When ballads were very popular songs that told stories, Andrew Fletcher (1655-1716) underlined the importance of narrative: "If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation." Nowadays, stories take various forms, among them cinematic, and they circulate and are consumed in vast quantities. People make stories, and the consumption of those stories, in turn, "makes" people, helping to construct individual subjectivity and collective discourse. How do narratives function as the vehicles for overt and unacknowledged ideologies? How do stories change as they become such vehicles, and how do ideologies change when they are embedded in stories? This course pursues these questions through the reading of theory and the analysis of film. It combines short lectures (mainly in the first few weeks) with much discussion, with the aim of introducing students to recent and current concepts concerning the nature of, and the relationship between, narrative and ideology. Post-1980 American films we will watch together will serve as primary texts. Analysis of the films' narrative structures is an indispensable part of the course.