Armenian 126: The Armenian Genocide in Film: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives

TuTh 5-6:30, Dwinelle 182. Instructor: Myrna Douzjian.

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

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? 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 genres 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 Yearning). Readings include selections from Cathy Caruth’s Trauma: Explorations in Memory, David Eng and David Kazanjian’s Loss: The Politics of Mourning, Dominick LaCapra’s Writing History, Writing Trauma, Marc Nichanian’s The Historiographic Perversion, and Hayden White’s Figural Realism: Studies in the Mimesis Effect.

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

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

Prerequisites: None. All readings and lectures in English