The Cinematic Political: Film Composition as Political Theory, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Cinematic Political

Film Composition as Political Theory, 1st Edition

By Michael J. Shapiro


242 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138596177
pub: 2019-11-20
SAVE ~$8.19
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 20th November 2019
Hardback: 9781138596160
pub: 2019-11-20
SAVE ~$32.00
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 20th November 2019

FREE Standard Shipping!


In this book, Michael J. Shapiro stages a series of pedagogical encounters between political theory, represented as a compositional challenge, and cinematic texts, emphasizing how to achieve an effective research paper/essay by heeding the compositional strategies of films. The text’s distinctiveness is its focus on the intermediation between two textual genres. It is aimed at providing both a conceptual introduction to the politics of aesthetics and a guide to writing strategies. In its illustrations of encounters between political theory and cinema, the book’s critical edge is its emphasis on how to intervene in cinematic texts with innovative conceptual frames in ways that challenge dominant understandings of life worlds.

The Cinematic Political is designed as a teaching resource that introduces students to the relationship between film form and political thinking. With diverse illustrative investigations, the book instructs students on how to watch films with an eye toward writing a research paper in which a film (or set of films) constitutes the textual vehicle for political theorizing.

Table of Contents

1. Engaging Lars von Trier’s The Element of Crime

2. Toward a Politics of Now-Time: Reading Hoop Dreams with Kubrick's Barry Lyndon

3. "Hiroshima"

4. "The Light of Reason"

5. "Borderline Justice"

6. A Bi-City Cinematic Experience

7. The Phenomenology of the Cinema Experience

8. Phenomenological Afterword

About the Author

Michael J. Shapiro is Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa. Among his recent publications are Politics and Time: Documenting the Event (2016); Deforming American Political Thought, 2nd edition (Routledge, 2016); The Political Sublime (2018); and Punctuations: How the Arts Think the Political (2019).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory