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Department of Cinema and Media Studies

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit


  • Yuri Tsivian, William Colvin Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College


  • James Chandler, Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor, Department of English, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Committee on the History of Culture, and the College
  • Tom Gunning, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College
  • David Levin, Professor, Department of Germanic Studies, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, the Committee on Theater and Performance Studies, and the College
  • Yuri Tsivian, William Colvin Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College
  • Rebecca West, William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College

Associate Professors

  • Robert Bird, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College
  • James Lastra, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of English Language and Literature, and the College
  • Noa Steimatsky, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College

Assistant Professors

  • Xinyu Dong, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College; affiliated faculty at the Center for East Asian Studies
  • Rochona Majumdar, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College
  • Jennifer Wild, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College

Senior Lecturer

  • Judy Hoffman


  • Phil Kaffen

Affiliated Faculty

  • Patrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature and the College
  • Loren Kruger, Professor, Department of English Language and Literature and the College
  • Laura Letinsky, Professor, Department of Visual Arts and the College
  • Joel Snyder, Professor, Department of Art History and the College
  • Catherine Sullivan, Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts and the College

The Department of Cinema and Media Studies offers a Ph.D. program that focuses on the history, theory, and criticism of film and related media. Faculty are drawn from a wide range of departments and disciplines, primarily in the humanities. In addition to offering its own doctoral degree, the Department offers courses and guidance to students who specialize in film and related media within other  graduate programs or who pursue a joint degree.

Centering on the cinema, the graduate program provides students with the critical skills, research methods, and an understanding of the debates that have developed within cinema studies as a discrete discipline. At the same time, the study of cinema and related media mandates an interdisciplinary approach in a number of respects. The aesthetics of film is inextricably linked to the cultural, social, political, and economic configurations within which the cinema emerged and which it in turn has shaped. Likewise, the history of the cinema cannot be separated from its interaction with other media. Just as it is part of a wholly new culture of moving images and sounds that includes television, video, and digital technologies, the cinema draws on earlier practices of instantaneous photography and sound recording and, in a wider sense, those media that are more often described as the fine arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, theater, and music). Finally, the interdisciplinary orientation of the program entails an emphasis on the diversity of film and media practices in different national and transnational contexts and periods and thus an understanding of the cinema as a historically variable and rich cultural form.

The Film Studies Center, located on the third floor of Cobb Hall, serves as a resource for course related and individual research and as a forum for cinema and media related activities.

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Students are expected to complete sixteen courses during their course of study, of which a minimum of eleven have to be listed among the offerings of the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. These Cinema and Media Studies courses will include:

  1. Three required courses originating in the department:
    1. CMST 40000 Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies:  an introduction to research methods, key concepts, and theoretical approaches, using case studies to introduce students to debates and issues in the field.
    2. CMST 48500 History of International Cinema I: Silent Era, and CMST 48600 History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960:  a two quarter survey course that is designed as both a beginning level graduate and an upper level undergraduate course.
  2. Eight elective courses in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.
  3. A sample program for students entering the department without previous graduate study in cinema and media studies would consist in the following:
    1. First year: A total of seven courses; the three required courses, a minimum of two elective courses in the Department of Cinema & Media Studies, and two further elective courses.
    2. Second year: A total of six courses; a minimum of four elective courses in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and two further elective courses. Of these six courses, three must be designated as advanced courses.
    3. Third year: A total of three courses; at least one Ph.D. research seminar in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and two elective courses.

Students entering the program with an M.A. from another institution or another program may ask to be exempt from some of these requirements. Such requests will be handled on an individual basis. Students wishing to waive requirements must get the approval of their adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Fields examination

Students entering the program without previous graduate study in Cinema and Media Studies are expected to take their fields examination by the end of the third year; students entering with an M.A. may be encouraged to take the examination earlier. All candidates for the Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies must complete comprehensive examinations after completing the required course work.

