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Fall 2017 Graduate Courses

Core Courses

Open to Cinema Studies students only.

Film Form/Film Sense

CINE-GT 10101

William Simon
Mondays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 648
4 points
Class # 5633

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.  THIS COURSE IS OPEN ONLY TO CINEMA STUDIES M.A. STUDENTS.

Film History/Historiography

CINE-GT 1015

Dan Streible
Thursdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 648
4 points
Class # 18584

This MA-level graduate course examines the ways in which the history of film has been conceptualized, written, documented, researched and revised. Readings include theoretical considerations of historiography, methodological approaches, guides to conducting research, and essays from the field of cinema and media history and cognate disciplines. We examine social, cultural, aesthetic, economic, ideological, and technological histories of cinema. How do we frame questions about film and the historical past that are substantial and answerable? What evidence should we examine to answer these questions? How should we then write a historical analysis that answers them?  We will not survey the entire history of cinema. However, in roughly chronological sequence, we will consider particular aspects of that history: silent-era film, classical Hollywood cinema, social history and exhibition, nonfiction and nontheatrical traditions, and the digital media that force us to reconsider what cinema is. This eclectic approach is indicative of the recent forms that film history has taken -- de-centering Hollywood, digging through neglected archives, moving past film-specificity to historicize all moving images and sounds.  THIS COURSE IS OPEN ONLY TO CINEMA STUDIES M.A. STUDENTS.

Ph.D. Research Methodologies

CINE-GT 2601

Anna McCarthy
Fridays, 12:00-3:00pm
Room 635
4 points
Class # 5812

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. THIS COURSE IS OPEN ONLY TO FIRST YEAR CINEMA STUDIES PH.D. STUDENTS.

Lectures

Open to all graduate students.

Cinema, Migration & Diaspora

CINE-GT 1025

Feng-Mei Heberer
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
4 points

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21291
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21292

This course explores film and other visual media through the lens of migrancy and diaspora, asking what it would mean if we placed histories of movement and border-crossings at the center of our analysis? To do so, we will combine studies of representation, or how experiences of migration and (un)belonging are told on screen, with inquiries into media infrastructures and practices, i.e. how works are made, circulated, and received beyond national and regional boundaries. Readings from cultural studies, media industry studies, and ethnic studies will define our theoretical framework. Case studies include auteur and popular film, personal documentaries, and television shows as well as media piracy and fan-based online practices.

"Mad Men": Gender, Race & Culture

CINE-GT 1127

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

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21265
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21266

This course analyzes and contextualizes the complex, ambitious television series Mad Men (2007-2015), looking at Mad Men as both a televisual text and a window onto the past. We will talk about the series and its place within television's "new golden age," analyzing its narrative form and visual style. In addition to looking closely at the series itself, we will read and view historical materials from the era that Mad Men fictionalized, interrogating its representation of the 1960s. The course pays particular attention to how the series engages with historical and contemporary issues around gender and race, to better understand what Mad Men teaches us about the 1960s -- and how, in looking back, it helps us to better understand the present-day. In-class time will include screenings, lecture, and discussion. Out-of-class assignments include readings, additional screenings, and frequent writing.

History of Chinese Cinemas in a Global Context

CINE-GT 1135

Zhen Zhang
Tuesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
4 points

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21200
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21201

This course traces the origins of Chinese cinema and its transformation and diversification into a multi-faceted, polycentric trans-regional phenomenon in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan up to the 1960s. We study a number of film cultures in Shanghai/China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, including the complex web of their historical kinship ties, and place them within the regional and global contexts of modernity, revolution, nation-building, and attendant socio-cultural transformations. To investigate these unique yet interrelated film cultures together raises the question of national cinema as a unitary object of study, while suggesting new avenues for analyzing the complex genealogy of a cluster of urban, regional, commercial or state-sponsored film industries within a larger comparative and transnational framework. Topics related to screenings and discussions include urban modernity, exhibition & spectatorship, transition to sound, stardom & propaganda, gender & ethnic identities, and genre formation and hybridization.

Blaxploitation

CINE-GT 1317

Ed Guerrero
Thursdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 674
4 points

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21065
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21067

This course explores the rise and fall of Hollywood's "Blaxploitation" period and genre. We will look at the genre's continuing influence on American commercial cinema and popular culture. We will locate the fifty-odd films of the period in the cultural, political, ‘black identity and liberation' contexts at the end of the Civil Rights Movement, and at the rise of the Black Power and Black Aesthetics movements of the mid-‘70s. Also, we will explore what Blaxploitation was ‘saying' to (and about) its audience; how Blaxploitation draws upon black literary convention; the black crime novel; and black music and film noir. We will also examine Blaxploitation's niche in, and contribution to, Hollywood's political economy, and how Blaxploitation's aesthetic and cultural conventions and formula have crossed over to address a broad popular audience in a number of popular contemporary films and popular cultural expressions.

