Armenian 126: Armenian Culture and Film

TuTh 12:30-2, 185 Barrows. Instructor: Myrna Douzjian.

Units: 4 Satisfies L&S International Studies OR Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

As of January 26, 2017, this course is held in 185 Barrows.

This course focuses on the representation of the Armenian Genocide in film. We will pair films that approach the issue of the Genocide with readings that theorize trauma, memory, and history in order to consider some complex questions: What is the relationship between historical narratives and artistic representation? Can film depict the experience of witnesses and the death of victims? What are the political and cultural ramifications of the Genocide in present-day Armenia and the Diaspora? While gaining an understanding of the ethical, political, and aesthetic considerations involved in the depiction of the Armenian Genocide, students will also have the opportunity to make points of comparison with the representation of the Holocaust and Rwandan Genocide in film.

Viewings for the course include various subgenres of film: documentary (Eric Friedler’s Aghet: A Genocide, Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog); drama (Fatih Akin’s The Cut, Atom Egoyan’s Ararat, Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda); animation (Serge Avedikian’s Barking Island); and adaptation (Frunze Dovlatyan’s Karot). Readings include selections from Cathy Caruth’s Trauma: Explorations in Memory, Dominick LaCapra’s Writing History, Writing Trauma, Marc Nichanian’s The Historiographic Perversion, and Hayden White’s Figural Realism: Studies in the Mimesis Effect.

Most films will be screened in class, and all readings will be provided on bCourses.

Requirements: about 50 pages of reading/week; viewing two-three long films outside class; class participation; presentation; midterm; and individual project.

Prerequisites: None. All readings and lectures in English; students with advanced knowledge of Armenian are encouraged to read in the original.