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Department of Cinema and Media Studies

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Core Faculty

Department Chair - Daniel Morgan

Director of Graduate Studies - Daniel Morgan

Director of Undergraduate Studies - Maria Belodubrovskaya


  • James Chandler
  • Thomas Lamarre
  • David Levin
  • Daniel Morgan
  • Richard Neer
  • Jacqueline Stewart

Associate Professors

  • Maria Belodubrovskaya
  • Allyson Nadia Field
  • Patrick Jagoda
  • James Lastra
  • Rochona Majumdar
  • Salomé Skvirsky


  • Thomas Comerford
  • Marc Downie
  • Marco Ferrari
  • Clint Froehlich

Affiliated Faculty

  • Ina Blom, Department of Art History
  • James Conant, Department of Philosophy
  • Anne Eakin Moss, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature
  • Berthold Hoeckner, Department of Music
  • Paola Iovene, East Asian Languages and Civilizations
  • Loren Kruger, Department of English Language and Literature
  • Laura Letinsky, Department of Visual Arts
  • Constantine Nakassis, Department of Anthropology
  • Robert Pippin, Department of Philosophy
  • Malynne Sternstein, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature
  • Catherine Sullivan, Department of Visual Arts

Emeritus Faculty

  • Tom Gunning
  • Yuri Tsivian
  • Rebecca West


  • Jane Bohnsack, Department Administrator
  • Brianna Considine, Department Assistant

The Department of Cinema and Media Studies offers a PhD 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 seventeen courses during their course of study, of which a minimum of twelve have to be listed among the offerings of the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. Courses must be taken for a quality letter grade; pass/fail is not an option (with the exception of CMST 69900 Pedagogy).

  1. Four (4) required courses originating in the department:
    • CMST 40000 Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies: an introduction to research methods, key concepts, and theoretical frameworks, using case studies to introduce students to debates and issues in the field; offered during Autumn Quarter each year. 
    • 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; offered in Autumn Quarter [Part I] and Winter Quarter [Part II] each year.
    • CMST 69900 Pedagogy: The Way We Teach Film: an introduction to pedagogical methods in the field of Cinema and Media Studies. This course takes place over the course of one (1) full academic year, meeting roughly three to four times per quarter; offered in alternating academic years for students in years 2 and 3 of the PhD program. 
  2. Five (5) elective courses that either originate in or are cross-listed with the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. Only courses with a CMST cross-list can count towards this requirement, even if the course is taught by a CMS faculty member through another department. These courses should ideally fit into the overarching research goals of the student. 
  3. Three (3) advanced-level CMS seminars (600-level) - graduate seminars taught by CMS faculty are the only courses which receive a 600-level designation. CMST 69900: Pedagogy does not count towards the advanced course requirement. 
  4. Five (5) elective courses that can originate in other departments and may or may not cover cinema related subjects. Students should use this coursework requirement to work with faculty members outside of CMS and add interdisciplinary elements to their own scholarship.

Please note that language courses are not counted towards fulfilling coursework requirements.

Students Who Enter with an MA

PhD students entering the department with a master's degree from another institution (or from within the University of Chicago via the MAPH program) may request to be exempt from some coursework requirements. Such requests are handled on a case-by-case basis, but students may not receive a waiver for more than three (3) courses. Students must show the relevance of a course in the field of cinema studies in order to qualify for such an exemption. Courses should be graduate level only - undergraduate courses will not be acceptable. To request a coursework waiver, students should send an email to the DGS and include the syllabus for each course and transcripts showing the grade earned by the student. If a waiver is approved by the DGS, the student will be informed directly. 

Foreign Language Requirement

Given the highly international nature of the field of cinema and media studies, students must demonstrate proficiency in one (1) modern foreign language by earning High Passes ('P+') on the University's Foreign Language Reading Examinations. The language will be chosen in consultation with the DGS, and proficiency must be demonstrated before the student will be permitted to take the fields examination. The language should be relevant to the student’s areas of research and may be a programming language.

Students may also fulfill language requirements by receiving an A or A- grade in a one-quarter graduate course - FREN 33333 or GRMN 33300 for example. Completion of the course with a grade of A or A- means the students does not need to take a language examination.

Students who are native-speakers of a language other than English should consult with the DGS during their first year in the program whether a waiver of  a language requirement is possible. 

Oral Fields Examinations

By the end of their third year in the program, students should have taken their Oral Field Examinations. All coursework and foreign language requirements must be completed prior to taking the oral fields examinations. The purpose of these examinations is to ascertain a student's readiness to proceed from advanced formal coursework to devising a dissertation project, and ensure that a student has sufficient command of several fields to teach and to generate new research projects. It is expected that students produce written exams that are argument-driven - one that draws on and is informed by each of their fields lists.

  • The exam is comprised of five parts - three (3) written exams (one for each list), a syllabus for an undergraduate course of 10 weeks based on one or more field lists, and an oral exam. The essays are not meant to be a literature review or an exhaustive account of all of the material on the list. 

The student will select an exam committee consisting of three faculty members in the relevant fields in consultation with the DGS, keeping in mind that two members of the exam committee must be CMS faculty. 

Graduate Teaching - Pedagogical Training Plan (PTP)

Students from Cinema and Media Studies compete for positions in diverse institutions of higher education. Many of these institutions are teaching intensive, and all institutions require significant evidence of teaching experience and training. Graduates from CMS who are successful on the academic job market have had a strong teaching profiles in addition to producing quality research.

Teaching in the department - whether as a course assistant (CA), BA preceptor, or Lecturer - counts toward fulfillment of the PTP. Teaching outside of the department to meet PTP expectations - especially to fulfill teaching obligations in a joint-degree program - must be approved by the DGS, and the department will anticipate a student completing their teaching commitments in CMS unless informed otherwise. The DGS might recommend deferring teaching commitments depending on a student's academic standing in the program. CMS BA Preceptors may be used to fulfill PTP requirements on occasion and only with departmental approval.

Further information on teaching in CMS can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.


Students who matriculate beginning in Summer 2020 and after will be guaranteed to have funding support from the University of Chicago, external sources, or a combination of the two for the duration of their program. Students are expected to remain in good academic standing and continue making progress toward degree requirements. This support will include full tuition coverage, annual stipend, student services fee, and fully paid individual annual premiums for UChicago’s student health insurance.

Information on funding will be continually updated through the Humanities Division website in the Financial Aid section.  For information regarding fellowships outside of the standard admissions package, please visit the Internal Fellowship section on the Humanities Division site.

The Dissertation Proposal and Reaching Candidacy

In order to be admitted to candidacy, students must write a dissertation proposal under the supervision of their dissertation committee. Students are expected to reach candidacy in year 3 or 4, and must have reached candidacy by the start of year 6 (please check with Department Staff for specific details).

Dissertation Defense and Graduation

Upon completion of the dissertation, the student will defend it orally before the members of the dissertation committee, the Cinema and Media Studies faculty, and their colleagues in the PhD program. Once the dissertation is approved by the student's committee, the student is eligible to graduate.

The Degree of Master of Arts

Students seeking master's level study should apply to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH); a three-quarter program of interdisciplinary study. Students build their own curriculum with graduate-level courses in any humanities department. Students choosing to focus in Cinema and Media Studies would take courses within the department and complete their thesis with a faculty advisor.

Graduate Courses in Cinema and Media Studies

CMST 31025. Creating a Different Image: Black Women's Filmmaking of the 1970s-90s. 100 Units.

This course will explore the rich intersections between African American women's filmmaking, literary production, and feminist thought from the 1970s to the early 1990s, with an emphasis on the formation of a Black women's film culture beginning in the 1970s. We will examine the range of Black feminisms presented through film and the ways that these films have challenged, countered, and reimagined dominant narratives about race, class, gender, and sexuality in America. We will explore the power and limitations of filmmaking as a mode of Black feminist activism; the range of Black feminisms presented through film; and the specific filmic engagements of well-known Black feminist critics such as bell hooks, Toni Cade Bambara, and Michele Wallace. As many Black feminist writers were engaged with filmmaking and film culture, we will look at these films alongside Black women's creative and critical writing from the period. Approaching filmmaking in the context of Black feminist thought will allow us to examine the possibilities of interdisciplinary approaches to film studies broadly, as well as to think specifically about the research methods and theories that are demanded by Black women's filmmaking in particular.

Instructor(s): Allyson Field     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): This course is open to graduate and undergraduate students from across the disciplines; our conversations and presentations of the films will both depend on and be energized by different disciplinary perspectives.
Note(s): Not offered in 2023-24. Please email Professor Field at before enrolling. Course Description Continued: We will discuss the form, aesthetics, and politics of individual films and we will examine larger efforts by artists and activists to build a Black women’s film culture, asking such questions as: What does a film history of Black feminism look like, and what scholarly and creative methods does such a history demand? To begin to answer these questions, we will revisit the 1976 Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts—believed to be the first ever Black women’s film festival—organized by Michele Wallace, Faith Ringgold, Patricia Jones, Margo Jefferson, and Monica Freeman. The class will collectively participate in a homage series inspired by the 1976 festival, featuring work by filmmakers from the original festival such as Monica Freeman, Madeline Anderson, Michelle Parkerson, Ayoka Chenzira, Carol Munday Lawrence, Edie Lynch, and Camille Billops; as well as others including Julie Dash, Zeinabu irene Davis, Maya Angelou, and Yvonne Welbon. The weekly course screenings will be open to the public and students will gain experience in the public presentation of films by actively engaging in public-facing aspects of film exhibition (writing program notes, delivering introductions, participating in discussions, etc.). The class will culminate with a two-day symposium that will bring together around 35 Black feminist filmmakers and artists, including a number from the 1976 festival, to revisit the threads and legacies of the original event and discuss the present and future of Black women’s film practices.
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 31025, GNSE 30128, GNSE 20128, HMRT 21025, HIST 27415, HIST 37415, HMRT 31025, CRES 21025, CMST 21025

CMST 31703. Weimar Cinema. 100 Units.

