Courses

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000; ARTV 20300; ENGL 10800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
J. Rosenow; A. Zhang

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
  • 2018-2019
J. Lastra; K. Keeling; J. Rosenow

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.

Attendance in first class is mandatory to confirm enrollment. Open only to non-CMS majors; may not count towards CMS major requirements. For non-majors, any CMST 14400 through 14599 course meets the general education requirement of Arts, Music, Drama (AMD) Courses.

Topics in EALC: Ghosts & the Fantastic in Literature and Film

24603
EALC 10600; SIGN 26006
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
J. Zeitlin

What is a ghost? How and why are ghosts represented in particular forms in a particular culture at particular historical moments and how do these change as stories travel between cultures? This course will explore the complex meanings, both literal and figurative, of ghosts and the fantastic in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tales, plays, and films . Issues to be explored include: 1) the relationship between the supernatural, gender, and sexuality; 2) the confrontation of death and mortality; 3) collective anxieties over the loss of the historical past 4) and the visualization (and exorcism) of ghosts through performance.

Cinema and Movement

27112
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
J. Schonig

That movies move Is one of the most basic facts about the medium. This course investigates various aesthetic dimensions of movement throughout the history of the moving image-from early cinema and the avant garde to Hollywood musicals and Disney cartoons. Combining philosophical, critical, and historical readings with careful analysis of films, we will cover topics that include early spectators' fascination with the moving image itself, the relation between the natural perception of movement and cinematic movement, the history and poetics of camera movement, different technologies for recording and simulating movement (including cel animation and CGI), and the problems that movement has posed as an object of aesthetic analysis. Texts discussed include works by Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson, Vivian Sobchack, Kristin Thompson, and Arthur Danto. Screenings include works by Busby Berkeley, Maya Deren, Max Ophuls, Chuck Jones, Chris Marker, Chantal Akerman, and Gus Van Sant.

Critical Videogame Studies

27916
ENGL 12320; SIGN 26038
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
P. Jagoda; J. Pruett

Since the 1960s, games have arguably blossomed into the world's most profitable and experimental medium. This course attends specifically to video games, including popular arcade and console games, experimental art games, and educational serious games. Students will analyze both the formal properties and sociopolitical dynamics of video games. Readings by theorists including Ian Bogost, Roger Caillois, Nick Dyer‐Witheford, Mary Flanagan, Jane McGonigal, Lisa Nakamura, and Katie Salen will help us think about the growing field of video game studies. This is a 2018-19 Signature Course in the College. (Theory)

Senior Colloquium

29800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
J. Lastra

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.

Post-War American Avant-Garde

21810
31810
ARTH 21810; ARTH 31810
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
T. Gunning

In the 1940's the American avant garde cinema gained a new identity with the work of filmmakers like Maya Deren, and Kenneth Anger. Working primarily in 16mm, exhibiting mainly in non-commercial theaters, pursuing new models of sexuality, perception and political action, a generation of filmmakers formulated an alternative cinema culture and a new visionary aesthetic. This tradition gained further definition in the following, with journals, new critical discourses and a network of exhibition. Film modes moved through the mythic and dream-like cinema of Stan Brakhage, Bruce Baillie, the underground cinema of Ken Jacobs, Andy Warhol and Jack Smith, and the structural films of Hollis Frampton, Michael Snow and Ernie Gehr. The course will trace these develops and examine its legacy.

French Cinema of the 20s and 30s

23404
33404
FREN 23404; FREN 33404
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
J. Wild

In our study of two decades in the history of French cinema, we will track the rise of the poetic realist style from the culture of experimentation that was alive in both the French film industry and its surrounding artistic and literary landscape. As an exercise in the excavation of a history of film style, we will consider the salient features of the socio-political, cultural, theoretical, and critical landscape that define the emergence and the apex of poetic realism, and that reveal it as a complicated nexus in the history of film aesthetics. Main texts by Dudley Andrew and Richard Abel will accompany a wide range of primary texts. Films by Epstein, L'Herbier, Buñuel, Dulluc, Dulac, Gance, Clair, Vigo, Feyder, Renoir, Duvivier, Allégret, Carné, Grémillon.

Philippe Parreno's Media Temporalities

23412
33412
ARTH 21320; ARTH 31320; MAAD 21320
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
I. Blom

In the 2013 exhibition "Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World, the French artist Philippe Parreno (b. 1964) turned the monumental space of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris into a living, evolving organism, where music, light, films, images, and performances led visitors through a precisely choreographed journey of discovery, based on the idiosyncratic body of work that he had created since the early 1990s. This course is devoted to an in-depth study of Parreno's work and the highly original form of media thinking that informs it. Rather than focusing on the properties of distinct media or on multimedial forms or presentation, his works explore the new forms of life and social existence that result from the various ways in which 20th- and 21st-century media technologies store, manipulate, and produce time. This is a form of thinking and artistic creation that addresses the realities of formats, programs, and platforms rather than media apparatuses and messages, and that engages everything from architecture and design to social situations, natural worlds, and virtual beings. (The course will be taught in collaboration with Jörn Schafaff).

