Spring 2012 Courses
Introduction to Comparative Media Studies
Professor Akira Mizuta Lippit
Seminar in Comparative Studies in Culture
Professor Hilary Schor
Making time. Making time stand still, marking time, doing time, spending time, devouring time blunt thou the lion’s claw, I wasted time and now doth time waste me. Whose time is it; it’s time for them to go; hurry up, please, it’s time.
Is it a peculiarly modern belief that whatever else one does, one must do something with time? This class begins with the revolution in time that was called Year One, but it also begins with the attempt to stop time, film time, and end time. The class will study prose fiction, narrative film, graphic novels, theoretical works on literature, film and culture, alongside histories of time, of transportation and communication networks, and studies of gender and identity. Our opening question will be both historical and formal: if the 19th century was dominated by devices that claimed to ‘annihilate space and time,” to throw a girdle around the world, why was it also the time of the most brilliant and sustained (and long) narrative experiments of all time; what is the ‘difference’ that modernism, anarchy, Freud and Bergson and Proust make; what does the (re)discovery of time-in-motion have to do with motion pictures, and what are the constitutive games of time that the novel, film, and psychoanalysis in particular make? “Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still/yet we will make him run…” This class will repeatedly run over time, in our efforts to understand why time still matters formally, intellectually, historically, and mechanically, and how artists, writers and filmmakers must always make time run.
Text will include Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Conrad’s The Secret Agent, Gaskell’s Cranford, Schivelbush’s The Railway Journey, Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep. Theoretical texts will include works by Karl Marx, Walter Benjamin, Gérard Genette, Bruno LaTour, Berhard Siegerts. Films will include Germany Year Zero, The Lady Vanishes, It’s a Wonderful Life, Groundhog Day, Chinatown, Memento, The Minority Report,