From Émile Cohl to the Fleischer brothers, and from Studio Ghibli to Bob’s Burgers, this course will explore the histories, styles, and theories of animation film. We will start by tackling what constitutes “animation” and how this format has changed into “animation film,” over the course of several centuries, with roots in shadow theatre, magic, and a slew of optical media that rose to the occasion in the 19th century - from thaumatrope to zoetrope and beyond. We will look at the different techniques, styles, and media that artists experimented with in the early-20th century and that came to stick for the decades to come. This will provide you with a primer, working knowledge of the jargon, and will help you recognize cut-outs, cel animation, rotoscoping, stop-motion, CGI, and much more. From the Fleischer brothers to the Warner brothers and Walt Disney, we will explore the history of America’s animated golden age in the 1930s and 1940s. In Europe and the U.S.S.R., we will delve into the rich traditions of puppet animation from Wladyslaw Starewicz to Jan Svankmajer and from Aardman to the Quay brothers. You will get to know the cultural specifics of Japanese animation (or “anime”) and we will track its history with a postwar focus on Osamu Tezuka, Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Oshii, Studio Ghibli directors, and Makoto Shinkai. In our final week, we will look at the 1980s rise and ever growing popularity of the animated sitcom, from The Flintstones to The Simpsons, and Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist to BoJack Horseman. We will additionally consider topics such as the interplay between live action and animation, the exchange between Japanese and American traditions, and the evolution of the medium into an art of its own.