Skip to main content

Unit information: Film Genre in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Film Genre
Unit code FATV20002
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Pete Falconer
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will acquaint students with key issues in the study of film genres in Hollywood and other national cinemas. Students will examine both the conventions of individual genres and the idea of genre itself. These aims will be pursued through the detailed analysis of genre movies and their surrounding contexts. The unit will explore formal, historical, ideological and industrial perspectives on genre, and consider some of the ways in which genre has been conceptualised. Students will also consider alternative approaches that potentially complicate the premises and assumptions of genre theory.


  • To examine the issues involved in defining and identifying film genres.
  • To explore the relationship between the conventions of a genre and the particularities of individual film texts.
  • To consider appropriate historical and theoretical contexts in which to understand film genres.
  • To explore the interaction between genre-based perspectives on popular cinema and other approaches.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

(1) identify and respond to issues raised in the study of film genre.

(2) critically assess the role genre plays in creating meaning in individual movies.

(3) compare and evaluate different ways of defining genres and genre films.

(4) situate film genres, and changes within them, historically.

(5) evaluate the claims made by genre theory and criticism, in relation to the appropriate evidence.

(6) produce work within a group, showing abilities to listen, contribute and lead effectively.

Teaching details

Weekly seminar and screening.

Assessment Details

100% Illustrated group presentation, 7 min per student OR 100% 4000-word essay. Students will choose their mode of assessment for this unit.

Reading and References

Altman, R. (1999), Film / Genre, London: BFI

Dowd, G., Stevenson, L., and Young, J. (eds., 2006), Genre Matters: Essays in theory and criticism, Bristol: Intellect

Geraghty, L. and Jancovich, M. (eds., 2008), The Shifting Definitions of Genre: Essays on labelling films, television shows and media, London: McFarland

Grant, B.K. (ed., 2003), Film Genre Reader III, Austin: University of Texas Press

Neale, S. (2000), Genre and Hollywood, London: Routledge

Thomas, D. (2000), Beyond Genre: Melodrama, comedy and romance in Hollywood films, Moffat: Cameron and Hollis