Fall 2016 Graduate Courses

Core Courses

Film Form/Film Sense

CINE-GT 1010

Bill Simon
Mondays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 648
4 points
Class #5644

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to central concepts in film form and style as well as film narrative. The course is structured to suggest a constant but expanding series of models for textual analysis of audio-visual works, with emphasis on the “cinematic signifier." The course will also deal with issues of the interpretation of audio-visual works in relation to textual analysis. Part One of the course will have a strong formal emphasis: introducing concepts such as shot structure, editing. mise-en-scene, camera movement and sound in relation to their function in the structuring of film narrative. Part Two will formulate these concepts more thoroughly in terms of parameters of film narrative (e.g... focalization and its implications for the representation of gender and race). Parts Three and Four will further expand the conceptualization of these issues by dealing with the relationship of film narrative to: (1) genre, understood in terms of its social and ideological implications; and (2) cultural history, understood in terms of the social relations between cultural discourses and the specificity of film narrative. 


Television: History & Culture

CINE-GT 1026

Anna McCarthy
Thursdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 648
4 points
Class #5645

Examines the background, context, and history of radio, television, video, and sound. Topics include: politics and economics of media institutions, audience and reception, cultural and broadcast policy, and aesthetic modes and movements.


Ph.D. Research Methodologies

CINE-GT 2601

Zhen Zhang
Tuesdays, 9:00am-12:00pm
Room 635
4 points
Class #5833

This course examines a range of activities entailed in being in the Cinema Studies doctoral program and preparing for a career in cinema and media studies. Most class meetings will include a guest speaker, as most of the full-time faculty in the Department of Cinema Studies will discuss their own research methodologies and careers. The class will also read two recent influential books in the field.  The professional activities to be examined include things such as participating in professional organizations, answering a call for papers, giving a conference presentation, “dissertating,” book reviewing, teaching, and publishing one’s research. We will consider the process of choosing a research focus for a scholarly project and tackling its research problems. We will study protocols followed for research in specific locations, and also consider techniques of conducting and organizing research, with emphasis on database research and use of NYU Libraries resources. Among the practical exercises that may be assigned are: evaluating journals, presses, and websites associated with cinema and media studies; reporting on libraries, archives, and research resources; attending professional talks and special events; and delivering a short scholarly talk. Students will be required to compose (1) a book review (ca. 1,500 words), and (2) one report or blog entry on a cinema studies or other event you attend, (3) a paper based on the talk or a research portfolio. 

Open only to first year PhD Cinema Studies students.


Documentary Traditions

CINE-GT 1400

David Bagnall
Mondays, 6:20-9:00pm
Room 108
4 points
Class #5646

This course examines documentary principles, methods, and styles.  Both the function and the significance of the documentary in the social setting and the ethics of the documentary are considered.

Culture & Media I

CINE-GT 1402

Faye Ginsburg
Tuesdays, 6:00-9:00pm
25 Waverly Place
4 points
Class #5647

This course explores the history and evolution of the genre of ethnographic film and the broad issues of cross-cultural representation that have emerged in the literature, from the early 20th century to the contemporary moment.  We situate key works within the wider project of the representation of cultural lives.     We will then consider the key works that have defined the genre, and the conceptual and formal innovations associated with them, addressing questions concerning documentary, social theory as well as the institutional structures through which they are funded, distributed, and seen by various audiences.  Throughout the course we will keep in mind the properties of film as a signifying practice, its status as a form of anthropological knowledge, and the ethical and political concerns raised by cross-cultural representation. Films are placed in the context of an evolving discursive field, shaped by concerns of the time and responses to critiques. What have the theoretical, political and cinematic responses been to efforts to create screen representations of culture, from the early romantic constructions of Robert Flaherty to current work in feature film, to the scientific cinema of the American post-war periods, to the experimental reflexivity of Jean Rouch and others, to the development of television and video on the part of indigenous people throughout the world over the last two decades, to recent experiments in sensory ethnography? 

Non-Cinema Studies Graduates need permission of instructor at faye.ginsburg@nyu.edu.

