Summer Undergraduate Courses

Please check this webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 - Priority course enrolment begins

Monday, March 6, 2023 - All Faculty of Arts & Science students can enrol

Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - St. George Campus students can enrol

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - UTM and UTSC students can enrol

Y courses run May 8 - August 31, 2023
F courses run May 8 - June 30, 2023
S courses run July 4 - August 31, 2023

Group A: Foundations

Introduction to film analysis; concepts of film style and narrative. Topics include: documentary, avant-garde, genres, authorship, ideology, and representation.

Day and time: Tuesday 10:00-14:00, Thursday 10:00-14:00

Classroom: Media Commons Theatre, RL-3025

Instructor: Sam Reimer

Exclusion: INI115Y1, ENGB70H3, ENGB75H3, ENGB76H3, CIN101H5

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations

Group B: Genre and Modes 

Do TikTok videos have a visual language? Can a six-hour livestream on be appreciated as a kind of slow cinema? What does it mean when feature-length YouTube video essays engage more people than The New Yorker? Are reports of cinema’s death exaggerated?

The aim of this course is to examine the transforming audiovisual culture of today – that is, the early 2020s – and to ask how “new” media platforms, formats, and viewing practices have altered our sense and understanding of the moving image. Each unit we will engage with a new media form, both on its own terms and in relation to what we traditionally understand as “the cinema.” This means that in addition to screening feature films we will watch YouTube videos together, play video games, and yes, even scroll TikTok. We will draw on concepts and ideas from a variety of disciplines, including cinema studies, critical media studies, videogame studies, platform studies, and more to question how the digital puts pressure on traditional understandings of the “cinematic,” how film fandom – what some call cinephilia – has adapted and evolved in the digital age via social media apps like letterboxd, the state of theatrical exhibition in the age of COVID-19 and at-home streaming, and what all of these shifts in the moving image landscape might mean for the future of visual culture. Ultimately, we will consider if “the cinema” continues to lay a claim to dominance in our current visual culture, or if today we instead can (or should) consider our moment as one that is post-cinema. If the cinema is dead, then long-live cinema studies!

Day and time: Monday 12:00-16:00, Wednesday, 12:00-16:00

Classroom: Deluxe Screening Room, IN-222E

Instructor: Andy Lee

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations

Undeniably compelling yet often profoundly unethical, true crime media forces us to confront uncomfortable questions about the intersection of law, entertainment, and representation itself. How does popular culture shape our understanding of legal procedure? How does it train us to look at so-called offenders? What risks and rewards emerge as the entertainment industry takes on the work of journalism? In this course, we will navigate these and other debates as we progress through the past three decades of North American true crime media, including film, television, and podcasts.

Our inquiry takes place across three units. First, we consider true crime as an especially hard-to-categorize genre that bridges documentary, fiction, drama, and comedy. We then examine the common rhetorical strategies and aesthetic forms of this genre – especially the way it positions images as evidence, and audiences as an impromptu jury. Finally, we turn to the numerous social and political debates raised by true crime, focusing on its potential to alternately problematize and reinforce hegemonic conceptions of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality.

Potential media include American Vandal (2017-2018), Casting JonBenet (2017), Don’t F*** With Cats (2019), Mind Over Murder (2022), Mr. Death (1996), My Favorite Murder (2016-), Paradise Lost (1996), Strong Island (2017), Uncover (2018-), Unsolved Mysteries (1987-) – and more.

Day and time: Monday 15:00-19:00, Wednesday 15:00-19:00

Classroom: Deluxe Screening Room, IN-222E

Instructor: Sarah Woodstock

Prerequisite: CIN105Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations

Group C: Social and Cultural Practices

What is anime? Often reductively interchanged with “Japanese animation,” anime has become an increasingly salient term applied to a range of media objects over the past century, from films to television series to video games to online media formats. Moreover, anime also encompasses a broader range of aesthetic and narrative tendencies, from “big anime eyes” to ritualized transformation sequences. Viewers often recognize anime when they see it, yet as a category that has been defined and redefined both domestically in Japan and globally, the answer to the question, “What is anime?” is anything but straightforward.

