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Courses

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: Post Socialist Cinema

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: Cinema of Exploration

Instructor: Luca Caminati

Wednesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

Combined MA/PhD Courses FALL

FMST 620/820 Topics in Non-European Cinemas: Arab Revolutions

Instructor: Kay Dickinson

Wednesday 6:00pm-10pm

This seminar offers students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with key scholarly critiques of "sexual liberation" that have emerged mostly within the 21st century as challenges to prevailing understandings fostered by and around queer theory as it was taken up enthusiastically within the (inter)discipline of cinema and media studies since the mid-1990s. Relevant texts by Christopher Chitty, Donald Morton, Peter Drucker, Rahul Rao, Heike Schotten, Mario Mieli, Samar Habib, Rosemary Hennessy, Jasbir Puar, Guy Hocquenghem, Myrl Beam, Tim McCaskell, Roderick Ferguson, Stephen Valocchi, Paul Amar, Kevin Floyd, and Joseph Massad, among others, will be analyzed and debated in the context of student presentations concerning these works' possible significance for the interpretation and critique of cinematic sexualities.

FMST 665/FMST 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.

 

PhD-Only Courses Winter

FMST 802 Seminar in Film and Moving Image Aesthetic: Platform Cultures

Instructor: Marc Steinberg

Wednesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

 

FMST 807 Proseminar II: Media and Migration

Instructor: Ishita Tiwary

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

 

Combined MA/PhD Courses WINTER

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 640/840 Gender Issues in Film: 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 665/865 Topics in Film Studies: Cinema/Media in the Age of Smart Technologies

Instructor: Josh Neves

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This course examines cinema/media in the context of debates about smart technologies, the Internet of Things, and machine learning, among others. While focused on recent transformations, we will also take a historical and comparative approach to new networked technologies. Examples will range from discussions of operational images and (post)cinema to smartphones, wearables, and neural networks. In particular, we will trace key genealogies and debates in film and media theory as they relate to questions of embodiment, smartness and cognition, attention, automation, materiality, logistics, risk, health, aesthetics, and (non)human politics. Through readings, screenings, and seminar discussions the course considers important changes in audiovisual cultures, asking about the status of current research in cinema (and media) studies.

FMST 665/865 Topics in Film Studies: Homonationalism, Homonormativity, Homocapitalism: Towards a Critique of Cinematic Sexualities

Instructor: Terri Ginsberg

Thursday 6:00pm-10:00pm

This seminar offers students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with key scholarly critiques of "sexual liberation" that have emerged mostly within the 21st century as challenges to prevailing understandings fostered by and around queer theory as it was taken up enthusiastically within the (inter)discipline of cinema and media studies since the mid-1990s. Relevant texts by Christopher Chitty, Donald Morton, Peter Drucker, Rahul Rao, Heike Schotten, Mario Mieli, Samar Habib, Rosemary Hennessy, Jasbir Puar, Guy Hocquenghem, Myrl Beam, Tim McCaskell, Roderick Ferguson, Stephen Valocchi, Paul Amar, Kevin Floyd, and Joseph Massad, among others, will be analyzed and debated in the context of student presentations concerning these works' possible significance for the interpretation and critique of cinematic sexualities.

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