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PhD Courses

PhD Courses Descriptions 2024-2025

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

PhD-Only Courses FALL

FMST 804 Seminar in Film and Moving Image Culture: Global Video Modernities - Infrastructure and Aesthetics

Instructor: Ishita Tiwary

Monday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This course delineates the multiple lives of video and its cultural, social and political impact through infrastructures created by VHS tapes, VCD and DVD culture, and streaming and mobile platforms. It focuses on issues and forms distinct to each technological apparatus such as the emergence of the video nasties in the global north, local entertainment industries spurred by VCD culture in the global south, and DIY aesthetics and WhatsApp videos of the digital age. Through an examination of the poetics of infrastructure, the course will map and traverse the landscape of bootlegging, piracy, local media cultures and the forensic imagination. Deploying the lens of video, the course will address the issues of media infrastructures vis-a- vis the post cinematic imagination. While it is critical that we debate video as a post cinematic apparatus, it is equally necessary that we place front and centre certain discussions from the global south (piracy as access, localized video cultures, doctored videos and the crowd) if only to comprehend infrastructural politics and poetics of the medium(s).

FMST 806 Proseminar l: Cinemas of Underdelopment and Over Development

Instructor: Joshua Neves

Thursday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This Proseminar’s goal is to engage students with contemporary debates on cinema and media in the context of multiple mobilities – such travel and exploration, labor migration, transnational film and media production and modes of circulation, digital platforms, transnational reception, etc. Thematically, the first half of the course will focus in particular on the questions of geography and space in relation to the study of both, historical and contemporary aspects of film and media. There will be three primary threads to the course 1) an introduction to Concordia’s research culture, with concrete focus on faculty-led and graduate-led research presentations aimed at bringing first year PhD students into conversation with the research process; 2) seminar discussions on a selection of topics pertinent to frameworks and research methods within global and transnational film and media scholarship and debates around them, and 3) “practicums” that focus on elements of the PhD program and experience.

Specific topics in the course will be chosen in consultation with the students so as to best reflect their research interests – while also introducing them to broader scholarly paradigms and new potential directions for their work. Written and oral assignments are designed to, among other things, develop research and communication skills and best ways to participate in the research culture.

PhD-Only Courses Winter

FMST 802 Seminar in Film & Moving Image Aesthetics: Non-Professional Acting, Performance and Collaboration

Instructor: Katie Russell
Monday 1:15pm-5:15pm

Non-professional acting has long been an important component of independent cinema, including fiction, documentary, experimental, and new media although not a great deal has been written about this aspect of film and moving image media. The course will involve screenings of a wide range of filmmaking, including Indigenous fiction, docufictions, collaborative projects, and films in which professional actors perform alongside non-professional actors. Students will read a variety of texts in performance theory, acting analysis, ethnography, and labour studies as well as readings in the legacy of neorealism, re-enactment and film extras. They will be asked to develop original research projects that engage with any aspect of this topic, and to help curate the course screenings. The stakes of this topic include the ethics of directing non-professionals, the role of the body in fiction and the work of acting, ethnographic methods, and interrogating the term “non-professional.”

FMST 807 Proseminar II: Platform Theories and Cultures

Instructor: Marc Steinberg
Thursday 1:15pm-5:15pm

This course examines the status of the moving image in the platform era. It also examines the state of platform analysis in light of existing writing on television, film and digital media. This course will offer a deep dive into research on platforms with the aim of helping students articulate their own platform-related research projects (or, alternatively, their own projects in relation to platform studies). It will also situate platform studies within longer histories of media and digital media studies, with particular attention to key works over the past four decades that help situate platform studies within a longer lineage of media analysis. In short, we will see how the platform (and platform studies) is both a window into recent discussions of media and race, geography, nation, sexualities, aesthetics, and economic transformations, as well as an opportunity to revisit previous writings in film and media studies, now newly relevant. Finally, as a proseminar, the course will also serve as an orienting place to the PhD program, offering workshops on how to write conference abstracts, how to think about book and article publication, and how to write comprehensive exams – as well as other topics of interest to students.

Combined MA/PhD Courses Fall

FMST 620/820 Topics in Non-European Cinemas: Decolonial Science Fiction

Instructor: Masha Salazkina
Tuesday 8:45am-12:45pm

This course will examine the intersection of speculative fiction and decolonial politics, focusing primarily on recent cinematic productions from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Weekly screenings will be complemented with readings in de-, post- and anti-colonial cultural theory, as well as occasional works of literary fiction. The goal of the course will be to explore the alternative cinematic imaginaries of the world - such as Afro-futurism, Indigenous futurism, transhumanism, and others - as a mode of generating insights into today's geo- and acqua-politics.

FMST 630/860 Topics in Film Theory: Classical Film Theory

Instructor: Martin Lefebvre
Thursday: 1:15pm-5:15pm

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 635/835 Topics in Aesthetics & Cultural Theory:  Women's Film Festivals

Instructor: Rosanna Maule
Tuesday: 1:15pm-5:15pm


Combined MA/PhD Courses WINTER

FMST 605/805 Topics in English Canadian Cinema: Contesting Nation

Instructor: May Chew
Wednesday 8:45-12:45


FMST 645/845 Topics in Film Genres: Global Film Noir 1947 and 1951-1952

Instructor: Peter Rist
Thursday 8:45-12:45

Although the instructor’s interests mainly lie with Film Noir as a genre or as cycles of films with stylistic, narrative and thematic traits, this seminar has been designed to open up to consider connections with political and social aspects of the post-World War II period as well as restraints of censorship. Although it may not be evident from the seminar title, only two or three years of film noir will be studied, while the scope will be global. (We don’t believe that Film Noir should only be considered as a U.S. cycle of films between 1940 and 1959.) 1947 has been chosen as a peak year for both U.S. and British Film noir, and the first half of the semester will be devoted to those two industries, as well as France (and, perhaps, a rare Quebec film noir), The second half will focus on 1951-52, and begin with films from Mexico and Argentina, then Germany, and end with a return to Hollywood (possibly considering the “cold war” and the effects on film noir of HUAC: the House Un-American Activities Committee).

FMST 660/860 Topics in Film Directors: Investigations in Film Style

Instructor: John Locke
Tuesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

Does a filmmaker’s style remain consistent between early and mature works? Discussing this question is one way of understanding the concept of Style. Style is rarely the focus of Film Studies research and adds an additional dimension to your understanding of film.

Works of 5 filmmakers will be considered. Surely you know the story of every narrative film you see, but can you identify their style? Does a filmmaker have a consistent style, or a style that matures or reinvents itself, or even a filmography with some films which seem stylistically out of place? Do you now notice a film’s style? Think of this following the next films you watch.

Each of you has one or two favorite or most influential films. After a discussion with the instructor, one will be selected, and you will do a stylistic analysis of this film as the focus of your term work.

Usually, it is a variety of factors (story, performance, moral or political positions) which lead a viewer to select a film as particularly important to them. Rarely is style of primary significance. Remembering that film is a visual art, how can a film’s style influence or impact your perception of it being a “favorite”, “most influential”, or “of central importance” without understanding and considering the role of style in your thinking. A film is not just words and sentences on paper like a script nor is it just a performance like in theatre.


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