Animation: Theories and Histories (CATE2012)


Animation as a form spans the visual arts and the entertainment industry. This unit explores theories and histories of animation that address these diverse contexts. One strand focuses on the relationship between art movements and animation practices from the early 20th century on, and the legacy of this in contemporary experimental and independent animation. A second strand focuses on animation as popular culture, including the important role of animation in the development of cinematic SFX, including CGI. The unit explores the various textual strategies used in animation, such as abstraction, self-referentiality and intertextuality, as well as analyzing the critical impulse in animation given its traditionally 'low' cultural status

Further unit of study information


1x2-hour seminar/week


storyboard (30%) and small group presentation (10%) and major essay (60%)


Esther Leslie, Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde. London and New York: Verso, 2002.
Jayne Pilling (ed.), A Reader in Animation Studies, London: John Libbey, 1997
Carol Stabile and Mark Harrison, eds. Prime time animation: Television animation and American culture. London ; New York: Routledge, 2003.
Paul Wells, Understanding Animation, London: Routledge, 1998

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

(THAP1201 and THAP1202) or (CATE1001 and CATE1002) or (BDES1001) or (12 senior credit points from Art History and Theory)

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.