ANI 206 History of Animation

Jason Hopkins

Office: Meets in Classroom
Winter 2020-2021
Class number: 28206
Section number: 503
TuTh 11:50AM - 1:20PM
OLSYN CH000 Online Campus



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 the US to chronology, from its prehistory before the invention of film to the present day; by form, including method and medium; by culture, comparing 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 indHoffm

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes

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 underrepresented genres and cultures, and the value of their diversity

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


1. Students will be able to explain, in well-written prose, what a work of art is about and/or how it was produced (i.e. they should be able to articulate and explain the “content” of that work and/or its methodology of production). 

2. Students will be able to comment on the relationship between form and content in a work. How does the 14-line sonnet both enable and inhibit its practitioner, for example? What are the generic expectations of a particular form? How does an artist complicate, enrich, or subvert such expectations? 

3. Students will be able to assess the formal aspects of their subject and put those qualities into words, using, when appropriate, specialized vocabulary employed in class and readings. 

4. Students will be able to contextualize a work of art. They will be able to do so with respect to other works of art in terms of defining its place within a broader style or genre. They will also be able to contextualize a work of art in terms of contemporaneous aesthetic, social, or political concerns, discussing how these might shape the work’s reception and how that reception might differ amongst various peoples and historical periods. 

Writing Expectations: A minimum of 5-7 pages of writing for courses in the Arts and Literature domain (including studio courses) is required.


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.



Class Work



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 cellphones 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


Evolution of Animations during its first 100 years

J. Stuart Blackton


Emil Cohl 1908

Winsor McCay 1914


Steamboat Willie

The Old Mill

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


TV animation Crusader Rabbit


Hanna Barbera

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Pixar Shorts


Useful Vocabulary for Film Studies

om David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993)

Story: In a narrative film, all the events that we see and hear, plus all those that we infer or assume to have occurred, arranged in their presumed causal relations, chronological order, duration, frequency, and spatial locations. Opposed to plot, which is the film's actual presentation of certain events in the narrative.

Plot: In a narrative film, all the events that are directly presented to us, including their causal relations, chronological order, duration, frequency, and spatial locations. Opposed to story which is the viewer's imaginary construction of all events in the narrative.

Narration: The process through which the plot conveys or withholds story information. The narration can be more or less restricted to character knowledge and more or less deep in presenting characters' mental perceptions and thoughts.

Diegesis: In a narrative film, the world of the film's story. The diegesis includes events that are presumed to have occurred and actions and spaces not shown on screen.

Diegetic sound: Any voice, musical passage, or sound effect presented as originating from a source within the film's world.  

Nondiegetic sound: Sound, such as mood music or narrator's commentary, represented as coming from a source outside the space of the narrative.

Montage: An approach to editing developed by the Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s; it emphasizes dynamic, often discontinuous, relationships between shots and the juxtaposition of images to create ideas not present in either shot by itself.

Mise-en-scene: All of the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed: the setting and props, lighting, costumes and make-up, and figure behavior.

Form: The general systems of relationships among the parts of a film.

Abstract form: A type of filmic organization in which the parts relate to each other through repetition and variation of such visual qualities as shape, color, rhythm, and direction of movement.

Cut: An instantaneous change from one framing to another.

Editing: The set of techniques that governs the relations among shots.

Motif: An element in a film that is repeated in a significant way.

Scene: A segment in a narrative film that takes place in one time and space or that uses crosscutting to show two or more simultaneous actions.

Shot: One uninterrupted image with a single static or mobile framing.


Other terms to be aware of when analyzing a film or piece of animation:


Composition: The actual graphic arrangement of objects, images and characters on the screen. Where are objects on the screen, how big or small are characters or objects in relation to the overall size of the screen.

Color: What is the overall color scheme ? Whether using a dark or light palette, black and white, monochromatic, colors chosen (or excluded) have quite an impact on the overall feel of the work.

Medium:  (not the psychic kind) Does the piece use hand-drawn, clay, computer or does it combine more than one?

Self-reflexive filmmaking/ tearing down the 4th wall:  When a filmmaker decides to break the viewers “willing suspension of disbelief” (allowing ourselves to enter the film's world) and calls attention to the artificial filmmaking world. An example would be when a character shows awareness of the audience by making a comment to the screen.


Hold: When an animated character remains in particular pose for more than a few frames, it is referred to as a hold. Though a held pose can take place in either hand-drawn or computer animation, the term originates back to hand drawn when a cameraman would simply retain or “hold” a certain drawing under the camera and shoot a number of frames.