Documentary Production I

23930
33930
ARTV 23930; ARTV 33930; HMRT 25106; HMRT 35106; MAAD 23930
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
J. Hoffman

This course 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.

Film and Revolution

24521
34521
REES 26701; REES 36071
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
R. Bird; C. Smith

On the fiftieth anniversary of 1968 our course couples the study of revolutionary films (and films about revolution) with seminal readings on revolutionary ideology and on the theory of film and video. The goal will be to articulate the mechanics of revolution and its representation in time-based media. Students will produce a video or videos adapting the rich archive of revolutionary film for today's situation. The films screened will be drawn primarily from Soviet and US cinema, from the 1920s to the present day, proceeding more or less chronologically. We begin with newsreels and a "poetic documentary" by Dziga Vertov; they will be paired with classic readings from revolutionary theory, from Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin to Fidel Castro and Bill Ayres, and from film theory, including Vertov, Andre Bazin and Jean-Luc Godard. Readings will acquaint students with contemporary assessments of the emancipatory potential of film.

Augmented Reality Production

27911
37911
ARTV 27921; ARTV 37921
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
M. Downie

Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of augmented reality, this class will explore and interrogate each stage of production of AR works. Students in this production-based class will examine the techniques and opportunities of this new kind of moving image. During this class we'll study the construction of examples across a gamut from locative media, journalism, and gameplay-based works to museum installations. Students will complete a series of critical essays and sketches towards a final augmented reality project using a custom set of software tools developed in and for the class.

Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies

40000
MAPH 33000; ENGL 48000; ARTH 39900
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
D. Morgan

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.

History of International Cinema, Part I: Silent Era

28500
48500
CMLT 22400; CMLT 32400; ENGL 29300; ENGL 48700; ARTH 28500; ARTH 38500; MAPH 33600; ARTV 20002
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
A. Field

This course provides a survey of the history of cinema from its emergence in the mid-1890s to the transition to sound in the late 1920s. We will examine the cinema as a set of aesthetic, social, technological, national, cultural, and industrial practices as they were exercised and developed during this 30-year span. Especially important for our examination will be the exchange of film techniques, practices, and cultures in an international context. We will also pursue questions related to the historiography of the cinema, and examine early attempts to theorize and account for the cinema as an artistic and social phenomenon.

Neo-Avant-Wave: Post-War FIlm Experiment in France

63701
FREN 43713; ARTH 43701
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
J. Wild

The New Wave. The Neo-Avant Garde. Rarely have these film and art movements been placed into an explicit historical or theoretical dialog or dialectic. It will be the task of this seminar to do just that. We will begin our study with a brief look into the pre-WWII situation of radical art and film movements, and classic theories of the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde. Turning our attention to the rise of Lettrism within the context of post-war film and art culture, we will subsequently evaluate the conditions that surrounded the emergence of New Wave filmmaking and criticism, and that include the Situationist International and Nouveau Réalisme. As we move toward and beyond the events of May 1968, we will bring our study of social documentary, politically militant forms, collective film and art practices, and historiography to bear on purportedly stable understandings of the New Wave, its art historical forebearers, and its heirs. Reading knowledge of French is required. While some of our texts will appear in English translation, many will not. The seminar will be conducted in English, but the last thirty minutes of each session will be conducted in French. This component is intended to improve students’ oral proficiency, but it will not be used in student evaluation. Screenings are mandatory. With some possible exceptions, films will be subtitled. Students enrolled in FREN 43713 will be required to complete all reading and writing in French.

Afrofuturism

21004
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
K. Keeling

This course focuses on audio-visual cultural productions that have been or might be considered under the rubric of “Afrofuturism,” with particular attention to the aesthetic, social, political, and/or cultural contributions and interventions they make.
 

Sound / Image Mapping

28010
ARTV 27922
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
M. Downie

This class will examine the history and production of “hard” sound-image relationships through the lens of computational form. Through studying the range of digital and mechanical tools that have sought to couple the senses — from 19th century color organs and dreams of synesthesia, through music videos and contemporary new media installations, to recent advances in “machine listening” — students will complete a series of critical essays and sketches leading towards a final project using custom software developed in and for the class.

