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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 620/820 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 635 Topics in Aesthetics and Cultural Theory: Film Festival Studies

Instructor: Antoine Damiens

Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This course aims to provide a critical perspective on film festival studies – a recent but rapidly expanding field of research. It seeks to (1) familiarize students with key concepts and methods in festival research and (2) examine the effects of field formation on our scholarship. In particular, we will ask: How does the institutional history of the field shape our definition of film festivals? What is the political project of festival studies, and how does it orient us towards particular methodologies? What could be gained in “queering” and “decolonizing” festival studies? Course materials will include canonical texts in festival studies as well as a wide range of critical writing on the symbolic economy of knowledge production from a feminist and postcolonial perspective.

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.

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

Instructor: Joshua 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 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: Homonationalism, Homonormativity, Homocapitalism: Towards a Critique of Cinematic Sexualities

Instructor: Terri Ginsberg

Thursday 6pm-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.

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