2019-2020 Graduate Timetable

To register for these courses, please consult the Graduate Program Assistant.


F = Fall, S = Spring, Y = year-long course, H = half-course


All locations tentative

Core Courses

CIN1101HS: Theories and Practices of the Cinema (Winter)
Alice Maurice
Mondays 1-3, Tuesdays 12-2 *(time changed July 18)*
Location IN313E
(Mandatory for MAs, MAs only)
Organized around a series of issues that have incited ongoing discussion and debate among scholars, cultural critics, and filmmakers, this course takes a topical approach to the study of film theory. In the process it both revisits some of the most canonical texts in the field and attends to more recent attempts to think through our contemporary moment, when digitality and transnationalism are radically changing the nature of film as well as the manner in which it is produced, distributed, exhibited, and viewed. Among those issues to be discussed are medium specificity, spectatorship, narrativity, affect, and the relationship between aesthetics, economics, and politics.
CIN1102HF: Key Developments in Film History (Fall)
Nic Sammond
Mondays 1-3, Tuesdays 1-3
Location IN223E
(Mandatory for MAs, MAs only)
This course will examine a limited number of important developments in the history of cinematic media. It will extend the in-depth study of these developments in technique, technology, and text to include considerations of the sociocultural forces, economics, theories of the cinematic and aesthetics that have played a role in their development, or in the ways in which we have studied them. The course will cover a wide range of distinct time periods, geographical areas, and stylistic tendencies, and will engage with a range of scholarly approaches to key developments in cinematic media. The course aims to ensure that students' knowledge of the history of film and media is enhanced, and that they have the opportunity to engage more critically with the issues surrounding the historical study of cinema and related media that are of interest and importance to them.


CIN1006Y: Major Research Paper in Cinema Studies (Summer)
(MAs only)
This course provides each student with the opportunity to write a major research paper on a topic to be devised in consultation with an individual member of the Cinema Studies core faculty. Students will be encouraged to make use of the special collections hosed with the Media Commons as the basis for their research projects.


CIN1007Y: Internship in Cinema Studies (Summer)
(MAs only)
A variety of placement settings connected to film culture.  Each placement will entail some form of film-related research and/or examination of / participation in how organizations use and study film and disseminate it within a broader cultural field.  Students will produce a report at the end of their internship outlining the learning experience and the implications for research and film scholarship.


CIN2101HF: Pressures On the Cinematic (Fall)
Angelica Fenner
Wednesdays 10-12, Wednesdays 12-2 (screening)
Location IN223 and IN222
(Mandatory for PhDs, PhDs only)
This course examines the multiple factors that are shaping the field of cinema studies, especially as pressures exerted on our conception of what constitutes “cinema” are reflected in current scholarly debates.  Rapid changes to technology, shifts in delivery systems, diverse spectatorial responses to and uses of cinema, globalization and industrial consolidation--all of these forces work to alter both the nature of cinema as a medium and its social and cultural functions.  This course will study how cinema’s protean nature remains a central issue in debates about medium specificity, the role of digitalization, and different viewing communities, among other topics.

: Research Seminar in Cinema Studies (Fall)
Tuesdays 10-12
Location IN223
(Mandatory for Year 2 PhDs, Year 2 PhDs only)
A mandatory course for second-year PhD students.

Elective Courses

CIN1005HS: Special Studies in Cinema: Technologies of Governance: Media, Reality, Liberalism (Winter)

