Sometimes, people ask me why I did an English degree when my interest is in film. When this question becomes connected to careers- as in, “Why should I employ you as an English student? What can you offer me?”, this question suddenly becomes rather important.
This is my little plug for the English degree at Durham University- in the form of an essay I wrote on the subject of Terrorism in Cinema. It was part of a module called “Fictions of Terrorism”, a fantastically innovative course devised and led by Dr Sam Thomas, who is a stellar academic and a properly inspirational figure for me. The essay demands a complex critique of presentations of celebrity, fame or identity politics in artistic representations of terror- this is where the module got interesting, because this could cover almost any art-form, or representation of terror. I chose cinema, and the three films I compared were Oliver Assayas’ Carlos, Steven Spielberg’s Munich, and Paul Greengrass’ United 93- three completely different representations of terror in cinema, from markedly diverse directors, whose respective use of cinematic tropes and techniques highlights some fascinating comparative criticism.
This essay received a pretty strong mark; however, it is far from perfect! Dr Thomas’ feedback highlighted how the critical argument could get enveloped, and potentially lost, at times when I let the subject matter run away with me- I used Jaques Lacan’s psychoanalystic theories as a critical standpoint which was a bad, bad choice for my mental stability (and my blood pressure). I should warn you, this isn’t a film review or a piece of casual blogging- its a 3000 word academic paper, which doesn’t make for light reading! I hope it shows you a bit of what I enjoyed about my time at Durham, and maybe it’ll introduce somebody new to academic writing- which is a really worthwhile pursuit.
Click HERE to access a .pdf of the essay: Fictions of Terror- Terrorism in Cinema Please note, I reserve all rights to this essay and plagarism is not cool. If you are interested in making use of this essay please comment below; I’d be happy to talk to you!