Fall 2011: Hitchcock getting lost ‘n urban public art


Emerson’s narrow curriculum is a double-edged sword when it comes to picking majors — you either love the options or feel trapped by them. But when you discover that the course catalogue can be more than a coaster, you’ll learn that Emerson offers some quirky little gems to satisfy the pop-culture demand of its student body.

Top: Getting Lost – VM 400

David Kociemba

Were you one of the many Facebook users who changed their default pictures to characters from Lost in anticipation of the final season? Well then, does Emerson has a class for you. Getting Lost will allow you to closely read individual episodes and examine the exact language of the script.

“Lost had a very active fandom. We’ll spend some time looking into how wikis, fan boards, and spoiler communities influenced the reception and production of the series,” said David Kociemba, professor of the course.

An entire semester of reliving the lives of Jack, Kate and Hurley? Win. But there’s “real” learning in the course too. The series will be placed in a larger context of the history and artistic traditions of certain genres like disaster films and survivalist fiction.

“Lost asks that viewers question the role of the individual in society, the nature of identity, the possibility of change, and the nature of reality and time. So we’ll be talking about the big questions too,” said Kociemba.

Sem: Hitchcock – VM 402

Eric Schaefer

The best way to learn about a profession is to learn from the best. The course, Hitchcock, will explore the life and career of renowned director Alfred Hitchcock. Analyze his work to educate yourself in the art of direction through cinematography, editing, and sound.

You will also learn the art of marketing your own career from a credible source, as Hitchcock was able to create art while branding himself as a major player in the world of direction.

“This class will be incredibly beneficial to my studies…to see how a person, who was once in our position, just a kid wanting to make films, made his dream into a reality,”said freshman film major Cassie DeNicola.

Sem: Urban Public Art:

Theory and Practice –

VM 409

Cher Knight

Learn why graffiti isn’t just something that makes a city ugly, but is instead something that gives it character. Channel Banksy and investigate the art of street art in the course Urban Public Art: Theory and Practice.

This will go deeper than just learning why some artists like to paint on walls; you will learn the history and the practicality of such art. Cher Knight, the professor of the course, said that students of the hardcore four-hour block will have to be really engaged in the material and commit to the class in order to do well.

Film and Television Genres:

Screwball Comedy –

VM 306

Jennifer Vandever

Love, sex, and marriage are very serious topics, but let’s be honest, they can be really funny as well. The Screwball Comedy course will delve into the world of the genre, by looking at both past and present classics. Through the use of witty banter, insane antics, and images that make you question your existence, issues like gender, race and class are put into a new light.

“Screwball comedy was a unique genre…that evolved from a number of factors; an increase in film censorship; the new technology of the “talkie;” the changing role of women in society; and gifted stars capable of trading witty barbs and executing the perfect pratfall,” said Jennifer Vandever, professor of the course.

Still not sure what Screwball Comedy is? Just about every scene in Burn After Reading by the Coen Brothers should clear that up for you.

Literature of Extreme

Situations – IN 126

Nancy Finn

To write that All-American novel you’ve been dreaming about, or to be the next J.K. Rowling, you may have to join a cult. Literature of Extreme Situations delves into the relationship between outrageous occurrences we experience and why we interpret them into different forms of art. To put it simply, how does the work of crazy people benefit the community at large?

“I would want to take the course because I have never been in a truly extreme situation so it would be interesting to learn about something unfamiliar,” said sophomore broadcast journalism major Kati Petersen. So, go ahead and write that screenplay about your most recent catastrophic break-up. Who knows? It could be the next Academy Award winner for Best Original Screenplay.