Meghan Sutherland
Tuesdays 3-7
Location IN313

This course will explore the entanglements between two different but related stories of technology: on the one hand, the technologies of broadcast and digital communication that structure the contemporary cultural phenomenon of Reality-TV, and on the other, the “technologies” of social, economic and political representation that structure the political philosophy of modern liberalism and the theories of governance it advances. Part of this undertaking will involve an engagement with existing scholarship on the history and theory of reality television; part of it will involve a genealogical inquiry into the aesthetic, economic, institutional, and yes, technological conditions that have shaped the phenomenon; and part of it will involve an intensive introduction to the thought of Michel Foucault and his successors—whose writings on the genealogy of modern liberalism and neoliberalism, and on the genealogical method of discourse analysis, occupy a pivotal place in the scholarship on reality television—as well as the theories of modern liberalism and governance they discuss. However, the chief concerns and questions of the course will go beyond any one of these three basic strands of its construction to ask: What can this examination of the relation between reality TV, liberalism and neoliberalism teach us about the relation between modern media culture, modern techniques of liberal and neoliberal governance and power, and modern conceptions of political economy and representation more broadly? And how might answers to this question reframe the way we think about the aesthetic, institutional, economic and political underpinnings of the “technologies” they share in common? Accordingly, students can expect to spend as much of the course looking at major texts from the history of reality TV as they do looking at the theatrical, televisual and cinematic genealogies that inform them, and as much time reading television studies scholarship as they do the works of philosophy, political economy and critical theory that take up the history and theory of liberalism and neoliberalism.


CIN3002HF: Cinema and Nation: Postcoloniality and the Moving Image (Fall)
Sara Saljoughi
Wednesdays 3-5, Thursdays 1-3
Location IN223 (Wednesdays), IN313 (Thursdays)
This course will examine moving image practices in tandem with key concepts in postcolonial theory such as colonial discourse, allegory, difference, nation/nationalism, subaltern, Third World, and universality. We will consider these concepts alongside a range of films and film movements, from Latin America's Third Cinema, to ethnographic documentary and contemporary transnational cinema. The course will question how, if at all, postcolonial theory has been elaborated in a distinctly cinematic (as opposed to literary) locus. Thus the course will also examine the relation of postcoloniality to film studies from a disciplinary perspective.

Readings will include germinal texts of anti-colonial and postcolonial thought by figures such as Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, C.L.R. James, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Edward Said, alongside theories of cinema put forward by figures such as Rey Chow, Gilles Deleuze, Teshome Gabriel, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Fredric Jameson, Kara Keeling, Jacques Rancière, Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, and Paul Willemen.
CIN3006HF: Media and Philosophy: Image or Objectivity? Toward a Pragmatic Film Philosophy (Fall)
Brian Price
Tuesdays 4-8
Location IN313
In this seminar, we will look back through the history of film theory in an effort to cast in a different light on film theory’s longstanding investment in objectivity, the tendency to regard the image—whether indexical, iconic or even wholly abstract—as a “mirror of nature,” as Richard Rorty very forcefully described the logic of formal epistemology in the history of philosophy. For Rorty the quest for truth and objectivity that guides epistemological inquiry was nothing less than an effort of the human to bypass human being and human concern. At the heart of this course will be a critique of epistemology, which will follow from a slow reckoning with Richard Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, which, since its release in 1979, has had a major impact on formal epistemology in philosophy. One additional and quite substantial effect of the book, and of Rorty’s work more broadly, was to bring the concerns of pragmatism and deconstruction closer than they had ever been before. And while Rorty’s intervention has had an impact on philosophy and literary theory, it has gone largely unheeded in the history of film theory. Central to the seminar, then, will be a concern with the status of truth and objectivity in the theorization of the moving image, on the idea that we will develop in turn a conception of the moving image that bears less on questions veridical perception than on an inquiry into how our relation to images (including the assumption that we, as humans, maintain one) provokes and complicates matters of agreement and solidarity, which only come into focus once we have abandoned the pursuit of objectivity. That is to say, politics itself only exists once the supposition of objectivity wanes. A related ambition of the seminar will be to understand how the image can foster social relations that are as beneficial and productive as they are pernicious and unstable. In the course, we will read the work of classical film theorists, such as Germaine Dulac, Jean Epstein, Hugo Münsterberg, and Siegfried Kracauer (to name just a few) alongside of pragmatic philosophers, such as William James, John Dewey, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Richard Rorty, as well as pragmatism-adjacent philosophers like Elizabeth Anscombe and Kwame Appiah; not to mention post-structural thinkers such as Chantal Mouffe, Ernesto Laclau, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, and D.N. Rodowick.