German films between the end of World War I and the establishment of the Third Reich in 1933 are extraordinarily eclectic and intensely inventive, encompassing horror film, socially conscious dramas, expressionist fantasies, experimental documentary, early proto-fascist and anti-fascist films, and that ur-German invention, the mountain film. We will consider some of the most important works of the period, including films by Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch, G.W. Pabst, F.W. Murnau, Arnold Fanck, Walter Ruttmann, and Josef von Sternberg, examining their context, style, reception, formal achievements and historical significance.

Instructor(s): David Levin     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 37710, GRMN 27710, CMST 21703

CMST 32118. Nazi Cinema. 100 Units.

Nazi cinema. An examination of a broad range of films produced under the National Socialist regime, from mass spectacles to domestic melodramas, from comedies to hagiographic bio-pics to dramatized propaganda. Throughout we will seek to explore the national, formal, and ideological particularity of these films and to trace their conceptual logic. What, we will ask, constitutes the National Socialist (film) aesthetic? Readings in film history and cultural theory. No prerequisites, but a commitment to close readings - of films and criticism - and lively, thoughtful engagement will be essential. In English. A German language discussion section may be added.

Instructor(s): David Levin     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 32118, GRMN 22118, CMST 22118

CMST 32119. Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung in Performance. 100 Units.

This seminar, open to undergraduates and beginning graduate students, serves as a critical introduction to and intensive exploration of Richard Wagner's 19th century tetralogy. In addition to critical readings (e.g., by Wagner, Adorno, Nietzsche, Badiou, Dahlhaus, et al.) and screenings of a host of productions, we will travel downtown to Lyric Opera to attend performances of the Ring cycle in David Pountney's new production. Our discussions of the Chicago production will be supplemented by conversations with members of the Lyric Opera production team, including Anthony Freud, Lyric Opera's General Director. No previous knowledge is required although a curiosity about opera, German culture, media history, and/or theater & performance studies will be essential.

Instructor(s): David Levin     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 23419, FNDL 23419, MUSI 32520, MUSI 24520, CMST 22119, GRMN 33419

CMST 32205. Caring for Technology. 100 Units.

This seminar will draw on media technology studies, game studies, and feminist science studies to think about care as an operative theoretical concept that can help reframe our understandings of contemporary technology. We will be concerned with media representations of caring technologies-technologies that give care and technologies we care for and about. We will also be concerned with how care itself is mediated by technology-on whose behalf do technologies care? What does technology care about? What does it mean to care in a technogenic world? Readings and assignments will draw on video games, animations, and films, but also treat technoscientific objects as media objects: machine learning algorithms, infrastructures, sensors and medical implants are designed and calibrated to mediate flows of information and material, producing ways of seeing, knowing, and relating. We will address three primary axes of technological care: (1) imaginaries of caring and being cared for by artificial intelligence, (2) the care and maintenance of techno-social infrastructures, and (3) technologies that mediate care-giving relationships.

Instructor(s): Katherine Buse     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 32205

CMST 32350. Black Game Theory. 100 Units.

This course explores games created by, for, or about the Black diaspora, though with particular emphasis on the United States. We will analyze mainstream "AAA" games, successful independent and art games, and educational games. Beyond video games, we will take a comparative media studies perspective that juxtaposes video games with novels, films, card games, board games, and tabletop roleplaying games. Readings will be drawn from writing by Frantz Fanon, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Lindsay Grace, Saidiya Hartman, Sarah Juliet Lauro, Achille Mbembe, Fred Moten, Frank B. Wilderson, and others.

Equivalent Course(s): RDIN 32350, CMST 22350, RDIN 22350, ENGL 32352, CDIN 32350, ENGL 22352, MAAD 12350

CMST 33030. The Italian Cinematographic Comedy. 100 Units.

An important genre in Italian cinema is represented by the "commedia," in particular the declination "all'italiana." It is a very original form of representation of the world invented by Italian cinema. The comedy genre has marked many decades of Italian cinematography: from the plot comedies of the Fifties (going back until the Thirties) with films like "Due soldi di speranza" (1952) by Renato Castellani, to the grotesque comedy of masks of the Sixties, with authors such as Dino Risi ("Il sorpasso," 1962, "I mostri," 1963), Mario Monicelli ("La Grande Guerra," 1959) and Pietro Germi ("Divorzio all'italiana," 1961, "Sedotta e abbandonata," 1964), up to the dominance of the grotesque representation of the world, with authors such as Elio Petri ("Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto," 1972). The heritage of the commedia all'italiana can be found in contemporary Italian cinema, as for example with Nanni Moretti. Moretti's cinema in fact summarizes the entire inheritance of Italian cinematographic modernity - starting from neorealism and up to comedy and author cinema - in one of the most effective ways. The Italian cinematographic comedy is also rooted in the Italian literary tradition, in the masks of "commedia dell'arte," and generally speaking in the different aspects of grotesque tradition (as analyzed by Bachtin).

Instructor(s): Roberto De Gaetano     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergraduates in their third or fourth year.
Note(s): Taught in English.
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 23020, ITAL 33020, CMST 23030

CMST 33321. Bollywood Beats: Music and Sound in Popular Hindi Cinema. 100 Units.

This course explores the music and sound of popular Hindi cinema from aesthetic, social, cultural, economic, historical, and political perspectives. Students will be introduced to the musical conventions and practices of the genre, and to changes in Bollywood musical style over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will watch select films with keen attention to music's imbrication with cinematic visuality, narrative, technology, and dance, and with consideration of issues like emplacement, gender, caste, religion, capitalism, nationalism, and transnationalism. Bollywood is a cosmopolitan music, drawing from and contributing to a range of regional and international music practices; we also venture into some of those streams.

Instructor(s): Anna Schultz     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SALC 33321, MUSI 33321, MUSI 23321, CMST 23321, SALC 23321

CMST 33500. Pasolini. 100 Units.

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".

Instructor(s): Armando Maggi     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Taught in English.
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 28600, CMST 23500, GNSE 38600, ITAL 28400, FNDL 28401, ITAL 38400

CMST 33701. The Cinema of Jean Renoir. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 33901, CMST 23701, FNDL 23901, FREN 23712, FREN 33712

CMST 33930. Documentary Production I. 100 Units.

Documentary Video Production focuses on the making of independent documentary video. Examples of various modes of documentary production will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the genre, such as the ethics, the politics of representation, and the shifting lines between "the real" and "fiction" will be explored. Story development, pre-production strategies, and production techniques will be our focus, in particular-research, relationships, the camera, interviews and sound recording, shooting in available light, working in crews, and post-production editing. Students will work in crews and be expected to purchase a portable hard drive. A five-minute string-out/rough-cut will be screened at the end of the quarter. Students are strongly encouraged to take CMST 23931 Documentary Production II to complete their work. Consent of instructor is required to enroll.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Prior or concurrent enrollment in CMST 10100 recommended for undergraduate students.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23930, ARTV 33930, HMRT 35106, MAAD 23930, CHST 23930, HMRT 25106, CMST 23930

CMST 33931. Documentary Production II. 100 Units.

Documentary Production II focuses on the shaping and crafting of a non-fiction video. Enrollment will be limited to those students who have taken CMST 23930 Documentary Production I. The class will discuss issues of ethics, power, and representation in this most philosophical and problematic of genres. Students will be expected to write a treatment outline detailing their project and learn about granting agencies and budgeting. Production techniques will concentrate on the language of handheld camera versus tripod, interview methodologies, microphone placement including working with wireless systems and mixers, and lighting for the interview. Post-production will cover editing techniques including color correction and audio sweetening, how to prepare for exhibition, and distribution strategies. Consent of instructor is required to enroll.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930, HMRT 25106, or ARTV 23930
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 23931, ARTV 23931, CMST 23931, ARTV 33931, MAAD 23931, HMRT 25107, HMRT 35107

CMST 34110. India on Film. 100 Units.

This course introduces you to the different ways in which we might think about India through films. What was/is India on-screen? To what extent was India produced by these filmic imaginations? To be sure, there was/ is no monolithic India represented in film. Over the course of the quarter, we will focus on some important films to chart the idea of India they constructed and held up for critique. We will also focus on the region within the nation. In what ways does "Bombay" cinema overlap with "Tamil" "Bengali" and/ or Malayalam cinemas? What are its overlaps with "Lahore" cinema both before and after India and Pakistan became sovereign states? Our films will cover a wide temporal range: from the classical period of Indian cinema into the era of globalization in the 21st century. They will include popular , documentary, and art films. Our goal will to be understand the relationship between films and emergent ideas of nationhood, modernity, and citizenship in a decolonial world. Open to all students, both undergraduate and graduate.

Instructor(s): Rochona Majumdar     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 24110

CMST 34405. Kieslowski's French Cinema. 100 Units.

Krzysztof Kieślowski's The Decalogue and The Double Life of Veronique catapulted the Polish director to the international scene. His subsequent French triptych Blue, White, Red turned out to be his last works that altered his image and legacy to affirm his status as an auteur and a representative of the transnational cinema. We discuss how in his virtual universe of parallel histories and repeated chances, captured with visually and aurally dazzling artistry, the possibility of reconstituting one's identity, triggered by tragic loss and betrayal, reveals an ever-ambiguous reality. By focusing on the filmmaker's dissolution of the thing-world, often portrayed on the verge of vague abstraction of (in)audibility or (un)transparency, this course bridges his cinema with the larger concepts of postmodern subjectivity and possibility of metaphysics. The course concludes with the filmmaker's contribution to world cinema. All along, we read selections from Kieślowski's and Piesiewicz's screen scripts, Kieślowski's own writings and interviews, as well as from the abundant criticism of his French movies. All materials are in English.

Instructor(s): Bozena Shallcross     Terms Offered: TBD
Equivalent Course(s): REES 21002, FNDL 25312, CMST 24405, CMLT 24405, REES 31002

CMST 34605. Adaptation and Genre in Chinese Film and Media. 100 Units.

The course explores a central aspect of Chinese contemporary culture, namely the process of transposing new and old stories from the page to the stage to the screen. In addition, the class seeks to expand the concept of adaptation to investigate how cinema appropriates and repurposes other media, and why specific intermedial genres emerge more prominently at certain historical conjunctures. The films we will watch encompass three genres: comedy, opera film, and documentary, each respectively characterized by thematic and formal engagements with television, regional theater, and screen-based news. Some of the screenings will be followed by discussions with filmmakers, in person or on Zoom.

Instructor(s): P. Iovene     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 24505, EALC 34605

CMST 34915. INSECT MEDIA. 100 Units.

How have insects affected ways of knowing and relating to the world? This course opens a dialogue between insects and Japanese audiovisual cultures, including fiction, poetry, visual art, manga, anime, and film. We aim to address the important and profound challenge that recent trends in animal studies, environmental humanities, and eco-criticism pose to received ways of studying human cultures and societies. The challenge lies in offering alternatives to the entrenched reliance on a nature-culture divide, which gives culture explanatory preference over nature. In the case of Japan and insects, for instance, there exists a fairly significant body of scholarship on how Japanese people respond to, interact with, and represent insects, and yet priority is generally given to culture, and Japan is treated monolithically. To offer alternatives to this monolithic culturalism, in this course we will (a) open dialogue between culture accounts of insects and scientific accounts and (b) explore different forms of media offering different milieus where human animals and more-than-human insects come into relation without assuming the ascendency of one over the other.

Instructor(s): Chelsea Foxwell and Thomas Lamarre     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor required: interested students should submit one paragraph of interest to Professors Foxwell and Lamarre.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 24910, CDIN 34910, CDIN 24910, ARTH 34910, CMST 24910, EALC 34910

CMST 35503. Issues in Contemporary Horror. 100 Units.

This course takes the modern horror film as its object. For the purposes of this class, modern horror spans the period from 1960 to the present, although much of our attention will be directed toward the period from the 1980s to the present. We will examine key problems in the genre including, but not limited to an examination of the nature of the horrific, close formal analysis (which typically is neglected in favor of more culturally oriented approaches), questions of POV and camera movement, the articulation and construction of space, the role of gender in the genre, the changing importance of women as performers, characters, directors, and spectators, found footage/surveillance, and the genre's address to the viewer.

Note(s): Not offered in 2022-23.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25503

CMST 35602. Animation: Practices & Principles. 100 Units.

Sitting at the intersection of fine arts and filmmaking, animation has held a unique place in visual culture since its inception and has more recently become a ubiquitous presence in our society. Through a combination of workshops, screenings, and discussions, this course will examine the advantages and particularities that come with the art form as well as the diverse range of technologies and techniques that it can include. Students learn both analog and digital animation methods-including cut-out, hand-drawn, and stop motion, among others-to explore their own artistic voice through moving image, culminating with a final project in the medium of their choice. Works screened for discussion will range from the traditional and studio-based to the experimental and alternative. No previous drawing experience required.

Instructor(s): Elizabeth Rogers     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25602, MAAD 20602, ARTV 20035

CMST 35610. Line, Trace, Motion: Computation and Experiment in Animation. 100 Units.

Interpreting what we mean by animation broadly, this course will investigate computational moving-image making through the lens of experimental animation. We will take as our point of departure the films of Rettinger, Ruttmann, Fischinger, McLaren, and Breer, but will also draw upon artifacts and 'animated lines' taken from further afield: found footage films and algorithmic editing, dance drawings of Trisha Brown, kinetic sculptures of Bit International, early plotter art, avant-garde music notation, and contemporary techniques of motion and performance capture. This course will develop theoretical lines of inquiry that run in two directions: an excavation of a "pre-history" of contemporary new media and a reinterpretation / re-invigoration of our understanding of early animation. Any film production, hand-animation or computer programming experiences are welcome - but none are perquisites for the course. Students will be expected to complete regular short creative "sketches" of techniques culminating in a final short animated project.

Instructor(s): Marc Downie     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Not offered in 2023-24.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25610, MAAD 20610

CMST 35620. Japanese Animation: The Making of a Global Media. 100 Units.

This course offers an introduction to Japanese animation, from its origins in the 1910s to its emergence as global culture in the 1990s. The goal is not only to provide insight into Japanese animation within the context of Japan but also to consider those factors that have transformed it into a global cultural form with a diverse, worldwide fanbase. As such, the course approaches Japanese animation from three distinct perspectives on Japanese animation, which are designed to introduce students to three important methodological approaches to contemporary media - film studies, media studies, and fan studies or cultural studies. As we look at Japanese animation in light of these different conceptual frameworks, we will also consider how its transnational dissemination and 'Asianization' challenge some of our basic assumptions about global culture, which have been shaped primarily through the lens of Americanization.

Instructor(s): Thomas Lamarre     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Not offered in 2023-24.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25620, MAAD 15620, EALC 25620, SIGN 26070, EALC 35620

CMST 36043. The Aesthetics of Artificial Intelligence. 100 Units.

With the emergence of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Midjourney, the production of computer-generated content has become accessible to a wide range of users and use cases. Knowledge institutions are particularly challenged to find adequate responses to changing notions of authorship as the mainstreaming of 'artificial' texts, audio-visual artifacts, and code is transforming our paradigms of communication in real-time. This course offers a survey of scholarship from the nascent field of critical AI studies to investigate the impact of AI, machine learning, and big data on knowledge production, representation, and consumption. In addition to theoretical discussions, we will conduct research-creation experiments aimed at documenting and evaluating emerging methods of AI-augmented content creation across text, image, and sound. Prospective students should demonstrate a substantial interest in media art and design and its connections to digital humanities, critical theory, and pedagogy. Experience with artistic and/or engineering practice is a plus. Please submit a 300 word max statement of interest to by12/22 in order to be considered for enrollment.

Instructor(s): Andre Uhl     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 26043, CHSS 36043, MACS 36043, ANTH 26043, KNOW 36043, HIPS 26043, KNOW 26043, ANTH 36043, MAAD 12043

CMST 36074. The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky. 100 Units.

Filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is widely considered to be one of Soviet cinema's great auteurs, a fiercely independent creative artist and thinker. Known for his long takes, visual imagery, intertextuality, and philosophical self-reflectiveness, Tarkovsky has profoundly shaped the evolution of modern art cinema over the past fifty years and his legacy is still very much alive in both the Slavic world and the west. In this course, we will study Tarkovsky's major films focusing particularly on their aesthetic characteristics, spiritual and philosophical dimensions, and cultural and political context.

Equivalent Course(s): REES 36074, REES 26074, CMST 26074

CMST 36303. Chris Marker. 100 Units.

Chris Marker (1921-2012) is one of the most influential and important filmmakers to emerge in the post-war era in France, yet he remains relatively unknown to a wider audience. Marker's multifaceted work encompasses writing, photography, filmmaking, videography, gallery installation, television, and digital multimedia. He directed over 60 films and is known foremost for his "essay films," a hybrid of documentary and personal reflection, which he invigorated if not invented with films like Lettre de Sibérie (Letter from Siberia, 1958) or Sans Soleil (Sunless, 1983). His most famous film, La Jetée (1962), his only (science) fiction film made up almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs, was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys (1995). In 1990, he created his first multi-media installation, Zapping Zone, and in 1997 he experimented with the format of the CD-Rom to create a multi-layered, multimedia memoir (Immemory). In 2008, he continued his venture into digital spaces with Ouvroir, realized on the platform of Second Life. Marker was a passionate traveler who documented the journeys he took, the people he met, and revolutionary upheavals at home and afar. We will follow Marker's travels through time, space, and media, during which we will also encounter artists with whom he crossed paths, with whom he collaborated, or who were inspired by his work.

Instructor(s): Dominique Bluher     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26102, ARTV 20032, MAAD 13303, CMST 26303

CMST 36405. D.W. Griffith. 100 Units.

Controversies fuel American politics and culture. One hundred years ago, Intolerance shook the world, if not the most famous, then the most the most expensive and seminal movie ever made. One hundred and one, The Birth of a Nation generated the loudest controversy on the issue of race; at the same time, its powerful suspense sequence in the finale made this movie a fundamental of action-movie filmmaking for the century to come. Griffith came to movie industry in 1908 and dropped out of it in 1931. This course offers a quarter-of-a-century vast panorama of inventions and innovations, shames and triumphs, brilliant successes and spectacular failures connected with D.W. Griffith, the most famous pioneer in the history of film.

Equivalent Course(s): CMST 26405, FNDL 26405, AMER 36405, AMER 26405

CMST 36505. Straight-line sensibilities. A hidden history of 20th Century Art. 100 Units.

The proliferation of straight lines in 20th Century art and architecture is generally associated with rational and universalist procedures and perspectives, and closely associated with the rise of industrial society. This course will look at straight lines in modern art from a very different perspective. We will study a hidden genealogy of straight lines that all seem to evoke the vagaries of sensory realities and capacities and that are aesthetic through and through. These type of straight lines are all, in their various ways, related to the close interaction between bodies and media technologies - one of the major themes in modern art. The question, of course, is how and why straight lines comes to express this relationship. To look at this question, we will study artworks and ideas that extend from the mid 19th-century to 21st century art and that includes a wide range of media and expressions, including architecture, painting, drawing, film, video and computer art.

Instructor(s): I. Bloom     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 26505, ARTH 36501, ARTH 26501, MAAD 26501

CMST 36603. The Cinema of Miloš Forman. 100 Units.

The films of Miloš Forman (1932-2018) reflect the turbulence of the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s, and 2000s by focusing on the underdog, the pariah, the eccentric. The subject matter to which Forman was drawn translated into his cinema with a signature bittersweet tone, emphatic narrative cogency, and lush spontaneity. This course is an intensive study of Forman's work from his "New Wave" work in Czechoslovakia (Loves of a Blonde, The Fireman's Ball) to his U.S. studio successes (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus), to his idiosyncratic and parabolic last films (Man on the Moon, Goya's Ghosts). Among other topics, the course contemplate the value of a dark sense of humor, cinematic gorgeousness, and artistic dissidence.

Instructor(s): Malynne Sternstein     Terms Offered: TBD
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 22010, CMST 26603, REES 32010, REES 22010

CMST 36610. Eisenstein. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26504, ARTH 36710, ARTH 26710, CMST 26610

CMST 36705. Kieslowski: The Decalogue. 100 Units.

In this class, we study the monumental series "The Decalogue" by one of the most influential filmmakers from Poland, Krzysztof Kieślowski. Without mechanically relating the films to the Ten Commandments, Kieślowski explores the relevance of the biblical moral rules to the state of modern man forced to make ethical choices. Each part of the series contests the absolutism of moral axioms through narrative twists and reversals in a wide, universalized sphere. An analysis of the films will be accompanied by readings from Kieślowski's own writings and interviews, including criticism by Zizek, Insdorf, and others.

Instructor(s): Bozena Shallcross     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 24003, REES 27026, REES 37026, CMST 26705

CMST 37006. Cinema and Incarceration. 100 Units.

With case studies that include fiction films, documentaries, and personal filmmaking by presently or formerly incarcerated filmmakers, this course examines the relationship between cinema and the carceral state. Major animating questions include: How do the fantasies of incarceration presented in fictional films emerge from and feed into societal-wide ideologies around mass incarceration? How can the relationship between cinematic technologies and surveillance society best be interrogated? Can documentary filmmaking affect radical change around issues of incarceration-and how can incarcerated people tell their own stories and represent their own lives?

Instructor(s): Ian Jones     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27006

CMST 37007. Law and Order: Police and Procedure on the Global Screen. 100 Units.

This course will take a comparative approach to the representation of police procedure, broadly construed. On the one hand, we will look at a range of international examples from the fictional screen genre of the police procedural. Part of our focus will be on the effect that different legal institutions in different national contexts have on the representation of police procedure. On the other hand, we will be interested in various non-fictional approaches (e.g. documentaries and ethnographic studies) to the intersection between police and procedure. Of course there are innumerable approaches to thinking about the representation of police; this experimental class aims to investigate the topic exclusively through the lens of procedure. It will pose the following questions (among others): Why are procedural approaches to the representation of police work so ubiquitous? What constitutes a procedural approach to police? What is the relevant history of the police procedural? How does a comparative approach to police procedurals impact the kinds of questions a researcher asks? How useful is a genre studies approach to the police procedural?

Instructor(s): Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Not offered in 2022-23.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27007

CMST 37011. Experimental Captures. 100 Units.

This production-based class will explore the possibilities and limits of capturing the world with imaging approaches that go beyond the conventional camera. What new and experimental image-based artworks can be created with technologies such as laser scanning, structured light projection, time of flight cameras, photogrammetry, stereography, motion capture, sensor augmented cameras or light field photography? This hands-on course welcomes students with production experience while being designed to keep established tools and commercial practices off-kilter and constantly in question.

Instructor(s): M. Downie     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Not offered in 2022-23.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27011, ARTV 37923, MAAD 21011, ARTV 27923

CMST 37805. Framing, Re-framing, and Un-framing Cinema. 100 Units.

By cinema, we mean the art of the moving image, which is not limited to the material support of a flexible band called film. This art reaches back to early devices to trick the eye into seeing motion and looks forward to new media and new modes of presentation. With the technological possibility of breaking images into tiny pixels and reassembling them and of viewing them in new way that this computerized image allows, we now face the most radical transformation of the moving image since the very beginnings of cinema. A collaboration between the OpenEndedGroup (Marc Downie and Paul Kaiser), artists who have created new modes of the moving image for more than decade, and film scholar Tom Gunning, this course will use this moment of new technologies to explore and expand the moving image before it becomes too rigidly determined by the powerful industrial forces now propelling it forward. This course will be intensely experimental as we see how we might use new computer algorithms to take apart and re-experience classic films of the past. By using new tools, developed for and during this class, students will make new experiences inside virtual reality environments for watching, analyzing, and recombining films and that are unlike any other. These tools will enable students, regardless of previous programming experience, to participate in this crucial technological and cultural juncture.

Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27805, ARTV 20805, ARTV 30805

CMST 37816. From Open Worlds to Angry Birds: Videogame History 2000-2010. 100 Units.

This course will trace developments in the videogame medium and videogame cultures in the first decade of the new millennium. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following: the rise and influence of the open world/sandbox genre; the spread of online gaming with Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs, networked First-Person Shooters, and virtual worlds; changes in the embodied experience of play introduced by rhythm/music games, motion controls, and touch screen interfaces; the proliferation of independent game development and online distribution; the rise of "art games" as a distinct (and debated) category; the reemergence of "retro" styles and repackaging of vintage games; the blurred boundaries of the "magic circle" and everyday life in Alternate Reality and Augmented Reality gaming; the increasing popularity of mobile and casual gaming; and the emergence of Videogame Studies as an academic field. This class will be a mix of history and historiography. We will not only learn about the history of the decade, but also discuss the unique possibilities and difficulties arising from the study of recent history - and put these discussions into practice through research-based assignments.

Instructor(s): Christopher Carloy     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 25650, MAPH 45516, CMST 27816

CMST 37817. Sonic the Hedgehog. 100 Units.

In this course, we will use a single franchise - Sonic the Hedgehog - as an access point to study media history, aesthetics, social and cultural practice, and the relationships between games, film, and other artforms. Originally released in 1991 for Sega's Genesis console, the Sonic series has spawned over three decades of games, cartoons, manga, novels, films, music, board games, action figures, fan art, cosplay, and merchandizing. Both the volume and the variety of these texts allow the Sonic corpus to be a focal point for questions with broader stakes for the study of games and media in general. Some of the questions we will be considering in this course include: What has been the relationship between particular videogame characters and franchises and the business practices and strategies of entertainment industries? What form does stardom take in the world of digital games, and is it an appropriate concept to apply to a mascot like Sonic? How have established game franchises responded to major technological and aesthetic shifts in the medium? How might we understand the concept and practice of adaptation as applied to the digital games, and what does it reveal about the medium specificity of and the relationship between games, film, comics, novels, and other forms? What can a game franchise that has taken a wide variety of generic forms (platforming, racing, fighting, and pinball, to name just a few) tell us about how genre works as concept and system in digital games?

Instructor(s): Chris Carloy     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 17817, MAPH 37817, CMST 27817

CMST 37821. Economic Objects: Capitalism as Medium. 100 Units.

As we now confront an economic contraction and reconstitution of unprecedented intensity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on the possibility of transmedial economic representation and its criticism offers a timely and necessary opportunity to consider what art is and does in our historical moment. "Economic Objects: Capitalism as Medium" explores how shifting modes of the representation of the economy reflect transformed medial practices and their critique. We seek to complicate the relationship of Marxist aesthetic theory with contemporary habits of criticism including notions of "economic performativity," debt and finance as objects of artistic analysis, and ongoing debates about the scope and logic of commodification, each of which opens up new questions about the very representability of capitalism itself. The course will be organized around a set of "economic objects," which range from proper art objects to phenomena (practices, objects, material) not conventionally belonging to the category of "art." Readings will offer students exposure to current debates in aesthetics, critical theory and economic criticism.

Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Not offered in 2022-23.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27821

CMST 37867. 1990s Videogame History. 100 Units.

This course will trace developments in the videogame medium and videogame cultures in the final decade of the 20th century, discuss the unique possibilities and difficulties arising from the study of recent history, and put these discussions into practice through research-based assignments. Questions that will guide our study include: what was the relationship between technological innovations and stylistic changes in the videogame medium? How did the entry of new corporate and creative players into the business affect industrial structures and strategies? What do we make of "freedom," "realism," and other concepts that dominated videogame press coverage - and how were they connected to broader cultural discourses? How did understandings of what it meant to play videogames, and the types of experiences that videogames could offer, change over the course of the decade? What was the relationship between developments in the videogame medium and other media - from film and fiction to virtual reality and the Internet? How has this decade been remembered, conceptualized, preserved, and repackaged in subsequent decades?

Instructor(s): Chris Carloy     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 15416, MAPH 34516, CMST 27867

CMST 37870. Digital Media Aesthetics: Interaction, Connection, and Improvisation. 100 Units.

This course investigates the ways that digital and networked media have changed contemporary aesthetics, forms, storytelling practices, and cultures. Along the way, we will analyze electronic literature, Twine games, interactive dramas, video games, transmedia narratives, and more. Formally, we will explore concepts such as multilinear narrative, immersive and navigable worlds, network aesthetics, interactive difficulty, aleatory poetics, and videogame mechanics. Throughout the quarter, our analysis of computational media aesthetics will be haunted by matters of race, gender, sexuality, class, and other ghosts in the machine. Students need not be technologically gifted or savvy, but a wide-ranging imagination and interest in new media cultures will make for a more exciting quarter. (20th/21st)

Instructor(s): Patrick Jagoda     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 67870, ENGL 34770, GNSE 34770, TAPS 34770

CMST 37880. Videogame Consoles: A Platform Studies Approach. 100 Units.

While videogames' mix of art, play, and advanced technology gives game studies much of its vitality, the technological and computational aspects of the medium can be daunting for many would-be students and designers. And yet no approach to the study of videogames can be exhaustive without some consideration of the material and technological grounds that make games possible. With this in mind, this course will introduce approaches to videogame studies that emphasize the platforms - the hardware, operating systems, etc. - on which games are played, and is intended for students with all levels of familiarity with the technological side of videogames. How do the various components of game platforms, from computer architecture to controllers to the underlying code, affect how games look, sound, and feel, how they are played, who designs them and how, how they are marketed and to whom, and how they are preserved? How do platforms emerge from particular technological, industrial, social, and cultural contexts, and how do they in turn affect the course of game history and culture? Classroom lectures and discussions of readings will be accompanied by weekly gameplay sessions at the MADD Center, which will provide close, hands-on engagement with game platforms. Possible objects of study include the Atari 2600 (1977), ColecoVision (1982), Sega Game Gear (1990) and Genesis/CD/32X (1988-94), Panasonic 3DO (1993), Nintendo 64 (1996) and Wii (2006), and PlayStation 4/VR (2013-16).

Instructor(s): Christopher Carloy     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Instructor consent required.
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 37880, CMST 27880, MAAD 17880

CMST 37887. The Platformer: History and Theory of a Videogame Genre. 100 Units.

This course will provide an introduction to genre history and theory in videogame studies through a focus on the "platformer." Though not a common name outside of videogame culture, the platformer has introduced or popularized some of the medium's most recognizable figures (Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong) and gameplay mechanics (running, jumping, avoiding enemies, and collecting items). The genre has also been instrumental in and reflective of changes across the videogame medium. This course will cover two decades (roughly 1990 - 2010), emphasizing both historical details and theoretical questions, such as: How have game genres been defined? How do distinct genres emerge and change over time? How do broader trends (technological, formal, industrial, discursive, experiential, etc.) influence individual genres, and what roles do individual genres play in these broader trends? What resources and methodologies exist for studying videogame genres? Throughout the course we'll see the platformer alternate between an emphasis on linear, acrobatic movement across two-dimensional spaces and the free exploration of three-dimensional virtual worlds; between providing mascots for the biggest game companies and becoming a marker of independent, small-team production; and between being hailed as "revolutionary" and epitomizing the retro-nostalgic. Classroom lecture and discussion of readings will be accompanied by weekly gameplay sessions on original hardware at the MADD Center.

Instructor(s): Christopher Carloy     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Instructor consent required
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 37887, MAAD 17887, CMST 27887

CMST 37911. Augmented Reality Production. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): Marc Downie     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Not offered in 2023-24.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27911, ARTV 27921, ARTV 37921, MAAD 22911

CMST 37920. Virtual Reality Production. 100 Units.

Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of virtual reality, this class will explore and interrogate each stage of production for VR. By hacking their way around the barriers and conventions of current software and hardware to create new optical experiences, students will design, construct and deploy new ways of capturing the world with cameras and develop new strategies and interactive logics for placing images into virtual spaces. Underpinning these explorations will be a careful discussion, dissection and reconstruction of techniques found in the emerging VR "canon" that spans new modes of journalism and documentary, computer games, and narrative "VR cinema." Film production and computer programming experience is welcome but not a prerequisite for the course. Students will be expected to complete short "sketches" of approaches in VR towards a final short VR experience.

Instructor(s): Marc Downie     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Film production and computer programming experience is welcome but not a prerequisite for the course. Students will be expected to complete short "sketches" of approaches in VR towards a final short VR experience.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 27920, MAAD 24920, ARTV 37920, CMST 27920

CMST 38346. Performance Theory: Action, Affect, Archive. 100 Units.

This seminar offers a critical introduction to performance theory organized around three conceptual clusters: a) action, acting, and forms of production or play, in theories from classical (Aristotle) through modern (Hegel, Brecht, Artaud), to contemporary (Richard Schechner, Philip Zarilli, others); b) affect, and its intersections with emotion and feeling: in addition to contemporary theories of affect and emotion we will read earlier modern texts that anticipate recent debates (Diderot, Freud) and their current interpreters (Joseph Roach, Erin Hurley and others), as well as those writing about the absence of affect and the performance of failure (Sara Bailes etc); and c) archives and related institutions and theories of recording performance, including the formation of audiences (Susan Bennett) and evaluating print and other media recording ephemeral acts, including the work of theorists of memory (Pierre Nora) and remains (Rebecca Schneider; Mark Fleishman), theatre historians (Rose Bank, Ellen Mackay etc) and tensions between archive and repertoire (Diana Taylor).(20th/21st)

Instructor(s): Loren Kruger     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Note: This course is intended only for those who have completed their undergraduate degree.
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 46202, TAPS 46202, CMLT 46202

CMST 38700. History of International Cinema, Part III: 1960 to Present. 100 Units.

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the 1960s to the 2000s. The continued development of film style and form over this period - one of seismic changes in audio-visual aesthetics - will be one of the primary themes of the course. Additionally, lectures and discussions will wrestle with the rise of global film cultures, technological innovations and their effects on style (such as post-magnetic sound, and visual effects techniques), major international directors and the solidification of auteurism as both a commercial and aesthetic imperative, the increasing internationalization of Hollywood, and post-1970s genre reorientation elevating horror, science-fiction, and other genres to the highest levels of mainstream respectability, critical appraisal, and/or commercial success. Screenings are mandatory and include work by filmmakers including Pedro Almodovar, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Claire Denis, Federico Fellini, Hollis Frampton, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Djibril Diop Mambety, Cristian Mungiu, and more, in addition to a selection of music videos.

Instructor(s): Clint Froehlich     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course follows the subject matter taught in CMST 28500/48500 and CMST 28600/48600, but these are not prerequisites.
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 18700, CMST 28700

CMST 38800. Politics and Cinema under Authority. 100 Units.

Why do authoritarian regimes take interest in art and culture? How do citizens respond to these efforts? Between authoritarian propaganda and outright contestation of authoritarianism is a wide niche of art and media production that is just independent enough to capture the attention of the citizens and yet subtle enough to not alarm authoritarian rulers. This is relevant for film and television in particular, which cannot function under authoritarian regimes without official approval. In this course, we explore the compromises filmmakers make to continue their creative practice and the concessions state actors grant to accommodate artistic work using the 10-episode television series, Dekalog (1988), by the acclaimed Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski. To answer our questions, we draw on literature and methodology from political science and film and media studies. We investigate what is to be gained by combining approaches from two disciplines that are rarely in conversation with each other.

Instructor(s): Maria Belodubrovskaya and Monika Nalepa     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Enrollment limit: 18
Equivalent Course(s): REES 38800, CDIN 38800, REES 28800, CDIN 28801, CMST 28805, PLSC 38801, PLSC 28805

CMST 38921. Introduction to 16mm Filmmaking. 100 Units.

The goal of this intensive laboratory course is to give its students a working knowledge of film production using the 16mm gauge. The course will emphasize how students can use 16mm technology towards successful cinematography and image design (for use in both analog and digital postproduction scenarios) and how to develop their ideas towards constructing meaning through moving pictures. Through a series of group exercises, students will put their hands on equipment and solve technical and aesthetic problems, learning to operate and care for the 16mm Bolex film camera; prime lenses; Sekonic light meter; Sachtler tripod; and Arri light kit and accessories. For a final project, students will plan and produce footage for an individual or small group short film. The first half the course will be highly structured, with demonstrations, in-class shoots, and lectures. As the semester continues, class time will open up to more of a workshop format to address the specific concerns and issues that arise in the production of the final projects. This course is made possible by the Charles Roven Fund for Cinema and Media Studies. Students will need written permission to enroll in the course. To bid for entry into the class, please email the instructor with your name, major and year -- and please list any other media production or photography experience.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students will need written permission to enroll in the course. To bid for entry into the class, please email the instructor with your name, major and year -- and please list any other media production or photography experience. Enrollment priority will be given to graduate and undergraduate CMS students, beginning with seniors, then to DoVA graduates and undergraduates, then to students in other departments.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 28921, MAAD 23808, ARTV 33808, ARTV 23808

CMST 38925. Expanded Cinema. 100 Units.

Though often overlooked, the act of projection is at the heart of cinema (the act or process of causing a picture to appear on a surface). This studio course focuses on the creation of moving image-based work, exploring how time and space are used as materials to create form and inspire content within the contemporary film genre known as expanded cinema. The technical, historical and political aspects of the projected image will be studied in order to re-think cinema as a group and investigate how the projected image can find meaning outside the black box of theaters or the white cube of galleries. Two personal experimental video projects will lead to a third final collective video installation that will use the environment within the vicinity of UChicago's campus to inspire the work while also become the location of the final outdoor projection event. Note(s): Students will need written permission to enroll in the course. To bid for entry into the class, please email the instructor with your name, major, year, and list any other media production experience. Enrollment priority will be given to graduate and undergraduate CMS students, beginning with seniors, then to students in other departments.

Instructor(s): Marco Ferrari     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 28925, ARTV 23861, CMST 28925, ARTV 33861

CMST 39000. Cinema and the Speculative Archive: Theory & Practice Seminar. 100 Units.

Recent years have seen the flourishing of work by experimental filmmakers that imaginatively engages with absences in the historical record, especially around the visual history of African Americans. How might scholarship adapt methodologies from these creative practices? How can scholarly methods, in turn, inform art making (as the formation of another kind of history)? Engaging theory and practice, this course investigates these questions through-and against-African American media history's precarious archival condition. Students interested in enrolling should contact Professor Field at

Instructor(s): Allyson Nadia Field & Christopher Harris     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 39000, RDIN 29000, CHST 29000, CMST 29000, RDIN 39000

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): S. Skvirsky     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 39900, ENGL 48000, MAPH 33000

CMST 40001. Methods and Issues in Media Studies. 100 Units.

This class will introduce a toolkit for thinking about and researching media, mediation, and new media cultures. We will begin with questions of technology. These will include the tension between technological determinism and the social construction of technology, as well as methods for investigating the historical evolution of media technologies. To explore how power operates within and through media, we will engage concepts and theoretical frameworks including algorithmic bias, transmedia, fan studies, platform studies, and media infrastructures. Students will develop critical and aesthetic perspectives on digital media, with special attention to games, participatory media, and code.

Instructor(s): K. Buse     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 40500. Adaptation Laboratory: Staging Berlin. 100 Units.

From 2000-2018, the graphic novelist Jason Lutes published Berlin, a sprawling, formally inventive, & idiosyncratic account of life in the Weimar Republic. Court Theatre has commissioned the playwright Mickle Maher to prepare an adaptation of Lutes' novel; David Levin is the collaborating dramaturg. The production is slated for Court's 2023-24 season. This interdisciplinary seminar invites students into the process of adaptation, exploring a broad range of conceptual & artistic challenges. We will consider works in a host of genres - e.g., Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori's adaptation of Alison Bechdel's graphic novel Fun Home or Walter Ruttmann's 1927 film "Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis" - to establish a dialogue between Lutes' work, its progenitors, and a range of theoretical materials. An additional & significant component of our work will involve creative exercises. Students will prepare adaptations of their own - first, of Lutes' novel, then of works of their own choosing. We will invite collaborators from the production to join us for workshop sessions. The seminar seeks to serve as an adaptation laboratory, exploring & investigating theoretical stakes and practical problems while seeking to reshape those stakes and problems into diverse forms of practice.

Instructor(s): David J. Levin and Mickle Maher     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): An interest in some combination of theater & performance practice, translation, adaptation, German culture and/or German history would be welcome. Note: Undergrads admitted by permission
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 40500, ARTV 33834, TAPS 40500, GRMN 35523

CMST 42027. New German Cinema. 100 Units.

This class will offer an intense exploration of the classical New German Cinema and some of the issues in its aesthetics, history and theory. Thus, we will see a broad variety of films (some familiar, some not so familiar: including work by R.W. Fassbinder, A. Kluge, W. Herzog, W. Wenders, H. Sanders-Brahms, U. Ottinger, J-M Straub/D Huillet, et al.) and read a broad range of material-incorporating, among others, questions of genre, auteur theory, psychoanalysis, history, politics, and film style. Proficiency in German language, culture, or history is welcome but not required (all films have subtitles); a serious commitment to thinking about the logic, rhetoric, history, and textuality of film is essential. The pace and conceptual level of the readings make this course most appropriate for graduate students.

Instructor(s): David Levin     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): undergrads by consent only
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 35322, GRMN 25322

CMST 42802. Media, Environment, and Risk. 100 Units.

In 1991, Ulrich Beck wrote that "society is made into a laboratory." Following the Chernobyl disaster, Beck articulated how modern technology and its potential side-effects-such as radiation or chemical poisoning-had created the novel epistemological category of environmental risk defined by threats that escape human perception and transcend borders. Institutions monitoring ecological conditions gained responsibility for communicating public health. Political conflicts emerged between formations of expert and lay environmental knowledge. The technological application of modern science, and its associated environmental risks, pushed research beyond the laboratory and into the governmental fabric of social order: nuclear reactors had to be constructed and chemicals distributed to populations before their properties and safety could be understood. This seminar reads the debates on risk in environmental sociology alongside the emergence of risk criticism in media studies to interrogate the probabilistic thinking inherent to the communication of ecological threat. Two common traits characteristic of recent environmental catastrophes ranging from Bhopal, Fukushima Daiishi, Deepwater Horizon, Exxon Valdez, Hurricane Katrina, and the varied crises of global climate change, are that each disaster involves the failure or side-effect of an implemented technological project and that the corresponding risks-whether imperceptible or probable-are necessarily communicated to publics by media

Instructor(s): Thomas Pringle     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 36059, CHSS 36059, SOCI 30329, MAAD 26059, HIPS 26059

CMST 43418. Surrealism and Cinema. 100 Units.

This seminar examines the relations between Surrealism and the cinema in interwar France, and the aesthetic, political, and theoretical debates produced by their encounter. To what extent may Surrealism, in its varied iterations, be productively read through the optic of cinema, and even as a cinematic movement? And to what extent is cinema an implicitly Surrealist medium? In addition to tracing a precise history of Surrealism, cinema, and its discontents during this period through works by Louis Aragon, Antonin Artaud, Georges Bataille, Walter Benjamin, André Breton, Luis Buñuel, René Clair, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, Robert Desnos, Germaine Dulac, Louis Feuillade, Sigmund Freud, Jean Painlevé and Geneviève Hamon, Jean Vigo, and others, this class explores the potential of Surrealism as a methodology for critical and theoretical studies of cinema, literature, culture, and history.

Equivalent Course(s): FREN 36218

CMST 44601. Opera Film: China / Europe: Thinking Media Hybridity across Cases. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): J. Zeitlin and M. Feldman     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 41401, MUSI 45019, CDIN 41401, EALC 41401, ITAL 41419

CMST 47007. Seeing and Knowing. 100 Units.

The concept of visuality attends to the ways in which things become seeable, knowable, and governable. Scholars who study optical instruments, architecture, cinema, and media have done much to show us how visual technologies change our ways of seeing. Others in the history of science study how practices of observation transform our understanding of nature-and ourselves. This comparative course analyzes regimes of visuality in different cultural and historical contexts. After a short introduction on the philosophy of visual experience and psychology of visual perception, we will investigate a series of configurations of seeing and knowing. These sites range from the history of disability to contemporary climate science, and students will be asked to contribute visual topics from their own research or disciplines for collective exploration in our seminar. Through comparative study, we will work to develop new categories or relationships for linking perception and knowledge.

Instructor(s): Alex Campolo     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 40307, CHSS 40307, KNOW 40307

CMST 47801. Media Archeology vs. Media Aesthetics. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): I. Blom     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Students must attend 1st class to confirm enrollment.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 41313

CMST 47803. The Body of Cinema: Hypnoses, Emotions, Animalities. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 37803, CMST 27803

CMST 48108. Film, Music, Emotion. 100 Units.

