Courses

Chicago Film Cultures

21805
31805
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
J. Stewart

Chicago not only boasts a rich history of film production (from silent comedies to industrial, educational, student, documentary, and contemporary Hollywood filmmaking) but also has a long, significant history of film presentation.  Chicago features iconic movie palaces built downtown and in neighborhoods across the city in the 1920s.  And it is has been the site of a wide variety of film exhibition venues and film-related events that are currently thriving: festivals, conferences, workshops, lectures.  Films are screened in every type of museum (history, art, science), in large mainstream venues and in smaller, community-based and artist-run spaces.  Our own campus boasts Doc Films, the longest-running film society in the country. This course examines the conceptual and historical frameworks that have been used for presenting cinema – historical and contemporary – in the city's varied institutional and cultural contexts.  Students will study past film and current cultures in Chicago by researching particular events, venues, critics and curators, and by employing a variety of methods, including archival research, participant observation and interviews. Topics covered will include include exhibition, funding and marketing, debates on curating and film in museums, audience and fan culture studies (with attention to Chicago's particular demographic contours), national cinemas, genre, authorship and multi-media presentational modes.

Creative Thesis Workshop

23905
33905
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
J. Hoffman

This seminar will focus on how to craft a creative thesis in film or video. Works-in-progress will be screened each week, and technical and structural issues relating to the work will be explored. The workshop will also develop the written portion of the creative thesis. The class is limited to seniors from CMS and DOVA, and MAPH students working on a creative thesis.

Documentary Production 2

23931
33931
ARTV 23931, ARTV 33931, HMRT 25107, HMRT 35107
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017

Documentary Video Production II focuses on the shaping and crafting of a non-Fiction video. Enrollment will be limited to those students who have taken Documentary Production I, and the class will continue working on the documentaries begun in the fall. Students will learn about grants and budgeting and will be expected to write a treatment detailing their project. Production techniques will concentrate on the language of handheld camera versus tripod, interview methodologies, microphone placement including working with wireless systems and mixers, and lighting for the interview. Post-production will cover editing techniques including color correction and audio sweetening, how to prepare for exhibition, and distribution strategies. A public screening of student work will take place Spring quarter.

Classical Film Theory

27220
37220
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
D. Rodowick

This seminar will present a critical survey of the principal authors, concepts, and films in the classical period of film theory.  The main though not exclusive emphasis will be the period of silent film and theorists writing in the context of French and German cinema.  We will study the aesthetic debates of the period in their historical context, whose central questions include:  Is film an art?  If so, what specific and autonomous means of expression define it as an aesthetic medium?  What defines the social force and function of cinema as a mass art? Weekly readings and discussion will examine major film movements of the classical period—for example, French impressionism and Surrealism—as well as the work of major figures such as Hugo Münsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac, Béla Balázs, Erwin Panofsky, Hans Richter, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and André Bazin.

Contemporary Documentary

28202
38202
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
D. Bluher

Description coming soon.

The Films of Josef von Sternberg

26000
46000
FNDL 26001
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
T. Gunning

Few figures in the history of cinema are as complex as Joseph von Sternberg. He can be seen both as the epitome of Hollywood glamour and as an excluded outsiders. He worked primarily in the USA, but made two of his most famous films in foreign countries (Der Blaue Engel, Germany 1930 and Anatahan, Japan 1957). A pioneer in international sound cinema, he was also an established director during the silent era.  A lynchpin of the Paramount Studio, he was also one of the first independent filmmakers with his debut feature The Salvation Hunters. This course will explore Sternberg’s manufacture of an authorial directorial persona and unique stylistics (and its relation to the “auteur theory”); his relation the Hollywood studio system of collaboration and his relation to the stars system, with especial attention to the films he made at Paramount with Marlene Dietrich.  Most of Von Sternberg’s surviving works will be screened.

