MA Course Descriptions 2020-2021
Note: 600-level indicates MA, 800-level indicates PhD. Several courses are offered to both MA and PhD students.
FMST 600 Methods in Film Studies
Instructor: Dr. Haidee Wasson
Location: FB 250 & VCR (Visual Collections Repository) Seminar Room
Fall Term - Mondays 1:15-5:15pm in FB 250 (Online)
The first term of this mandatory course in the Film Studies MA Program is designed to help students develop research, writing and presentation skills appropriate to the discipline of film studies. Assigned readings will include film and media riticism, theory, textual analysis, and cultural studies approaches to cinema; and explore the history of the discipline of film and media 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. Weekly screenings will anchor the course in a set of fiction, documentary, and experimental films that open onto different areas of study within the field of film and media studies. Written and oral assignments are designed to develop writing and communication skills appropriate to the field. The course also works to facilitate an esprit de corps within the M.A. class.
Winter Term: Mondays 1:15-5:15pm in FB 250
This second portion of the Methods seminar is designed to help students develop basic research, writing, and presentation skills required to successfully complete the program. This course will focus on workshop-style exercises and practical discussions geared towards assisting students with things like digital searching, navigating archives and libraries, building bibliographies, conceptualizing and planning programs of research, understanding different kinds of evidence and how to use it, presentation skills, and academic writing practices. We will also discuss key survival strategies for graduate school such as developing good reading and writing habits. Time will also be devoted to practices of peer review and the many kinds of publishing and other paths your academic work can lead towards. Past graduates of the program will also present to the class, sharing their own routes through the program and beyond. This aspect of the class is designed to provide students with ideas, advice and strategies for post-graduation pathways. You will be encouraged to use this class as a resource for the assignments you will be asked to complete in your other classes. In the winter term, we will focus a good deal of time on developing independent research proposals based on student interests. There will be no extended or feature-length screenings associated with this class.
FMST 605/805 – Topics in English Canadian Film: New Canadian Documentary
Room: FB 250
Instructor: Dr. May Chew
This seminar explores the social, political, historical, and cultural forces behind contemporary nonfiction production and reception in Canada. We will examine key modes of the genre, including cinema vérité, direct cinema, ethnographic, autoethnographic, reflexive, essayistic, activist, participatory and experimental approaches, and also broaden our ambit of nonfiction media to include installation, photography, radio, podcasting, VR and interactive documentary. Using the 1960s as a departure point, the course will critically assess the role of documentary in national identity; and the legacy of John Grierson, social realism and the National Film Board. The genealogy of documentary as ‘national genre’ will allow us to explore our key problematic surrounding new directions for nonfiction practice and engagement through emerging platforms. Our main focus will be on media recently produced by Indigenous, feminist, queer, black and diasporic filmmakers whose works advance certain conceptual, aesthetic and political tools (counter-publics and counter-archives, decolonization, Indigenous sovereignty, queer and racialized subjectivities, transnational imaginaries, etc.) to help us reconceptualize nation, cultural production and power.
FMST 630/830 Topics in Film Theory: Christian Metz and the Structuralist Moment in Film Theory
Room: FB 250 (Online)
Instructor: Dr. Martin Lefebvre
The heyday of structuralism in film studies lasted roughly from 1964 to 1980. However, its influence continues to this day. Indeed, it corresponded to important and lasting changes in the study of cinema. Though it was not the sole factor involved, structuralism played a key role in the academic specialization of film studies. This course aims to provide students with an understanding of what structuralism meant in the history of film studies through reading and discussion of a number of key structuralist texts. There will be an emphasis on the work on Christian Metz.
FMST 640/FMST 840 Gender Issues in Film: Women's Cinema and Digital Platforms
Room: FB 250 (Online)
Instructor: Dr. Rosanna Maule
Drawing on a growing scholarship in film and new media studies, this seminar investigates Web-based and streaming practices, phenomena, and actors that are re-articulating the concept of women’s cinema within a digital media ecology and a moving image industry dominated by multinational media corporations and streaming platforms. Through the examination of TV series, streaming companies, and Web-based organizations or professional figures, this course proposes a critical assessment of cinematic forms, circuits, and discourses associated with women, gendered issues, and feminist/LGBTQ practices within this new context of audiovisual production, distribution, and reception.