This course explores the role of emotions in movies. Films represent emotions, such as the feelings of a character; and they elicit emotions in viewers, making it part of their cinematic experience. Cinematic emotions are often constitutive of genre, ranging from the laughter in slapstick comedy to cathartic tears in melodrama. While film has long been scrutinized for the visual representation of emotions (for example with the close-up of a face), sound and music are vital contributors to representing and eliciting emotions. This seminar will focus on a series of films that mix emotions in order to express social dilemmas and dramatic conflict, often connected to issues of gender, sexual, and racial identity. Films discussed range from Stella Dallas (1937) and Imitation of Life (1937) to Moonlight (2016) and Parasite (2019). Readings will include scholarship in film studies, affect theory, and some empirical research in cognitive and social psychology. Participants will take turns in functioning as "experts" for select class sessions by preparing readings and objects for class discussion. In weeks 7-10, the seminar will partly focus on objects and research pertinent to participants' research papers, which will be presented at a mini-conference in Week 11.

Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Open for MAPH students only.
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 48108

CMST 48210. Data Driven Documentary. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): Marc Downie     Terms Offered: Spring

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 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.

Instructor(s): Allyson Field     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 is required. Course is required for students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): For students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies, the entire History of International Cinema three-course sequence must be taken.
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 32400, MAAD 18500, ENGL 29300, MAPH 33600, ARTV 20002, ARTH 28500, ARTH 38500, CMST 28500, ENGL 48700, CMLT 22400

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): James Lastra     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 28600, ARTH 28600, REES 25005, MAAD 18600, CMLT 32500, CMLT 22500, ARTH 38600, MAPH 33700, ENGL 29600, ENGL 48900, ARTV 20003, REES 45005

CMST 53500. Guillotine / Barricade: Figures of History Across Media. 100 Units.

Taking up the French historical technologies of the guillotine and the barricade, this doctoral seminar explores the history of political spectacle, violence, death, and resistance as also part of a history of figuration-conceptualized by Julia Kristeva as the establishment of a relation between two historical realities-across media. We will examine the actual materials and practices of the guillotine and the barricade alongside literary, artistic, and filmic works that deploy the figural logic of both technologies as part of their formal, representational, and/or political articulation. This seminar thus seeks to examine the methodological stakes of inter-medial and interdisciplinary history and historiography that draws equally from French history, literature, visual art (including sculpture), architecture, and film. This class will be taught in English; French reading and research skills are not necessary, but would be beneficial.

Instructor(s): J. Wild     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 53500, FREN 43501

CMST 55900. Science Fiction Media. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to key theoretical conversations about, and important examples of, science fiction media, and will discuss the ways that science and fiction interact across media. Case studies will concern the cross pollination of science and fiction via media, and the specific forms of speculation enabled by different media technologies including computer graphics, video games, and serial media.

Instructor(s): K. Buse     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 57200. Film Semiotics: Toward a Linguistic Anthropology of Cinema. 100 Units.

In this seminar we explore a series of topics in the semiotics of film as approached through the semiotic theory developed out of linguistic anthropology: topics will include revisiting questions of structuralist film semiology; iconicity, textuality, and the poetic function; indexicality and ontology; deixis and enunciation; voicing and structures of looking; performativity and image-acts; aesthetic style and enregisterment; rigid designation and stardom. The larger aims of the course are two-fold: one, to articulate a pragmaticist account of the evenemential semiotics of cinema as institutional and textual form-as broached both through ethnographic and close textual methods of analysis-and in doing reconceptualize certain key film theoretic issues; two, to expand and rethink linguistic anthropology's semiotic theory and analysis beyond language/through cinema; in short, to think both film studies and linguistic anthropology with and against each other so as to further a semiotics of moving images.

Instructor(s): Constantine V. Nakassis
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates by Consent.
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 57400

CMST 59900. Reading and Research, CMST. 100 Units.

This course is intended for graduate students in the Cinema and Media Studies program to take independent study with a faculty member. The subject matter, course of study, and individual requirements must be arranged with the instructor prior to registration.

CMST 60010. Speculation. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): Allyson Nadia Field     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 60990. Independent Study. 100 Units.

Independent study offered for a quality grade.

Instructor(s): Allyson Field     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 61001. Black Film as Art / Black Art as Film. 100 Units.

The aesthetic dimensions of "Black film" tend to be subordinated to historical, social and political lines of inquiry - histories of "art film" tend not to include works by Black artists. This seminar foregrounds questions of form and style in film and video works by a wide range Black artists in order to develop new ways of understanding the complex, mutually constitutive relations between Blackness and the moving image. We will pursue experimental practices by Black film and video makers - beginning in the era of segregated "race film" production of the 1910s-40s, considering moments of stylistic experimentation in the narrative films of Micheaux, Maurice and Williams. We then discuss later film and videomakers who work more consistently and explicitly in experimental modes - the second category includes film and video works by Black visual and performance artists who exhibit in gallery and museum contexts. Along the way, we will discuss intersections with vanguard practices in related art forms, curatorial efforts, and movements between the art world and the film industry.

CMST 61102. The L.A. Rebellion and the Politics of Black Cinema. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): CRES 61102

CMST 61120. Issues and Aesthetics in Contemporary Black Film. 100 Units.

This course considers innovations and trends in Black film aesthetics and politics over the past twenty years. We will focus specifically on their implications for film theory and criticism.

Instructor(s): Kara Keeling     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 64904. Remapping New Waves: New Cinemas, Film Theory and Criticism in Japan. 100 Units.

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

Equivalent Course(s): EALC 44904

CMST 65500. Horror and Beyond. 100 Units.

All films are horror films. Film's spectrality had been a given since the earliest days of its existence, as it exists as the captured shadows of people and things no longer present. Joining photographs, the telegraph, the telephone, and the phonograph, film immediately presented itself as a kind of sense-memory that could present the traces of those not present, and even, traces of the dead. Nipper's perch on the coffin of his owner, reacting to his very live voice, sets the stage for Edison to announce the kinetograph, which "would do for the eye what the phonograph had done for the ear." That is, it would bring us into the uncanny presence of a world beyond the reach of our unaided senses. In this context, horror would seem to lay claim to being a "cine-genre," as defined by Pitorofsky - a genre that deals with fundamental properties of the medium. Throughout its history, and even its pre-history horror films have mediated our encounters with the non-human: technology, the dead, the world of creatures, and our bodies, to the extent that they do not belong to us. Terror, disgust, shock, trauma, and the uncanny all find their expression in horror films, and this course aims to explore how the horror film has explored the uncanny, animism, "primitive" thought, evil, the mind and the body's relationship to technology, climate change, and the world considered as excluding humans. As Benjamin once said, "It is a different nature that speaks to the camera than to the eye."

Instructor(s): James Lastra     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMST 65501. Film and the Uncanny. 100 Units.

The images and experiences offered by photography and film have, from the very beginning, been described as uncanny. Whether early photographers describing photographs as produced by nature, the sun, the objects depicted themselves, or by a machine, photography and the cinema have been understood to emerge from an "elsewhere" and not strictly from human production. Photography's defining uncanniness, it seems, took two general forms in the nineteenth century: forms of spectrality (ghostliness, shadowiness, production by occulted means) and forms of confusion between the human and the non-human. Corollary to uncertain boundaries between the human and the machine, the ghost, the object, and the animal there emerged a sustained epistemological debate about the nature and meaning of mediated sense experience: a debate about how technologically secured sense forms refer to the world they depict. This class argues that many of the most persistent instances of theoretical debate within media history are grounded in these issues. So rather than a narrowing view of film and related media, the term "uncanny" is meant to open up onto myriad questions and media, including acoustic, digital, traditional, and prosthetic forms of experience. Finally, this course embraces the belief that intuitive descriptions and accounts of media are rarely "wrong," but rather register disruptions in knowledge and practice, and grasp for new forms of thought to account for them.

Instructor(s): James Lastra     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 67006. Cognitive Approaches to Spectatorship. 100 Units.

This course provides an overview of cognitive approaches to film and media spectatorship to date. It reviews theories of perception, emotion, and cognitive processing as they relate to film viewing and appropriation, and specifically: cognitive theories of human emotions; how film viewing engages body and mind; cognitive approaches to analyzing storytelling and style; cognitive games films play with us; and the theories of attention, identification, and ideological persuasion.

Instructor(s): Maria Belodubrovskaya     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMST 67021. Performance Captured. 100 Units.

Technologies that turn human action, appearance and performance into data for storage, transformation and redisplay have a long history inside and outside of moving image arts. This class will look at the opportunities, aesthetics and politics of these approaches running through contemporary special effects, traditional and experimental animation, dance on camera and live performance at a moment when boundaries between these categories have become especially porous.

Instructor(s): Marc Downie     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 20721, CMST 27021

CMST 67035. Framing, Reframing, Unframing Cinema. 100 Units.

This class combines three emerging ways of looking at cinema: a continuously growing barrage of AI-based algorithms that seek to unlock data latent in images; existing films and digital archives of moving image material; and tools and programming environments oriented towards the construction of new moving-image works, viewing situations and logics. At a time when we are perhaps further away from the stable objects of cinema than we have ever been, when digital streaming repackages and recomposes film in front of our very eyes, or when virtual, augmented and mixed realities embed and dissolve cinema's frames in new and virtual spaces, what new positive opportunities for scholarship and creation can we find? This class is open to graduate students regardless of their production, coding, film-making experience. If you have any curiosity around the potentials and mechanisms of computers seeing us, seeing our film and video, helping navigate and bootstrap new digital humanities approaches or curiosities that shade quantitative or algorithmic, join us in this class - there's important work to be started here.

Instructor(s): Marc Downie     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 67120. The Cinematic Camera and the Single-shot Film. 100 Units.