  1. The exam will be comprised of two parts: a written exam, and an oral defense. The student will select the exam committee in consultation with the graduate adviser.
  2. The written exam will be comprised of three (3) equally weighted areas defined by three "lists" covering three areas of study.
    1. These areas will be defined by generally canonical criteria: genre, period, nationality, movements, etc., but are not prescribed by the department.
    2. Alternately, one area may be defined by the student as a way of tailoring a list to a special research interest.
    3. CMS faculty will supervise the development of the lists to ensure that central texts are not omitted, that the lists cover an appropriate range of materials, including films, and that a balance of issues, periods, debates, etc. are engaged by the student. At least two members of the exam committee must be department members.
    4. Each list will include approximately 30 "items." An item is a flexible unit that may be a book, a group of articles, a group of films, or, at times, a single [substantial] work - the number and nature of an "item" will be negotiated between faculty member and student.
    5. To ensure consistency, all lists will be approved by the chair or designated faculty delegate. At least four weeks prior to the scheduled exam, the student should return a completed approval form and a copy of the approved lists to the Cinema and Media Studies office, Gates-Blake 418. Approval forms are available from the CMS office an on the CMS website. Essay questions will be prepared by the faculty in advance of the written exam date.
  3. The student will determine the sequence in which the written exam will be administered, specifying which list will comprise the first portion of the exam, which the second, and which the third. At 9:00 a.m. on a mutually selected date the student will pick up the first question or questions of the written exam. The student will return the completed essay by 5:00 p.m. the next day. The student may pick up the remaining two portions of the exam at 9:00 a.m. on subsequent days, at his or her own pace, returning the exams the next day, by 5:00 p.m. The student will finish the written exam no later than two weeks after the starting date.
  4. At the time of the written exam, the student will turn in a sample syllabus for a course based upon one or more of the lists. The syllabus will be discussed as part of the oral defense.
  5. The faculty committee and the student will meet for an oral defense shortly after the written exam has been completed. Faculty will have evaluated the written portion, and will come with questions that respond to the written work. However, other aspects of the list will be considered fair game. The oral exam will last approximately 1.5 hours.

Foreign Language Requirement

Given the highly international nature of the field of cinema and media studies, proficiency in two modern foreign languages has to be demonstrated by earning High Passes on the University's Foreign Language Reading Examinations. The first of these two languages must be either French or German, and proficiency should be demonstrated by the beginning of the Autumn quarter of the student's second year. The second language will be chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor, and proficiency must be demonstrated before the student will be permitted to take the Fields Examination.


We will make every effort to assure that all students who apply for a course assistantship have at least one quarter of supervised teaching during their years in the program, and more if specified by the terms of their award package. Further information on teaching in CMS and other opportunities to teach at the University of Chicago can be found in the CMS Graduate Student Handbook  and from the Office of the Dean of Students .

Dissertation proposal

Before being admitted to candidacy, students must write a dissertation proposal under the supervision of the dissertation committee.


Upon completion of the dissertation, the student will defend it orally before the members of the dissertation committee.

For further information concerning Cinema and Media Studies, please see  or contact the Department Coordinator at (773) 834-1077 or via e-mail at

Application and Financial Aid

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate programs in the Division of the Humanities is administered by the Divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available online at: .

Questions about admissions and aid should be directed to or (773) 702-1552.


The following list represents the range and variety of graduate courses taught in the past, including those taught by visiting faculty. For current course offerings and detailed descriptions of the courses below, see the department’s website at .

Cinema and Media Studies Courses

CMST 30101. Women Mystery Writers: From Page to Screen. 100 Units.

Many distinguished filmmakers have found inspiration in mystery novels written by women. This course is a reading of novels by Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley's Game) and Ruth Rendell (Tree of Hands, The Bridesmaid, Live Flesh). Time permitting, we also read Laura by Vera Caspary, Bunny Lake Is Missing by Evelyn Piper, and Mischief by Charlotte Armstrong. We also analyze the films based on these novels, directed by such luminaries as Hitchcock, Chabrol, Caviani, Clément, Wenders, Almodóvar, and Preminger. Topics include techniques of film adaptation; transnational dislocations from page to screen; the problematics of gender; and the transformations of "voice," understood both literally and mediatically.