Moving Hold: In real life, living beings rarely remain absolutely still for any length of time. A moving hold adds some subtle movement whether it be a retracing of the same drawing several times to get some variation in line quality or an subtle movement like an eye blink to keep the animation from looking as though it has “gone dead” y freezing in place.

Cycle (aka Loop): A group of drawings or images that are repeated to represent a repetitive action. In the case of a “walk cycle”, the positions from one step are repeated to create an animation of many steps.

Here is a link to some examples:

Rotoscope: an animation technique in which animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animate films. Rotoscoping can be used to insert animated objects and characters into live action or to create fluid, naturalistic animation by tracing the live action positions for use in an animated character. The technique was invented by Max Fleischer, who used it in his series Out of the Inkwell starting around 1915, with his brother Dave Fleischer dressed in a clown outfit as the live-film reference for the character Koko the Clown. Max patented the method in 1917

Multiplane Camera: An animation camera which places 2d art work different distances from the camera to create a feeling of depth.


Other aspects of animation to consider:

Exaggerated vs. Naturalistic: There is always a range, in animation, as to how “realistic” (in relation to the reference of our “real world”) or how cartoony and exaggerated an animation might be in terms of EITHER the actual motion of the character or in the character design itself. REMEMBER it doesn’t have to be both. An animated character might be very cartoony in its design but have very realistic, human-like movements or vice versa.

Full vs Limited Animation: Whether exaggerated or realistic, some movement is created by using a large number of drawings to create fluidity (especially with fast movements) while others may have fewer drawings and depend on hold or cycles



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

Required Text:

The World History of Animation by Stephen Cavalier, University of California Press; 1 edition (September 9, 2011), ISBN: 9780520261129




  • *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 Americaby 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.


Four Attributes for Filmic Analysis:

1) Aesthetic – How does it look and move?

Two conflicting yet synergistic aesthetics to consider:

                     a) Commercial – sleek, sexy, higher budgets, work of many hands, technically complex, derivative, safe, easily accessible – sells products/sells out, makes trendy.  


                     b) Avant-garde/Fine Art/High Art – breaking new ground/cutting edge, innovative, independent, gritty, inaccessible, low budget, technically limited, sells ideas, starts trends, feeds the commercial.


2) Technical – How was it made? Discuss examples of each type.

                     Types of animation:

                                 2D – hand drawn frame-by-frame, smudge, cut-out.

                                 2.5D – Multiplane animation.

                                 3D – Traditional stop motion, CGI, etc.


3) Sound – May determine the success of your film, not limited by aspect ratio, can bridge action, can define timing, provides greater punch.

  Two types to consider:

      Diegetic – sound in frame – dialogue, foley.

      Non-diegetic – sound outside of the frame -- score, narrator, etc


4) Social – time to get weighty, personal, specific, and controversial. Empathy – should resonate with humanity. Discuss historical background, racism, sexism, religion, politics, etc. This is where filmmakers distinguish themselves – the stuff that wins Oscars. Great animation brings general education and the diverse interests of the artist into itself.  Your work can only be as interesting as your life is.

Zeitgeist--”time ghost” spirit of an age

Check out:


This schedule is subject to change throughout the semester.


Introduction to the course. Persistence of Vision. Attributes of Analysis

Pre-Cinema animation and early cinema devices: Reynaud, Plateau 

Readings: pages 35-53.

Muybridge--photographer--persistence of vision

Renaud--cinema optique

Emil Cohl (phantasmagorie--frame-by-frame, steam of consciousness): `

Melies (watch Hugo)--early compositing and VFX--realm of the fantastic:

https://www.youthttpLe Voyage Dans la Lun (A Trip to the Moon) by Georges Méliès 

Windsor McKay--Gertie--idles, oscillations, and cycles

Pre-dates “cel technology”--redrawing background





Week 1:


Windsor McCay

How a Mosquito Operates:


https://www.youThe Centaurs (1921) - Winsor


Animation should be an art…what you fellows have done with it, making it into a trade…not an art, but a trade…bad luck. --McKay


Do you agree?


Bray Studios--invented the cel (transparency that allowed for painted backgrounds)

Otto MessmerKRAZY KAT: Goes A-Wooing (1916) (Remastered) (HD 1080p)


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

Readings: 49-53, 62-64, 73.

Week 2:

European experimentation: Starewicz--Camera Man’s Revenge, 1912, 

https://www.yoThe Cameraman's Revenge (1912)

Reiniger--The Adventures of Prince Achmed, 1928

Shadow silhouette puppets--feature length--first of it’s kind

Is there a feminine aesthetic? Flappers--sufferage--1st wave of feminism

Rape fantasy, Stokholm Syndrome (fall in love with captor) How are women portrayed? She’s an object but also a main character. How are men? He’s gentle, heroic, “I will follow you to the death. devoted . #malegaze #metoo Historical Critical Perspective--context before content

Oskar Fischinger--Komposition en Blau, 1935--tight connection between sound and image, Visual Music, vFX artist on Pinnochio and Fantasia

In your groups read:

Readings: pages 58-59, 80, 84, 88-92, 102-104, 109-110, 112, 116-117.