Community Archiving: Media Collections

CINE-GT 2008

Mona Jimenez
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #5895
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #5896

This graduate seminar combines research into moving image collections, both institutionally and individually held, with hands-on archival tasks that will provide insight into the way that media is collected, cared for, and accessed. Through direct engagement with endangered independent media collections from the 1960s-1980s, students will gain an understanding of key philosophies and practices of non-commercial video production in the US during this period, as well as of the practical labor and the decision-making involved in access for their scholarship and creative re-use. Students will plan and carry out a community archiving event where they will work side by side with caretakers and other stakeholders, taking preparatory steps necessary to understanding the content, relative value, and physical condition of the tapes – tasks designed to aid in selection, preservation planning and access. Students will use primary and secondary materials and discussions with creators and caretakers to gain an understanding of the context within which the collections were made, distributed and collected. Students will also be assigned key texts on archival theory and methodologies, particularly those addressing theories and practices of archivists and activism, community-based documentation, ethics in archiving, and the roles of specialists and non-specialists in archiving and maintaining media materials. Students need not have experience with moving image archiving and preservation; those studying in MIAP or other archival/library programs will gain depth in skills handling media and in media history. Advanced undergraduates may enroll with the permission of the instructor.

Brazilian Cinema

CINE-GT 2117

Bob Stam
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 648
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #20087
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #20088

This course is a graduate survey course devoted to the history of Brazilian Cinema from its beginnings up to the latest features. While focusing on the medium specificity in terms of film stylistics and film-as-film, the approach will also see film, in a “cultural studies” manner, as part of a discursive-mediatic continuum that includes history, literature, music, and performance.

The course will move through a more or less chronological sequence from the silent period, on to the musical comedies (chanchadas) and the studio films of Vera Cruz, through the various phases of Cinema Novo, on to the 1990s retomada and culminating with the variegated productions of a new generation of 21st century filmmakers. While the feature films will be screened in roughly chronological order, the classes themselves will be partially organized around themes that range across historical periods.

Some of the themes will include: Brazil as shaped by the Black, Red, and White Atlantics; representations of and by the “Indian;” foundational romances between European and Indigene; Afro-Brazilian culture; race and representation; carnival and the carnivalesque; multicultural dissonance as artistic resource; anthropophagy; Tropicalism, aesthetics of hunger; aesthetics of garbage; trance-modernism; national and transnational allegory; dictatorship and resistance; film remediations of literature; the telenovela; musical audiotopias; the favela and the divided city; Brazilian counter-culture; intersectionalities of race, gender, and sexuality; indigenous media; and the emergence of new social actors.

Given the extreme compression of the course in treating more than a century of cinema in a single semester, the course will feature many brief clips to a) illuminate broader trends; b) serve as analytical samples; c) whet student appetite for seeing the films in their entirety; and d) serve to point to possible topics to pursue in the term paper for the course. Many of the films can be seen in their entirety thanks to the internet. Students will be asked to see a number of widely disseminated features (e.g. the Elite Squad series) outside of class and to write one-page personal responses (which will be read but not graded) on some of those films.

Some basic principles of the course: 1) avoid redundancy between the lectures and the required reading; 2) analyze clips drawn from the films seen outside of class and from other films; 3) do close analysis as a demonstration of method; 4) distribute handouts to save time. Some of the directors included, whether in terms of class-screened feature films, features seen out of class, or, most frequently, via clips, include: Humberto Mauro, Silvio Santos, Mario Peixoto, Lima Barreto, Roberto Farias, Anselmo Duarte, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Glauber Rocha, Leon Hirzman, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Carlos Diegues, Arnaldo Jabor, Rogerio Sganzerla, Hector Babenco, Tizuka Yamasaki, Rui Guerra, Suzana Amaral, Lucia Murad, Karim Ainouz, Jefferson de, Divino Tserawahu, Elena Solberg, Joel Zito Araujo, Jorge Bodansky, Lais Bodansky, Paulo Sacramento, Eduardo Coutinho, Jose Padilha, Sergio Bianchi, Bruno Barreto, Fernando Meirelles, Jorge Furtado, Luis Fernando Carvalho, Aurelio Michilles, Sandra Werneck, and Felipe Barbosa.