Instructor(s): R. West

CMST 31801. Chicago Film History. 100 Units.

Students in this course screen and discuss films to consider whether there is a Chicago style of filmmaking. We trace how the city informs documentary, educational, industrial, narrative feature, and avant-garde films. If there is a Chicago style of filmmaking, one must look at the landscape of the city; and the design, politics, cultures, and labor of its people, as well as how they live their lives. The protagonists and villains in these films are the politicians and community organizers, our locations are the neighborhoods, and the set designers are Mies van der Rohe and the Chicago Housing Authority.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 21801,ARTV 26750,ARTV 36750,HMRT 25104,HMRT 35104

CMST 32302. Rome in Film and Literature. 100 Units.

We shall analyze films and fictional works that reflect both realities and myths about the “Eternal City,” Rome. Classical Rome will not be studied; instead the focus will be on a trajectory of works, both written and cinematic, that are set in and explore late nineteenth to late twentieth-century Rome. The goal is to analyze some of the numerous diverse representations of modern Rome that portray historical, political, subjective, and/or fantastical/mythopoetic elements that have interacted over time to produce the palimpsest that is the city of Rome. Books by D’Annunzio, Moravia, Pasolini and Malerba; films by Fellini, Visconti, Rossellini, Bertolucci, Pasolini, and Moretti.

Instructor(s): R. West     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Taught in English; Italian majors will read the texts in the original Italian.
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 23203,CMST 23202,ITAL 33203

CMST 33905. Creative Thesis Workshop. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): Judy Hoffman     Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930; CMST 23931 or 27600; departmental approval of senior creative thesis project.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23905,ARTV 33905

CMST 33930. Documentary Production I. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Prior or concurrent enrollment in CMST 10100 recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23930,ARTV 33930,CMST 23930,HMRT 25106,HMRT 35106

CMST 33931. Documentary Production II. 100 Units.

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 editing techniques and distribution strategies. Students then screen final projects in a public space.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930/ARTV 23930
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 23931,ARTV 23931,ARTV 33931

CMST 34401. Czech New Wave Cinema. 100 Units.

The insurgent film movement known as the Czech New Wave spawned such directors as the internationally acclaimed Milos Forman (The Fireman’s Ball, Loves of a Blonde), Jiri Menzel (Closely Watched Trains), Jan Kadar (The Shop on Main Street), and Vera Chytilova (Daisies), and the lesser known but nationally inspirational Evald Schorm, Jarmir Jires, Odlrich Lipsky, and Jan Nemec. The serendipitous life of the Czech New Wave is as much a subject of the course’s inquiry as close technical and semantic research of the films themselves.

Instructor(s): Malynne Sternstein     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CZEC 26700,CZEC 36701

CMST 34404. From Post-war to Post-wall: A History of Polish Film. 100 Units.

This course will explore post-World War II film from Poland – approaching the works both as examples of the cinematic art in the region, and as a lens through which to view developments and transformations in East European culture. We will view ten films by most renowned directors from Poland. The course will assess what the end of World War II, followed by joining the Eastern Bloc, the fall of communism, and finally by the entry into post-Soviet Europe have meant for the film culture and the Polish national film tradition. We will also consider how Eastern European cinematic discourse is undergoing – or should undergo – revision, viewing it as an increasingly transnational phenomenon, rather than the example of a national film industry. The films will be viewed in the original language with English subtitles.

Instructor(s): Kinga Kosmala     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 24404,POLI 22400,POLI 32400

CMST 34607. China’s New Documentary Cinema. 100 Units.