Research these art movements and philosophical sensibilities:

Consider Willa Cather’s 1927 Romantic sensibility in the face of Modernism in the context of this contemporary oscar nominated short:

Sanjay’s Super Team- Oscar Nominated Short 2015

“I don't myself think much of science as a phase of human development. It has given us a lot of ingenious toys; they take our attention away from the real problems, of course, and since the problems are insoluble, I suppose we ought to be grateful for distraction. But the fact is, the human mind, the individual mind, has always been made more interesting by dwelling on the old riddles, even if it makes nothing of them. Science hasn't given us any new amazements, except of the superficial kind we get from witnessing dexterity and sleight-of-hand. It hasn't given us any richer pleasures, as the Renaissance did, nor any new sins-not one! Indeed, it takes our old ones away. It's the laboratory, not the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. You'll agree there is not much thrill about a physiological sin. We were better off when even the prosaic matter of taking nourishment could have the magnificence of a sin. I don't think you help people by making their conduct of no importance-you impoverish them. As long as every man and woman who crowded into the cathedrals on Easter Sunday was a principal in a gorgeous drama with God, glittering angels on one side and the shadows of evil coming and going on the other, life was a rich thing. The king and the beggar had the same chance at miracles and great temptations and revelations. And that's what makes men happy, believing in the mystery and importance of their own little individual lives. It makes us happy to surround our creature needs and bodily instincts with as much pomp and circumstance as possible. Art and religion (they are the same thing, in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has ever had.”


The US studio system: Otto Messmer and Max Fleischer

Readings: pages 60-61, 65-69, 74-75, 81, 100-101, 106-107, 115, 126-136.


Romanticism vs. Modernism


Bray Studio--created “cel” technology


Fleischers--”dark cherry soda”

Intro to Betty Boop--gags, “rubber hose”


Bimbo’s Initiation:

Boopism--sexuality sells--femme fatale


Beware X-rated:




Contemporary Example of the Fleischer Aesthetic: Cuphead


Bendy && the Ink Machine ( Horror Game with Cartoon syle )


In your groups, write a brief response to this episode:




In your comparison, I want you to research and discuss:


Art Deco:


Week 3:

Steamboat willie 1928


Agrarian economy -- animal abuse? Substance use--tobacco, bullying

  -first sound based animations

    -ub Iwerks

    -creator of rubber hose character aesthetic

     -poor ethical treatment of animals  ---> came before their sweet nice nature


Rubber hose:


Flowers and Trees - 1932

     -first color animations

Three Little Pigs - 1933

     -first animation w/ legit characters


The Old Mill 1937

     -Ub Iwerks created multiplane camera

          -created true sense of background and depth w/ fore, middle, and background


Snow White 1938

     -Disney’s first feature length film


Pinocchio 1940

  • blue fairy

  • Quest for realism

  • Brave, truthful, unselfish

  • Adults are seen as the evil

  • Women are seen as goddesses/angels

    • Disambiguous and more plot device than character

  • Other races are overly stereotyped

  • “What does an actor need a conscience for anyway?”

Notions of the sublime--”horrifically beautiful”  and grotesque--”horrifically humorous”


Walt Disney and the quest for realism

Readings: 75-79, 96-99, 105, 11, 118-120, 138-139.

First Reaction Presentation



An actor's life for me

A high silk hat and a silver cane

A watch of gold with a diamond chain


An actor's life is gay

It's great to be a celebrity

An actor's life for me


An actor's life is fun


An actor's life for me

A wax mustache and a beaver coat

A pony cart and a billy goat


An actor's life is fun

You wear your hair in a pompadour

You ride around in a coach and four

You stop and buy out a candy store

An actor's life for me!

Hi diddle dee dee

An actor's life for me

A high silk hat and a silver cane

A watch of gold and a diamond chain

Hi diddle dee dee

You sleep till after two

You promenade a big cigar

You tour the world in a private car

You dine on chicken and caviar

An actor's life for me!