Some of the topics addressed will be: cyberfeminism and women's digital activism; gender-oriented crowdfunding companies; feminist/LGBTQ festivals and social media; “women’s “ TV series; feminist/queer authorship on digital platforms; 'feminist pornography' and social networks; feminist/LGBTQ online cultures and archives.
FMST 650/850 - Topics in Experimental Film & Video: Expanded Cinema
Room: FB 250
Instructor: Dr. Randolph Jordan
This course explores a longstanding impulse in film history and practice: to expand cinema. Throughout the 20th Century and up to the contemporary moment, artists, entrepreneurs, futurists, designers and technophiles have worked to reject conventional forms of cinema and to seek out more immersive, nimble, adaptable audio-visual scenarios that defy the limits of the singular, static film screen. This has included the use of unique spaces (picture palaces, domes, factories, galleries, expositions, black boxes), as well as the development of particular technologies (surround-sound, widescreen, IMAX, portable projectors, 3D). The resulting "films" constitute compelling case studies for exploring cinema at its limits, but also for understanding the ways in which cinema has long been crafted as a hybrid and elastic form. We will consider these works and also examine the particular debates and ideas they engender. Students will be introduced to a range of audio-visual materials, as well as critical readings relating cinema to ideas about space, projection, entertainment, experience, ideology, information, architecture, technology, art and experiment.
FMST 665/865 Topics in Film Studies:
Internet & Video Graphic Research/Digital Media Ethnography
Room: TBA (Online)
Instructor: Dr. Joshua Neves
This course combines audiovisual practice with critical approaches to digital media. Drawing on cultural studies, sensory ethnography, internet studies, among others, the course will both examine digital media practices and technologies, and consider how to use digital media to do media studies (including considering critiques of the "dark side of the digital humanities"). Class meetings will combine seminar style reading, writing, and debate with audiovisual exercises and “crit” style workshops. We will examine research methodologies and interpretive frameworks from a number of fields, including cinema/media studies, visual anthropology, urban studies, interface studies, as well as genealogies of ethnographic and experimental media. The course will be organized around three distinct approaches of practice based research important for graduate students in film and media studies: (1) media ethnography and related approaches to site-specific research; (2) internet, social media and interface research methods; (3) video essays as a mode of research and dissemination. Students will gain basic facility with video shooting, sound recording, editing, and online capture, participate in multiple digital ethnography projects, and develop video essay projects for publication.
FMST 665/865 Topics in Film Studies: Genre Crossings: From Asia to Hollywood
Instructor: Dr. Ishita Tiwary
This seminar seeks to de-center genre studies by its Hollywood centric vantage by examining the migration of film genres from East and South Asia to Hollywood. Specifically, it will delineate how these genres mutate formally and topically in their migration towards Hollywood. Taking inspiration from Kuan Tsing Chen's formulation of Asia as Method, the course, through the south-north genre flows will interrogate questions of aesthetics, pleasure, the popular and national cinema. Traversing from Japanese horror, to South Korean thrillers , the Hong Kong Martial arts film, the Chinese Wuxia film and the Indian Masala film, the seminar will offer alternative perspectives on genre formations, transformations, and modes of knowledge production.
FMST 665/865 Topics in Film Studies: The Politics of Fear: Violence, Power, and Resistance in Horror
Instructor: Dr. Desirée de Jesus
The course uses a transnational framework and situates the horror film as an entry point for investigating the ways in which definitions of violence are shaped by and contribute to intersecting power relations. We will use critical race and intersectional feminist frameworks to critically engage familiar, but unusual, film texts and to extend our thinking about the ways that horror can operate as a site of critique, inquiry, and subversion.