Since the early 1990s, the "new documentary" has emerged as one of the most prominent phenomena in Chinese film and video, widely circulating at international film festivals and eliciting considerable critical debate. This course examines the styles and functions of China’s "new documentary" over the last fifteen years, paying particular attention to the institutional, cultural, economic, and political conditions that underpin its flourishing. This overview will lead us to consider questions that concern the recent explosion of the documentary form worldwide, and to explore the tensions and imbalances that characterize the global circulation of the genre. We will address such issues as: what is "new" about China’s recent documentary cinema; the "national" and "transnational" dimensions of documentary filmmaking, and the ways in which these dimensions intersect in its production and circulation; the extent to which the international demand for "unofficial" images from China has contributed to its growth; the politics involved in documentary filmmaking, and the forms and meanings of "independent" cinema in the wake of intensified globalization; the links between Chinese documentary and the global rise of documentary filmmaking, and the ways in which they challenge extant concepts and theorizations of the genre.

Instructor(s): P. Iovene
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 24606

CMST 34613. The Martial Arts Tradition in Chinese Cinema. 100 Units.

 This year’s course focuses on the martial arts film in Hong Kong cinema, in conjunction with a special quarter-long series on this topic at Doc Films. We will pay particular attention to the wuxia genre, tracing the genealogy of the chivalric code in the Chinese literary and performing tradition, and examining its continuous reinvention in the films of masters like King Hu, Chang Cheh, Bruce Lee, and Tsui Hark. Recurrent issues to be examined include the representation of violence, fantasy, and nationalism; the interplay between body, film style, and technology; the performance of masculinity and femininity; and the complex interactions between the global and local in today’s trans-national film culture.

Instructor(s): Judith Zeitlin     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Background in Cinema or East Asia helpful but not required. Screenings in conjunction with Doc Films series on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m., attendance is mandatory.
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 24323,EALC 34323,TAPS 28464

CMST 34913. Making Sense of a Moving World: Japanese Cinema through 1945. 100 Units.

The aim of this course is to explore a variety of filmmaking practices in relation to historical and cultural trends in Japan from the 1910s to the end of the Second World War. While we will watch films of the great auteurs such as Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Naruse, the increasing number of subtitled films and DVDs of prewar Japanese cinema allows for unprecedented access to a wide variety of filmmaking practices. Hence, in addition to auteur films, we will watch old-school period films and adaptations from popular literature, high speed nihilistic action films, socialist “tendency” films, critical documentaries, melodramas, experimental film and animation, and wartime propaganda. Along with the films, we will read writings on film by a range of thinkers and artists to engage with a variety of issues, including gender, realism, modernism, propaganda, human/animal, violence, and mass culture. We will look at the ways cinema, as both a participant in and a unique reflection on modernity, fundamentally transformed the relationship of Japan to the world.

Instructor(s): Phil Kaffen     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 24913

CMST 35501. Poetic Cinema. 100 Units.

Films are frequently denoted as "poetic" or "lyrical" in a vague sort of way. It has been applied equally to religious cinema and to the experimental avant-garde. Our task will be to interrogate this concept and to try to define what it actually is denoting. Films and critical texts will mainly be drawn from Soviet and French cinema of the 1920s-1930s and 1960s-1990s. Directors include Dovzhenko, Renoir, Cocteau, Resnais, Maya Deren, Tarkovsky, Pasolini, Jarman, and Sokurov. In addition to sampling these directors' own writings, we shall examine theories of poetic cinema by major critics from the Russian formalists to Andre Bazin beyond.

Instructor(s): R. Bird
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25501,SLAV 29001,SLAV 39001

CMST 35953. Transmedia Game. 100 Units.

This experimental course explores the emerging game genre of “transmedia” or “alternate reality” gaming. Transmedia games use the real world as their platform while incorporating text, video, audio, social media, websites, and other forms. We will approach new media theory through the history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. Course requirements include weekly blog entry responses to theoretical readings; an analytical midterm paper; and collaborative participation in a single narrative-based transmedia game project. No preexisting technical expertise is required but a background in any of the following areas will help: creative writing, literary or media theory, web design, visual art, computer programming, performance, and game design.

Instructor(s): P. Jagoda     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMST 36501. Hitchcock: The Language of Narrative Desire. 100 Units.

