Values in American Life
Put simply, genre movies are those commercial feature films, which, through repetition and variation, tell familiar stories with familiar characters in familiar situations. Popular cinema is mostly comprised of genre movies–the kind most of us see
I considered that the homes that people live in exactly describe their lives. They are always behind those window crossings, behind bars or staircases. Their homes are their prisons. They are imprisoned even by the tastes of the society in which they live
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This is the website for the Spring 2013 version of Dr. Thomas’ course Values in American Life (HUM 225) at San Francisco State University. In this course we will study literature, philosophy and aspects of film, centered around questions of genre and image as they relate to constructions of race, gender, sex, and class. This is going to be a really fun class and I am looking forward to teaching it. While this will be a difficult and challenging course, it is still a lower division course and no prior background in literature, film, or philosophy is presupposed. A detailed course description, structure, assignments and grading is available in the syllabus.

Night of the Living Dead—the “original”—is original largely because it nails something about what we’ve seen before and know very well. It articulates the new via the inherited tropes and movies of the old: the inherited language of film conventions eases us in and makes even that which we’ve never seen before seem familiar, well-worn, and expected. Conversely, what seems recognizable immediately, the “ah yes, here we go again” is precisely the point of departure into the uncertain, where it turns and goes the wrong way

Evan Calder Williams
Combined and Uneven Apocalypse
copyright © 2013 | rob thomas, ph.d.