||In this seminar we will take an in-depth look at the evolution of American animated film from its prehis-tory in the Sunday comics of the Gilded Age to its post-WWII expansion into a global entertainment empire dominated by Disney Inc. We will give special attention to animation during the Thirties and early Forties, for it is during this period that the industry enjoyed its greatest diversity, but it is also when both the cartoon short and full-length animated film ac-quired the standardized forms and social functions that continue to dominate the industry today. We will look at, analyze, and discuss representative cartoon shorts by all the major studios of this period as well as several of the major full-length films. Although our primary focus will be the close reading and interpreta-tion of the films, it is always with a view to under-standing the political and cultural conflicts and socio-economic contradictions these films embody, reflect, and, to some extent, strive to symbolically overcome.
In addition to weekly readings of critical essays on the history, culture, and socioeconomics of American animated film, each student will be required to watch 1-2 hours of animation per week outside of scheduled class time and be prepared to discuss what they have seen when we meet for our weekly scheduled seminars. Each student will also be required to write a research paper on some aspect of American animated film.