Seminar for the Arts (Film and Television)

Dr. Carmen McCain

Office Hours: 12-1 pm Tuesdays, 12pm-2pm Wednesdays and by appointment

Class Time: Tuesdays, 9am-12pm


VPA 406: Seminar for the Arts (Film and Television): Contemporary Nigerian and African film




This final year seminar is designed to prepare students to enter the world beyond the university and thus gives students a great deal of responsibility in directing the course the class will take. Students will choose the films they and their classmates will watch, present on, and review over the course of the semester, and each student will be responsible for one presentation and final paper, and weekly review papers on the film screened the previous week. This student-directed seminar will thus expose the class to a variety of contemporary cinema and open up discussions on connections between films in theme, film language, and context.

As discussed in the first class, we will devote one extra hour to the two hours allocated from 10-12 for the seminar, making it 9am-12pm, so as to leave enough time to screen a film and have discussion afterwards. If, for reason of public holiday or emergency, we miss one of the scheduled classes, we will need to make it up during a weekend or at another time, so please take class attendance seriously.


Grade Breakdown

Continuous assessment: 40%

Attendance and class participation 10 %

1 page response paper to films and readings due each week 10%

Selection and presentation of one film of your choice 10%

Final 10 page paper 10%

Exam: 60%


Film Screenings and Presentations:

Each student will select a film (1-2 hours) of your choice and show it during a class period that you will sign up for on the first day of class. Each student will be in charge of introducing one film and its context (For example, introduce the filmmaker, why the film is important, why you chose the film, anything you want your classmates to think about or watch for while screening the film) to the class and then leading the discussion following the screening. Students may choose films they are using for their thesis and present portions of their thesis if they choose. Students should let Dr. Carmen know at least a week in advance as to which film they choose to show.

You may choose contemporary Nigerian films, films from the collection of the Centre for Nollywood and New Media in Africa, or another film that you have access to.



After each screening, each student will write a 1-2 page reaction paper analyzing the film in terms of a specific theme, motif, or context. (It may be handwritten on foolscap or typed double spaced), incorporating examples from both the film and from your readings for the week. Papers due at the beginning of the next class period.

NOTE: Very good short response papers may be selected to be featured on the website we are developing for the Nollywood Studies Centre.


Films to be Screened*

Beasts of No Nation

The Figurine

Others to be arranged


Recommended Texts:

I will send an email a week before each class detailing the readings you will be required to read. In the meantime, these are some recommended texts on reserve in the library.


Texts on Reserve in the Library

  • African Film: Reimagining a Continent by Josef Gugler
  • Global Nollywood: the Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry Matthias Krings and Onookome Okome
  • How do Read a Film by James Monaco




Week 1: January 26: Introduction to the Seminar. Sign up for presentations.

Week 2: February 2: Screening/Presentation 1: Azeez Olawale Rahmon presents Beasts of No Nation

Week 3: February 9: Screening/Presentation 2 – Kalimat Kamaldeen – Phone Swap

Week 4: February 16: Screening/Presentation 3 – Helen Bunmi Balogun – Yellow Card

Week 5: February 23: Screening/Presentation 4 – Damilola M. Oguntoye –Blue Flames

Week 6: March 1: Screening/Presentation 5 – Salamat Morenike Idrees – Onye Ozi: The Messenger

Week 7: March 8: Screening/Presentation 6 – Mistura Audu – Magun: Thunderbolt

Week 8: March 15: Screening/Presentation 7 – Dunmi Fasasi – Tango with Me

Week 9: March 22: Screening/Presentation 8 – Lawal Kabir – Sometime in April

(24-25 March Midterm Break)

Week 10: March 29: Screening/Presentation 9- Bukola – Koseegbe

Week 11: April 4 (Study Break – Dr. McCain travelling to a conference)

Week 12: April 11 (Study Break – Dr. McCain travelling to a conference)

Week 13: April 19 (Study Break – Dr. McCain travelling to a conference)

Week 14: April 26: Exam Review

(30 April, classes end)

Exams 2-7 May



Attendance is required. You are allowed two absences. In the course of any semester, illnesses and emergencies come up. Wise students will reserve their absences for emergencies. I expect you to be respectful of your classmates and me by coming to class on time, by switching phones to silent before class starts, refraining from texting or Whatsapp during class, and by keeping your attention focused on the discussion at hand. I dock grades for habitual lateness. Any student caught plagiarizing will fail the class.



Plagiarism is the act of using other people’s words or ideas without giving them credit or even failing to give them credit in the right way. Anytime you borrow information from another text, whether you directly quote it or not, you must correctly cite the work you borrowed from in a parenthetical citation. If you are directly quoting from a text, the quotation MUST be placed within quotation marks for quotes under 4 lines of texts. Quotes over 4 lines of texts should be indented two tabs on the left side. Quotations should be used only to reinforce your own argument and should not be over a quarter of your paper. There are hardly ever occasions where you would need to quote over 10-15 lines of text, and even more rarely an occasion when you would need to quote over a page! If you are not sure if you are correctly citing works you borrow from, check with me. For more information on how to correctly cite your work, see the following links:,

Guidelines for Evaluating Participation in class and online discussion§

Outstanding Contributor: Contributions in class reflect exceptional preparation. Ideas offered are always substantive, provide one or more major insights as well as direction for the class. Challenges are well substantiated and persuasively presented. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished markedly.

Good Contributor: Contributions in class reflect thorough preparation. Ideas offered are usually substantive, provide good insights and sometimes direction for the class. Challenges are well substantiated and often persuasive. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished.

Adequate Contributor: Contributions in class reflect satisfactory preparation. Ideas offered are sometimes substantive, provide generally useful insights but seldom offer a new direction for the discussion. Challenges are sometimes presented, fairly well substantiated, and are sometimes persuasive. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished somewhat.

Non-Participant: This person says little or nothing in class. Hence, there is not an adequate basis for evaluation. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would not be changed.

Unsatisfactory Contributor: Contributions in class reflect inadequate preparation. Ideas offered are seldom substantive, provide few if any insights and never a constructive direction for the class. Integrative comments and effective challenges are absent. If this person were not a member of the class, valuable air-time would be saved.



  • Note: I obtained these guidelines from the 2005-2006 UW Comm-B Sourcebook, as submitted by Prof. Virginia Sapiro in Women’s Studies. Prof. Sapiro obtained the rubric from Professor John Tyler of Brown University. Prof. Tyler obtained these guidelines from Prof. Richard J. Murnane at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prof. Murnane, in turn, learned of them from someone else. Although the original attribution for the guidelines has been lost, they continue to be so useful to so many.


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