This course offers an introduction to anime via ongoing debates in English-language scholarship, organized around three main units: text and image, industry, and culture, though students will be encouraged to interrogate the sites at which these units blur together. To this end, the course will foreground anime’s “nondiscrete” character, having students work through a range of media objects, including feature films such as Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988) and Castle in the Sky (Hayao Miyazaki, 1986), television series such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Shaft, 2011) and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! (Science SARU, 2020), video games such as Doki Doki Literature Club (Team Salvato, 2017), as well as phenomena such as “virtual idols” (e.g., Hatsune Miku) and “virtual YouTubers” (e.g., Kizuna Ai). The course will also foreground anime’s intermedia associations with forms like manga, the light novel, and the visual novel, as well as its associations with cultural forms like cosplay, dōjinshi (fan produced works), and contents tourism. By the end of the course, students will be able to place anime in relation to broader social, cultural, and economic developments, and will be able to consider how anime intervenes in conversations surrounding categories like animation and cinema.

Day and time: Monday 10:00-14:00, Wednesday 10:00-14:00

Classroom: Deluxe Screening Room, IN-222E

Instructor: Cole Armitage

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: 3. Society and its Institutions

Group D: Theory and Criticism

When you take out your phone and film yourself, are you contributing to a new kind of cinema? A new kind of self? Or both? Instagram, Vimeo, Twitch, YouTube and other digital platforms facilitate the rapid expansion of personal cinema as an aesthetic form and social practice. Your acquaintances, family, neighbours, one internet celebrity after another, all documenting their lives online for the audiovisual enjoyment of virtual audiences. They live, then, everywhere—including in history. Contemporary vlogging culture is but the latest example of the cinematic tradition known as the diary film. As early as the 1940s, filmmakers such as Maya Deren, and Kenneth Anger were recording personal moments and adventures while being focalizers and narrators of their everyday experience. The auteur, the camera holder, and the diarist, the layers of a self, thus blend into the fragmented and intimate film and video pieces, producing a micro-history of “ordinary life”.

This course traces today’s snapshot, social media selfie culture, to its roots in experimental cinema, seeking critical inquiries into both the historical and contemporary “gaze on life” while the exploration of self-representation and the “day-to-day” are transformed into screen-based allure and fascination. Students are introduced to the study of formal tendencies, narrative, and aesthetics of first-person experimental film practices around the world: Jonas Mekas, Anne Charlotte Robertson, Joseph Morder, LIU Na’Ou, and contemporary film diarists such as Oki Hiroyuki, Mike Hoolboom, even K-pop band BTS and AI vlogger Kizuna. A crucial component of this course is interactive, participatory, and creative. Students are encouraged to apply class discussions and lessons towards making their own (individual or collaborative) personal cinema to explore the many dimensions of cinematic self-fashioning in an immediately hands-on manner. Paired with historical review and theoretical investigation into personal cinema, the film-making project enables students to approach and comprehend the elasticity of the moving image itself—and perhaps of themselves.

Day and time: Tuesday 12:00-16:00, Thursday 12:00-16:00

Classroom: IN-223E and IN-222E

Instructor: Yung-Lin Wang

Prerequisite: CIN105Y1, CIN201Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: 2. Thought, Belief and Behaviour

Watch closely: deceptions, tricks, and transformations; shadows and phantoms; awe and wonder. Cinema has long been uniquely bonded to ‘magic’ in its many forms, from stage magic to the supernatural. This course will survey diverse points of contact between these two concepts throughout film history. We will speculate upon where the cultural, formal, and philosophical concerns of cinema intersect with those of magic and what these intersections might reveal about the nature of cinema itself.

Weekly topics will trace two interwoven threads: 1) key issues related to film theory and history, such as “film and illusion” or “spectatorship and belief” and 2) notable forms and figures of magic, such as “performance magic,” “the occult,” or “the fairy tale.” We will consider how various filmmakers and thinkers have engaged with, responded to, or represented these ideas in their work. Course screenings will embrace a range of periods and styles and will include films by the likes of George Méliès, Ingmar Bergman, Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Agnes Varda, Werner Herzog, Anna Biller, Abbas Kiarostami, Souleymane Cissé, Bi Gan, and the Brothers Quay. Invoking the spirits of cinema’s past and present, this weekly séance will aim to discover how the trick is done!

Day and time: Tuesday 17:00-21:00, Thursday 17:00-21:00

Classroom: Deluxe Screening Room, IN-222E

Instructor: Stephen Schwartz

Prerequisite: CIN105Y1, CIN201Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: 2. Thought, Belief and Behaviour