What the Bleep Do We Know and How Do We Know It: Perceiving Politics, Film and Philosophy in the 21st Century

All films are based on perception; so are politics. Surprised? No, we didn’t think so.

This FYE will examine the way in which we perceive phenomena, such as politician’s promises, government initiatives, films and internet video content—and how we retain and process those impressions. Do we really understand the nuances of what we consume via television, the internet and other media? How do they influence our personal philosophy and modes of thought?

Are you a future Academy Award-winning film maker? The next power-wielding political wonk? Do you realize that many of the current award-winning films are explicitly political: Lincoln, Argo, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty? How about philosophical concepts in films like Shadows and Fog, Brazil, The Tempest?

Film and video are dominant vehicles for communicating political ideas and action; they are also powerful vehicles for studying those ideas. By examining selected films, videos and broadcasts, we’ll study American government and politics while we analyze how ideas are created, transmitted, and remembered. You’ll learn about the mechanics of our governmental structures alongside the mechanics of how we perceive, analyze and remember phenomena and concepts.

This is an FYE for deep thinkers, activists, artists. It is not The Breakfast Movie Club. Be prepared to start your day tackling the intricacies and complexities within the main drivers of American society. Yes, this will be a tough one; but just as in politics and filmmaking, the long days are hard work and have their own special reward.

Did we mention that you get to make a short political film during the course? Let’s aim for our own Deep-Thought Film Festival!

The Politics and Film and Philosophy FYE Program brings together these analytical disciplines in two full courses: Philosophy at the introductory level and American Government and Politics. These inquiries are connected not only by their presence in the media, but by common approaches to problem solving via thorough analytical reasoning.

PHIL 170 Film and Philosophy – Dr. Jeff Steele

The Film and Philosophy course gives you an opportunity to interrogate your assumptions about . . . anything . . . everything. Specifically, we will discuss the phenomena of perception, imagination and memory. These functions are extremely important to our experience of film, culture and politics. From this understanding you will learn to interpret the processes that create the circumstances around us. You will never look at your surroundings in the same way as you enhance your observation skills and analytical thought process through in-class training and discussion—combined with the practical experience of creating a phenomenon of your own.

POLS 120 American Government and Politics – Prof. John Williams

This is the study of the American political system and formation of public policy, primarily at the national level. We examine political culture, constitutions and constitutionalism, democratic theory, and federalism. We look at various elements of political behavior: public opinion, interest groups, political parties, and the electoral campaigns. We look at political institutions, such as the Congress, the presidency, and the judicial system.  And, we will do this through the lens of moving images—film, video, television, and web content.

In the Integrated Learning course you will develop skills to help you succeed in college and beyond, including personal organization, working with others, and oral and written communications.

Explore the connections between the humanities and social science disciplines that will ground you in the practice of problem solving—perception, analysis, and application.

PHIL 170    WB   Film and Philosophy                        (GEH)   3SH  M W F 8:00-8:50 a.m.
POLS 120  WB   American Government and Politics (GESS) 3SH  M W F 9:00-9:50 a.m.
GEN 101    WB   Integrated Learning                                    3SH  M W F 10:00-10:50 a.m.