CIN3008HF: Topics in Film and Media History: Cinematic Time, Political Time: The Geopolitics of Memory, History, and Forgetting (Fall)
Elizabeth Wijaya
Fridays 12-4
Location IN223
What are the historical events that occupy or are forgotten in the global imaginary? How does periodization and national borders affect possibilities of international solidarities? Is the manipulation of time and duration a political act? In order to investigate the cinema as a site of political contestation and action, we will investigate these questions of marginality, contemporaneity and universality through a transnational and interdisciplinary study of aesthetic strategies in contemporary Southeast and East Asian cinemas. Films include works by Rithy Panh, Anocha Suwichakornpong, Yosep Anggi Noen, Apitchatpong Weerasethakul and Tsai Ming-liang.


CIN3010HS: Topics in Film and Media Theory: Aesthetics and Technics in the Cybernetic Age (Winter)
Scott Richmond
Mondays 6-8, Wednesdays 6-8
Location IN223
Cybernetics arose in the post-WWII moment in the US as a meta-discipline, a general theory of systems, which could be used to model just about any phenomenon in the world (or the universe). The cybernetic project, on its own terms, aimed to allow scholars and planners to understand their domains at ever higher level of abstraction, safely ignoring the specific details. In the domain of artistic practice, systems thinking showed up in a variety of art practices that elaborated the operations of systems as their primary aesthetic medium. Artists like John Cage would seek in aleatory, iterative, and generative operations a refuge from art as expression. In this, and also in other terms, systems thinking offered an alternative to the canonically modernist concern with medium specificity. In short, art made under the influence of cybernetics may have been abstract, but it was not expressionist. This course offers an investigation of the ways cybernetics and systems thinking organized, both explicitly and implicitly, the engagements between art, aesthetics, technology, and the body in the experimental media practices in the forty years or so after WWII.
Put otherwise, this course offers a conceptual and historical approach to the relationship between aesthetics and technology in the long midcentury moment, organized by the opposing poles of cybernetic systems thinking and modernist concerns with medium specificity. The heart of the course will be a series of sustained engagements with experimental media art practices in a variety of media—primarily, but not only, cinema, video, and computation. We will consider work by artists such as John Cage, Tony Conrad, Andy Warhol, Barbara Rubin, Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Alvin Lucier, Hans Haacke, Bruce Nauman, and others. The goal will be to put the work into conversation with a developing body of thought across the midcentury on the ways media technology intervenes in, modulates, and elaborates aesthetics in an expanded sense. Primary theoretical texts may include work by Norbert Weiner, Gregory Bateson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gilbert Simondon, Stanley Cavell, Gene Youngblood, Seymour Papert, Annette Michelson, and Rosalind Krauss. Finally, our historian guides will include thinkers such as Katherine Hayles, Branden Joseph, Pamela Lee, Justus Nieland, Mark Hansen, Tung Hui-Hu and others. Students will pursue original research projects, culminating in a seminar paper.



Non-CIN Courses

The availability of these courses offered outside of the Cinema Studies Institute may be subject to factors outside our control. This is not an exhaustive list, and more Cinema-related courses will be added to this page soon. If there is a discrepancy between the times listed here, the host institution's website is assumed to be more up-to-date. Please visit their websites for more comprehensive information.

Department of English

Centre for Comparative Literature

Department of German Languages and Literatures

Sexual Diversity Studies

Women and Gender Studies

Department of History

Please note that some courses require special arrangements and/or forms. In those cases, please contact me to obtain the proper formor to make arrangements with the other departments. Some outside courses have very limited space.

