ENGLISH 317 - Literature and Culture
Winter 2022, Section 001 - The Social Thriller: Get Out and its Literary and Filmic Ancestors
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/5/22 - 4/19/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


CHECK IT OUT - Video Course Description!

The inspiration for this course is Jordan Peele’s remarkable 2017 film, Get Out. When it was released, Peele announced that his film was part of a genre that he dubbed “the social thriller,” which he explained as “thriller/horror movies where the ultimate villain is society.” These films use suspense to explore and expose social inequity, especially around issues of class, race, gender, sexuality and empire. We will spend the first three-quarters of the term reckoning with Peele’s film and its literary and filmic ancestry. We’ll watch Get Out, Night of the Living Dead, The Stepford Wives, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Shining, defining as we go the social thriller and its neighbor genres (political thriller, horror, slasher, horror spoof). We’ll read some film history and theory to think about the grammar and technology of film, as well as the ways that films condition spectatorship (desire, identification, dis-identification) and deliberately withhold or provide information. Then we’ll delve into Get Out’s literary antecedents: Othello, Frankenstein, Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher,” selections from Olaudah Equiano’s and Frederick Douglass’s slave narratives and, finally, Morrison’s Beloved. You’ll work up from small writing assignments (video commentary of a film scene, written film review, scene analysis, precis of criticism/theory) to a 10-12pp research paper (or lengthier research video), due 3 weeks before the term’s end. In the last two weeks of the term, we’ll explore some other examples of the genre that preceded Peele’s 2017 film. These may include: Rear Window, The Conversation, The Talented Mr. Ripley, or Cache.


ENGLISH 317 - Literature and Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22
003 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22
004 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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