No single filmmaker has equaled Alfred Hitchcock’s combination of popular success, critical commentary and widespread influence on other filmmakers. Currently, his work is so familiar it threatens to be taken for granted. This course will reveal Hitchcock as the filmmaker who systematically used the stylistics of late silent film to forge a dialectical approach to the so-called Classical Style. Hitchcock devised a relation among narrative, spectator and character point of view, yielding a configuration of suspense, sensation and perception. Tracing Hitchcock’s career chronologically, we will follow his intertwining of sexual desire and gender politics, and his reshaping of melodrama according to Freudian concepts of repression, memory, interpretation and abreaction, as he navigates from silent film to sound and from Great Britain to Hollywood.

Instructor(s): Tom Gunning     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 26501

CMST 36802. Bunuel and Surrealism. 100 Units.

 Description forthcoming.

Instructor(s): Jim Lastra     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 26802,LACS 26802,LACS 36802

CMST 37600. Introduction to Black and White Film Photography. 100 Units.

Photography is a familiar medium due to its ubiquitous presence in our visual world, including popular culture and personal usage. In this class, students learn technical procedures and basic skills related to the 35mm camera, black and white film, and print development. They also begin to establish criteria for artistic expression. We investigate photography in relation to its historical and social context in order to more consciously engage the photograph's communicative and expressive possibilities. Course work culminates in a portfolio of works exemplary of the student's understanding of the medium. Field trips required.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, or 10300
Note(s): Camera and light meter required.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 24000,ARTV 34000,CMST 27600

CMST 37602-37702. Photography I-II.

The goal of this course is to develop students’ investigations and explorations in photography, building on beginning level experience and basic facility with this medium. Students pursue a line of artistic inquiry by participating in a process that involves experimentation, reading, gallery visits, critiques, and discussions, but mostly by producing images. Primary emphasis is placed upon the visual articulation of the ideas of students through their work, as well as the verbal expression of their ideas in class discussions, critiques, and artist’s statements. As a vital component of articulating ideas and inquiry, students will refine their skills, e.g., black and white or color printing, medium or large format camera usage, or experimenting with light-sensitive materials. Courses taught concurrently and can be repeated as part of an ongoing, developing photographic project.

CMST 37602. Photography I. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Huffman     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, or 10300; and 24000.
Note(s): Camera and light meter required. Courses taught concurrently and can be repeated as part of an ongoing, developing photographic project.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 24401,ARTV 34401,CMST 27602

CMST 37702. Photography II. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Huffman     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, or 10300; and 24000.
Note(s): Camera and light meter required. Courses taught concurrently and can be repeated as part of an ongoing, developing photographic project.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 24402,ARTV 34402,CMST 27702

CMST 37800. Theories of Media. 100 Units.

For course description contact English.

Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 12800,AMER 30800,ARTH 25900,ARTH 35900,ARTV 25400,CMST 27800,ENGL 32800

CMST 38200. Nonfiction Film: Representations and Performance,Non-Fiction Film: Representation and Performance. 100 Units.

This course attempts to define nonfiction cinema by looking at the history of its major modes (e.g., documentary, essay, ethnographic, agitprop film), as well as personal/autobiographical and experimental works that are less easily classifiable. We explore some of the theoretical discourses that surround this most philosophical of film genres (e.g., ethics and politics of representation; shifting lines between fact and fiction, truth and reality). The relationship between the documentary and the state is examined in light of the genre's tendency to inform and instruct. We consider the tensions of filmmaking and the performative aspects in front of the lens, as well as the performance of the camera itself. Finally, we look at the ways in which distribution and television effect the production and content of nonfiction film. , We will attempt to define Non-Fiction cinema by examining its major modes. These include the Documentary, Essay, Ethnographic, and Political/Agit-prop film, as well as personal/autobiographical and Experimental works that are less easily classifiable. We will explore some of the theoretical discourses that surround this most philosophical of film genres, such as the ethics and politics of representation, and the shifting lines between fact and fiction, truth and reality. The relationship between the Documentary and the State will be examined in light of the genre’s tendency to inform and instruct. We will consider the tensions of filmmaking and the performative aspects in front of the lens, as well as the performance of the camera itself. Finally, we will look at the ways in which distribution and television effect the production and content of Non-fiction film.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman,Judy Hoffman     Terms Offered: ,Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ,HMRT 25101,ARTV 25100,ARTV 35100,HMRT 35101,CMST 28200

CMST 38201. Political Documentary Film. 100 Units.