Gender, Sexuality, Imagination

20430
30430
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
K. Keeling

This course explores the relationships between theories of the imagination and those of gender and sexuality, with a particular emphasis on the relevance of this exploration to cinema and media studies.

Cinema and the Holocaust

22507
32507
REES 27027; REES 37027; JWSC 29550
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
B. Shallcross

Focuses on cinematic responses by several leading film directors from East & Central Europe to a central event of 20th century history -- the Holocaust. Nazis began a cinematic documentation of WWII at its onset, positioning cameras in places of actual atrocities. Documentary footage produced was framed by hostile propagandistic schemes; contrary to this ‘method’, Holocaust feature films are all but a representation of Jewish genocide produced after the actual traumatic events. This class aims at discussing the challenge of representing the Jewish genocide which has often been defined as un-representable. Because of this challenge, Holocaust films raise questions of ethical responsibility for cinematic production & a search for relevant artistic means with which to engage post-traumatic representation. Therefore, among major tropes we will analyze voyeuristic evocation of death & suffering; a truthful representation of violence versus purported necessity of its cinematic aesthetization; intertwined notions of chance & hope as conditions of survival versus hagiographic representation of victims. The main goal is to grasp the potential of cinema for deepening our understanding of the Holocaust, the course simultaneously explores extensive & continuous cinematic production of the genre & its historical development in various European countries, to mention the impact of censorship by official ideologies in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, & Czechoslovakia during the Cold War.

Pasolini

23500
33500
ITAL 28400; ITAL 38400; GNSE 28600; FNDL 28401
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
A. Maggi

This course examines each aspect of Pasolini's artistic production according to the most recent literary and cultural theories, including Gender Studies. We shall analyze his poetry (in particular "Le Ceneri di Gramsci" and "Poesie informa di rosa"), some of his novels ("Ragazzi di vita," "Una vita violenta," "Teorema," "Petrolio"), and his numerous essays on the relationship between standard Italian and dialects, semiotics and cinema, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary Western culture. We shall also discuss the following films: "Accattone," "La ricotta," "Edipo Re," "Teorema," and "Salo".

Documentary Production II

23931
33931
ARTV 23931; ARTV 33931; HMRT 25107; HMRT 35107; MAAD 23931
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
J. Hoffman

This course focuses on the shaping and crafting of a nonfiction video. Students are expected to write a treatment detailing their project. Production techniques focus on the handheld camera versus tripod, interviewing and microphone placement, and lighting for the interview. Postproduction covers finishing techniques. Students then screen final projects in a public space.

Prerequisites - CMST 23930, HMRT 25106, ARTV 23930, MAAD 23930

Cinema in Africa

24201
34201
ENGL 27600; ENGL 48601; CMLT 22900; CMLT 42900; CRES 24201; CRES 34201
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
L. Kruger

This course examines Africa in film as well as films produced in Africa. It places cinema in Sub Saharan Africa in its social, cultural, and aesthetic contexts ranging from neocolonial to postcolonial, Western to Southern Africa, documentary to fiction, art cinema to TV. We will begin with La Noire de... (1966), ground-breaking film by the "father" of African cinema, Ousmane Sembene, contrasted w/ a South African film, African Jim (1959) that more closely resembles African American musical film, and anti-colonial and anti apartheid films from Lionel Rogosin's Come Back Africa (1959) to Sarah Maldoror's Sambizanga, Ousmane Sembenes Camp de Thiaroye (1984), and Jean Marie Teno'ss Afrique, Je te Plumerai (1995). The rest of the course will examine cinematic representations of tensions between urban and rural, traditional and modern life, and the different implications of these tensions for men and women, Western and Southern Africa, in fiction, documentary and ethnographic film, including 21st century work where available.

Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production

25954
35954
ENGL 25970; ENGL 32314; BPRO 28700; MAAD 25954; ARTV 20700; ARTV 30700; TAPS 28466
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
P. Jagoda; H. Coleman

Games are one of the most prominent and influential media of our time. This experimental course explores the emerging genre of "alternate reality" or "transmedia" gaming. Throughout the quarter, we will approach new media theory through the history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. These games build on the narrative strategies of novels, the performative role-playing of theater, the branching techniques of electronic literature, the procedural qualities of video games, and the team dynamics of sports. Beyond the subject matter, students will design modules of an Alternate Reality Game in small groups. Students need not have a background in media or technology, but a wide-ranging imagination, interest in new media culture, or arts practice will make for a more exciting quarter.

Prerequisites - Third- or fourth-year standing. Instructor consent required. To apply, submit writing through online form at http://bigproblems.uchicago.edu; see course description. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory. Questions:mb31@uchicago.edu.