Reused clip:


The Aesthetics of Disney:

Compare the aesthetics and social sensibilities of Pinocchio and Snow White  to a contemporary animated Disney film of your choosing (post Little Mermaid).  How have cultural perspectives changed? How is otherness/foreignness represented--exoticism?  Check the original source materials, i.e. actual fairy tales--what has Disney altered? Have narrative messages changed? Present a thesis and have each member plan to share a ~5 min portion of it’s defense utilizing:

  1. Written content

  2. Images

  3. Links with queued movie  clips supporting your arguments

  4. Thorough research to disparate sources--interviews, original source material, etc.

  5. Good organization, entertain as you inform

Zoom will randomly assign you to Groups/Rooms:

List your name in this google doc below under the corresponding #s

Pick a film for comparison and contrast and list it below (google slides/presi etc):


Tuesday of next week--you’ll each contribute to your team discussion

Fleicher’s Response (Gulliver’s Travels):

Week 4:


Ignore for now:

  1. Get in your  groups

  2. Invite me to your google doc containing all your papers

  3. Read and comment on each other’s papers offering thematic, structural, and grammatical changes (consider color coding)

  4. Elect the student who wrote the most compelling paper to read it aloud

  5. Taking into consideration the feedback from your peers, go to the writing center to get even more professional polish (if they send me an email confirming your visit you’ll get 5 extra points)

  6. Replace your first draft on your group’s google doc with your finalized version and label it as such -


Disney cont’d--egocentrism, ethnocentrism, racism and pendulum swings


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

Tex Avery--bends time and space--raucous irreverence

         Rubber hose, foreign characters, porky the pig

         hitchhiking→ America coming out of the Great Depression so many were impoverished. 

1903-04 Ford establishes the Assembly Line; Fascination with Automotives, gadgets, airplanes

Animators comment on the past decade

Poking fun at other nations: seen in Porky the Wrestler, Fleishers, Pinocchio, etc. 

Rubber hose aesthetic→ parody of Disney’s Ub Iwerks 

tex→ zaney, irreverent, was the mentor of Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett, boss was Leon Slensenger

He tried to do things that Disney wouldn’t do: no dainty little animals, more focused on exaggeration, breaking the fourth wall, 

Did not think of cartoons for children. 

Red Hot Riding Hood (banned): representation of women by men


Swing Shift Cinderella, pretty much the same political climate Chaplin



The Mask:


Bob Clampett--zany disperate, inbetweens and expressions

(crazy inbetweens, insane acting choices, smears)

Even more zany than Tex, disparate inbetweens (smears) , did his own inbetweens, energetic comic anarchy, “invented acting in cartoons”, his characters act like exaggerated humans. Tried to bring in pop culture and other things popular at the time into the animation.

Ren and Stimpy


Chuck Jones

Cleanest aesthetic of all 3

Clear design to his characters, the designs that stuck through time.

Chucks specialty was the design of the characters. 

Highly designed backgrounds, block colors. 

Minimalist style would go on to influence Disney so much as to embrace it and lead the the “Dark Ages” (i.e. Rocky and Bullwinkle, Flintstones, etc.) 

Readings:121-123, 141-142 .

Banned cartoons: Racism and WW II Propaganda 

Readings: 143-144.


Chuck Jones commentary

The Dover Boys

What’s Opera Doc?:

Duck Amuck:6:02 Bugs Bunny Ep 147 What's Opera, Doc Bugs Bunny


Some important terms:

Egocentrism → Ethnocentrism → Racism → Genocide → War 


Race and War:

Trigger Warning: Contains Difficult Content

Ethnicity vs Race:

Herr meets Hare:

Exoticism (otherness--who is creating the work/what for) --how is otherness portrayed?

Cowardly, Stupid, Loud, Guilible, Body Shaming, Language


Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips


List: racial epithets, less understanding of the culture, language--mindless chatter,

Why? ethnic/racial divide--japanese internment, Pearl Harbor


Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves--brace for impact!

The Uncle Remus Tales

Back to Disney:

List the derogatory stereotypes perpetuated:

  1. Exotic over-sexed female of color (“mulato”)

  2. Uncle Tom --Song of South, Uncle Remus

  3. The Pimp

  4. The Mammy

Cosby Fat Albert--the urban moral parable:

Aaron McGruder

Watch the Boondocks Episode: Return of the King

For more insight check out The Itis:

Second Group Presentation Due Thursday

Watch these episodes, using the characters, show how (in your group google doc/ slide presentation) McGruder taps into past stereotypes--how do they stand in for certain ideologies? Why the controversy?  Does his ideology fall into the anti-racist or humanist camp? Be prepared to share your findings in class using specific examples of research and moments from the films.