Postwar Hollywood: Social Problems to Civil Rights

CINE-GT 2119

Claudia Calhoun
Fridays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #24557
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #24558

In this course, we'll look together at narratives of race and integration during the U.S. postwar period. Focusing on films made between 1945 and 1968, we will analyze the changing shape of Hollywood's racial imaginary, the strategies of socially progressive filmmakers, and the impact of larger social and cultural changes, including postwar demobilization, the shifting politics of the Cold War, and the advances of the Civil Rights Movement. Films will include mainstream Hollywood releases (Home of the Brave, Broken Arrow, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner) as well as independent productions (Lost Boundaries, Salt of the Earth, Nothing But a Man).



CINE-GT 2121

Linda Williams
Tuesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 648
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #20737
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #20738

This course explores the relationship between that often derided term, melodrama, and cinema. Is melodrama a genre or a mode? Is it for women to cry or for men to thrill at sensational actions? Is it a subversive form of popular protest or a commercial form of bourgeois pacification? Is it an old-fashioned form of Victorian morality or uniquely associated with the intensifying impact of ‘modernity’?  Is it realistic or based on coincidence and wish fulfillment? Is it a specifically Western form or has it taken root in other, non-Western, cinemas, for example, China, India or Latin America?

We will develop a historical and theoretical framework for studying melodrama looking primarily, though not only, at its relation to movies. We will start from the evolution of early film melodrama out of popular theater, opera and pictorial traditions and trace the conventions of the mode as they change throughout the nineteenth, twentieth and early twenty-first century. The class will have three main concentrations:  American silent film melodrama; popular Hollywood melodrama, and a selection of melodramas from widely different cultures.  Since melodrama appears in many media and forms, our focus will be on developing a set of fundamental theoretical principles that we can then test historically and in diverse cultural contexts. We will watch and discuss at least one feature-length film each week, along with shorter visual and audio materials and a variety of readings.

Interactive Cinema & New Media

CINE-GT 2600

Marina Hassapopoulou
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #20739
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #20740

Interactive cinema is a hybrid medium that incorporates the audience into the performance of the film by integrating elements such as audience voting, motion sensors, and live acting to create a participatory multimedia experience. This course will analyze the development and reception contexts of interactive films, ranging from early cinema "puzzle" films to influential site-specific experiments in the 1960s, and to recent digital projects in software-generated cinema. A diverse spectrum of interactive genres will be discussed, including choose-your-own-adventure films, hypertexts, art installations, games, and web-based narratives. Through interactive screenings, media analysis, and selected readings, the course will establish connections between interactive cinema and canonical approaches to film and media studies, while also indicating its relevance to current trends in digital culture. Themes and key concepts include: narrative and authorship in the digital age, changing paradigms in media consumption and production, digital democracy, remix and appropriation, participatory culture, media convergence, hybridity, and remediation.

Advanced Seminars

Asian American Media

CINE-GT 1315

Melissa Phruksachart
Mondays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #20987
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #20988

As anger coalesced around the injustice of law enforcement and judicial systems sanctioning the murder of black and brown people, network television took up the case of “diversity.” ABC featured a slate of "diverse" primetime programming through Black-ish and Cristela in Fall 2014; in February 2015, Fresh Off the Boat, featuring an Asian American family, premiered. This course uses Asian American media to help us think through the interrelation of these events. While necessarily familiarizing students with the historical and historiographic contexts of the field, we will foreground the rubric “Asian American Media” as an analytic rather than as an object of knowledge. In other words, we’ll approach Asian American media not as a set of texts produced by “Asian American” bodies, but instead as a continuous inquiry into the challenges of and to embodied representation. Our aims are: 1) to apprehend the mechanisms of racial formation in a U.S.-based context, especially as they are negotiated by various media; 2) to develop an understanding of the ways in which Asian-raced bodies have interacted with mainstream and independent American media industries; and 3) to interrogate the intellectual and material conditions that produce the disciplinary boundaries of media studies. Screenings will range from pre-code Hollywood to studio musicals, community video, independent cinema, television, and the Internet.

Transgender Studies

CINE-GT 1780

Chris Straayer
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 652
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #20984
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #20985

This course maps the emerging interdisciplinary field of Transgender Studies, which concerns the history and culture of transgender, transsexual, and non-binary people. From 19th century (and ongoing) sexology, to 1950s (and ongoing) genital “corrections” of intersex infants, to the 1969 Stonewall (and ongoing) rebellions for gay/lesbian liberation, to the 1970s (and ongoing) Michigan Women’s Music Festival, the history of transgenderism has intersected lesbian, gay, bi, intersexual, and feminist histories in complicated ways.  The phrase “a woman in a man’s body” initially typed homosexuals but later typed transsexuals. Genital surgeries forced on intersexuals were denied to transsexuals.  Internal and lateral oppression challenges coalitions against oppression. Throughout this complex history, transgender activists, artists, lawyers, health workers, celebrities, scholars, etc. have produced an immense body of knowledge and vibrant culture.

Transgender Studies addresses such topics as Cross Cultural Gender Diversity, Trans Color and Class, Personal Narrative, Transphobia and Violence, Medical Pathologizing, Penalizing Sex, Species Synaesthesia, and Body Technologies. We will read work by scholars such as Susan Stryker, David Valentine, Jacob Hale, Sandy Stone, Steven Whittle, Talia Bettcher, Joanne Meyerowitz, Paisley Currah, Riki Wilchins, Jay Prosser, Dean Spade, and Eva Hayward. The course will place a special emphasis on Trans Art, especially photography, performance, and cinema. We will view mainstream and independent films, such as Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Boys Don’t Cry, Screaming Queens, Cruel and Unusual, The Salt Mines, Beautiful Boxer, and The Danish Girl and have several presentations by guest scholars/artists. The course will be conducted in a workshop style to accommodate the special interests among students with varying expertise

Spike Lee

CINE-GT 2227

Ed Guerrero
Mondays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #20084
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #20085

This course will explore Spike Lee’s prolific and impressive output in mainstream, commercial cinema. From Lee’s signature and debut hit “She’s Gotta Have It” (1986), and recognized masterpiece “Do The Right Thing” (1989), to the contemporary “Old Boy,” director, actor, celebrity, marketer, cinematic agent provocateur, Spike Lee has managed to redefine and refashion the narratives, expectations and directions of what has come to be known popularly as “Black American Cinema.” Through our readings, screenings, and critical discussions and writing, this seminar will explore such issues as; black independence vs. mainstream cinema; gender, class and sexuality; history and its reconstruction in Lee’s documentary and narrative features; black celebrity and stardom; and the culture, politics and political economy of Spike Lee’s long and successful commercial cinema trajectory. Over the course of the seminar we will view and do close critical readings of a range of Spike Lee master works such as “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” “The Inside Man,” “ChiRaq,” “Jungle Fever,” and “Four Little Girls.”

Language & Image

CINE-GT 3016

William Simon
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 652
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #20228
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #20229

This seminar will explore the dynamics of cinematic narration, especially the relations of language, image, and music in film. Understanding the cinema as a heterogeneous and compound medium (i.e. a medium that draws on the artistic resources of multiple art forms, including the novel, theatrical drama, image-based arts like painting and photography, and music), we shall examine how film relates these art forms in the process of relating a story. Special emphasis will be placed on films which foreground the aesthetic "beauty" within the image (e.g. Days of Heaven, Barry Lyndon) and/or films which privilege anomalous uses of language (e.g voice-over narration in films noir, The Magnificent Ambersons, Days of Heaven, Barry Lyndon). We will consider relevant theoretical text (e.g. W.J.T. Mitchell's Picture Theory) and perform in-depth analyses concerning the uses of image, language, and music in relation to cinematic narration. We will use films by Stanley Kubrick and the films of Terrence Malick as especially pertinent examples. Class presentations and one research paper required.

Theory/Practice Courses

Open only to M.A. students in the Department of Cinema Studies.

Film Criticism

CINE-GT 1141

Richard Porton
Thursdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 652
4 points
Class #5811

This course will combine an in-depth examination of selected topics in the history of film criticism with an emphasis on assisting students to write their own reviews and critical essays. We will focus on distinctions between film criticism and theory, the relationship of cinephilia to the history of criticism, the importance of the essayistic tradition, the role of criticism in the age of the Internet, and the symbiosis between contemporary criticism and the festival circuit. Various modes of critical practice— auteurist, genre, formalist, political, feminist etc.—will be assessed. The challenges of reviewing mainstream films, as well as art cinema and avant-garde work, will be explored. Course readings will include seminal essays by, among others, Bazin , Agee, Kael, Sarris, Farber,  Haskell, Macdonald, Daney, Durgnat, Rosenbaum, Hoberman, Mekas, and Adrian Martin. Students will be expected to write at least 1,000 words a week evaluating films screening in the New York City area.

