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PhD Courses Descriptions 2021-2022

Note: 600-level indicates MA, 800-level indicates PhD. Several courses are offered to both MA and PhD students.

PhD-Only Courses FALL

FMST 801 Seminar in Film and Moving Image History: Global Socialist Film Cultures

Instructor: Masha Salazkina

Thursday 1:15-5:15pm

When we think of leftist political filmmaking, we often think of films which critique capitalism and neo-liberalism. Rather than following such critiques, this seminar instead will address the question of what socialist film and media culture means – and how it has been envisioned and realized in different moments in the history of the 20th and 21st century in different parts of the world, from Russia in the 1920s to Cuba in the 1960s, but also from Egypt and India of the 1950s to the 1970s Chile, to Romania and China in the 2000. 

More specifically, the seminar will focus on what cinema – in practice and in theory – could offer in answering the question “what is socialist culture.” Cinema’s function as an audiovisual archive of the past, as the witness to the present, and as a utopian imaginary of the possible futures (as well as alternative pasts and presents) – as well as the medium’s unique capability to shape the sensory and analytical perceptions of people – have made it an important field for the socialist imaginary. The class will explore how socialist filmmakers at different moments in history have engaged cinematic expression and means of production.  

Rather than taking Soviet Union and Eastern Europe as a presumed center of socialist culture, the course will attempt to consider the history of socialism in cinema from the perspective of the Global South. Particular attention to be given to questions of internationalist and solidarity and the forms that these took through international meetings of filmmakers and activists, film festivals, collectives and collaborations among anti-imperialist socialist artists, and the circulation of cinematic forms and texts across the world, especially as part of a Thirdworldist project in the 1960s-70s.

FMST 806 Proseminar l: Histories of Newness: The Productivity of Emergence in Film and Media History

Instructor: Haidee Wassson

Wednesday 1:15-5:15pm

This course will address the question of ‘newness’ and change in film and media theory and historiography.  There have been a spate of media histories written over the last 15 years founded on the premise that everything old was once new. In other words, even newness has a history. Crucially, these works also tend to forward a critique of the rhetorics and ideologies of “the new,” bringing historical analysis to bear on the present as much as the past. “Newness” has also fueled a long history of film and media theory, and also experimentation, capturing the imagination of enthusiasts and critics alike.   Using a case study model, this course will frame a wide range of film and media scholarship around responses to newness and the change that undergirds it. This will include examining key moments of emergence of particular media technologies (photography, film, television, video, the internet) but also select format changes within presumably established media (color and sound film, hand-held cameras and portable projectors, home video machines, miniature music players, drones, and on-line distribution systems).

PhD-Only Courses WINTER

FMST 802 Seminar in Film and Moving Image Aesthetic: Textual Trouble Shooting: Reading for Thesis

Instuctor: Kay Dickinson

Wednesday 1:15-5:15pm

Textual Troubleshooting allows doctoral candidates to nominate Film Studies and related literature they would like to read closely and collectively, perhaps selections with which they are having difficulty. This material then becomes the reading list for the term, each week dedicated to the whole group working through scholarship that is central to one or more students' projects. As such, the course acts as a stepping stone into the comprehensive exam process. Class members will be asked to frame their chosen texts both orally and via moodle and then, following the session, everyone will feed back responses to these selections with the aim of helping the proposer get a firmer grip on their field of study.

FMST 802 Seminar in Film and Moving Image Aesthetic: Feminist and Queer Media: A Counter-Lineage in Moving Image History

Instructor: Rosanna Maule

Wednesday 1:15-5:15pm

This seminar examines a vibrant yet overlooked area within the history of the moving image, that of practices, activities, and works produced, circulated, and promoted by film and video media associations, groups, and festivals associated with feminist, lesbian, queer, and LGBTQ identity politics and activism.