Second Presentation in Your Groups:

Boondocks Characters:

  1. Huey Freeman -- Huey P. Newton (black panther leader) --voice of McGruder --Elijah Mohammed, Malcolm X--anti-racist “by any means necessary” 

  2. Rily Freeman--listless, anti-authoritarian youth, aggressive, ignorant, “hip hop culture”

  3. Granddad--Robert Freeman--Civil Rights Activist, Tuskegee Airman, critique of “old school”

  4. Tom DeBois --married a white woman, Oreo--lawyer

  5. Mr Wuncler--corporate villain of the Lorax, son--Milano

  6. Uncle Ruckus--white supremacism comically embodied

  7. Sarah, Jasmine--bi-racial ridicule

  8. MLK--humanist camp --”judge by content of character”

Week 5:

Animation behind the Iron Curtain: Jiri Trnka and Yuri Norstein

Readings: 114,150-151, 174-175,185, 188, 201-202, 240, 272

International stop-motion:Eastern European modern stop motion masters 

Readings: 252-253, 268-269, 301-303, 346-347,354-355.


Walt Disney of Eastern Europe 

The Hand: synced better)

Room 1--aesthetic, 2--technical, 3-sound, 4--social


Yuri Norstein

HedgeHog in the Fog:

Tale of Tales

Pritt Parn:

Brought Postmodernism to Animation

Pained, grotesque character


Jan Svankmejer:



Claymation--VFX, pixelation--manipulating live objects in a stop motion way

  1. Breakfast--who eats whom? What does it all mean?

Use each other to survive--sound foley is over the top--repulsive, uncanny--strange, off-putting, unconscious--freudian notions of dreams, autonomic brain function

  1. Lunch--move to eating each other--class consciousness

  2. Dinner--upper class--cannibalizing self

Consumption--covering up the ills with sauce

Write a paragraph response for Tues




Not Research paper subject--just discussion 

Compare and contrast Tale of Tales to Breakfast on the Grass and any of the other above mentioned films (consider at least 3 films). Come up with a thesis of interest but make certain to address use of symbols to engage issues of socio-political content.  Feel free to draw upon the other eastern european films we’ve watched. Share your essay with me via google docs.  Have a first draft ready for your group to read by Tuesday.

Week 6:

Norman McLaren and the National Film Board of Canada


Blinkety Blank:

Pas de Deux:

Readings: 55, 158-159, 228, 260.


Quiz 1
Open Note

1) What is the frame rate of film? 1 pt
2) Trnka’s film the Hand could be considered communist propaganda. T/F 1pt
3) This popular TV show represented people of color in the 70s. Who was its creator? 2pt
4) Modernist aesthetics may include use of abstract shapes and primary colors. T/F 1 pt
5) Ub Iwerks created this unique, bendy aesthetic in the 30s. 1 pt
6) Who was responsible for the Popeye animated films? 1 pt
7) What was the parallax innovation in Sinbad the Sailor called (process)? 1 pt
8) This process involves tracing over live action. 1 pt
9) Minnie the Moocher involved this famous jazz/swing orchestrator. 1 pt
10) This Canadian independent animator exhibited exploration with pixelation and digital sound. 1 pt
11) This man created Gertie the Dinosaur. 1 pt
12) What was the first feature length animated feature and who created it? 2pts
13) Pinocchio is a postmodern moral parable. T/F 1 pt
14) Romanticism navigates notions of the sublime and grotesque. t/f 1 pt
15) What allowed for the high production value of the Superman series of the 40s? 1 pt
16) Ladislas Starevich was known exclusively for Eastern European claymation. T/F 1 pt
17) What film of his did we watch in class? 1 pt
18) List 3 characters in McGruder’s Boondocks—what voices do they represent? 6pts
19) How did the role of women transform from Boop, Popeye, to Superman?  Why? 2 pts
20) Name the three defining voices of the Warner Bros aesthetic? 3pts


Total of: 30 pts

John Hubley and the stylistic legacy of the UPA: dark, abstract, surrealistic--pioneering a new aesthetic


Rooty Toot Toot:

Tell Tale Heart: 

Disney falls in line:

Gerald McBoing Boing:

Zagreb Studios --Ersatz:

Anthropocene--mid-century notion--humans were beginning to effects their environment

Pygmalian and Galatia

Prepare a paragraph response for Tues, analyzing Aesthetic,Technical,Sound,Social --include a discussion of Modernism

Contemporary examples with UPA influence:

Brad Bird’s Family Dog:

Learn Self Defense:

Readings: 124-125, 144-145,152, 156-157, 178-179, 186-187.

Dot and the Line


Week 7:

Line and Dot vs Hunger group collaboration

Please research all major terms and artistic movements, respond with informed sentences.