This course explores the political documentary film, its intersection with historical and cultural events, and its opposition to Hollywood and traditional media. We will examine various documentary modes of production, from films with a social message, to advocacy and activist film, to counter-media and agit-prop. We will also consider the relationship between the filmmaker, film subject and audience, and how political documentaries are disseminated and, most importantly, part of political struggle.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 28201,ARTV 28204,ARTV 38204

CMST 38801. Digital Imaging. 100 Units.

This studio course introduces fundamental tools and concepts used in the production of computer-mediated artwork. Instruction includes a survey of standard digital imaging software and hardware (i.e., Photoshop, scanners, storage, printing, etc), as well as exposure to more sophisticated methods. We also view and discuss the historical precedents and current practice of media art. Using input and output hardware, students complete conceptually driven projects emphasizing personal direction while gaining core digital knowledge.

Instructor(s): J. Salavon     Terms Offered: Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, or 10300
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 22500,ARTV 32500,CMST 28801

CMST 38900. Introduction to Video. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to video making with digital cameras and nonlinear (digital) editing. Students produce a group of short works, which is contextualized by viewing and discussion of historical and contemporary video works. Video versus film, editing strategies, and appropriation are some of the subjects that are part of an ongoing conversation.  

Instructor(s): S. Wolniak     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, or 10300
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23800,ARTV 33800,CMST 28900,TAPS 28427

CMST 38920. Introduction to Film Production. 100 Units.

This intensive lab introduces 16mm film production, experimenting with various film stocks and basic lighting designs. The class is organized around a series of production situations with students working in crews. Each crew learns to operate and maintain the 16mm Bolex film camera and tripod, as well as Arri lights, gels, diffusion, and grip equipment. The final project is an in-camera edit.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23850,ARTV 33850,CMST 28920,TAPS 28451

CMST 40000. Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 48000,MAPH 33000

CMST 40202. Feminist Theory and Counter-Cinema. 100 Units.

Feminism in Great Britain, France, and America has produced a rigorous intellectual, theoretical, and aesthetic legacy within the field of film studies. This course will explore the central debates of feminist psychoanalytic film theory (the patriarchal unconscious; Hollywood narrative; the gaze; genre; visual/female pleasure; masochism; the female spectator; resistant spectators) and criticism as we also integrate the contemporary movement of feminist historiography into our central mode of inquiry. The theoretical debates surrounding the critique of language, the question of feminine writing, cinécriture, and the female author will inform our investigation of the radical aesthetics of feminist counter cinema. Films include: Queen Christina; Orlando; Craig’s Wife; Le Bonheur; Vertigo; Hiroshima, Mon Amour; Mahogany; Salome; Fuses; Riddles of the Sphynx; Film About a Woman Who...; Jeanne Dielman; Tapage Nocturne; Sex is Comedy.

Instructor(s): Jennifer Wild     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 22213,FREN 32213,GNSE 20208,GNSE 30308

CMST 44508. Decolonizing Drama and Performance in Africa. 100 Units.

This course examines the connections among dramatic writing, theatrical practice, and theoretical reflection on decolonization primarily in Africa and the Caribbean in the twentieth century. Authors (many of whom write theory and theater) may include Aima Aidoo, Fatima Dike, Aime Cesaire, Franz Fanon, Fernandez Retamar, Athol Fugard, Biodun Jeyifo, Were Liking, Mustafa Matura, Jose Marti, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kwame Nkrumah, Wole Soyinka, and Derek Walcott. Texts in English, French, and/or Spanish.

Instructor(s): L. Kruger
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing and prior course in either theater or African studies. Working knowledge of French and/or Spanish is required for Comparative Literature status and recommended, but not required, for other students.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 24508

CMST 44510. The Aesthetics of Socialist Realism. 100 Units.

