THE COURSE: Teens on Screen, an exploration of the
ways in which Hollywood has shaped perceptions of teenagers
over the past 50 years. Participants also look at
alternatives to mainstream film portrayals of adolescence.
Limited to 15 students. 3 credits.
Program in Film
and Media Studies; offered by the Johns Hopkins
University Summer Programs for both
Johns Hopkins undergraduates and visiting students.
THE INSTRUCTOR: Linda DeLibero, associate director
of the Film and Media Studies program, who has taught film
at Johns Hopkins since 1989. Her research and teaching
areas include film history and theory; ideology and
film/television/popular culture; mass culture studies; and
issues in film education and historiography. She has
published and lectured widely on contemporary film; the
history of television theory and criticism; women, class
and popular culture; and media education. Current research
interests include a history of the divide between popular
and academic film discourse, and the aesthetics of violence
in Hollywood film.
MEETING TIME: 3 to 5:30 p.m., Monday, Wed-nesday,
Thursday and Friday, summer 2004.
PHOTO BY HPS/WILL KIRK
SYLLABUS: In the words of one Teens on Screen
student, "High school is a strange, alternate world." This
course examines what makes high school good, bad and ugly
by examining how teens have been portrayed in mainstream
movies like Scream and in independent films like the
The required viewing is divided into categories such
as "high school and horror" and "bad boys (and girls):
delinquency, race, sex." Jocks, preppies, bookworms,
loners, sociopaths — all the big-screen stereotypes
are questioned in relation to the way real teens view
themselves, and how the rest of the world views them.
COURSE WORK: Just because it's a summer course full
of movies doesn't mean it's a day at the beach. A six- to
eight-page paper on a teen film, ideally one that wasn't
covered in class, accounts for 25 percent of a student's
grade. The remaining 75 percent is split equally between
300- to 500-word journal entries for each film, frequent
quizzes and class participation. Missed classes result in
lowered grades or being dropped from the course. No late
papers, makeup quizzes or incompletes. And yes, you have to
watch the credits roll.
REQUIRED VIEWING: Rebel Without a Cause, American
Graffiti, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Breakfast Club,
Dazed and Confused, American Pie, Scream, Elephant, Menace
II Society, Thirteen, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Y Tu Mama
Tambien, Heavenly Creatures.
OVERHEAD IN CLASS: "All of these films desire to try
and show how to deal with the irrational, with things that
don't fit. High school is about setting boundaries through
stereotypes. It can be cruel, but it's also convenient or
STUDENTS SAY: "I took the class partly because it
would fulfill some major requirements to allow me to
graduate early, but also because I took Latin American
Films with DeLibero last summer and think the way she
teaches is really provocative. She encourages exploration
of thoughts and ideas in a completely open manner. No idea
is wrong, no comment too outrageous. She somehow creates an
environment where everyone feels comfortable to say what
they think without the fear of being wrong, or worse,
judged for it. The way she handles the subject matter has
showed me that teen movies are more than their surface
value, and I feel I have the tools to more fully appreciate
them for the messages they have to offer."
—Christina Tung, 21, of Carlisle, Mass. She's a
rising senior at Johns Hopkins, double majoring in the Writing Seminars and
Film and Media