1) the dot and the line was directed by this famous Warner bros director: 1 pt 

2) list 3 Romantic sensibilities the film exhibited (excluding the actual love story) 3 pts

3) the squiggle was representative of what rising socio-political group? 1 pt

4) what kind of music accompanied the squiggle and what was it saying to the audience by this selection? 2 pts

5) list 3 Modernist elements exhibited in the film? 3 pts

6) in what context was the line "freedom is no license for chaos" delivered? 1pt

7) how were women represented in both films? 1 pt

8) list a major technical innovation utilized in Hunger. 1 pt

9) how is hunger's outlook/message different from the line and the dot's? what major event between the making of the two films may have contributed to Hunger's differing sensibilities and a western paradigm shift? 2 pts

10) hunger exhibits seedlings of a postmodern sensibility. Defend yes or no. Offer 3 examples 4 pts

11) list 3 things hunger criticizes about western society.  How does this exhibit changing sensibilities in the face of academy award winning animation? 4 pts

Week 8:

Women in Animation

1st Wave--suffrage, Lotte Reineger--Adventures of Prince Achmed

WWII--women entered the workforce, 50s--conservative return to the status quo

2nd wave--60s-70s--”bra burners” equality--birth control pill→ information/communication age “Mad Men” and resisting the “male gaze”

Caroline Leaf ‘76 The Street:

Beware: Suzan Pitt Asparagus

See if you can watch the whole film

Whole film-

Nicole Van Goetham A Greek Tragedy:


--won the academy award, queer theory

How do these animators represent men? 

How do they represent women?

How does this perspective differ from the way men have represented women throughout animation history?

Is there a feminist aesthetic?


What you have seen:

How have men represented women throughout animation history?


Joanna Quinn Girls Night Out:

Is there a feminist aesthetic?

  1. Women as subjects not objects

  2. The rejection of boopism--overtly attack “male gaze”

  3. Application of alternative techniques, rejecting student glam and glitz--stop motion, paint on glass, etc.

Andrea Dworkin-- radicalism:


3rd wave-- equity (reappropriation of boopism), internationalism--POC, feature length production

Hanna Rosin (still pushing 2nd wave ideologies):

bell hooks: 

We’re all connected, it’s about ending human oppression

The Bechdel Test:

Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis:

Nina Paley Sita Sings the Blues:

Brave--Pixar’s first female director Brenda Chapman replaced by Marc Andrews for “creative disagreements”

Anita Sarkeesian

Gamergate and the pushback

Leaf and expanding horizons:


Taking into consideration the films and links listed in the google doc, how does Caroline Leaf’s film Two Sisters show shifting sensibilities in feminist ideals in animation? Be prepared to present your ideas in class.


1) List a first wave feminist film we've watched this quarter 1 pt

2) in what decade was it created? 1 pt

3) list 2 sensibilities that characterize it as first wave 2 pts

4) list 3 things characteristic of films we've watched to come out second wave feminism 

3 pts

5) second wavers paid homage to Disney with elegant aesthetics and resounding optimism t/f 1 pt

6) list 3 psychoanalytic symbols in Suzan pitt's asparagus--what could they have represented? 6 pts 

7) Disney's Brave unsuccessfully navigates 3rd wave sensibilities as its heroine imitates traditionally patriarchal roles and an Amazonian femme fatale archetype. Agree/disagree--defend your stance with 3 examples. 3 pts

8) list 2 things distinctly 3rd wave about Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis? 2 pts

9) who is Anita Sarkeesian and what is her beef?

1 pt

Extra credit: Hanna rosin sees 3rd wave female advancement due to what primary modern phenomenon?


4th Wave--Gender feminism, postmodernism, neo-marxism, resurgence of identity politics, LGBTQIA+, #MeToo, Culture Wars --social constructionists (nurture) vs biologists “born this way” (nature) 


Wikipedia has a pretty good list of even secondary characters that have appeared in series or films. Note that Japan has included queer characters since the 60s and that a majority of queer characters are from Japan.

Short-film "In a Heartbeat," 2017 gay

Short-film "Dirty Paws" 2015 gay

Short-film "Arrival" 2016 gay

Netflix series "Bojack Horseman" 2014 Asexual

Netflix Series “ Kipo && The Age of the Wonderbeasts ” 2020 gay

Series "The Legend of Korra" 2014, Bisexual

Series "Cardcaptor Sakura" 1998 gay (start around 9:20)

Series "Steven Universe" lesbian

This is probably the most popular series currently running. The first season is pretty slow and long (52 episodes) but the main plotline picks up in the second season. The show focuses on relationships and their development, so it's a slow burn. This scene is a pretty iconic one.