Filming the Police

27005
37005
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
S. Skvirsky

Description not yet available. 

Opera and Film, China/Europe

44601
EALC 41401; MUSI 45019; TAPS 41401; ITAL 41419
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
J. Zeitlin; M. Feldman

This seminar will explore the mutual attraction of cinema and opera across the two vast operatic cultures of Europe and China in order to interrogate the many cross-cultural issues that their media encounters produce and accentuate. Such issues include changing relations to myth, ritual, history, and politics; cross-dressing and gender-bending; closed forms or open; stock characters wand plots or narrative fluidity. We will ask why in both China and Europe, opera repeatedly became the conflicted site of nationalist and modernizing aspirations, reiterations of tradition, and attempts at avant-gardism. When the presumed realism of film meets the extravagant hyperperformativity of opera, the encounter produces some extraordinary third kinds-media hybrids. Film repeatedly wrestled with the inherent histrionics of opera through the use of such devices as close-ups, camera angles, shot reverse shot, displacement of sound from sight, acousmatic sound, and trick photography. Such devices were generally meant to suture the supposed improbabilities of the operatic art form, incongruities often based on extravagant and transcendent relationships to realism. Such cinematic renderings of opera are highly revealing of fundamental faultlines in the genres themselves and revealing of the cultures that produced them.

History of International Cinema, Part II: Sound to 1960

28600
48600
CMLT 22500; CMLT 32500; ENGL 29600; ENGL 48900; ARTH 28600; ARTH 38600; MAPH 33700; ARTV 20003
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
R. Bird

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.

Course Description Notes - CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended

Minstrelsy-Vaudeville-Cinema: Racialized Performance and American Popular Culture

61820
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
A. Field

What would it mean to say that minstrelsy was a foundational practice in the development of American popular culture, and that the emergence of American cinema must be understood through the lens of its ubiquity? This course therefore investigates the persistence of minstrelsy in American popular culture from the early 19th century to the turn of the 20th century. It traces the development of its tropes, themes, and practices from traveling tent shows to the variety theater of vaudeville and to the emergence of cinema. We will attempt to make legible the functionings of its racist caricatures, account for its popularity and longevity, and explore moments of creative resistance to its dehumanizing portrayals of African Americans. We will look at 19th century performers and composers including T.D. Rice, Billy Kersands, Stephen Foster, Bert Williams and George Walker, Ernest Hogan, May Irwin, Sissieretta Jones. We will also consider later filmmakers working with and against the racialized representations of minstrelsy including D.W. Griffith, Al Jolson, Oscar Micheaux, and Stepin Fetchit, and contemporary reimaginings, confrontations and reckonings, including those of Spike Lee, Dave Chappelle, Christopher Harris, and Edgar Arceneaux. Emphasis will be on methods of primary historical research as well as theories of race, gender and performance.

The Image in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

67820
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
M. Downie

This course will examine closely the recent dramatic advantages in the fields of image analysis and generation in a broad range of contexts: from the lab to their everyday use in social media and government surveillance. Students will be given the opportunity to sharpen their understanding of the possibilities and limits of machine learning by testing contemporary algorithms against datasets of their own design. This course seeks to close the critical and cultural distance between industrial advances in image understanding, the scientific discourses behind this field, and conceptions and uses of the image traditionally available to the humanities.

Screening India: Bollywood and Beyond

24112
34112
SALC 20511; SALC 30511; HIST 26808; HIST 36808; KNOW 24112; KNOW 34112
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
R. Majumdar

Cinema is, unarguably, the medium most apposite for thinking through the complexities of democratic politics, especially so in a place like India. While Indian cinema has recently gained international currency through the song and dance ensembles of Bollywood, there remains much more to be said about that body of films. Moreover, Bollywood is a small (though very important) part of Indian cinema. Through a close analysis of a wide range of films in Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, and Urdu, this course will ask if Indian cinema can be thought of as a form of knowledge of the twentieth century.

Problems in the Study of Gender and Sexuality: Media Wars

20400
40400
GNSE 11005; GNSE 31105; MAAD 20400
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
J. Wild; L. Janson

In our contemporary moment, we have become accustomed to terms such as 'counter-terrorism' that signal an effort to resist internal and external threats, and those suggesting that we live in an age of 'post-truth' dominated by 'corporate-media,' 'fake news,' and 'fact-challenged' journalism. Taking this platform as our starting place, this class explores how these terms and their use have been gendered; have situated both gender and sexuality as either weapons of resistance or objects of destruction. This class will be historically organized insofar as we will begin our discussion with ways that media - broadly conceived to include cinema, print and visual-cultural forms, television, and the internet - have aimed to 'counter' patriarchal, heteronormative, and hegemonic systems of representation of gender and sexuality.