History of International Cinema 2

28600
48600
ARTH 28600,ARTH 38600,CMLT 22500,CMLT 32500, ENGL 29600,ENGL 48900,MAPH 33700,ARTV 26600
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
D. Morgan

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

Performance Theory: Action, Affect, Archive

62201
ENGL 59306
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
L. Kruger

This PhD seminar offers a critical introduction to performance theory and its applications not only to theatre but also to performance on film and, more controversially, to ‘performativity’ to fictional and other texts that have nothing directly to do with performance. The seminar will be organized around three key conceptual clusters: a) action, acting, and other forms of production or play, in theories from the classical (Aristotle) through the modern (Hegel, Brecht, Artaud), to the contemporary (Richard Schechner, Philip Zarilli, and others) b) affect, and its intersections with emotion and feeling: in addition to the impact of contemporary theories of affect and emotion (Massumi, Sedgwick) on performance theory (Erin Hurley), we will read earlier modern texts that anticipate recent debates (Diderot, Freud) and their current interpreters (Joseph Roach, Tim Murray and others), as well as those writing about the absence of affect and the performance of failure (Sara Bailes and others) c) archives and related institutions, practices and theories of recording performance, including the formation of audiences (Susan Bennett and with evaluating print and other media yielding evidence of ephemeral acts, including the work of theorists of memory (Pierre Nora) and remains (Rebecca Schneider), theatre historians (Rose Bank, Jody Enders, Tracy Davis and others) as well as current theorists on the tensions between the archive and the repertoire (Diana Taylor) or between excavation and performance (Michael Shanks/ Mike Pearson) Requirements: one or two oral presentations of assigned texts and final paper. To prepare PhDs for professional writing, final paper will take the form of a review article (ca 5000 words) examining key concepts in the field and the controversies they may engender, by way of two recent books that tackle these concepts.

Remapping New Waves: New Cinema and New Theories in Japan

64904
EALC 44904
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
T. Tsunoda

We have recently seen a growing number of works that aimed at a broader and renewed understanding of the new cinemas of the 1960's in Japan, with more complex accounts of the historical, geographical, and geopolitical trajectory of the Japanese New Wave. Ongoing investigations have largely ascribed its rise to Oshima Nagisa, the central figure in the publicity-driven phenomenon known as the “Shōchiku Nouvelle Vague” (Nūberu Bāgu). Amidst these new scholarly texts, there are still a series of theoretical and historical/historiographical questions that have remained under-explored: where did the Japanese New Wave come from, and what actually constituted it? How did the emergence of the new cinema intersect with larger media, social, and intellectual history? Did the cinematic medium have to be radicalized in order to become ‘new’? How was such ‘newness’ visualized, accousticized, and registered by other sensory cues in the cinema? How was the emergence of the new cinema in dialogue with institutions? Placing films in the contexts of the era’s media-scape, this course will delve into an analytical reconsideration of this rich period of Japanese cinema specifically from the perspective of the Japanese New Wave. While we will aim to capture the exhilaration of the Japanese New Wave by closely analyzing existing studies on some of its key makers and their works, special attention will be given to what has been left out of the category as it is conventionally understood, such as educational and industrial films.

All required readings are in English. Participants with reading ability in Japanese will be asked to take on additional readings in Japanese and present on them in class. 

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000,ENGL 10800,ARTV 25300
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Staff

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.

Film and the Moving Image

14400
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
J. Lastra

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

Open only to non-CMS majors. May not count toward a CMS major. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

 

Film and the Moving Image

14400
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
A. Willis

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

Open only to non-CMS majors. May not count toward a CMS major. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

 

Film and the Moving Image

14400
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Staff

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

Open only to non-CMS majors. May not count toward a CMS major. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

 

The Uncanny in Cinema

14509
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
T. Gunning

The uncanny is an experience or quality that by definition remains difficult to grasp; something that is mysterious and enigmatic, yet also seems oddly familiar.  It is an atmosphere, mood or perhaps a theme that movies have explores since nearly the beginning of cinema (or perhaps even before…) To explore this term this class will draw largely on a tradition of commentary on the German word Das Unheimliche, usually translated as uncanny, that can be traced among Ernst Jentsch, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Heidegger and its relevance to film studies. Freud and his disciple Otto Rank before 1920 related the uncanny to the cinema, and cinema’s ability to evoke the uncanny has been frequently observed. On the one hand, the cinema’s ability to portray uncanny events (as in Rank and Freud’s invocation of the 1913 film the Student in Prague) appears generically in films of fantasy or horror. In addition, some theorists have felt that film as a medium could be best approached via the uncanny. In this class, we will read a series of the key texts and try to survey the terrain of the concept of the uncanny. We will screen films that evoke the experience through their narrative and stylistics, and we will discuss the usefulness of the term for theorizing both film and electronic media, both new and old.

Open only to non-CMS majors. May not count toward a CMS major. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

Chinese Musical Film

24615
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
X. Dong

Description coming soon.

Crowd, Audience, Spectator

27004
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
J. Wild

Crowd, Audience, Spectator: these three terms or concepts have been central to the understanding, theorization, and study of cinema since the pre-narrative era of the cinema of attractions (1895-1907). In this class, we will examine the fundamental literature, both historical and theoretical, on these topics as they span the history of the field, and as they also introduce the related concepts of mass culture, the public sphere, identification, female/queer/black/resistant spectatorship, among others. While the class will additionally provide the student with methodological skills for researching audiences and film receptions, we will also consider concepts such as the mob and mob violence; the politics, theory, and aesthetics of assembly; uprisings; and occupations. In this way, this class will consider material and questions from the silent film period to our contemporary moment in political life and experience beyond, but also including, the cinema.

Popular Science and New Media: Methods, Theory, and Practice

27811
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
M. Kressbach

This course explores affinities between new media forms and technologies (e.g., digital cinema, video games, streamable television, fitness trackers, smartphone apps) and contemporary science and medicine (e.g., infectious disease, noninvasive surgical procedures, drug addiction treatment). How do new media represent scientific processes and expertise? What are the particular habits and patterns produces by new media technologies? And how do they affect medical research methods and practice? Readings and screenings draw from across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and range from scholarly works to news articles, blog posts, videos, and mobile apps. Students will be asked to analyze, operate, and play with scientific new media. Central texts include recent science-driven films, like Contagion and The Martian, virtual dissection and surgical training smartphone apps, and pandemic games Infection and Bio Inc. The variety of activities will ask students to question the many ways in which new media respond to and shape scientific and medical research—and vice-versa.

The New Latin American Cinema and Its Afterlife

21806
31806
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
S. Skvirsky

This course will introduce students to Latin American film studies through an assessment of its most critically celebrated period of radical filmmaking. The New Latin American Cinema (NLAC) of the late 1950s-70s generated unprecedented international enthusiasm for Latin American film production. The filmmakers of this loosely designated movement were defining themselves in relation to global realist film traditions like Italian Neorealism and Griersonian documentary, in relation to--mostly failed-- experiments in building Hollywood-style national film industries, and in relation to regional discourses of underdevelopment and mestizaje. Since the late 1990s, a reassessment of the legacy of the NLAC has been taking shape as scholars have begun to interrogate its canonical status in the face of a changed political climate.  In the sphere of filmmaking, contemporary Latin American new wave cinemas are also grappling with that legacy-sometimes disavowing it, sometimes appropriating it. We will situate the NLAC in its historical context, survey its formal achievements and political aspirations, assess its legacy, and take stock of the ways and the reasons that it haunts contemporary production.

Long-Take Cinema

25506
35506
REES 26066, REES 36066
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
R. Bird

As a stylistic device, the long take has long been a definitive feature of art cinema, being particularly conspicuous in filmmakers who make ethical and even metaphysical claims for their “slow cinema.” After surveying the use of the long take in silent and classical cinema (including Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock), we will concentrate on the long-take style that spanned the art cinemas of Western Europe (Michelangelo Antonioni, Chantal Akerman), Russia and Eastern Europe (Miklós Jancsó, Andrei Tarkovsky), and Central Eurasia (Ebrahim Golestan). We will then consider its influence on contemporary art cinema, from Aleksandr Sokurov and Béla Tarr to Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman). Along the way we will also consider the long-take style in documentary cinema, and will also consider the links between long-take cinema and certain tendencies in video art, exemplified by the work in video of Sharon Lockhart and James Benning. We will close by considering the feature films of artists Steve McQueen and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. Treating long-take style as a distinct approach to cinematic realism, in each case we will evaluate the claims made for the ethical, metaphysical and even political valences of the long take, with readings by filmmakers and by theorists from Henri Bergson and André Bazin to Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Rancière, Laura Mulvey and beyond.

Ernst Lubitsch: An International Style

26302
36302
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
X. Dong

"How would Lubitsch do it?” asks Billy Wilder, who famously hang this question in his office. He asked the question hanging in the minds of generations of filmmakers around the world, most likely including Lubitsch himself. In a career spanning nearly three decades, Lubitsch’s name has come to denote a style about style, first exported from Germany to Hollywood and then from Hollywood to the world. In this sense, Lubitsch is first and foremost a filmmaker for filmmakers, and his style decidedly an international one. It is the goal of this course to examine a broadly defined international stylistic history developed by and associated with Lubitsch, whose legacy cannot be adequately assessed without such a perspective. With dual emphases on formal and historical analyses, we will look at Lubitsch’s early Weimar comedy and epic films, American silent masterpieces, musicals, sound comedies, and political farces, as well as Lubitsch-esque films made in Japan, China, and France.