HIS1032HS: Modernity and Its Visual Cultures (Winter)
Brian Jacobson
Wednesdays 7-9
Location IN313
This graduate seminar examines the concept of “modernity” and its expression in visual form and cultural practice. We will focus on developments in visual culture beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century in order to explore a range of transformations in subjective and social experience and economic and cultural practice that scholars from across the humanities and social sciences have described within the rubric of modernity and modernism. We will trace these transformations across western contexts with particular attention to the colonial and post-colonial relations that defined the modern world. This semester we will devote particular attention to the visual culture of industry and the role corporations have played in defining modernity and social and cultural experience since the late nineteenth century. How, we will ask, have institutions including businesses, trade federations, and national governments mobilized visual media (film, photography, advertising, etc.) to articulate competing visions for modern futures and in an effort to condition audiences as political subjects and consumers? How, in turn, have artists and activists used those same visual forms to create counter discourses and imagine resistant practices and forms of “modern” life?
JFF1101HF: The Art of Exploration: How to Think a World (Fall)
James Cahill
Mondays 3-5 (screening), 5-7
Location IN222 (screening), IN223
This graduate seminar will study how filmmakers, novelists, and philosophers in France in the period between the end of the Second World War and the end of the Algerian War of Independence took to exploration as a practice for thinking, rethinking, and reinventing the world in an age of accelerated globalization. We will draw upon methodologies from cinema studies, history, and critical theory in order to examine cultural artifacts and practices that represent encounters with unfamiliar or unknown spaces, cultures, ages, as well as for how they help conceptualize practices of mediation and representation as forms of sensual exploration that aim to engage one with what Merleau-Ponty called “the world of perception.” In considering exploration, we will also take into account the fraught geopolitical contexts in which these journeys were launched: collaboration, colonization, and ascendant coca-colonization.
Students will gain experience with historical interpretation (how one assembles documents, constructs contexts, poses questions historically), practices in close textual analysis, and theoretical/conceptual amplification. While the seminar will focus on a period of roughly 20 years in France (1943-1963), students will be encouraged to design their own exploratory trajectories, using the methods and questions examined in the class to produce their own original research projects, regardless of national context or historical period. Readings will be available in both French and English. Seminar will be primarily in English, but students are welcome to complete their work in either English or French. French is recommended but not required. Films will include works by Cocteau, Cousteau, Dassonville, Ichac, Marker, Painlevé & Hamon, Resnais, Rouch, Samivel, Thévenard, Vautier, and Vedrès, including some very rare 16mm prints. Readings will includes texts by Amad, Bataille, Bazin, Boulle, Fanon, Lefebvre, Lévi-Strauss, Lindeperg, Merleau-Ponty, Ross, Saint-Exupéry, Uexküll, Ungar, and others.
GER1780HF: German Visual Culture: The Countercinema of the Berlin School and Beyond (Fall)
Angelica Fenner
Thursdays 10-12, Thursdays 6-8
Location IN313, IN223
The moniker ‘Berlin School’ references a heterogenous body of German films whose directors first gained sustained attention for their subtle approach to tracking dramatic social changes in the new "Berlin Republic," following transfer of the governmental seat of power from Bonn to its pre-World War II location. Resisting the temptation to deliver escapist narratives to a public struggling with the erosion of the social welfare state under the pressures of globalization, these directors have instead pursued an uncompromising realism focusing in exacting and uncanny detail upon the forms of subjectivity, both ordinary and extraordinary, produced among different social groups and classes. We'll engage methodologies from phenomenology, performance studies, theories of affect, practices of the everyday, post-Bergsonian/Deleuzian philosophies of temporality and duration, feminist film theory, genre theory, and the aesthetics of cinematic realism. These readings accompany our exploration of the proposition that this movement, taken as a whole, constitutes a counter cinema, one whose auteurist ambitions accord with concurrent transnational art cinema practices and retraces its lineage to the Nouvelle Vague and the New German Cinema. Directors covered include M.Ade, T.Arslan, V.Grisebach, B.Heisenberg, C.Hochhäusler, U. Köhler, C. Petzold, A. Schanelec, and M. Speth, with occasional screenings of intertextually pertinent global art films. All films are subtitled and class discussions (including course readings) conducted in English.

Updated June 21, 2019