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 20300
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
T. Tsunoda; 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
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
A. Field; 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.

Prerequisite (s): 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.

Senior Colloquium

29800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
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 I

23930
33930
ARTV 23930, ARTV 33930
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
J. Hoffman

Documentary Video Production focuses on the making of independent documentary video.  Examples of Direct Cinema, Cinéma Vérité, the Essay, Ethnographic film, the Diary, Historical and Biographical film, Agitprop/Activist forms, and Guerilla Television, will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between documentary fact and fiction will be explored. Pre-production strategies and production techniques will be taught, including the camera, interviews and sound recording, shooting in available light, working in crews, and post-production editing.  Students will be expected to purchase a portable firewire. A five-minute string-out/rough-cut will be screened at the end of the quarter. Students are encouraged to take Doc. Production II to complete their work.

The Cinema of Charlie Chaplin

26400
36400
ARTH 28406, ARTH 38406
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
Y. Tsivian

The course looks at Chaplin and his long film career from a number of perspectives. One of these is Chaplin’s acting technique inherited from commedia dell’arte and enriched by cinematic devices; another is Chaplin as a person involved in a series of political and sexual scandals; yet another one is Chaplin as a myth fashioned within twentieth-century art movements like German Expressionist poetry, French avant-garde painting, or Soviet Constructivist art.

Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.

Introduction to Art, Technology, and Media

27815
37815
ARTH 21315 / 31315
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
I. Blom

The course gives an introduction to the relationship between art, media and technology, as articulated in art practice, media theory and art theory/history. Key focus is the relationship between 20th Century art and so-called "new media" (from photography, film, radio, TV to computers and digital technologies) but older instances of art- and media-historical perspectives will also be discussed. The objective of the course is to give insight into the historical exchanges between art and technological development, as well as critical tools for discussing the concept of the medium and the relationship between art, sensation/perception, visuality and mediation. The course will also function as an introduction to the fields of media aesthetics and media archaeology.

Methods and Issues

40000
ARTH 39900, ENGL 48000, MAPH 33000
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
D. Morgan

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 Wars: Resistance, Gender and Sexuality, and Discourses of Truth and Non-Truth

20400
40400
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
J. Wild

In our contemporary moment, we have become accustomed to terms such as “counter-terrorism” that signal an effort to resist internal and external threats, and those suggesting that we live in an age of “post-truth” dominated by “corporate-media,” “fake news,” and “fact-challenged” journalism. Taking this contemporary platform as our starting place, this class explores how these terms and their use have been gendered; have situated both gender and sexuality within their discursive purview; and have also deployed concepts of gender and sexuality as either weapons of resistance or objects of destruction. This class will be historically organized insofar as we will begin our discussion with ways that media— broadly conceived to include cinema, print and visual-cultural forms, television, and the internet— have aimed to “counter” patriarchal, heteronormative, and hegemonic systems of representation of gender and sexuality, while also discussing how media discourses of truth and non-truth have been historically constructed and deployed (documentary; propaganda). This class will also function as a research laboratory, where students will be asked to track, evaluate, and theorize contemporary or historical media that situate gender and sexuality within a so-called “media war,” or in their construction and dissemination of “truth” and/or resistance.  

The Aesthetics of Socialist Realism

44510
REES 36053, ARTH 44502
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
R. Bird, C. Kiaer

Socialist Realism was declared the official mode of Soviet aesthetic culture in 1934. Though it has been dismissed within the totalitarian model as propaganda or kitsch, this seminar will approach it from the perspective of its aesthetics. By this we mean not only its visual or literary styles, but also its sensory or haptic address to its audiences. Our premise is that the aesthetic system of Socialist Realism was not simply derivative or regressive, but developed novel techniques of transmission and communication; marked by a constant theoretical reflection on artistic practice, Socialist Realism redefined the relationship between artistic and other forms of knowledge, such as science. Operating in an economy of art production and consumption diametrically opposed to the Western art market, Socialist Realism challenged the basic assumptions of Western artistic discourse, including the concept of the avant-garde. It might even be said to offer an alternate model of revolutionary cultural practice, involving the chronicling and producing of a non-capitalist form of modernity.
The seminar will focus on Soviet visual art, cinema and fiction during the crucial period of the 1930s under Stalin (with readings available in translation), but we welcome students with relevant research interests that extend beyond these parameters.


Course meetings will be divided evenly between the campuses of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Media Archaeology vs. Media Aesthetics

47801
ARTH 41313
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
I. Blom

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.

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