Ernst Lubitsch: An International Style

26302
36302
FNDL 26507
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
X. Dong

“How would Lubitsch do it?” asks Billy Wilder, who famously hang this question in his office. He asked the question hanging in the minds of generations of filmmakers around the world, most likely including Lubitsch himself. In a career spanning nearly three decades, Lubitsch’s name has come to denote a style about style, first exported from Germany to Hollywood and then from Hollywood to the world. In this sense, Lubitsch is first and foremost a filmmaker for filmmakers, and his style decidedly an international one. It is the goal of this course to examine a broadly defined international stylistic history developed by and associated with Lubitsch, whose legacy cannot be adequately assessed without such a perspective. With dual emphases on formal and historical analyses, we will look at Lubitsch’s early Weimar comedy and epic films, American silent masterpieces, musicals, sound comedies, and political farces, as well as Lubitsch-esque films made in Japan, China, and France.

Political Documentary Film

28201
38201
ARTV 28204, ARTV 38204
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
J. Hoffman

This course explores political documentary film, its intersection with historical and cultural events, its relationship to the State, as well as its opposition to Hollywood and traditional media.  We will examine how various documentary modes of representation produce meaning, and how films express themselves a political. The relationship between the filmmaker, film subject and audience will be considered.  How political documentaries are disseminated and hopefully become part of political struggle will be a major theme.  The course will concentrate on political documentary film in the U.S. after WWII.

Opera in the Age of its Mechanical Reproducibility

28301
38301
GRMN 27717/37717, TAPS 28422/38422, MUSI 24417/34417
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
D. Levin

Focusing on a diverse set of productions of Mozart’s *The Magic Flute* by Ingmar Bergman, William Kentridge, Martin Kusej, Simon McBurney, and Julie Taymor, we will seek to locate opera in the contemporary medial landscape, exploring some of the theoretical stakes, dramaturgical challenges, and interpretive achievements that characterize opera on film, DVD, and via live-streaming.  Readings by W. Benjamin, T.W. Adorno, F. Jameson, M. Dolar, C. Abbate, P. Auslander, et al.

History of International Cinema 3

28601
38601
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
J. Lastra

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the late 1950s through the 1990s.  We will focus on New Cinemas in France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the United states, the UK, and other countries.  We will pay special attention to experimental stylistic developments, women directors, and well-known auteurs.  After the New Cinema era we will examine various developments in world cinema, including the rise of Bollywood, East Asian film cultures, and other movements.  A course like this is necessarily going to omit many important films and filmmakers, but we will try to attenuate those omissions by scheduling two screenings a week.

Global Melodrama

25519
35519
LAC 25519, LACS 35519
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
S. Skvirsky

This course is a comparative examination of screen melodrama. The first part of the course will offer an overview of the critical literature on melodrama and a survey of significant film melodramas from around the world. In the second part of the course, we will narrow our focus to melodramas from the two regions: the United States and Latin America. The conceit of the course is to put different regional traditions of melodrama into conversation. In addition to offering a basic orientation, the class will also test the boundaries of the category in our work on the racial melodrama and the conjuncture of documentary form and melodrama.  Other topics will include melodrama as a mode and as a genre; melodrama and national allegory; melodrama and revolution; melodrama and realism; melodrama and emotion; melodrama and the temporally displaced spectator.

(Re-) Presenting the Real: Nonfiction Cinema in Japan and East Asia

24924
34924
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
T. Tsunoda

The primary aim of the course is to investigate the theories and practices of documentary film in Japan. Spanning the 1920s to the present, we will engage in rigorous examination of the transformations of cinematic forms and contents, and of the social, cultural and political elements bound up with those transformations. We will also juxtapose aspects of Japanese documentary film with global movements, and wider theories of documentary and non-fiction. Each week we will engage with theoretical or analytical readings, through which we will explore: 1) how particular ethics and politics are imbricated in various documentary modes and genres; 2) the specific cases of Japanese documentaries and their styles/techniques; and 3) the way these films and film movements measure them against today’s media regime (and how they can be understood in light of that regime). Last, another thread will look at the various traces of Japanese documentary filmmaking practice that have had an impact on other filmmakers and national cinemas, from works by Chris Marker, Abbas Kiarostami and Wim Wenders to recent independent documentaries in East Asia. To locate such traces in the transnational framework, the final sections of the course will be devoted to China’s new documentary film movement since the 1990s and contemporary Taiwanese documentaries.

