Media Times: Baudelaire and Griffith

Classes started this week at Catholic U, so I’ve been running non-stop for the last few days doing all of that typical beginning-of-semester work, including making appointments for guest speakers (more on that later) and arranging for passcodes for classrooms, that sort of thing.

But for now, I just wanted to re-bookmark an old entry of mine that discussed the controversial online “docu-game,” JFK: Reloaded (lots of good discussion of the game in the comments to that entry). The post seeks to connect the game’s rhetoric of authenticity with D.W. Griffith’s cinematic theory of history, which imagines motion pitcures as an unmediated window onto the past (“There will be no opinions expressed. You will merely be present at the making of history”).

For the first day of class (it’s a 3-hour seminar that meets on Friday), I’m thinking about discussing Griffith in relationship with Charles Baudelaire’s famous rejection of photography in the Salon of 1859 (of course, Baudelaire’s distaste for photography did not prevent him from being photographed). I think the two short pieces will prexent an interesting juxtaposition for establishing how potography and cinema were received, specifically in terms of the concepts of time, memory, and history that I want to unpack in the class.

I’ll try to post my syllabi online in the next few days so that I can get some feedback and comments from media studies scholars who read my blog. I’ve already learned a lot from KF’s media studies syllabi for my junior seminar.

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