Two classes breathe life into summer term

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Students yearning for a means to meld academia and notions of pop culture may find deliverance this summer in two classes taught by Humanities Professor Steven Hall.


Originally developed to attract more students to the Humanities program, “Post-Modern Hollywood” and “From Mozart to Michael,” both revived for their second summer, have attracted students from a wide range of majors, including cinephiles and casual movie-watchers alike.


Although both courses reside at the 2000 level, Hall stated that no prerequisites are necessary because of the way he teaches, proclaiming himself, first and foremost, “a student of films as entertainment.” Rather, Hall said, the goal is “to make them [students] feel like the ideas [of the films] have juice in them.”


Naturally, the juices Hall plans to extract from the meat of each course vary with its respective subject matter. “From Mozart to Michael” will travel the “path of intellectual history” from 1600 to 2009, exploring its intricate relationship to politics and music. Along the way, the course will consider the shift of the predominance of white composers to the diaspora of black musicians, culminating with what Hall half-jokingly referred to as “the reason God created music, which is Michael Jackson.”


Although not necessarily intertwined, “From Mozart to Michael” nevertheless easily transitions to “Post-Modern Hollywood,” which plans to continue last year’s format of exploring a film per day, deciphering how it departs from conventional genres and what conversations the film contributes to within the society at large.


“We will explore the insight the film gives to the larger world from which it comes,” Hall said.


Hall also plans to debunk the popularly-held thought that only pensive, staid films can be great.


“The first and last question about a film should be: Does it move an audience?” Hall said.


As to Hall’s apparent fascination with the late Michael Jackson, he noted that “Michael’s freak antics could draw everyone,” referencing Jackson’s ability to “earn an audience, pay them in
entertainment and say something personal.”


By Deven Leigh Ellis
Asst. Life Editor