The invention of the motion picture film and the “invention” of adolescence occurred almost contemporaneously at the beginning of the last century. And, for over 100 years, they have each produced narratives about the lives of adolescence, evolving together and mutually influencing one another. In both the theoretical literature and in movies representing teenage characters, key narratives emerge that focus around the themes of change, conflict, and integration. In this class, movies featuring adolescent characters will be studied with respect to psychological theories and research that focus on the journey from childhood to adulthood. Additionally we will enlist the insights of cinema and cultural studies to help us situate and historicize the power and influence of these popular narratives. Key psychological and psychoanalytic theories of adolescent development that will be studied include Freud and Hall through Erikson & Marcia to contemporary theorists of extended adolescence or emerging adulthood. Some of the films discussed will include Broken Blossoms (1919); Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), Rebel without a Cause (1955), Pixote (1981), Carrie (1976), The Breakfast Club (1985), Heathers (1988), Boys 'n the Hood (1991), Amores Perros (2000), Mean Girls (2004), Twilight (2008), and The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012). Studying the psychological research and theories about adolescence alongside filmic characterizations of adolescent subjects opens the opportunity to better understand contested cultural norms, social commitments, and political attachments of a particular era.
Students must register for the lecture, discussion section, and film screening of this course. The screening has been included since students will be required to watch a film every week and while attendance is not mandatory (films will also be available on reserve and online), the screening is an opportunity to see the required weekly film projected in a theater on Sundays evenings - "U".
Open to Undergraduate students.