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Home > Media Arts home > Prospective students > Undergraduate > MA3076 Transnational Cinemas: Issues and Identities
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MA3076 Transnational Cinemas: Issues and Identities

Tutor: Professor Daniela Berghahn  

Value: 30 credits / 1 unit

Availability: Autumn and Spring



The course explores the shift from the 'national' to the 'transnational', which has occurred in Film Studies as well as in the production, circulation and reception of cinema over the past thirty years. It aims to provide students with relevant theoretical frameworks and an understanding of socio-historical contexts, such as the forces of globalization and transnational mobility, which underpin the emergence of transnational cinema. Distinguishing between different types of transnational cinema and their distinctive aesthetic strategies, the chief focus of the course is on contemporary migrant and diasporic cinema in Europe. The course embeds film analysis in the wider context of postcolonial and diaspora studies and socio-political discourses on ethnicity, race, immigration, national identity and cultural diversity. Key films include: Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair), The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee), Hidden (Michael Haneke), DDLJ (Aditya Chopra), La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz) and Bend It Like Beckham (Gurinder Chadha) .


The course is taught by weekly two-hour seminars. These seminars will consist of an interactive lecture and a seminar discussions and presentations. Student presentations will be assessed (see under assessment). You are expected to actively contribute to all seminars. It is, therefore, essential that you will have watched all of the films and, ideally, some additionally recommended films prior to the weekly seminars. Since seminar discussions will also include a discussion of the essential reading, it is absolutely necessary for you to have read the texts in the course booklet. The seminar discussions will give you the opportunity you try out ideas and to develop your communication and presentation skills.   


Attendance at seminars is compulsory. It will be recorded each week, and failure to attend at least 70% of classes without prior consultation or reasonable cause may result in your failing the course. Reasonable cause may include (but is not limited to): illness, family circumstances, transportation difficulties, etc. Leave of absence on medical or other grounds can only be granted by the Head of Department and only on production of appropriate written explanation (doctor’s / therapist’s letter, etc.). If there is an ongoing problem which is persistently affecting your ability to do your work, you should let your personal advisor know as soon as you  become aware of it, so that suitable provision can be made.


Reading and Viewing

Each week’s topic is accompanied by designated readings (‘essential reading’) in the Course Pack and required viewing, which will form the basis for class discussion. This is supplemented by ‘further reading’ relevant to the particular class as well as general course theme. You are not expected to read everything on the reading list but should select from it according to your interests in relation to your preparation for seminars and coursework. Purchase of the Course Pack is a prerequisite for enrolment on the course and weekly readings are compulsory. Copies of all films discussed are available for private viewing from Founders’ Library and you are expected to have viewed these prior to classes.

Students are strongly advised to purchase the following two essential books in addition to the Course Pack:

  • Berghahn, Daniela (2005), Hollywood behind the Wall: The Cinema of East Germany, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Hake, Sabine (2002), German National Cinema, New York and London: Routledge.

NB: Failure to view the designated film or read the week’s designated reading may lead to an unexcused absence recorded against your name for that session. 


Seminar Presentations

10% of your overall mark for this course will be based on your seminar presentation. You will be asked to give a pre-prepared formal presentation during one week of the course. The topic and date will be agreed in Week 2 of Autumn Term. You will be assessed o the quality of the content of your presentation, the quality of your oral presentation skills and your success in stimulating discussion. In terms of the style of your presentation, you may be as creative as possible (handouts, PowerPoint, film clips, etc.), but the presentation should demonstrate an engagement with the reading(s) and screening for the week.


Assessment Deadlines

 These dates willbe detailed on the assessment paper distributed in class. 

You may incorporate work from your seminar presentation in your essays. Essays should be typed, double-spaced, and in all other regards conform to the style sheet included in the Students’ handbook. Essays will be assessed in terms of your understanding of the topic, evidence of reading, clarity of argument, use of evidence, originality, capacity for constructive critical analysis and overall presentation. Please make sure you adhere to the proper conventions of referencing (footnotes/endnotes, bibliography, etc.).

Essays should be typed, double-spaced, and in all other regards conform to the style sheet included in the Students’ Handbook. (Marks will be deducted for sloppy presentation.)  

Essays are to be handed in at Media Arts Department Office between 10:00 am – 2:00pm on the date advertised at the start of the term following the course. All late submissions will be penalised in the following way: (i) for work submitted

up to twenty-four hours late, the mark will be reduced by ten percentage marks, subject to a minimum mark of a minimum Pass; (ii) for work submitted more than twenty-four hours late, the maximum mark will be zero. Extensions can only be granted by the Head of Department,  and only on production of appropriate written explanation (doctor’s letter, etc.). Neither I nor your personal advisor can grant them.


You should take careful note of the regulations regarding plagiarism included with each list of essay questions. As you ought to know by now, plagiarism is a serious offence which will not be treated lightly and which can seriously affect your marks and even delay the award of your degree. If we have any suspicion that work submitted to us is plagiarised, we will immediately refer the issue to the College authorities for further action. If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, err on the side of caution or (better still) ask.








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