Scott Curtis

Tuesday 05/07/2013, 6:00 pm

Scott Curtis (Northwestern University)

Rough and Smooth: The Rhetoric of Animated Images in Scientific and Educational Film

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Video: Scott Curtis

This lecture argues that the authority, clarity, and rhetorical force of many scientific and educational films rely on the dynamic interplay between photographic and animated images. The specific connotations of the photographic image (authenticity, evidence, specificity, detail, contingency) work in tandem with the rhetorical implications of the animated image (abstraction, universality, concepts vs. objects) to create a full-bodied argument. That is, the “roughness” of the photographic image and the “smoothness” of the animated image function dialectically, in order to propel an argument from evidence to claim to concept and back again. Drawing on examples from the worlds of nanotechnology and medical education, this presentation will demonstrate the way in which animated images function rhetorically to provide concepts, fantasies of full visibility, and glimpses of utopian possibility. 

Workshop with Scott Curtis from 2-4 pm, IG Building, Room 7.312 (Film Studies Room). For registration and information contact us at

Scott Curtis ist Associate Professor für Radio, Fernsehen und Film an der Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Sein Spezialgebiet ist die Geschichte des frühen Films und des Stummfilms. Er interessiert sich besonders für institutionelle Verwendungen des Films wie den Schulungsfilm oder das Bewegtbild als wissenschaftliches Forschungsinstrument und Diagnosewerkzeug. Er ist der aktuelle Präsident von Domitor, die internationale Gesellschaft für die Erforschung des frühen Kinos.

Lecture in English language.

Casino, Room 1.811
Campus Westend, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main