chapter
Introduction
Pages 18

Since the 1970s, fi lm studies has taken various turns away from its foundational basis of Grand Theory, which had at its core the ‘golden triangle’ of semiotics, psychoanalysis, and Marxism based on recent Continental philosophy. Dudley Andrew (2009) among others has offered overviews of these turns along with the larger turn from French to American hegemony in fi lm scholarship, and so let me only name the most remarkable in this context: (1) the ontological turn led by Gilles Deleuze, who with his Cinema books (1986; 1989) replaced the dominant Saussurean-Freudian model with Charles Sanders Peirce’s and Henri Bergson’s schemas on sign and image; (2) the phenomenological turn delivered most prominently by Vivian Sobchack (1992; 2004), who revamped spectatorship theory through Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s notion of embodiment; (3) the historicist turn, exemplifi ed by the likes of Tom Gunning (2006) and Charles Musser (1994), which moved from abstract reductive theory to empirical archivist research on early (and “orphan”) cinema, studio systems, non-Western fi lms, and so on; (4) the cognitivist turn, led by David Bordwell and Noël Carroll (1996) and Edward Branigan (2006), which attempted to account for how the spectator’s mind functions in light of analytical philosophy and brain studies. While Continental philosophy is still signifi cant for the fi rst two turns in expanding fi lm theory, it has been palpably cast into doubt or even abandoned by the Anglophone scholars who directed the last two turns. Facing all these major challenges from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, Grand Theory gradually lost its grandiosity, though it served as the backdrop for the questions of identity politics, especially concerning race, gender, and class, that still underpin cultural studies today.