Series "Stien's Gate" 2011 trans woman 


Week 9:

Japanese Animation or Anime--French meaning “movement, life” 

Trigger Warning: contains explicit content!


Tamamushi Shrine comics! Gore you’ll see echoed in animation.

Yoshitoshi and ultra violence, particularly directed at women (male fascination with anime in the 80s and 90s was in part a reaction to second wave feminism and postmodernism)

Shunga--woodblock print porn

Early phase tentacle porn.

There is a horror component to depictions of psycho-sexuality that is distinctly Japanese. Urotsukidoji started the infamy--we won’t go there. 


This has filtered into the zeitgeist of Americana: think Gaga’s Bad Romance


Aesthetic Ethnic Bleaching: Kitagawa Utamaru vs. westernized Sailor Moon


Early CGI Golgo 13:

This aesthetic boggled the west--we’d never seen anything like it!


Tezuka--Godfather of Anime


Established the big-eyed aesthetic but moved on



Tues--Write a paragraph reacting to Jumping


Belladonna of Sadness

Warning Explicit:

Anti-feminist: The film is a piece of erotica wrapped in a flimsy proto-Marxist-feminist yarn—it closes with Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People and the absurd subtitle “…at the head of the Bastille stood the women”—and our protagonist never enjoys a single instance of truly consensual sex.


The Fist of the Northstar:


Apocalypticism: WWII, bombings, defeat of the emperor(God)

Think Mad Max of the 80s meets the East, complete distortion of time and space--precursor to Dragonball sensibilities, action ambiguity

Hypermasculinity and the reaction against 2nd feminism


Yoshiaki Kawajiri --rejection of the Postmodern western  grunge aesthetic of the 90s 


Ninja Scroll:


in favor of a darker Romantic one--distinctly japanese

Demon City Shijuku:

Dante got nothin’ on these Buddhist Hell Scrolls:


Note: Hungry Ghosts:



Wicked City:

See also Teeth (american appropriation): h Men Beware!

The Ring, It Follows

Japanese Aesthetics of Wabe (indigenous rusticity, spiritual ) vs. Basara (foreign opulence, rational/technological) and Ninja Scroll:


Masamuna Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell and Cyberpunk, 

Think Bjork’s All is Full of Love:


Katsuhiro Otomu’s Akira:

Apocalypticism, Sublime, Grotesque

Epic in scope and still unsurpassed!


These aesthetics gave birth to the Matrix and are now unrecognizable as distinctly Japanese given their appropriation into Hollywood mainstream.


Miyazaki --everybody’s seen his stuff given distribution through Disney, right?

Readings: 71, 176, 190, 197, 212, 224,

240-241, 257, 273, 278-281,305-306, 311, 317, 332. 


Be prepared for an Anime Quiz Tuesday


1 Disney could be to Miazaki as the Fleischer’s could be to Kawajiri T/F 1 pt

2 Defend or refute the statement above in a sentence 1 pt

3 Tezuka defined the anime aesthetic T/F 1 pt

4 Define this two aspects of this aesthetic and how did it contrast to Japan’s indigenous artistic sensibilities? 3 pts

5 What two contrasting Japanese aesthetics did we discuss in class? List and roughly define them? 4 pts

6 How did 2nd wave feminist aesthetics influence anime’s popularity in the west? 1 pt

7) List 2 aesthetic contributions of anime that transformed Western cinematic language 2 pts


13 pts


Extra credit:

8 Kawajiri’s films could be considered dark romances T/F 1 pt

9 Provide an example from Ninja Scroll and one from Wicked City that support or refute the above mentioned statement 2 pts

10 sexuality infused with _ _ _ _ _ _ is replete in many early Japanese animated films 1 pt

11 name a film containing ultra-violence and Buddhist stoicism that we discussed in class 1 pt

12 who presumably took the place of Akira as a apocalyptically destructive yet evolved ethereal intelligence? 1 pt

13 who was Jubei? 1 pt

14 who was Kaneda? 1 pt

15 name 2 things toxically masculine about the films we watched 2 pts

16 emasculation and apocalypse are obsessions in early anime perhaps due to . . . ? 1 pt

17 which Otomo film juggles notions of spirituality vs technological advancement? Where do his sympathies lie? Support your thesis. 3 pts

14 pts

Consider the films we watched in class.  Watch one in its entirety and evaluate the aesthetics of basara and wabi contained therein. Consider issues of violence and psycho-sexuality.  How do these films differ culturally from those of the West at the time? How have they influenced contemporary Western aesthetics? Write another response implementing specific examples from the films.


Week 10: 

Stop motion and special effects animation: 

The uncanny valley:


Harryhausen and

Skeleton fight:

Clash of the Titans:


Nail in the coffin for Stop Motion



Readings: 86-87, 108, 160, 172-173.