The Form of Politics/The Politics of Form

67208
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
J. Wild

This seminar will examine how twentieth-century filmmakers and artists have deployed form and formal experiment to engage not simply politics, but the visual, discursive, and material field of political life and experience. While our study will broadly proceed by way of a study of techniques such as collage, montage, and photomontage; the diagram, the readymade, and appropriation; realism and materiality; and event-based and urban-geographical strategies, we will also engage several philosophical texts on the subject, namely, Jacques Rancière's The Politics of Aesthetics. Consequently, our study will advance a discussion about the dialectical relationship between "form" and "aesthetics," while we will also interrogate the evolution of "politcial subjectivity" and its modes of being and expression in twentieth-century film, art, and life. Additionally, this seminar is designed to coincide with and complement the yearlong project "Concrete Happenings" in the Department of Art History, and the associated symposium on "Fluxus and Film" that will take place in the spring term.

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000,ENGL 10800,ARTV 25300
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Z. Campbell

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.

Film and the Moving Image

14400
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
M. Hubbell

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component. This course is intended for non-majors. Cinema and Media Studies majors should instead take Introduction to Film, CMST 10100. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

Media Ecology

25204
HIPS 25203, HUMA 25202, LLSO 27801, TAPS 28452
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
M. Browning

Media ecology examines how the structure and content of our media environments – online and offline, in words, images, sounds, and textures – affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; or alternatively, media ecology investigates the massive and dynamic interrelation of processes and objects, beings and things, patterns and matter. At stake are issues about agency – human or material – and about determinism – how does society or culture interact with or shape its technologies, or vice versa? This course investigates theories of media ecology by exploring systems of meanings that humans embody (cultural, social, ecological) in conjunction with the emerging field of software studies about the cultural, political, social, and aesthetic impacts of software (e.g., code, interaction, interface). In our actual and virtual environments, how do we understand performing our multiple human embodiments in relation to other bodies (organism or machine) in pursuit of social or political goals?

Reading Madness

28902
ENGL 28704
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
W.J.T. Mitchell

This course will address the representation of madness in a variety of literary forms, including poetry, fiction, memoir, and drama.  Authors considered may include Blake, Holderlin, Dostoevsky, Ralph Ellison, Antonin Artaud, William Styron, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Elyn Sacks.  Theoretical readings will be drawn from Foucault’s History of Madness and selections from Freud and Lacan.  The aim will be to investigate the way literature attempts to “perform” as well as represent various states of cognitive and emotional extremity in language.  There will also be some attention to cinematic and pictorial renderings of madness.

Senior Colloquium

29800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
J. Stewart

This seminar is designed to provide fourth-year students with a sense of the variety of methods and approaches in the field (e.g., formal analysis, cultural history, industrial history, reception studies, psychoanalysis). Students present material related to their BA project, which is discussed in relation to the issues of the course.

Documentary Production 1

23930
33930
ARTV 23930, ARTV 33930, HMRT 25106, HMRT 35106
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
J. Hoffman

This class is intended to develop skills in documentary production so that students may apply for Documentary Production II. Documentary Production I focuses on the making of independent documentary video. Examples of various styles of documentary will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between fact and fiction will be explored. Pre-production methodologies, production, and post-production techniques will be taught. Students will be expected to develop an idea for a documentary video, crews will be formed, and each crew will produce a five-minute documentary. Students will also be expected to purchase an external hard drive.

Agnès Varda

26810
36810
FNDL 26506, GNSE 26810/36810, FREN 26811/36811
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
D. Bluher

This course examines the work of one of the most significant directors working in France today. From the 1960s to the present day, Varda’s films have been crucial to the development of new film practices: both in the past – as with the birth of the French New Wave Cinema – and in the present by exploring new forms of visual narration and by working with moving images in gallery spaces. PQ: Students taking the class for French credit should complete written assignments (and readings as applicable) in French.

