History, Development and Characteristic of Genres

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
311HDCG ZK 3 2 hours (45 min) of instruction per week, 57 to 72 hours of self-study English winter

Subject guarantor

Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

At the end of the course, students will understand the specifics of each genre as well as a term „genre“ on itself. They will be able to define each genre and outline its development. As such, the course does not teach students to write scripts for genre films, but it should help them to do so significantly.

Mode of study


Prerequisites and co-requisites


Course contents

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the characteristic of certain genres, namely melodrama, western, horror, science fiction, gangster, war film, musical, road movie and parody. One lesson will be devoted to film noir, which is sometimes wrongly understood as a genre. After an introduction to the genre, each lesson will focus on one of the genres (with a particular focus on the US cinema), and students will have the opportunity to watch a number of excerpts from films, and will also watch 10 feature films on their own. The emphasis will be on the narrative, the „iconography“ of different genres, and the use of the spoken word.

Recommended or required reading

Altman, Rick. “A Semantic/syntactic Approach to Film Genre.” Cinema Journal 24, no. 3 (Spring 1984), p. 6–18.

Belton, John. American Cinema/American Culture. Rutgers University, 2012. p. 195–219.

Carroll, Noel. “The Nature of Horror.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 46, no. 1 (Autumn 1987), p. 51–59.

Creekmur, Corey K. “On the Run and on the Road: Fame and the outlaw couple in American cinema.” In: The Road Movie Book, ed. by Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark. Taylor and Francis ,1997, p. 90–109.

Elsaesser, Thomas. „Tales of Sound and Fury: Observations on the Family Melodrama.“ In: Gledhill, Christine (ed.): Home is Where the Heart is. London : BFI, 1994. p. 43–69.

Kozloff, Sarah. Overhearing Film Dialogue. Berkeley, Los Angeles : University of California Press, 2000.

Langford, Barry. Film Genre: Hollywood and Beyond. Edinburgh University Press, 2005.

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. “Minnelli and Melodrama.” In: Nichols, Bill (ed.): Home is Where the Heart is. London : BFI, 1994. p. 190–194.

Place, Janey, and Lowell Peterson. “Some Visual Motifs of Film Noir.” In: Movies and Methods (vol. 1), ed. by Bill Nichols. University of California Press, Los Angeles 1976, p. 325–338.

Schrader, Paul. „Notes on Film Noir.“ In: Film Noir Reader, ed. by Silver, Alain, and James Ursini. Limelight Editions, New York 2001, p. 53–64. Also available here: http://i.mtime.com/Noir/blog/1433838/

Sontag, Susan. “The Imagination of Disaster.” Available at: https://www.commentary.org/articles/susan-sontag/the-imagination-of-disaster/

Assessment methods and criteria

The final grade will be calculated as follows: Class Attendance and Participation (25%); presentation (25%); midterm essay (25%); colloquium (25%)

Course web page




Further information

This course is an elective for all students of this school

Schedule for winter semester 2022/2023:

room 107
Room No. 1

(Lažanský palác)
(lecture parallel1)
Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Thu 13:10–14:45 Petra DOMINKOVÁ Room No. 1
Lažanský palác
lecture parallel1

Schedule for summer semester 2022/2023:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans