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Department of Cinema and Media Studies

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Core Faculty


  • Daniel Morgan, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College


  • James Chandler, Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor, Department of English, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Committee on the History of Culture, and the College
  • Tom Gunning, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College. Director of Graduate Studies
  • David Levin, Addie Clark Harding Professor, Department of Germanic Studies, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, the Committee on Theater and Performance Studies, and the College
  • Richard Neer, William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor in Art History, Cinema and Media Studies and the College
  • David Rodowick, Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor in Cinema and Media Studies and the College
  • Jacqueline Stewart, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College
  • Yuri Tsivian, William Colvin Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College

Associate Professors

  • Robert Bird, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College
  • Allyson Nadia Field, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College
  • Patrick Jagoda, Department of English Language and Literature, and the College
  • James Lastra, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of English Language and Literature, and the College
  • Rochona Majumdar, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College
  • Daniel Morgan, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College
  • Jennifer Wild, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of Romance Languages and Literature, and the College. Affiliated faculty in the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Assistant Professors

  • Xinyu Dong, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College; affiliated faculty at the Center for East Asian Studies
  • Salomé Skvirsky, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College

Professors of Practice

  • Judy Hoffman


  • Dominique Bluher, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College. Affiliated faculty in Romance Languages and Literature, Department of Visual Arts
  • Takuya Tsunoda, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Visiting Faculty & Associated Fellows

  • Nadine Chan, Society of Fellows and Collegiate Assistant Professor
  • Joao Pedro Chaopo, Post-Doctoral Fellow - Maria Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship

Affiliated Faculty

  • Paola Iovene, Assistant Professor in Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations
  • Loren Kruger, Professor, Department of English Language and Literature and the College
  • Laura Letinsky, Professor, Department of Visual Arts and the College
  • Malynne Sternstein, Associate Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Catherine Sullivan, Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts and the College


  • Traci Verleyen, Department Coordinator
  • Claire Ptaschinski, Department Asssitant

The Graduate Program in Cinema and Media Studies

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

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

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

Students seeking a master’s degree should apply to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), a three-quarter program of interdisciplinary study in a number of areas of interest to students, including literature and film. MAPH students attend classes with students in the Ph.D. programs.  Further details about the MAPH program are available at


Students admitted to doctoral study are typically awarded a five-year fellowship package that includes full tuition, academic year stipends, summer stipends, and medical insurance. Teaching training is a vital part of the educational experience at the University, so all fellowships include a required teaching component. 

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

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

  1. Three required courses originating in the department:
    • :  an introduction to research methods, key concepts, and theoretical approaches, using case studies to introduce students to debates and issues in the field.
    • CMST 48500 History of International Cinema I: Silent Era, and CMST 48600 History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960:  a two quarter survey course that is designed as both a beginning level graduate and an upper level undergraduate course. 
  2. Eight elective courses in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.

A sample program for students entering the department without previous graduate study in cinema and media studies would consist in the following:

  • First year: A total of seven courses; the three required courses, a minimum of two elective courses in the Department of Cinema & Media Studies, and two further elective courses.
  • Second year: A total of six courses; a minimum of four elective courses in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and two further elective courses. Of these six courses, three must be designated as advanced courses.
  • Third year: A total of three courses; at least one Ph.D. research seminar in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and two elective courses.

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

Fields examination

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

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

Foreign Language Requirement

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


Graduate students in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies are expected to teach as part of their professional training. Positions within the department include course assistantships in a variety of courses, including survey courses; lecturer positions teaching freestanding undergraduate courses; and BA project supervising. Students should expect to act as both course assistants and as lecturers during their time in the program. Further information on teaching in CMS and other opportunities to teach at the University of Chicago can be found in the CMS Graduate Student Handbook and be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Students.

Dissertation proposal

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


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

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

Application and Financial Aid

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

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


For up-to-date information about course offerings, please visit the department’s courses page at



Cinema and Media Studies Courses

CMST 31806. The New Latin American Cinema and Its Afterlife. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to Latin American film studies through an assessment of its most critically celebrated period of radical filmmaking. The New Latin American Cinema (NLAC) of the late 1950s–70s generated unprecedented international enthusiasm for Latin American film production. The filmmakers of this loosely designated movement were defining themselves in relation to global realist film traditions like Italian Neorealism and Griersonian documentary, in relation to—mostly failed—experiments in building Hollywood-style national film industries, and in relation to regional discourses of underdevelopment and mestizaje. Since the late 1990s, a reassessment of the legacy of the NLAC has been taking shape as scholars have begun to interrogate its canonical status in the face of a changed political climate. In the sphere of filmmaking, contemporary Latin American new wave cinemas are also grappling with that legacy—sometimes disavowing it, sometimes appropriating it. We will situate the NLAC in its historical context, survey its formal achievements and political aspirations, assess its legacy, and take stock of the ways and the reasons that it haunts contemporary production.

Instructor(s): S. Skvirsky     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 21806

CMST 33905. Creative Thesis Workshop. 100 Units.

This seminar will focus on how to craft a creative thesis in film or video. Works-in-progress will be screened each week, and technical and structural issues relating to the work will be explored. The workshop will also develop the written portion of the creative thesis. The class is limited to seniors from CMS and DOVA, and MAPH students working on a creative thesis.

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

CMST 33930. Documentary Production I. 100 Units.

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

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

CMST 33931. Documentary Production II. 100 Units.

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

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

CMST 34568. The Underground: Alienation, Mobilization, Resistance. 100 Units.

The ancient and multivalent image of the underground has crystallized over the last two centuries to denote sites of disaffection from—and strategies of resistance to—dominant social, political and cultural systems. We will trace the development of this metaphor from the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s and the French Resistance during World War II to the Weather Underground in the 1960s-1970s, while also considering it as a literary and artistic concept, from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground and Ellison’s Invisible Man to Chris Marker’s film La Jetée and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Alongside with such literary and cinematic tales, drawing theoretical guidance from refuseniks from Henry David Thoreau to Guy Debord, this course investigates how countercultural spaces become—or fail to become—sites of political resistance, and also how dissenting ideologies give rise to countercultural spaces. We ask about the relation between social deviance (the failure to meet social norms, whether willingly or unwittingly) and political resistance, especially in the conditions of late capitalism and neo-colonialism, when countercultural literature, film and music (rock, punk, hip-hop, DIY aesthetics etc.) get absorbed into—and coopted by—the hegemonic socio-economic system. In closing we will also consider contemporary forms of dissidence—from Pussy Riot to Black Lives Matter—that rely both on the vulnerability of individual bodies and global communication networks. Instructor(s): Robert Bird     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): REES 36068,SIGN 26012,CMST 24568,REES 26068

CMST 34923. Contemporary Media in Japan. 100 Units.

This course will investigate contemporary films, audiovisual media works, and electronic media creations that explore and/or reflect such issues as ambient aesthetics, self-mediation, and new techniques of everyday life.

Instructor(s): T. Tsunoda     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 35611. 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 / artifact films of Jacobs, dance drawings of 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 graphic techniques and a reinterpretation / reinvigoration of our understanding of early animation.  Film production, hand-animation or computer programming experience are welcome (but none are prequisites for the course). Students will be expected to complete regular short “sketches” of techniques towards a final short animated film.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25611,ARTV 20004,ARTV 30004

CMST 36200. Brechtian Representations: Theatre, Theory, Cinema. 100 Units.

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht's own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920's to the agitprop Lehrstück and film esp Kühle Wampe) to the classical parable plays, as well as the work of his heirs in German theatre (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss) and film (RW Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge), in French film (Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker)), film and theatre in Britain (Mike Leigh and Lucy Prebble), and theatre and film in Africa, from South Africa  to Senegal and US (TBA). We will also give due attention to the often unacknowledged impact of Brecht’s theorizing on a range of genres and media on his better known contemporaries Adorno, Benjamin, Lukács as well as on cultural theory elsewhere from the Situationists to digital labor. Requirements: oral presentations; short midterm and final research paper.

Instructor(s): L. Kruger     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Designed for MAPH or PhD.
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 44500,CMLT 40800,TAPS 44500

CMST 36302. Ernst Lubitsch: An International Style. 100 Units.

“How would Lubitsch do it?” asks Billy Wilder, who famously hung this question in his office. He asked the question hanging in the minds of generations of filmmakers around the world, most likely including Lubitsch himself. In a career spanning nearly three decades, Lubitsch’s name has come to denote a style about style, first exported from Germany to Hollywood and then from Hollywood to the world. In this sense, Lubitsch is first and foremost a filmmaker for filmmakers, and his style decidedly an international one. It is the goal of this course to examine a broadly defined international stylistic history developed by and associated with Lubitsch, whose legacy cannot be adequately assessed without such a perspective. With dual emphases on formal and historical analyses, we will look at Lubitsch’s early Weimar comedy and epic films, American silent masterpieces, musicals, sound comedies, and political farces, as well as Lubitsch-esque films made in Japan, China, and France.

Instructor(s): X. Dong     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26507,CMST 26302

CMST 36400. The Cinema of Charlie Chaplin. 100 Units.

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

Instructor(s): Y. Tsivian     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26402,ARTH 28406,ARTH 38406

CMST 36500. The Films of Alfred Hitchcock. 100 Units.

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

Instructor(s): T. Gunning     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 - Introduction to Film Analysis, and preferably CMST 28500 - History of International Cinema, Part I.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 38405,ARTH 28405

CMST 37815. Introduction to Art, Technology, and Media. 100 Units.

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

Instructor(s): I. Blom     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 31315,CMST 27815,ARTH 21315

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): M. Downie     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 27920,ARTV 37920,CMST 27920

CMST 38003. Issues in Film Sound. 100 Units.

Taking advantage of recent developments in the field of sound studies, this course examines issues in film sound (technology, sense experience, histories of listening, sonic space, soundscape construction, the materiality of sound formats, etc.) that speak to broader concerns in the humanities, especially sound-related arts.  While we will focus on a film or films every week, from blockbusters like Gravity to avant-garde and experimental films, the readings and issues will touch on everything from noise pollution, architecture, musical performance and recording, and mp3 files. Students interested in installation and environmental arts, sound in literary studies, music, and other sound-focused fields are welcome.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 38201. Political Documentary Film. 100 Units.

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

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 20202,CMST 28201

CMST 38301. Opera in the Age of Its Mechanical Reproducibility. 100 Units.

Focusing on a diverse set of productions of Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" by Ingmar Bergman, William Kentridge, Martin Kusej, Simon McBurney, and Julie Taymor, we will seek to locate opera in the contemporary medial landscape, exploring some of the theoretical stakes, dramaturgical challenges, and interpretive achievements that characterize opera on film, DVD, and via live-streaming. Readings by W. Benjamin, T. W. Adorno, F. Jameson, M. Dolar, C. Abbate, P. Auslander, et al.

Instructor(s): D. Levin
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 37717,TAPS 28422,TAPS 38422,CMST 28301,GRMN 27717

CMST 38310. Kafka and Performance. 100 Units.

This laboratory seminar is devoted to exploring the texts of Franz Kafka through the lens of performance.  In addition to weekly scenic experiments and extensive critical readings (on Kafka as well as performance theory) we will explore the rich history of adapting Kafka in film, theater, puppetry, opera, and performance.

Instructor(s): D. Levin, S. Bockley     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 22110,TAPS 32110,FNDL 22115,GRMN 23110,CMST 28310,GRMN 32110

CMST 38801. Computational Imaging. 100 Units.

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

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

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): D. Morgan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 48000,MAPH 33000

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.

Instructor(s): J. Cahill     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Readings in French and English; work may be completed in French or English.
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 36218

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
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 41313

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

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

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

This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400,ENGL 29300,ENGL 48700,MAPH 36000,ARTV 20002,CMST 28500

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

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

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

CMST 48700. History of International Cinema, Part III: 1960 to Present. 100 Units.

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the late 1950s through the 1990s.  We will focus on New Cinemas in France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the United states, the United Kingdon, and other countries.  We will pay special attention to experimental stylistic developments, women directors, and well-known auteurs.  After the New Cinema era we will examine various developments in world cinema, including the rise of Bollywood, East Asian film cultures, and other movements.

Instructor(s): Staff     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.

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): FREN 43501,CDIN 53500

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.  And 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 two general categories of work.  One includes experimental practices by Black film and video makers.  We begin in the era of segregated "race film" production of the 1910s-40s, considering moments of stylistic experimentation in the narrative films of Oscar Micheaux, Richard Maurice and Spencer Williams.  We then discuss later film and videomakers who work more consistently and explicitly in experimental modes, including Barbara McCullough, Ben Caldwell, Ulysses Jenkins, Kevin Jerome Everson, Arthur Jafa, Christopher Harris, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Lauren Kelly and Robert Banks, Terence Nance, Khalil Joseph and Cauleen Smith.  The second category includes film and video works by Black visual and performance artists who exhibit in gallery and museum contexts, such as John Akomfrah, Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, Kalup Linzy, and Wangechi Mutu.  Along the way, we will discuss intersections with vanguard practices in related art forms (jazz, literature, theater), curatorial efforts (

Instructor(s): J. Stewart     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 66901. 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 filmmaking 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.

Instructor(s): T. Tsunoda     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 56901

CMST 67207. Aesthetics. 100 Units.

This seminar explores the intersection of film and philosophical aesthetics. Aesthetics has become a curiously central topic not only within cinema and media studies but also in the disciplines that surround it. From speculative realists to critical theorists to political theorists of various stripes; aesthetics have been taken to have methodological and conceptual primacy. This course takes several paths to explore and evaluate these accounts. First, it looks at the question of why aesthetics has emerged in the present situation: what unresolved questions or problems does it respond to? What is its appeal for the current state of politics and media? Second, it places the recent debates within a longer history of philosophical aesthetics. Which resources from this tradition are being drawn on—and, of equal importance, which are not? Last, the course examines the usefulness of aesthetics within cinema and media studies by testing it against the details of film form. To this end, we will look at several key moments in the history and theory of montage to see whether aesthetics can provide new insights.

Instructor(s): D. Morgan     Terms Offered: Autumn

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.

Instructor(s): T. Gunning     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 47211

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): A. Field     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 68008. Senses and Technology. 100 Units.

This seminar examines the fraught relationship between the human sensorium, and its mediations through what we might call “sense technologies,” such as photography, phonography, moving images, radio, computers, telephones and virtual reality.  Understanding aesthetic practices as concretizations of sense experience or as formal realizations of experience has a long and storied history as does modeling devices on suppositions about how we see, hear, touch, etc. The contradictions that inevitably arise between practice and theory are one of the motors or both formal and technological change, and the dialectic between how we understand sensory experience in general and how it manifests itself in various institutional settings (the laboratory, the courts, the film industry, video gaming, etc.) will be a touchstone for the class.  We will examine both theoretical and historical approaches to understanding various sense/technology relationships since the eighteenth century.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Winter

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.

Instructor(s): Y. Tsivian     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 48905

CMST 69200. Space, Place, and Landscape. 100 Units.

This seminar will analyze the concepts of space, place, and landscape across the media (painting, photography, cinema, sculpture, architecture, and garden design, as well as poetic and literary renderings of setting, and "virtual" media-scapes). Key theoretical readings from a variety of disciplines, including geography, art history, literature, and philosophy will be included: Foucault's "Of Other Spaces," Michel de Certeau's concept of heterotopia; Heidegger's "Art and Space"; Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space; Henri Lefebvre's Production of Space; David Harvey's Geography of Difference; Raymond Williams's The Country and the City; Mitchell, Landscape and Power. Topics for discussion will include the concept of the picturesque and the rise of landscape painting in Europe; the landscape garden; place, memory, and identity; sacred sites and holy lands; regional, global, and national landscapes; embodiment and the gendering of space; the genius of place; literary and textual space.  Course requirements: 2 oral presentations: one on a place (or representation of a place); the other on a critical or theoretical text. Final paper. Preference to PhD students in ENGL / ARTH / CMST / CMLT.

Instructor(s): W.J.T. Mitchell     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 50900,ARTH 48900,ENGL 60301

CMST 69900. Pedagogy: The Way We Teach Film. 100 Units.

This course, spread across the year, is an introduction to pedagogical methods in the field of Cinema and Media Studies. It is intended for, and open only to, CMS PhD Students.

Instructor(s): J. Wild     Terms Offered: Autumn. A full year course, with enrollment only occurring in Autumn.
Prerequisite(s): CMST 69900 is open only to CMS PhD students; requires department consent.
Note(s): This course meets through the full academic year.