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Courses

MA Course Descriptions 2021-2022

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

FALL

FMST 601 Methods in Film and Moving Image Studies

Instructor: Luca Caminati

Monday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This is a mandatory course in the Film Studies MA Program. It is designed to help students develop research, writing and presentation skills appropriate to the discipline of film studies. In addition to technical and practical matters, the course helps students develop productive and original research questions by examining notable issues in the field. Course materials examine the ways that film history, criticism, and textual analysis have been and can be written, encompassing a range of ways of seeing, interpreting and understanding cinema and the moving image.

FMST 605 Topics in English Canadian Film: Indigenous & Diasporic Film and Media

Instructor: May Chew

Thursday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This seminar examines Indigenous and diasporic voices and imaginaries within so-called “Canadian” cinema since the 1960s. Avoiding essentialisms, this course interrogates hegemonic understandings of national film culture by analysing how the current landscape of Canadian film and media production is shaped by histories of settler-colonization and migration. One of our primary goals will be to examine the ways in which ‘dominant’ and ‘minority’ screen cultures are mutually informed, and how forces of liberalism/consensus and resistance collide under the category of Canadian cinema. We will investigate how cultural policies and institutions like the National Film Board have directly impacted screen practices and resulted in ambivalent articulations of national identity, while materializing the inherent tensions between multiculturalism and decolonization. Throughout the course, we will also explore decolonial aesthetics, visual sovereignty, post/colonialism, homonationalism, transnationalism, migration, hybridity, memory, and exile.

FMST 620 Topics in Non-European Cinemas: Arab Revolutions

Instructor: Kay Dickinson

Wednesday 6pm-10pm

This century, online repositories have been awash with filmed material detailing, debating and promoting the compulsions and tactics of insurrections in the Arab world. Yet this body of work stands as simply the latest in a long line of alliances between the capacities of film production and broader revolutionary praxis. For instance, Layla – purportedly Egypt’s first ever feature film – erupted out of and fortified the feminist anti-colonial campaigns of the 1920s. Since then, a significant majority of Arab moviemaking has engrossed itself in similar struggles against injustice. This course seeks to acknowledge and analyze cultural-activist engagements with a history of revolt in countries like Egypt, Palestine, Algeria and Syria, alongside related exilic and internationalist endeavours. More particularly, this class will ask: how have various revolutions been conceptualized and enacted, and what role has, and can, cinema play within them? The corpus of films onto which this course opens comprises everything from guerrilla ventures to state-sponsored industrial output.  In terms of reading matter, the meagre Film Studies writing on these topics will be supplemented with political treatises, historical accounts, poetry, and anti-colonial theory.

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: Digital Media and Race

Instructor: Joshua Neves

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

 

WINTER

FMST 602 Methods in Film and Moving Image Studies

Instructor: Masha Salazkina

Monday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This is a mandatory course in the Film Studies MA Program. It is designed to help students develop research, writing and presentation skills appropriate to the discipline of film studies. In addition to technical and practical matters, the course helps students develop productive and original research questions by examining notable issues in the field. Course materials examine the ways that film history, criticism, and textual analysis have been and can be written, encompassing a range of ways of seeing, interpreting and understanding cinema and the moving image.

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

Instructor: Rosanna Maule

Wednesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

 

FMST 630/830 Topics in Film Theory: Classical Film Theory

Instructor: Martin Lefebvre

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

Room: LB 250

This seminar will focus on some of the major figures of what is now referred to as "Classical Film Theory". The course is addressed first and foremost to students interested in the history of film theory and the development of ideas about film from the silent period to the 1960s.

Classical Film Theory concerns a period in the study of the cinema that pre-dates the full-blown emergence of a discipline of films studies; one that, for the most part, precedes the development of a film studies curriculum in universities, the emergence of specialized academic journals, the rise of professional film studies associations, etc. Thus film theory was left to a group of individual thinkers often initially trained in either philosophy, psychology, art history, sociology, or other disciplines within the Humanities, and in some instances to filmmakers themselves, who worked in isolation, but whose vision nonetheless introduced some of the most important and lasting debates about the nature of film and its relation to reality and the other arts.

The course will center on the writings of 5 important figures of Classical Film Theory: Hugo Münsterberg, Sergei M. Eisenstein, Rudolf Arnheim, André Bazin and Siegfried Kracauer. Students will be asked to read the works of these theorists which will then be discussed in class. Lectures will situate the different theories in their intellectual context. And since film theory doesn't develop out of "thin air", but in relation to films, films and film excerpts will be screened so as to contextualize and/or exemplify the work of each of the theorists considered.

FMST 665/865 Topics in Film Studies: Hollywood in the 50s

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: LTA

Thursday 6pm-10pm

 

 

 

 

 

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 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: Digital Media and Race

Instructor: Joshua Neves

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 630/830 Topics in Film Theory: Classical Film Theory

Instructor: Martin Lefebvre

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

Room: LB 250

This seminar will focus on some of the major figures of what is now referred to as "Classical Film Theory". The course is addressed first and foremost to students interested in the history of film theory and the development of ideas about film from the silent period to the 1960s.

Classical Film Theory concerns a period in the study of the cinema that pre-dates the full-blown emergence of a discipline of films studies; one that, for the most part, precedes the development of a film studies curriculum in universities, the emergence of specialized academic journals, the rise of professional film studies associations, etc. Thus film theory was left to a group of individual thinkers often initially trained in either philosophy, psychology, art history, sociology, or other disciplines within the Humanities, and in some instances to filmmakers themselves, who worked in isolation, but whose vision nonetheless introduced some of the most important and lasting debates about the nature of film and its relation to reality and the other arts.

The course will center on the writings of 5 important figures of Classical Film Theory: Hugo Münsterberg, Sergei M. Eisenstein, Rudolf Arnheim, André Bazin and Siegfried Kracauer. Students will be asked to read the works of these theorists which will then be discussed in class. Lectures will situate the different theories in their intellectual context. And since film theory doesn't develop out of "thin air", but in relation to films, films and film excerpts will be screened so as to contextualize and/or exemplify the work of each of the theorists considered.

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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