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Syllabus Terrorism Docudrama: Political Violence Cinema and Television in the Global Age - 50057
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Last update 05-09-2017
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: communication & journalism

Semester: 1st Semester

Teaching Languages: English

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Tobias Ebbrecht Hartmann

Coordinator Office Hours: Mondays, 12:00-14:00

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Tobias Ebbrecht Hartmann

Course/Module description:
During the short 21st century, experiences of global terrorism became a central aspect of public life and culture in many societies worldwide. Although research on political violence and terrorism was widely conducted, the public perception of terrorism still needs further attention. Docudrama shows a specific affinity for experiences of violence, and here in particular for terrorism. This affinity is based in its inherent crisis structure, merging conflicting narrative elements from documentary and drama. In recent years docudrama became a crucial format to represent current or historical political events in cinema and on television. From a mainly Anglophone phenomenon it transformed into a global form of communicating experiences of crisis to the public, thus creating resonances between past and present and offering specific interpretative frames and patterns of understanding.

Course/Module aims:
The course offers the opportunity to explore the interrelation between popular culture, the perception of political violence and global media formats. It introduces ways of understanding and analyzing interpretative frames of terrorism as they are presented and communicated in visual media. The course will develop methodological tools to analyze docudrama as a based-on-facts format for negotiating historical, political and social crises within the sphere of popular culture. Therefore it discusses different theoretical concepts and approaches and explores, in which ways the experience of global terrorism is mediated and framed on television and in the cinema.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
• introduce global conflicts through global media formats in the field of popular culture
• analyze content, style, narration and extra-textual effects of based-on-facts docudrama
• reevaluate the global phenomenon of terrorism from historical, political and cultural perspectives within the frameworks of global media culture and global memory
• develop theoretical and methodological approaches to identify and analyze the framing of political violence in public perception

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: The teaching is based on the examination of interdisciplinary fields and topics: global terrorism, global media formats (docudrama) and global memory. The course combines theoretical and methodological aspects with particular case studies from different countries (USA, UK, Germany, Israel and others) in order to emphasize the transnational context of the phenomenon in question. Therefore, the course defines the genre of “terrorism docudrama” in a contemporary as well as historical perspective.
All sessions are based on corresponding texts, which have to be read for each session. The lessons are based on both the input of the lecturer, the joint discussion of particular case studies (docudrama films) and the articles as well as on group work and students’ tasks during class.

Course/Module Content:
In the course schedule theoretical and methodological sessions alternate with particular case studies in order to create resonances between different political, historical and aesthetical phenomena. The main focus is on docudrama as a global media format and its specific affinities to terrorism as a global phenomenon of political violence.
Films and topics in the course program will be:
• Terrorism and Media in the Global Age
• 9/11 Docudrama - a new genre?
• Narratives of Conflict and Crisis: Codes and Conventions of Docudrama
• The IRA and the Invention of terrorism Docudrama
• Docudrama, War Films and the “War on Terror”
• Docudramatizing the Munich Olympic Attack
• The Voice and Presence of the Witness in Contemporary Docudrama and Global Memory Culture
• From Operation Thunderboldt to Sabena - Terrorism Docudrama in Israel
• Historical Event Television - Docudrama in the Age of Global Memory
• Death Game and Mogadischu - Terrorism Docudrama in Germany
• Media Memory and Migrating Images
• The Baader Meinhof Complex - Media Memory of Terrorism
• Framing Far Right Extremism

Required Reading:
• Bennet, Bruce. “Framing Terror: Cinema, Docudrama and the ‘War on Terror.’” Studies in Documentary Film 4, no. 3 (2010): 209–25.
• Ebbrecht, Tobias. “History, Public Memory and Media Event. Codes and Conventions of Historical Event-Television in Germany.” Media History 13, no. 2–3 (2007b): 221–34.
• Ebbrecht-Hartmann, Tobias, and Derek Paget, eds. Docudrama on European Television: A Selective Survey. Palgrave European Film and Media Studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
• Elsaesser, Thomas. German Cinema: Terror and Trauma - Cultural Memory Since 1945. New York and London: Routledge, 2014.
• Paget, Derek. No Other Way to Tell It. Docudrama on Film and Television. Manchester: Manchester University Pr., 2011.
• Lacy, Stephen, and Paget Derek, eds. The “War on Terror”: Post-9/11 Television Drama, Docudrama and Documentary. Chicago: University of Chicago Pr., 2015.
• Vowinckel, Annette. “Skyjacking. Cultural Memory and the Movies.” In Baader-Meinhof Returns: History and Cultural Memory of German Left-Wing Terrorism, edited by Ingo Cornils and Gerrit-Jan Berendse, 251–68. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2008.

A full reading list will be provided at the beginning of the seminar.

Additional Reading Material:
• Ebbrecht, Tobias. “Docudramatizing History on TV: German and British Docudrama and Historical Event Television in the Memorial Year 2005.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 10, no. 1 (2007): 35–53.
• Elsaesser, Thomas. “Antigone Agonistes: Urban Guerilla or Guerilla Urbanism? The Red Army Fraction, Germany in Autumn and Death Game.” In Giving Ground: The Politics of Propinquity, edited by Joan Copjec and Michael Sorkin. New York: Verso, 1999.
• Frosh, Paul and Amit Pinchivski. “Crisis-Readiness and Media Witnessing.” The Communication Review 12, no. 3 (2009): 295–304.
• Haynes, Michael. “Todesspiel and the Terrorist Docu-Drama in Germany.” German Politics 8, no. 3 (2007): 125–40.
• Lipkin, Steve. “Defining Docudrama: ‘In the Name of the Father’, ‘Schindler’s List’, and ‘JFK.’” In Why Docudrama? Fact-Fiction on Film and TV, edited by Alan Rosenthal, 370–83. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.
• Paget, Derek. “Docudrama: A Format of Last Resort?” In Spiel Mit Der Wirklichkeit: Zur Entwicklung Doku-Fiktionaler Formate in Film Und Fernsehen, edited by Kay Hoffmann, Werner C. Barg, and Richard Kilborn, 241–53. Konstanz: UVK, 2012.
• Simpson, David. 9/11 : The Culture of Commemoration. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 30 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 50 %
Assignments 20 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.