 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. Conducted jointly by professors Robert Bird (Slavic and Cinemaand Media Studies, University of Chicago) and Christina Kiaer, Art History, Northwestern University, course meetings will be divided evenly between the campuses of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Instructor(s): Robert Bird, Christina Kiaer     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMST 45201. Cinema and the First Avant-Garde, 1890-1933. 100 Units.

Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25201,ARTH 25205,ARTV 25201

CMST 48500-48600. History of International Cinema I-II.

This sequence is required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Taking these courses in sequence is strongly recommended but not required.

CMST 48500. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent enrollment in CMST 10100. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 28500,ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,ARTV 26500,ARTV 36500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400,ENGL 29300,ENGL 48700,MAPH 36000

CMST 48600. History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): Y. Tsivian     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28600,ARTH 38600,ARTV 26600,CMLT 22500,CMLT 32500,CMST 28600,ENGL 29600,ENGL 48900,MAPH 33700

CMST 51300. Race, Media and Visual Culture. 100 Units.

For course description contact CDIN Center for Disciplinary Innovation.

Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 51300,ARTH 49309,ARTV 55500,CMLT 51500,ENGL 51300

CMST 63002. The Face on Film. 100 Units.

The seminar will discuss on the workings of the face –as imprint of identity, as figure of subjectivity, as privileged object of representation, as mode and ethic of address – through film theory and practice. How has cinema responded to the mythic and iconic charge of the face, to the portrait’s exploration of model and likeness, identity and identification, the revelatory and masking play of expression, the symbolic and social registers informing the human countenance. At this intersection of archaic desires and contemporary anxieties, the face will serve as our medium by which to reconsider, in the cinematic arena, some of the oldest questions on the image. Among the filmmakers and writers who will inform our discussion are Balázs, Epstein, Kuleshov, Dreyer, Pasolini, Hitchcock, Warhol, Bresson, Bazin, Barthes, Doane, Aumont, Nancy, Didi-Huberman, and others.

Instructor(s): Noa Steimatsky     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 43002,CMLT 43002

CMST 63701. Neo-Avant-Wave: Post-War Film Experiment in France. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): Jennifer Wild     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 43713,ARTH 43701

CMST 64903. Theory, Media, and the Moving Image in Japan. 100 Units.

This course sets out to explore the history and present of film and media theory in Japan. To that end, we will engage close readings of translated writings spanning the 20th century and into the 21st. The course is most centrally focused on cinema as the predominant moving image art or technology for much of the 20th century. We will explore its relationship to sociological issues such as economy, technology, and mass consumption, as well as philosophical and aesthetic issues of subjectivity, time and space, mediation, and representation. At the same time, we will attempt to situate such writings within a broader constellation of writings on literature, philosophy, photography, animation, and new media in Japan, and when possible, Western film and media theory. The emphasis in the class is on readings, but there will be a screening component as well. No Japanese language ability is required.

Instructor(s): Phil Kaffen     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 65202. The Uncanny in Cinema. 100 Units.

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. To explore this term this seminar will draw largely on a tradition of commentary on the German word Das Unheimliche, usually translated as uncanny, that can be trace among Ernst Jentsch, Sigmund Freud and Martin Heidegger and it relevance to film and media 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 of 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 seminar we will read a series of the keys 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.

Instructor(s): Tom Gunning     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 45202

CMST 67200. Classical Film Theory. 100 Units.

This course examines major texts in film theory from Vachel Lindsay and Hugo Münsterberg in the 1910s through André Bazin's writings in the 1940s and 1950s. We will devote special attention to the emergence of issues that continue to be of major importance, such as the film/language analogy, film semiotics, spectatorship, realism, montage, the modernism/mass culture debate, and the relationship between film history and film style. We will concentrate on the major theoretical writings of Münsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Jean Epstein, Sergei Eisenstein, Siegfried Kracauer, Bela Balazs, Bazin, as well as writings by Walter Benjamin, Germaine Dulac, Maya Deren, Jean Mitry, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and others.

Instructor(s): Jim Lastra     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 68600