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COM2200 - Animation Cultures

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dan Black


Berwick Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit examines animation from a critical communications perspective. We firstly locate the history of animation in relation to transnational cultural flows and industrial hegemonies, critiquing the dominance of Disney and examining the rise of non-Western forms of animation such as Japanese anime. We then analyse animation's diverse media presences, contexts and uses. We look at the aesthetics of animation; animation fandom, animation and commodity culture (advertising and MTV); the animated sitcom (eg: The Simpsons); CGI, virtual reality and the hyperreal; and the issues shaping creative production. Students can choose to take a 3 week workshop in practical animation skills.


On successful conclusion of the unit students should be able to:

  1. Discuss animation as a complex and broad ranging phenomenon that is not restricted to traditional animation forms such as the comic book and the cartoon, but is also a feature of, for example, advertising, virtual reality, live action film and television, and MTV.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of animation and be able to account for the development of this 'genre' by reference to social, cultural, political, technological, economic and industrial factors.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural specificities that inform the production, distribution and consumption of different forms of animation.
  4. Identify the key issues that impact upon animation's creative and technological processes.
  5. Apply current theoretical perspectives to explain the relationship between forms of animation and communications and media architectures.
  6. Apply current critical theory to the analysis of the popular cultural appeal of animation texts.
  7. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of theories of audience reception and be able to apply these to the context of animation fandom/audience formations.
  8. Ability to analyse and explain transnational flows of animated media texts
  9. Ability to decipher and critique hegemonic constructions of animation 'empires' such as Disney.
  10. Demonstrate advanced skills in research, writing and critical analysis.


Major Essay (2000 words) : 40%
Group debate and summary (500 words) : 15%
Creative Production Exercise OR Minor Essay (Equivalent of 1500 words) : 35%
Attendance and participation : 10%
For assessment item 3, students have the option of undertaking EITHER a practical animation production exercise OR an essay. Faculty of IT students are not permitted to undertake the creative production exercise assessment component.

Contact hours

One hour lecture, 1.5 hour screening and either a one hour tutorial or a two hour practical workshop.


An approved first year sequence