Visual Effects CGI: ILM, George Lucas, James Cameron , Peter Jackson and WETA

Young Sherlock Holmes:

The Abyss


Readings: 56-57, 255, 292, 388.

Character CGI : Tron, Pixar and the birth of character CGI

Feeding the retro hipness of Seapunk and Vaporwave, 8-bti flave:


Readings: 166, 225, 238, 248-249, 263-265, 298-299, 314-315, 328-329, 342-343, 348-351, 369.


Animation’s Final Frontier and Post-humanism


Resurrecting the Dead with CGI

Example] Terminator Salvation:


For Thursday (last day of class June 4th) --email me and

Closing the Uncanny Valley

Present  a powerpoint (or use google slides) with at least a paragraph of written content (neatly laid out), at least 5 still images, and at least 2 links to video snippets of pertinent info.

Be prepared to give a 3 minute presentation delineating the process whereby an actor or actress has been resurrected (or altered the appearance) by cgi (uncanny valley)


List your name and the film you intend to cover below--no redundancy


-Henry, Danielle, Darry, Kyle: Kingdom Hearts 3

- Samantha, Thomas, Joseph, and Ethan: Avatar

Joey, Lila, Neil, Mateo - The Irishman

James Boldt: Getting images and going to create two slides. 

Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest - 


Old Examples:


Robert Flores - Guardians of the Galaxy: vol 2

Aliyah Chancellor- Deadpool 

Justin Keeling - Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Clare McKinley - Davy Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean)

Jacob Hayes - Charlie and the chocolate factory

Liv Irvin: Mary and Max

April Shiel: Star Wars (Carrie Fisher post Mortem appearance) 

Akash Patel: Baahubali Part 1 & 2

Angel Contreras: Captain America First Avenger

Kathie Xuan - Dior Commercial 

Amir Peterson - Twilight: Breaking Dawn

Steven Gonzalez - The Matrix Reloaded 

Garrison Alstatt - 

(TMNT: Out Of The Shadows 

Ben Sturr - Blade Runner 2049

Nathan Boyer: Rogue One

Donovan Carter- Ex Machina

  • Ed Follmann - Forrest Gump (John Lennon, Lyndon B. Johnson, and JFK)

  • Patrick Koscielniak - Fast and the Furious (Paul Walker)

  • Thu Mai - Volkswagen commercial (Gene Kelly)

  • Michael Gordon - Ex Machina

  • Ryan Bohac - James Cameron’s Avatar

  • Brad Hansen - Jeff bridges - Tron Legacy

  • Patrick Riggio - Gladiator - Oliver Reed

  • Anna Galon - The Lord of the Rings (Gollum)

  • Brian Dvorsky-Harry Potter & Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 (Harry, Ron, Hermione)

  • Jamie Nies- Marilyn Monroe Dior J’Adore perfume commercial

  • Shelby Yocum-Star wars: Rogue One

  • Thomas Schaefer- Harry Potter prisoner of azkaban end transformation

  • Graham Jones- Benjamin Button

  • Will Schroeder - Ant Man (Michael Douglas)

  • Scott Summers - Mummy 2: Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson)

  • Bruce Lee- CGI Johnnie walker commercial Jorge Meraz

  • Jack Martin - “You, Murderer” (Tales from the Crypt)

  • Ellen Dziubek - The Polar Express (Tom Hanks)

  • Kevin Charbonneau - Tupac Hologram at Coachella 

  • Nicholas Kiepura-Audrey Hepburn Galaxy Chocolate

  • Laura Szymkowiak - Michael Jackson Hologram at Billboard Music Awards

  • Laura Williams - Alice in Wonderland 2010 - queen of hearts

  • Fabian Garcia- Watchmen

  • Angus Tam - RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES" (2011) & "DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES" (2014) (Andy Serkis)


Final Exam 


Great stuff we didn’t have time to cover

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

Readings: 127,155,170.

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

Readings:146-147, 162-163, 204-205, 230-231.

Films for adults II: Fantastic Planet and Fritz the Cat

Readings:218-219, 222-223 The return of the feature: Richard Williams and Don Bluth

Readings: 221, 245-247, 261, 274-275, 282-283, 290-291, 293, 294-295.

TV grows up: Groening, Kricfalusi, Judge, Stone and ParkerReadings: Beck, pages 246-7, 272-3, 278-283, 312-321, 348-351TV grows up: Groening, Kricfalusi, Judge, Stone and Parker

Readings: 284-285, 288, 296-297, 307, 309, 319.


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.

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Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296