Script Analysis

CINE-GT 1997

Ken Dancyger
Mondays, 6:20-9:00pm
Room 109
4 points
Class #5809

This class is designed to help the students analyze a film script. Premise, character population, plot and genre, dialogue, foreground, background, and story will all be examined. Using feature films, we will highlight these script elements rather than the integrated experience of the script, performance, directing, and editing elements of the film. Assignments will include three script analyses.

Cinema Studies graduate students ONLY, not open to first year MA students.

Moving Image Archiving & Preservation Courses

Email tisch.preservation@nyu.edu for permission to register.

Introduction to MIAP

CINE-GT 1800

Howard Besser
Tuesdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 674
4 points
Class #5648

This graduate-level course introduces and contextualizes aspects of the archiving and preservation of film, video, and new media. We will consider the moving image and sound recording media as material objects, as technologies with histories. We will contextualize them within culture, politics, industries, and economics. Topics include: conservation and preservation principles, organization and access, restoration, collecting, curatorship, and programming, legal issues and copyright, and emerging issues in digital media. Designed for students entering the profession of moving image archiving, the course examines the history of archiving and preservation and the development of the field’s theories, practices, and professional identities. We will consider the tasks and areas of specialization practiced by moving image professionals and how these are changing and multiplying in the digital era.  

Copyright, Legal Issues & Policy

CINE-GT 1804

Greg Cram
Thursdays, 6:30-9:30pm
Room 670
4 points
Class #5650

With the advent of new technologies, film producers, distributors and managers of film and video collections are faced with myriad legal and ethical issues concerning the use of their works or the works found in various collections. The answers to legal questions are not always apparent and can be complex, particularly where different types of media are encompassed in one production. When the law remains unclear, a risk assessment, often fraught with ethical considerations, is required to determine whether a production can be reproduced, distributed or exhibited without infringing the rights of others. What are the various legal rights that may encumber moving image material? What are the complex layers of rights and who holds them? Does one have to clear before attempting to preserve or restore a work? How do these rights affect downstream exhibition and distribution of a preserved work? And finally, what steps can be taken in managing moving image collections so that decisions affecting copyrights can be taken consistently? This course will help students make intelligent decisions and develop appropriate policies for their institution.

Independent Study & Internship

Independent Study

CINE-GT 2900
1-4 points (variable)
Class #5653

CINE-GT 2902
1-4 points (variable)
Class #5654

A student wishing to conduct independent research for credit must obtain approval from a faculty member who will supervise an independent study for up to 4 credits. This semester-long study is a project of special interest to the student who, with the supervising faculty member, agrees on a course of study and requirements.  The proposed topic for an Independent Study project should not duplicate topics taught in departmental courses.  This is an opportunity to develop or work on a thesis project. To register, you must present a signed “Independent Study Form” at the department office when you register.  This form must be completely filled out, detailing your independent study project.  It must have your faculty sponsor’s signature (whomever you have chosen to work with - this is not necessarily your advisor) indicating their approval. 


CINE-GT 2950
1-4 points (variable)
Class #5907

CINE-GT 2952
1-4 points (variable)
Class #5908

A student wishing to pursue an internship must obtain the internship and submit the Learning Contract before receiving a permission code.  Internship grades are pass/fail. 

Directed Research/Reading

CINE-GT 3907

1-4 points (variable)
Class #5659

A student wishing to conduct a directed reading for credit must obtain approval from a faculty member who will supervise an independent study for up to 4 credits. This semester-long study is a project of special interest to the student who, with the supervising faculty member, agrees on a course of study and requirements.  To register, you must present a signed “Independent Study Form” at the department office when you register.  This form must be completely filled out, detailing your independent study project.  It must have your faculty sponsor’s signature indicating their approval.