ANI 206 History of Animation

Summer II 2013-2014
Class number: 41020
Section number: 501
TuTh 1:00PM - 4:15PM
STDCT R0330 Lincoln Park Campus


Schedule: Tue Thurs

ANI 206

History of Animation


Instructor: Jason Hopkins


Course Description

This course is an introduction to the history and development of the field of animation. We will explore this subject from various perspectives: by chronology, from its prehistory before the invention of film to the present day; by form, including method and medium; by culture, comparing the US to Japan, Russia, Europe and others; by subject; and by personality, concentrating on the figures who have shaped the art form and continue to influence it through their example. Students are expected to bring an enthusiastic interest in the medium, and to devote serious effort to reading about, viewing, researching and discussing animation and the artists who have created it.

During our examination of the artwork, we will pay special attention to the attitudes and influences of race, gender, technology, culture, and the conflict between art and industry.

Course Objectives

To instill an appreciation of the technical and artistic contributions of animators throughout history

To build the students critical vocabulary, and to encourage reflective criticism (both oral and written) of works of animation.

To gain an understanding of the economic, social and technological contexts that have shaped animations development around the world

To learn to trace and recognize historical influences on later styles and forms

To discover lesser-known work from under-represented genres and cultures, and the value of their diversity

To explore the varied potential of animation as an entertaining, expressive and meaningful art form

Liberal Studies Arts and Literature Domain


ANI 206 is included in the Liberal Studies program as a course with credit in the Arts and Literature Domain. Courses in the Arts and Literature Domain ask students to extend their knowledge and experience of the arts by developing their critical and reflective abilities. In these courses, students interpret and analyze particular creative works, investigate the relations of form and meaning, and through critical and/or creative activity to come to experience art with greater openness, insight, and enjoyment. These courses focus on works of literature, art, theatre, or music as such, though the process of analysis may also include social and cultural issues. Students who take course in this domain choose three courses from such choices as literature, the visual arts, media arts, music, and theater. No more than two courses can be chosen from one department or program.


Student absences are not expected to exceed more than 10% (2 absences) of the number of the classes scheduled for the semester. A third absence will result in the lowering of your final grade one full letter. Any student missing 4 classes will be given a grade of F for the semester.

Tardiness is defined as not in the classroom when attendance is called or departing before the class has been formally dismissed by the instructor. Tardiness that exceeds thirty minutes will be counted as an absence. TWO late arrivals or early departures, or a combination of both, are counted as one absence. If you arrive late for class, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have been marked tardy rather than absent.

The largest impact of absences will be on your quiz performance. All films shown and discussed in class are fair game for quiz questions, as is any other subject that we discuss, whether in the reading or not.

No incompletes will be given without documented proof of circumstances beyond your control.


We will be watching many examples of animation, complete when possible, but often just selected parts due to our time constraints. Unfortunately, some of you may not find all of them as enjoyable as I do, and I apologize in advance. I will try to share with you why they are worth watching, and how to gain a better appreciation of some of the more challenging examples. Remember, this is a university class, and the purpose is education, not just entertainment.

Animation, especially the independent variety, can be purposefully crude and provocative, and some may take offense at what is shown. This is an academic environment, and a mature and respectful attitude must be maintained towards the subject and your classmates.

Class Work

This class will require a large amount of reading: at least 40 pages per week. The reading will relate to the following lecture, when we will watch examples of the animations discussed in the text. All students are expected to have completed the scheduled reading, and be prepared to participate in the discussion of the text and its relation to the work viewed. I will frequently ask reading comprehension questions about the assigned reading at the beginning of class (correct responses will positively affect your participation grade), or sometimes assign similar questions that must be completed and handed in by the beginning of the following class.

Every two weeks you will write a one page (approximately 400 words) reaction paper about an animation that we watched in class. For some of these the subject will be your choice, other times I may assign a specific animation or subject.

There will be four quizzes which will each cover the previous two weeks subjects (including the lectures and discussions). The final exam will cover larger subjects from throughout the semester (including the lectures and discussions), as well as the final two weeks of class.

All reading assignments will be listed on our Course Online site:

You will research and write a five page research paper, with supporting sources, on any of the general animation topics covered in the syllabus, or an equivalent (Animation Behind the Iron Curtain, for example). You must discuss at least two animators who are not listed in bold in the lecture schedule, and whose work relates to your chosen subject. You need to make sure that you have watched at least one example of each animators work, and discuss it in the paper. Your paper needs at least three research sources other than the course textbook (Beck), two must be non-Internet.

Your papers topic is due May 1 and it must include a list of the 2 non-internet sources you will use. If the subject is changed after this date your final papers grade will be lowered one grade (maximum grade is then a B), so make sure you spend time and research deciding on your topic.

There are several useful books on animation history on reserve at the DePaul Loop Library (see below under Recommended).


20% Participation in class discussions, both in-class and online

40% Four quizzes

20% Research paper

20% Final exam

A = 100-93, A- = 92-90, B+ = 89-88, B = 87-83, B- = 82-80, C+ = 79-78, C = 77-73, C- = 72-70, D+ = 69-68, D = 67-63, D- = 62-60, F = 59-0.

A indicates excellence, B indicates good work, C indicates satisfactory work, D work is unsatisfactory in some respect, F is substantially unsatisfactory work.

Cell Phones

Use of cell phones in the class is prohibited. Please turn your phone off before entering class. Mistakes will happen (to me too), but repeated failure to turn your phone off will result in a lowered grade for the class.

Academic Integrity

Work done for this course must adhere to the DePaul University Academic Integrity Policy, which you can review in the Student Handbook or by visiting


Required Text:

Animation Art: From Pencil to Pixel, the World of Cartoon, Anime, and CGI by Jerry Beck. Collins Design, 2004.

