HFMK03315U FM, Module 2, Media, Genre and Aesthetics: Immigration and Postmigration in Contemporary European Cinema (and Television)

Volume 2017/2018

Master in Film and Media Studies, 2016-curriculum


This course addresses immigration and postmigration as represented mainly by European films but also by other audiovisual products. It provides an overview of immigration to Europe, from the post-war postcolonial and labour migration to today’s multi-ethnic nation-states on the one hand and so-called ‘migrant crisis’ on the other. Also, it introduces to variations in policy-making across Europe, including diverse takes on citizenship, multiculturalism and religion, as well as to concomitant issues of belonging, recognition and discrimination. First and foremost, however, the course addresses audiovisual representations of immigration across genres and attitudes, from stereotypical cliché-mongering to political activism, with a particular focus on the capacity of narrative feature films to reach beyond the day-to-day political and media discourse and make palpable, through various strategies for focalisation and audience engagement, both the hopes and the fears related to migration. Last but not least, it engages in a number of case studies by discussing individual films from especially France and Germany but also, to some extent, from the UK, Spain, Italy and/or Denmark. Topics include: assimilation/integration and inclusion; multiculturalism and cultural diversity; ambivalences and utopias of the ‘postmigrant condition’; polarisation and (extreme) radicalisation; as well as transnationalism vs. the rise of populist nationalism.

         The course is guided by an overall cultural studies approach informed by specific sociologial studies as well as aesthetic (mostly film) theories on genre, style, narration and/or spectator involvement. Students are expected to take an active part in the course through, e.g., class presentations of their exam projects which can be on any topic within the overall framework of Europe, immigration and audiovisual representation.

         A course reader will be available by the start of the semester. In addition, the following books are recommended:

Alba, Richard, and Nancy Foner. 2015. Strangers No More: Immigration and the Challenges of Integration in North America and Western Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Berghahn, Daniela & Claudia Sternberg (2010). European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe (eds. Daniela Berghahn & Claudia Sternberg). Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chouliaraki, Lilie. 2006. The Spectatorship of Suffering. London: Sage Publications.

Loshitzky, Yosefa (2010). Screening Strangers: Migration and Diaspora in Contemporary European Cinema. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Learning Outcome

Master in Film and Media Studies 2016-curriculum:
Module 2: Media, Genre and Aesthetics: HFMK03311E


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Course Preparation
  • 353,5
  • Total
  • 409,5
Type of assessment
The exam will be conducted in English
Criteria for exam assesment