PhD Courses


PhD Courses Descriptions 2022-2023

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: Intersectional Approaches to Gender Theory

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

This seminar offers an overview of theories, debates, and movements that have diversified and multiplied dominant or universalizing concepts of feminism and gender-informed approaches to film and the moving image from inclusive and intersectional perspectives. While not following a strictly chronological order, the seminar will contextualize the emergence of concepts and movements in their historical and sociocultural specificity, drawing on a vast range of texts from different periods and critical frameworks.

Topics within the seminar will include: the lesbian-cultural movements of the 1960s and video activism; Black feminism and Womanism; Black Radical Lesbian Activism; transnational feminism and contemporary globalization; non-Western and post-Colonial Feminism;  New Queer Feminism and Art Global Cinema;  Indigenous Feminist movements and new media practices.

 

FMST 806 Proseminar l: Methodologies of Transnational Approaches to Film & Media Research

Instructor: Masha Salazkina
Thursday 1:15-5:15pm

The goal of this seminar is to familiarize students with the main developments in transnational approaches to film and media, and address the main problems and challenges facing scholars who conduct such work, as well as discuss possible solutions and applications to students’ own work.

The first 6 weeks of the course will provide an overview of the existing literature on transnationalism and comparativism in film and media over the past 20 years, with focus ranging from international flows of historical film circulation (festivals, import-export networks, translation/dubbing/subtitling practices, international reception, fandom and stardom); transnational television formats; co-productions and remakes; global media networks and streaming platforms; transnational and comparative conceptualizations of indigenous, queer and other non-mainstream cinema and media formations/audiences.

The second half of the course will consist of engaging with invited scholars (advanced PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty, as well as scholars outside of Concordia) to discuss their experiences of conducting transnational research, focusing on specific methodological challenges. Rather than giving research presentations, the guests will be asked to engage with questions, formulated in advance by the class by giving specific examples from their work.

The assignments for the course will consist of relatively short-length exercises, geared towards the development of specific skills – such as annotated bibliographies, historical timelines, “keywords” compilations, and book and festival and/or conference reviews (based on the availability).


PhD-Only Courses WINTER

FMST 802 Critical Genealogies of Immersion

Instuctor: May Chew
Thursday 1:15-5:15 pm

Immersion is an increasingly ubiquitous mode of contemporary film/art exhibition and engagement. We can even argue that it structures the ways in which we navigate our material and virtual worlds, and increasingly, how we understand the relationship between technology, mediation, and agency. While acknowledging its more recent iterations, this course also aims to historicize immersion in art and media. We will examine how technologies touted as “new” can be traced to early medieval, Renaissance, and nineteenth-century visual technologies; 1960s experiments in expanded media; and more. At the same time, the course will propose ways in which we might turn to Indigenous and decolonial thinkers in order to dislodge predominantly Eurocentric and colonial genealogies of immersion, and to upend settler-colonial understandings of the relationship between body, technology, and land/space. In particular, we will draw on Indigenous theorists and practitioners who challenge new media theories predicated on Western-centric understandings of embodiment and subjectivity, and heed decolonial aesthetics’ urges for epistemic, sensory, and somatic realignments beyond colonial paradigms.

Conceptually, we will approach immersion—particularly its premise of the work/text as seamless or “total”—as a means to explore affect, atmosphere, absorption, and control. This in turn will illuminate the ways that immersion can be investigated as a social and political figure, for example in urban planning; surveillance capitalism; and current discourses around labour and attention economies. Further, this course considers the dexterous ways that immersive formats have often be offered as solutions to the crises of art, representation, and institutional power. An underlying thread throughout also concerns how, despite their promises, immersive paradigms often inscribe normative or “default” forms of embodiment while excluding others based on race, gender, class, ability, etc.

FMST 807 Proseminar ll: Emergence: Histories of the New Media

Instuctor: Haidee Wasson
Tuesday 1:15-5:15 pm

This seminar offers an overview of theories, debates, and movements that have diversified and multiplied dominant or universalizing concepts of feminism and gender-informed approaches to film and the moving image from inclusive and intersectional perspectives. While not following a strictly chronological order, the seminar will contextualize the emergence of concepts and movements in their historical and sociocultural specificity, drawing on a vast range of texts from different periods and critical frameworks.

Topics within the seminar will include: the lesbian-cultural movements of the 1960s and video activism; Black feminism and Womanism; Black Radical Lesbian Activism; transnational feminism and contemporary globalization; non-Western and post-Colonial Feminism;  New Queer Feminism and Art Global Cinema;  Indigenous Feminist movements and new media practices.

We will also engage in practical discussions about conducting historiographic research on film and media, examining the dynamics of using primary sources and navigating relevant institutions such as archives. Invited guests.