Course reserve readings online at

The password is: ani206


  • *Experimental Animation: Origins of a New Art by Robert Russett and Cecile Starr. Da Capo Press, 1976.
  • *Cartoons: 100 Years of Cinema Animation by Giannalberto Bendazzi. Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Of Mice and Magic by Leonard Maltin. Plume Books, 1987
  • Disney Animation: the Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Hyperion, 1995.
  • Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics by Maureen Furniss. Indiana University Press, 1998
  • Understanding Animation by Paul Wells. Routledge, 1998.
  • Before Mickey by Donald Crafton. University of Chicago Press, 1993.
  • *Masters of Animation by John Grant. Watson-Guptill, 2001.
  • Animation and America by Paul Wells. Rutgers University Press, 2002.
  • Serious Business: The Art and Commerce of Animation in America by Stefan Kanfer. DeCapo Press, 2000.
  • A Reader in Animation Studies by Jane Pilling. Indiana University Press, 1999.

* On reserve at the DePaul Loop Library for your research paper.


This schedule is subject to change throughout the semester.


Class 1:

The evolution of animation in France and US: Reynaud, Cohl, & McCay

European experimentation: Starewicz, Reiniger, & Fischinger

Beck, pages 6-15, 22-23, 26-29 and 68-69
From the course reserves (password: ani206)
Wells, pages 10-20, Russett, pages 33-34, 40-43 and 49-56

Class 2:

The US studio system: Otto Messmer and Max Fleischer

Readings: Beck, pages 16-19, 24-25, 30-31, 38-39, 60-63

Walt Disney and the quest for perfection

First Reaction Paper due

Readings: Beck 20-21, 34-37, 46-47, 56-59, 80-83, 118-121, 150-154, 210-213, 276-277

Class 3:

Quiz 1

Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett & Warner Bros.

Beck pages 40-53, 64-67, 84-89, 94-95, 124-129, 156-157, and from the Course Reserves, Furniss, "Live From Trumps", an interview with Chuck Jones.

Banned cartoons: Racism and WW II Propaganda

Beck pages 76-81, 90-91, 112-115
From the course reserves (password: ani206)

Sampson, "That's Enough, Folks: Black Images in Animated Cartoons"
and the Wikipedia entry on the history of the Minstrel Show:

Class 4:

Animation behind the Iron Curtain: Jiri Trnka and Yuri Norstein

Readings: Beck pages 74-5, 110-11, 138-41, 172-3, 190-5, 234-5, 290-3, 362-5
From the course reserves (password: ani206)
Moritz, William. 1997. Narrative Strategies for Resistance and Protest in Eastern European Animation
Read more about Yuri Norstein's "Tale of Tales" at these links:,4120,1460794,00.html

Norman McLaren and the National Film Board of Canada

Second Reaction Paper due

Readings: Beck pages 100-03, 160-61, 248-49

Class 5:

Quiz 2

John Hubley and the stylistic legacy of the UPA

Readings: Beck pages 100-03, 160-61, 248-49

Hanna-Barbera, Jay Ward, Art Clokey and the birth of TV animation

Research paper subject due: grade lowered by 1 if this subject changes

Readings: Beck pages 132-133, 162-165, 176-185, 200-207, 246-247
From the course reserves (password: ani206)

Kanfer, Stefan. 2000. We Could Get Away with Less.

Class 6:

Films for adults I: Animal Farm, Allegro Non Troppo and Yellow Submarine

Readings: Beck pages 168-169 (Animal Farm), 218-225 (Yellow Submarine), 254-257 (Allegro Non Troppo)

Films for adults II: Fantastic Planet and Fritz the Cat

Third Reaction Paper due

Readings: Beck pages 242-253

Class 7:

Quiz 3

Is it Animation? Is it Art? Brakhage, Breer and Kentridge

Readings: From the course reserves (password: ani206)
Russett, Robert, and Cecile Starr, Experimental Animation: Section on Robert Breer
Danto, Arthur, William Kentridge

The revival of Stop-motion: Jan Svankmajer and Nick Park

Readings: Beck pages 92-93, 250-251, 322-325, 358-359
From the course reserves (password: ani206)
John Grant Jan Svankmajer

Class 8:

The return of the feature: Richard Williams and Tim Burton

Readings: Beck pages 274-285, 304-305

Research paper due

The Japanese Disneys: Tezuka and Miyazaki

Readings: Beck pages 142-3, 174-5, 196-7, 236-9, 260-1, 294-7, 330-1, 366-73
From the course reserves (password: ani206)
Drazen, Anime Explosion!

Class 9:

Quiz 4

TV grows up: Groening, Kricfalusi, Judge, Stone and Parker

Readings: Beck, pages 246-7, 272-3, 278-283, 312-321, 348-351

Tron, Pixar and the birth of CGI

Readings: Beck, pages 268-271, 308-311, 338-347, 354-5
From the course reserves (password: ani206)

Canemaker, John. 2004. Part Human, Part Cartoon: A New Species. The New York Times

Class 10:

Animation or FX? OBrien, Harryhausen and Jackson

Fourth Reaction Paper due The Future of Animation

Readings: Beck, pages 92-97, 158-159, 306-307, 352-357
From the course reserves (password: ani206)

Dargis, Manhola. 2004. Do You Hear Sleigh Bells? Nah, Just Tom Hanks and Some Train. The New York Times

Animation today: [adult swim], Anime, computer games & the Web

Readings: From the course reserves (password: ani206)
Homestar Runner

Final Exam


School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296