated in this course. For further details, please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty on pages 41-42 of the 2009-10 undergraduate catalog available online here. Sanctions for violations of academic honesty are at the discretion of the instructor and can be severe.
Students will earn final grades based on the following formula:

5% Attendance
5% Classroom journal
10% Screening responses
25% Mid-term exam
30% Term paper
25% Final exam

Assignment scores and calculated totals will correspond to letter grades according to the following scale:
94-100 A 75-78 C+
90-93 A- 72-74 C
86-89 B+ 68-71 C-
83-85 B 60-67 D
79-82 B- 0-59 F

Make-up work and late assignments may only be accepted with the advance permission of the instructor, and such permission will be granted only in cases of verifiable hardship.

An incomplete (I) will only be granted according to the university policies published on page 47 of the 2009-2010 undergraduate catalog.

You can find more information regarding classroom assessment practices on the web

If you need an accommodation due to a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact the Student Health and Disabilities Service Office immediately at (405) 208-5991 or (405) 208-5090. Advance notice is required for many accommodations.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time during the semester to discuss your classroom performance. However, I will not disclose any grades via email.

They’re your grades. You earn them.