• Course Description:

    This course explores how American animated films by everyone from Winsor McCay in the early 1900s to Walt Disney and Tim Burton have shaped and been shaped by national and international visual cultures. Deeply concerned with the labor and vision of individual artists, American animation reflects essential questions about the medium’s potential as an art of movement and transformation, an art of time, and an art of dreams, all of which are wrapped up in broader discourses on American ideals and ways of life. Our goal for the semester is to understand how animators have grappled with these questions using innovative formal and stylistic techniques that bring inanimate materials – drawings, puppets, and other objects – to life. To do this we will examine the many contexts that have shaped a wide range of films, from early hand-drawn animations and experimental films, to visual music films, realist animations, and contemporary computer animations. In the process, we will consider how American animated films intersect with the politics of race, class, and gender, as well as with other arts and media, including dance, painting, and comics.