Starting with Academic Year 2014-2015, the course unit of History of Animation is taught at the University of Padova.
It is open to first-year students of the Master’s Degree Course in Theatre, Film, Television and Media Studies, at the Dipartimento dei Beni Culturali.
Place and time schedule
First lesson: October the 13th, 2014
Monday, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Tuesday, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Palazzo Liviano, Room 2
It would be advisable, for students of History of Animation, to be familiar with the history of cinema and the language of film theory and film analysis. It would be even more advisable, though, to be accustomed to watching films (with a critical attitude). Knowing a meaningful “repertoire” of films, and being ready to expand it, are very good credentials for this course. Finally, proficiency in English is recommended, as the course will be taught in this language.
Target skills and knowledge
At the end of the course, the student:
– will know the methods and the production models behind the main techniques of animation;
– will be able to identify the different techniques of animation in audio-visual media, as well as to give a critical appreciation of their use;
– will know the history and the essential features of the main schools and traditions of animation.
The final exam will be an oral test, both for attending and not attending students.
For attenders, the exam will focus on the course and on the handouts provided by the teacher. Moreover, at the beginning of the course the students will receive a list of films, of which 15 have to be selected and integrally watched. Some of those films could be discussed during the exam.
To take the exam as attenders, it is advised to be present for at least 38 hours out of 42. Students have to make up for the missed lessons by getting informed about them from fellow students, through written notes and the like. All attending students are supposed to know 100% of the contents of the course. A missed lesson cannot be used as an excuse for an error during the exam.
It is recommendable to attend the course, as not attending students will not receive teaching materials such as videoclips and handouts; they will be required to study two complete books written in English. Moreover they will have to watch 15 films chosen from the list mentioned above, just like the attending students.
As it is expected that each session will see only a few students taking the test, the teacher kindly asks to be informed about eventual absences in a timely manner (at least one day before the test). The exam registration will close three days before the test.
The test will evaluate:
– ability to give a correct historical contextualization of artists, film works and schools;
– knowledge of the techniques and aesthetics of animation;
– critical and analytical ability in commenting films and audio-visual works.
Course unit contents
1) Definition of animation
2) Animation styles and techniques
3) Origins of animation: pioneers, early schools
4) Animation in the USA. Special focus: Walt Disney
5) Animation in Europe
6) Animation in Italy. Special focus: Bruno Bozzetto
7) Animation in Asia. Special focus: Studio Ghibli
8) Animation in other countries
9) Animation studies: main theoretical tendencies
Planned learning activities and teaching methods
The course will be based on the lessons of the teacher, supported by appropriate audio-visual materials.
Discussion and active participation of the students in the course will be encouraged.
At least one lesson will be guest-taught by an important animator.
Additional notes about suggested reading
Attending students will have to study their notes (with the aid of the Powerpoint files the teacher will share). The teacher will also send to each student a series of handouts, which will need to be printed and studied. The handouts are part of the reference books listed below, which thus will not need to be studied as a whole.
Not attending students will have to study the whole books by Bendazzi and Selby, which are available (for consultation only) as part of the book collections of the University.
- Giannalberto Bendazzi, Cartoons. One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation. London: John Libbey, 1994. Also available as a 2006 reprint
- Andrew Selby, Animation. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2013.
- Karen Beckman, Animating Film Theory. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2014.