This course hopes to interrogate the specificities of the cinematic camera by paring the variables down to single-shot films. We will examine the idea of the cinematic dispositif or "apparatus" and ask whether there is such a thing as the camera rather than a multiplicity of cameras. We will address the persistence of animism in film theory and criticism, attempts to define the quiddity of the filmed image, analogies between human and creaturely perception, machine vision, forms and logics of picturing and pictorial organization. We will also take the opportunity to examine acoustic analogs (the microphone, the recording) in order to help us understand the logics and the fallacies at work in our basic analytic concepts. Our film viewing will concentrate upon very early cinema (the Lumières, Edison, etc.) and on the avant-garde (Warhol, Snow, Gottheim, Jacobs, Gehr, etc.). Along the way, we will examine some mainstream films like Rope and Russian Ark, or Birdman.

Instructor(s): Jim Lastra     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 67211. What Was Mise-en-scène? 100 Units.

Mise-en-scène is often understood as a synonym for the act of directing, especially in theater. In film style it is associated with the importance accorded to the placement of props and characters within the film frame, usually in combination with camera movement. This concept was especially important in film criticism of the fifties and sixties and often connected with key post-WWII filmmakers such as Nicholas Ray, Douglas Sirk and Otto Preminger. This seminar will explore the concept both as historical critical concept, and as an ongoing way to discuss the nature of film style.

Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 47211

CMST 67221. Postcolonial Theory. 100 Units.

An introduction to postcolonial theory; its rise in the Anglophone academy; overlaps with critical race studies, feminist theory, indigenous studies. I will conclude with the recent planetary turn in postcolonial studies.

Instructor(s): Rochona Majumdar     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 67234. The New Formalisms. 100 Units.

This graduate seminar investigates a range of recent works that aim to create new models of formal analysis. The subject matter will be wide-ranging, covering literary studies (e.g., surface reading), art history, and cinema and media studies. We'll focus in particular on the way that debates over form resonate with broader philosophical and theoretical problems.

Instructor(s): Daniel Morgan     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 67321. Philosophy and Experimental Film. 100 Units.

The interest of postwar North American experimental filmmakers in philosophy is well-known, for example Stan Brakhage's interest in Ludwig Wittgenstein, Maya Deren's appeals to Henri Bergson, or Hollis Frampton's writings on Gödel's incompleteness theorem. In this seminar, we will closely watch a selection of important experimental films accompanied by filmmakers' writings and associated texts by philosophers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gilles Deleuze, Stanley Cavell, and others. Our central question will be: how do experimental filmmakers practice philosophy in their creative work?

Instructor(s): D. N. Rodowick     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 67804. Media Ecology. 100 Units.

Studies of media in recent years have increasingly turned toward questions about ecologies and environments, energy and elemental forces, relational theories and non-discrete objects. The first aim of this seminar is to introduce some of the key problematics associated with this 'turn' in media studies. At the same time, due to the proliferation of turns (elemental, environmental, ecological, energetic), objects (media forms, devices, platforms, networks, infrastructures) and concerns (more-than-human life, settler colonialism, indigenous struggles, migration), this seminar aims to provide a practical focus for doing media ecology or thinking media ecologically. The problematic for fall 2022 is Plant Media or "thinking with plants through media." Topics includes contemporary research on plant intelligence, which raises questions about intelligence without physical correlates, forcing us to deal with intelligence in terms of the whole plant as an ecology. We will also consider the mediating role of media, from self-writing plants to time-lapse audio and video to parse movement as intelligence. Finally, this ecological approach encourages a reconsideration of eco-agriculture and alternative paths of cultivation.

Instructor(s): Thomas Lamarre     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 67804

CMST 67812. The Archive of Absence: Theories and Methodologies of Evidence. 100 Units.

In this graduate seminar we will investigate theories and historiographic methodologies of approaching problems of evidence in film history, with a particular focus on approaches to nonextant film, film fragments, unidentified film, and other "mysteries" of film history. Some of these problems are about gaps: how has film history grappled with the absence and instability of the film artifact? Others, especially in a newly digital world, involve abundance: how can film history and historiography navigate the polyvalences of meaning brought about by an ever-expanding archive? This course will combine theoretical readings, analyses of case studies, and students' own research. Topics to be covered include the use of extrafilmic evidence and primary paracinematic evidence, fiction and speculative approaches to history, theories of evidence, and archival theories and practices. We'll also focus on the possibilities and limits of various historiographic methodologies, touching on the use of oral history, biographic research, and official and unofficial discourses. Cases will be drawn from the silent era to contemporary cinema, and from a range of film practices including avant-garde, Classical Hollywood, African American, European art cinema, and others.

Instructor(s): Allyson Nadia Field     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 67812

CMST 67830. What's New in New Media. 100 Units.

This seminar explores new writing on the topic of new media, digital technology, and new practices of image-making. We'll explore a range of different theoretical texts, but also explore recent writing on some of the following topics: media infrastructures; the materiality of media; techniques and technologies of image-making (3D, VR, animation); video games; media archeology; race and media; the politics of social media; queer theory and media studies; and the internationalization of debates on media. We'll look at writers such as: Nicole Starosielski; Melody Jue; Yak Hui; Kara Keeling; Lisa Nakamura; Lisa Parks; Wendy Hui Kyong Chun; Andrew Johnston; Ina Blom; Patrick Jagoda; Kris Cohen; Shane Denson; Brooke Belisle; and others.

Instructor(s): Daniel Morgan     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 67870. Digital Media Aesthetics: Interaction, Connection, and Improvisation. 100 Units.

This course investigates the ways that digital and networked media have changed contemporary aesthetics, forms, storytelling practices, and cultures. Along the way, we will analyze electronic literature, Twine games, interactive dramas, video games, transmedia narratives, and more. Formally, we will explore concepts such as multilinear narrative, immersive and navigable worlds, network aesthetics, interactive difficulty, aleatory poetics, and videogame mechanics. Throughout the quarter, our analysis of computational media aesthetics will be haunted by matters of race, gender, sexuality, class, and other ghosts in the machine. Students need not be technologically gifted or savvy, but a wide-ranging imagination and interest in new media cultures will make for a more exciting quarter. (20th/21st)

Instructor(s): Patrick Jagoda     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37870, ENGL 34770, GNSE 34770, TAPS 34770

CMST 68400. Style and Performance from Stage to Screen. 100 Units.

Actor is the oldest profession among arts. Cinema is the youngest art there is. What happens with faces, gestures, monologues, and voices; ancient skills like dance or mime; grand histrionics etc. when arts of performance hit the medium of screen? This course will focus on the history of acting styles in silent films, mapping "national" styles of acting that emerged during the 1910s (American, Danish, Italian, Russian) and various "acting schools" that proliferated during the 1920s ("Expressionist acting," "Kuleshov's Workshop," et al.). We will discuss film acting in the context of various systems of stage acting (Delsarte, Stanislavsky, Meyerhold) and the visual arts.

Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 48905

CMST 68820. Film Propaganda. 100 Units.

This seminar explores film propaganda and propaganda films. We will look at various conceptions of propaganda and ask: What is the difference between propaganda, rhetoric, and persuasion? What is the relationship between film propaganda, mass art, and information? What is the relationship between film propaganda and the state? Is film propaganda an art form, and what are its formal features? How has film propaganda been used throughout film history, including in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the United States, and China? And what do we know about propaganda films' effects on audiences?

Instructor(s): Maria Belodubrovskaya     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMST 69002. Cinema and Labor. 100 Units.


CMST 69110. The Archive: Materiality, Aesthetics, Visual Culture. 100 Units.

This graduate seminar will prepare students to conduct archival research, and to build a research archive from different historical, methodological, and theoretical perspectives. While we will engage a range of texts on archival methodology, theory, and the phenomenology of the archive, we will also examine questions concerning aesthetics, materiality, visual culture, and the digital that inform our understanding of archives today. The seminar will be partially organized around case studies that foreground different archival modes of discovery, evaluation, and interpretation-including those that constitute the "counter archive." Students will learn practical skills for conducting research in filmic, paper and print, and internet archives, and develop the investigative, analytical abilities that are necessary for building an archive around either material objects or theoretical questions.

Instructor(s): Jennifer Wild     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 49700, FREN 49100

CMST 69901. The Films of Ozu Yasujiro. 100 Units.

This course explores Ozu Yasujiro's works from both national and transnational perspectives. Through an intense examination of Ozu's robust film making career, from the student comedies of the late 1920s to the family drama (in Agfacolor) of the early 1960s, we will locate Ozu's works at a dialogic focal point of Japanese, East Asian, American, and European cinema.

CMST 70000. Advanced Study: Cinema & Media Studies. 300.00 Units.

Advanced Study: Cinema & Media Studies

For further information concerning the PhD Program in Cinema and Media Studies, please see the Graduate Program pages on the department's website. Prospective students should also reach out to the Department Administrator ( with questions or to request more information.

Information on how to apply

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate programs in the Humanities is administered through 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:

General questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to or (773) 702-1552.

Information related to admissions in CMS are outlined on the department's website

International students must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). (Current minimum scores, etc., are provided with the application.) For more information, please see the Office of International Affairs website at, or call them at (773) 702-7752.

Cinema and Media Studies Courses