The University of Wisconsin Press


Film Studies



Post-Theory
Reconstructing Film Studies
Edited by David Bordwell and Noël Carroll

Wisconsin Studies in Film

David Bordwell, Donald Crafton, and Vance Kepley, Jr., Series Editors



A timely call to reform film studies

Post-Theory is absolutely timely as a call to reform the field of film studies. Bordwell and Carroll—two of the most prominent names in the field—advocate pluralism, open mindedness, film theories over film Theory, and the need for an ongoing critical dialogue. There is no other book like it.
—Andrew Horton, author of Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay

With Post-Theory, David Bordwell and Noël Carroll challenge the prevailing practices of film scholarship. Since the 1970s, film scholars have been searching for a unified theory that will explain all sorts of films, their production, and their reception; the field has been dominated by structuralist Marxism, varieties of cultural theory, and the psychoanalytic ideas of Freud and Lacan. Bordwell and Carroll ask, why not employ many theories tailored to specific goals, rather than searching for a unified theory?

Post-Theory offers fresh directions for understanding film, presenting new essays by twenty-seven scholars on topics as diverse as film scores, audience response, and the national film industries of Russia, Scandinavia, the U.S., and Japan. They use historical, philosophical, psychological, and feminist methods to tackle such basic issues as: What goes on when viewers perceive a film? How do filmmakers exploit conventions? How do movies create illusions? How does a film arouse emotion? Bordwell and Carroll have given space not only to distinguished film scholars but to non-film specialists as well, ensuring a wide variety of opinions and ideas on virtually every topic on the current agenda of film studies. Full of stimulating essays published here for the first time, Post-Theory promises to redefine the study of cinema.

David Bordwell is the Jacques Ledoux Professor of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His books include Narration in the Fiction Film, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, Making Meaning, The Cinema of Eisenstein, The Classical Hollywood Cinema, and many others.

Noël Carroll, the Monroe C. Beardsley Professor of the Philosophy of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is the author of Mystifying Movies, The Philosophy of Horror, and Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory. He is the editor of Theories of Art Today, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press. He has written scores of articles and reviews for such publications as The Village Voice, Art Forum, and The Boston Review and has been a documentary screenwriter for WNET-TV in New York.

Inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at publicity@uwpress.wisc.edu or (608) 263-0734.


Still image of Laurel and Hardy dressed as professors and writing on a chalkboard

February 1996
LC: 95-037052 PN
582 pp.   6 x 9
57 b/w photos, 13 line illus. (Includes film stills)

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ISBN 978-0-299-14944-4

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