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Filmic Texts and the Rise of the Fifth Estate

Virginia Kuhn, Author

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Introduction to Filmic Texts and the Rise of the Fifth Estate


This digital article describes the use of a film as a textbook in undergraduate curricula. Based on the premise that digital technologies endow films with the same infinite patience that books possess—their segments, like pages, are constant and so can be analyzed in a sustained fashion—Filmic Texts maintains that in a highly mediated world, facility with all of the available semiotic resources is integral to the type of large scale literacy necessary for a flourishing democracy. This argument gains strength as its concepts are also enacted; it is created in Scalar, a platform that allows one to speak with rich media in addition to words.

The project contains three main paths which the reader may take. The first, Filmic Texts, is an overview of the background theory and the attendant pedagogy of IML340: The Praxis of New Media. The second, Digital Pedagogy, is a more praxis-based path, describing the nuts and bolts of enacting this type of progressive pedagogy and, in many cases, displaying student projects and interviews created in response to the course. The third path, The Structure of Filmic Texts and the Rise of the Fifth Estate, is an overview of the piece that includes details about the affordances of this exciting new platform, Scalar, the content choices that it enabled, and the ways that I chose to negotiate its functionality. 

As you move from one path to another, you will notice that some pages appear in more than one path. This recursive structure is meant to illustrate the capacity of digital media to create overlapping arguments and is a unique feature of Scalar as an authoring platform. For more help with features of Scalar, please click on the help icon in the sidebar (or stripe) which displays throughout this piece.  

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