Digital Media Theory

37803
ENGL 32313
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
P. Jagoda
 This course introduces students to the critical study of digital media and participatory cultures, focusing on the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Subfields and topics may include history of technology, software studies, platform studies, videogame studies, electronic literature, social media, mobile media, network aesthetics, hacktivism, and digital publics. We will also think about ways that new media theory has intersected with, ignored, and complicated work coming from critical theory, especially transnational, feminist, Marxist, and queer theory. Readings may include work by theorists such as Ian Bogost, Wendy Chun, Alexander Galloway, Mark Hansen, Katherine Hayles, Friedrich Kittler, Alan Liu, Lev Manovich, Franco Moretti, Lisa Nakamura, Rita Raley, and McKenzie Wark.  
Through a study of contemporary media theory, we will also think carefully about emerging methods of inquiry that accompany this area of study, including multimodal and practice-based research. In addition to short assignments, students will focus on a final project that will take the form of either an experimental research paper or a creative digital media piece with included commentary (e.g., a piece of electronic fiction, a Machinima film, a digital visualization, a Game Design Document, or a videogame). Students need not be technologically gifted or savvy, but a wide-ranging imagination and interest in new media culture will make for a more exciting quarter.

Video Art: The Analog Years. Theory, Technology, Practice

28703
38703
ARTH 21313, ARTH 31313
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
I. Blom

The course gives a critical introduction to early video and television art – from the proto-televisual impulses in the historical avant-gardes to the increasing proximity between analog and digital technologies in video art in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. We will focus on the various technical aspects of analog video, as well as on artistic practice and early writings on the subject. Topics may include the technics and politics of time; video, feedback systems and ecology; the reconfiguration of the artist’s studio; guerilla politics and alternative TV; video and autobiography; the relation between video and painting; the musical history of video; the invention of new machines; and video as a “television viewer”.

Methods and Issues

40000
ARTH 39900, ENGL 48000, MAPH 33000
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Y. Tsivian

This course offers an introduction to ways of reading, writing on, and teaching film. The focus of discussion will range from methods of close analysis and basic concepts of film form, technique and style; through industrial/critical categories of genre and authorship (studios, stars, directors); through aspects of the cinema as a social institution, psycho-sexual apparatus and cultural practice; to the relationship between filmic texts and the historical horizon of production and reception. Films discussed will include works by Griffith, Lang, Hitchcock, Deren, Godard.

Media Archeology vs Media Aesthetics

47801
ARTH 41313
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Blom, Ina

The course stages an encounter between media archeology and media aesthetics, two distinct but related research perspectives that are at times seen as incommensurable approaches to the media technological environment. Media archeology focuses on the non-human agencies and complex machinic arrangements that are at work in technologies whose microtemporal operations cannot be grasped by human perception: media archeology typically refuses phenomenological approaches. In contrast, media aesthetics focuses on the phenomenological interface between machine systems and human perception and sensation, and various forms of cultural and political negotiations of a lifeworld that is increasingly dominated by technologies that both store and produce time. We will read key texts from both fields and discuss how we may understand their differences as well as their points of intersection.

History of International Film, Part I: Silent Era

28500
48500
ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400,CMST 48500,ENGL 29300,ENGL 48700,MAPH 33600,ARTV 26500,ARTV 36500
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
M. Hauske

This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.

Birth of a Nation

61101
AMER 61101
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
J. Stewart

This seminar explores the history and resonance of D. W. Griffith’s epic Birth of a Nation, 100 years after its release in 1915.  Based on Thomas Dixon’s novels The Leopard’s Spots (1902) and The Clansman (1905) and their theatrical adaptations, the film’s landmark stylistic innovations, unprecedented publicity and box office performance, and heavily protested representations of U.S. slavery and its aftermath have generated critical questions about the relationships between politics and film aesthetics that continue to animate our understanding of the “power” of the moving image.  We will explore the film’s style and its popular and critical reception, and the challenges it poses for film historiography.  We will examine the film within Griffith’s oevre (including his previous antebellum and Civil War dramas like His Trust and His Trust Fulfilled [1911]), and subsequent works including Intolerance (1916), his reflection on the Birth’s contentious circulation.  Topics explored include uses of blackface in the silent era; strategies of literary adaptation; the Dunning school of the Reconstruction era and critical responses (e.g., W. E. B. Du Bois and others); the careers of the film’s cast and crew; film censorship and protest (particularly as organized by the NAACP); silent film historiography and Birth’s prominent place in it; cinematic responses to the film, especially by African American filmmakers, from Emmett Scott’s Birth of a Race (1918) to Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our Gates (1920) to Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2000).

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