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Cinematic Sociology
A canister of film unspools toward the viewer
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Social science
Media Literacy
Critical Thinking

How to Cite

Besek, Jordan. 2022. “Cinematic Sociology”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, July. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


This is the syllabus for "Cinematic Sociology," a class that is not about film theory, film production, or the film industry, but rather a class that uses classic and contemporary narrative film as a source of sociological analysis. Films are not screened in class. Instead, the student assignment for every second class is to stream a film through...

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Subject Area(s):
Art/Music, Cultural Sociology, Development, Environmental Sociology, Marxist Sociology, Political Economy, Political Sociology, Race, Class and Gender, Science and Technology
Resource Type(s):
Class Level(s):
College 200, College 300, College 400
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

“Cinematic Sociology” is a class built around the largely untapped pedagogical opportunities presented by the current popularity of streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, the Criterion Channel, and Amazon Prime, as well as with library services such as Kanopy. These platforms are accessible to any student with a computer and internet access, offer...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. 1) Apply key sociological concepts in critical analysis of feature films.
    2) Understand how film sheds light on common social and human problems.
    3) Demonstrate how films connect biography, social structure, and history.
    4) Identify core sociological themes – identity, inequality, interaction, and institutions – in films to better understand...

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. 1) Film response papers, Film research paper
    2) Film response papers
    3) Film response papers; Group Activities
    4) Quizzes and Group Activities
    5) Film research paper
    6) Film response papers and Group Activities
    7) Film response papers, film research paper

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Cover Page
Requires Subscription DOC

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