Combined MA/PhD Courses FALL

FMST 610/810 Topics in Cinema Quebecois

Instructor: TBD
Thursday 6:00pm-10:00pm

FMST 630/830 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 665/865 Topics in Film & Moving Image Studies: Platform Cultures

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

This course examines the streaming platforms and their cultural impacts. Grounding the course in readings from film, media, and communication studies, we will examine the general state of writings around platforms, as well as the blind-spots of platform research. This will include attention to geopolitics (platform imperialism), attention to the new manners in which film and media industries globalize (in both production and circulation), the ways that nations or regions are born out of particular media platform configurations, and the impact of earlier formats such as broadcast television on streaming platforms. This course will introduce students to crucial texts in the expanded field of platform studies (from analyses of Netflix to theories of platform capitalism), while also extending debates from film and media studies to address lacunae in current platform analyses.

 

FMST 665/865 Topics in Film & Moving Image Studies: Opacity - A Poetics of Feeling

Instructor: Erin Manning
Wednesday
1:15pm-5:15pm

In Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation, there is a startling scene on the beach, that very beach which still carries the resonances of the middle passage, of bodies lost to the count. Walking along it on his daily stroll, Glissant remarks on a presence, a man. This presence is oblique, opaque, one might say, following Glissant’s important work on what registers infrathinly, making a difference without “counting.” The man is neurodiverse, a presence “unhinged,” a figure troubling the “peace.” Glissant remarks briefly on the figure and continues his walk. But the figure remains, haunting his magnificent book on the poetics of feeling that shimmers in the interstices of what counts for existence.

The opaque in Glissant is many things. In an important sense, it is a critique of transparency, of Enlightenment principles. But to hold it to this would be to miss its force. For the opaque is precisely what cannot fit into a pre-ascribed sense-making theory. The opaque is the relational, the poetics that insists that there be a “consent not to be a single being.” What is it to make sense in this poetics of feeling?

Feeling, in process philosophy, is not subjective. It is not what a subject does. Feeling is what propels subjectivity into act. Alfred North Whitehead speaks of his philosophy as a “critique of pure feeling,” doing so in a necessary riposte to Immanuel Kanta’s “critique of pure reason.”

To have a world motored by feeling is, arguably, to displace the transparency of the colonial project, to shift the contours of what has been made to count.

The class is a proposition to enter into this complexity and to read and think carefully across its interstices. To do so will be to read slowly and carefully into problematics that will be considered to be “approximations of proximity”, not adjacencies given in advance. What I mean by that is that to read Glissant beside Whitehead is not to make sense of Whitehead through Glissant or vice versa but to engage in an ethics of the differential where thought produces inflections that are irresolvable (infinitely opaque).

Three main texts will be read: Edouard Glissant Poetics of Relation, Alfred North Whitehead “Objects and Subjects” from Adventures of Ideas, and Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives. Woven through these three texts (of which the Whitehead is but a chapter, but will be returned to in our rethinking of what a feeling might be that is excised from a subject as given in advance), we will turn to extracts from Fred Moten’s Stolen Life, Sylvia Wynter’s “On Being Human as Praxis”, and Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s All Incomplete. My own work on neurodiversity and blackness from For a Pragmatics of the Useless will also be proposed as a way to consider the role the figure of neurodiversity is in an approximation of proximity to blackness not only in Glissant’s account, but more broadly.


Combined MA/PhD Courses WINTER

FMST 620/820 Topics in Non-European Cinema: Arab Cinema - The Palestine Question

Instructor: Terri Ginsberg
Wednesday 1:15pm-5:15pm

Notwithstanding the historical importance of Arab resources to neocolonial economies, and despite the sustained violence perpetrated by developmentalist countries against the Arab world, Arab cinema is one of the least taught and understood within Cinema Studies.  Shifting global power configurations vis-a-vis an international resurgence of militant labor has produced conditions for altering this veritable invisibilization.  In this seminar, we will analyze and theorize the ensuing change in critical focus, lending particular attention to the representation of Palestine.  A studied juxtaposition of selected readings and films will problematize cooptive as well as socially transformative tendencies.  Student presentations; final research paper.

FMST 650/850 Topics in Experimental Film and Video - Archives, Found Footage, Remix

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

The art and practice of recycling moving images and sounds has proliferated in the 21st century, and in the process, notions of media archives have become destabilized and expansive. Archives have become charged with the task of remaking history for marginalized communities and identities and have thus become far more fluid than they once were. The aesthetics and politics of making new work out of old are extremely varied, and have undergone several phases of revision with new technologies and new artistic practices, not to mention different archival sources. In this class we will survey the history of found footage and archiveology as they have evolved since the 1950s, and into the digital era. We will examine the sensory properties of archives, dissecting their material vulnerabilities and their relation to cultural histories. Readings from selected film theorists and critics will situate a diverse body of work within the history of the avant-garde, documentary film and new media practices. Together, we will explore critical questions of history and memory, collecting, compilation, techniques of montage and remixing, as well as the ethical, political and historical issues arising from an eclectic group of media works. The archive and the counter-archive are rich concepts as well as actual practices that are intertwined and constantly undergoing shifting senses of purpose and form.   

FMST 665/865 Topics in Film and Moving Image Studies

Instructor: TBA
Thursday 8:45am-12:45pm

 


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