81582 - History of Serialisation (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Paola Brembilla

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/06

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Cinema, Television and Multimedia Production (cod. 0966)

  • Course Timetable from Sep 24, 2020 to Oct 23, 2020

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will acquire knowledge about the history of seriality in audiovisual media, which has to be critically read both as a mode of cultural production of the modern era and as a narrative technique with certain features and implications. Students will deepen their knowledge of the main stages of the history of audiovisual seriality and its evolution on different media. They will also acquire a reference framework and the  tools for a critical understanding of the different industrial, narrative, political and socio-cultural aspects of contemporary serial productions.

Course contents

The course aims to retrace the main historical stages and the most important theoretical approaches to the relationship between seriality and cultural industries, with attention to the cultures of industry, production, narration and consumption studied as related and interacting layers.

The course focuses on three areas of study and analysis:

  • Theories and techniques of seriality: technical reproducibility; the advertising economy of serial text and the primacy of productivity; forms and functions of seriality; techniques and formats of serial narration.
  • Archaeology of seriality: comics, appendix novel, feuilleton, dime novel, French neo-feuilleton, The "serial queen melodrama"; characters and "serial chains".
  • Contemporary seriality and media convergence: cross-platform exchanges between media and serial narratives; media tie-ins and franchises; transmedia convergence and narratives; corporate authorship of media conglomerates.


Non-attending students will have to study the following textbooks:

  • Monica Dall’Asta, Trame spezzate. Archeologia del film seriale, Le Mani, Genova 2009
  • Federico Zecca (a cura di), Il cinema della convergenza, Mimesis-Cinergie, Udine 2012
  • Veronica Innocenti, Guglielmo Pescatore (a cura di), Le nuove forme della serialità televisiva, Archetipo, Bologna 2008


Attending students, in addition to their class notes and materials made available on the IOL platform, must instead prepare the following reduced bibliography:

  • An anthology of selected texts, prepared by the professor and made available on IOL after the beginning of the course. Some texts will be in English and will be discussed in class.
  • Monica Dall’Asta, Trame spezzate. Archeologia del film seriale, Le Mani, Genova 2009 (solo le parti segnalate dalla docente durante il corso)

Teaching methods

Due to the restrictions imposed by the current health emergency, teaching will be carried out in the following way: the teacher will always be present in the classroom designated for teaching, where she will give frontal lectures with the support of slides, web sources, clips and other audiovisual supports.

Students will alternate in attendance according to a schedule of shifts being defined (more detailed information about the shift and how to access the lessons in the classrooms will be provided later).

It will always be possible to connect remotely and follow the live streaming of the lessons via the TEAMS platform.

Assessment methods


The examination for attending students consists of a written essay which will then be discussed during the oral exam.
The oral exam is therefore about 1) the discussion of the subject of the the thesis and 2) the assessment, in a reduced way compared to the exam for non-attendants, of the preparation related to the topics dealt with during the course and to the bibliographical in-depth study.

The final grade will assess the paper (60%), the knowledge and understanding of the texts in the program (40%) and, if apllied, the classroom activity (max. 2 points to be added to the examination grade).

The indications for the choice of the subject of the the paper, for the writing and deadline, as well as the evaluation criteria, will be explained at the beginning of the course and then uploaded to IOL.



The exam for non-attending students consists of an oral exam on the three texts in the program, aimed at verifying the achievement of the following teaching objectives:

  • Mastery of the theories and tools for the analysis of seriality as an industrial model, cultural form and narrative modality.
  • Learning the descriptive parameters of serial forms.
  • Acquisition of the main notions related to the history of seriality.
  • Mastery of the specific vocabulary of television seriality.
  • Ability to analytically process the critical-theoretical nodes related to the functions of seriality in the context of the cultural industry.

The ability to present arguments in a manner that is not only formally correct, but also critically aware, will be rewarded.
A purely presentation based on superficial knowledge will result in a discreet assessment. Gaps in knowledge expressed in uncertain or inappropriate language will lead to an outcome that will not exceed sufficiency. The detection of important gaps both on a theoretical-critical level and on a historiographical and bibliographical level will lead to a negative evaluation.


ATTENTION/1: students who bring the program from previous academic years are invited to get in touch with the professor.

ATTENTION/2: all students must register for the exams through AlmaEsami; it will not be possible to record students who cannot be registered due to delays in the study plan, payment of fees, etc..

Teaching tools

For the attending students, the materials related to each lesson will be uploaded on the teaching support platform IOL.

The classroom discussion will be stimulated and encouraged and will also be prolonged through the activation of a forum on IOL and on Padlet's boards.

Office hours

See the website of Paola Brembilla