FMST 807 Proseminar ll: Global Approaches to Media and Migration

Instructor:  Ishita Tiwary

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This course treats the issue of Media and Migration focusing on the specific site of borderlands and delineating its relationship with media infrastructures. On one level, the material in the class will focus on border and media representation (fiction, nonfiction, art works), circulation of counterfeit and legal media across borders (VCD/DVD routes, Streaming on demand platforms), and its attendant effects on copyright censorship regimes. On another level, the course will explicate how the migratory media object teases out issues of lived experiences (migrant workers, asylum seekers, refugees), bazaar ecologies (pirate markets), sensorial transformations and media pandemics. 

This broader goal of the course is to de-center the Euro centrism of migration studies by turning its attention towards Global South contexts such as Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Moreover, it will focus on developing interdisciplinary methodological approaches towards studying borders and media.

Combined MA/PhD Courses FALL

FMST 665/865 Topics in Film Studies : Animation Ecologies

Instructor: Marc Steinberg

Wednesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This course treats animation within its expanded field of practices, applications, and milieus. It takes stock of recent scholarship on animation as performance, animation as industry, and animation as the focal point for an ecology of media practices. It examines animation as metaphor (the bringing-to-life of something inanimate) from which to interrogate planetary ecologies; animation as oppositional moving image practice (animated documentary and experimental animation); animation as object of theoretical investigation (animation theory); animation as a set of labour practices pioneering global outsourcing (television animation and special effects); animation as a site of moving image geographies and fandoms (anime); animation as an intellectual property engine and empire (Disney). We will read new strains of critical theory that place the moving image in relation to planetary ecologies; we will also read theories of ecology and view animated films that question the extractive regimes that characterize human behaviour today. Through it all, we will pay particular attention to the political nature of animation as a contested set of visual regimes, labour practices, industrial organizations, built architectures, and medial and terrestrial ecologies.

FMST 665/865 Topics in Film Studies: TBD

Instructor: TBD

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm


Combined MA/PhD Courses WINTER

FMST 625/825 Topics in Film History: Archival Film Practices and Feminist/LGBTQ+ Approaches

Instructor: Rosanna Maule

Wednesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This course offers an analysis of a growing area of critical interventions in film and media archival practices, as well as of gender-informed best practices in the preservation of film and media works produced within feminist and LGBTQI+ contexts. Its focus is on practices, actors, and institutions that have expanded and redefined the concept of the archive. 

Case studies considered will include feminist/LGBTQ+ organizations that have developed their own archives (e.g., Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, bildwechsel), individual filmmakers’ own archives (e.g., Sally Potter’s SP-Ark, Yvonne Welbon’s Sisters in Cinema), key figures in archival history and historiography (e.g., Maria Adriana Prolo, Beti Ellerson, Jenni Olson), and archives or online projects that preserve films by women filmmakers or about women from within areas overlooked by traditional archives  ( e.g., The Women Film Pioneers Project, The Woman behind the Camera, The Lesbian Home Movie Project, the Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images). Finally, we will consider the use of the archival image as a form of political criticism, identitarian strategy, and decolonizing practice, examining the work of Zineb Sedira, Mariam Ghani, and some of the artists featured in the Matri Archive of the Mediterranean project.

FMST 665/FMST 865 Topics in Film Studies: Cinema/Media in the Age of Smart Technologies

Instructor: Josh Neves

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

Room: LB 250


FMST 625/825 Topics in Film Studies: American Cinema of the 1950s

Instructor: Katie Russell

Thursday 1:15pm-5:15pm

Hollywood in the 1950s was an industry in transition, even while it produced some of the strongest films of its history. With the rise of independent productions, the competition of TV, and major shifts in the social fabric, American cinema was dramatically changed during this decade.  In this course we will examine the social and cultural climate of the HUAC trials and the Cold War, the civil rights movement, transformations of the urban environment, popular Freudianism, and censorship. Screenings will include examples of social problem films, revisionist Westerns, and film noir; readings will include analyses of race and gender within this transitional era and a variety of historiographic approaches to the period. Students will be required to do research projects and presentations.

FMST 665/865 Topics in Film Studies: TBD

Instructor: TBD

Thursday 6pm-10pm



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