Documentary Traditions

CINE-GT 1400

Marco Williams
Mondays, 6:20-9:00pm
Room 108
4 points
Class # 5635

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 # 5636

This course explores the history and evolution of the genre of ethnographic film (and related experimental projects)  and the broad issues of cross-cultural representation that have emerged in the works and debates around it , from the early 20th century to the contemporary moment within the wider project of the representation of cultural lives.    We will consider the key works that have defined the genre, and the conceptual and formal innovations associated with them, addressing questions concerning documentary, realism, 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.

Hollywood to 1960

CINE-GT 2123

Dana Polan
Tuesdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Cantor 102
4 points

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 5927
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 5934

This course offers a broad survey of American cinema from its beginnings (and even its pre-history) up to 1960.  While the emphasis will be on the dominant, narrative fiction film, there will be attention to other modes of American cinema such as experimental film, animation, shorts, and non-fiction film.  The course will look closely at films themselves -- how do their styles and narrative structures change over time? -- but also at contexts:  How do films reflect their times?  How does the film industry develop? What are the key institutions that had impact on American film over its history?  We will also attend to the role of key figures in film's history:  from creative personnel (for example, the director or the screenwriter) to industrialists and administrators, to censors to critics and to audiences themselves.  The goal will be to provide an overall understanding of one of the most consequential of modern popular art forms and of its particular contributions to the art and culture of our modernity.

Non-Fiction Film History

CINE-GT 2307

Dan Streible
Mondays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
4 points

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 20799
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 20800

This course introduces advanced undergraduates and graduate students to the study of nonfiction film. It explores the history and historiography of nonfiction cinema, including – but not limited to –  documentary film. We will examine the established milestones of the international tradition of documentary – from the romances of Robert Flaherty to propaganda projects of the 1930s and 1940s, through cinema verité of the 1960s and the activist, institutional, and personal styles of recent decades. However, the course also places documentary in a context that includes forms of nonfiction typically segregated from the traditional conception of documentary. Some are familiar forms, such as travelogues and newsreels. Others have been neglected by scholars until recently: sponsored, industrial, educational, and science films; home movies and other amateur films; outtakes and other archival footage. Viewed both as discrete works of cinema and as artifacts of social and cultural significance, such orphaned films pose problems of history, culture, and aesthetics that challenge traditional conceptions of making, viewing, and studying films. We will read primary sources, as well as scholarly approaches to the history of nonfiction film and to the possible uses and meanings of this vast archive.  Students will participate actively in discussions, make in-class presentations, and complete historical research projects on topics developed in consultation with the instructor.

Interactive Cinema & New Media

CINE-GT 2600

Marina Hassapopoulou
Tuesdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 674
4 points

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 5942
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 5943

Interactive cinema broadly refers to a cluster of interrelated filmic practices that incorporate the audience into the construction of the work (e.g. through voting polls, motion sensors, and live performance) in order to create a participatory multimedia experience. This course will analyze the development and reception contexts of interactive films, ranging from early cinema and avant-garde experiments in Expanded Cinema to recent digital projects in software-generated cinema and virtual reality. A diverse spectrum of interactive genres will be discussed, including choose-your-own-adventure films, hypertexts, art installations, video games, virtual and augmented reality, mobile cinema, and web-based narratives. Through interactive screenings, media analysis, selected readings, discussions, and event visits, the course will establish connections between interactive cinema and canonical approaches to Film and Media Studies, while also indicating its relevance to current topics in Digital Studies. The course also aims to provide students with an alternative historiography that takes into account experimental practices that have not been fully incorporated into the field of Film and Media Studies, and to productively expand and interrogate the notion of cinema. Themes and key concepts include: cinema in the gallery/museum, intermediality, prosumption, narrative and authorship in the digital age, object oriented ontology, digital democracy, remix and appropriation, participatory culture, media convergence, hybridity, remediation, and the ethics of interactivity.

Advanced Seminars

Open to all graduate students.

The Human Condition in Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema

CINE-GT 2162

Marina Hassapopoulou
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 635
4 points

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21288
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21289

Science fiction has been fueling the philosophical imagination for centuries, and many of its thought experiments (such as space travel, body-swapping, and superintelligence) have prefigured significant scientific and technological breakthroughs. Advancements in bioengineering, prosthetics, mass communication, ubiquitous computing, virtual reality, data-surveillance, and artificial intelligence have further intensified the question of what it means to be human in the digital age. This course will explore the human condition through contemporary sci-fi cinema, particularly films that reflect on the impact of technology on human identity. We will look at sci-fi films not only as speculative thought experiments, but also as a genre that tackles complex ethical and philosophical debates about contemporary society. A diverse selection of sci-fi films will be analyzed through several critical and philosophical lenses including: trans/posthumanism, bioethics, animal studies, new media theory, avatars, memory and identity studies, surveillance, phenomenology, and cyborg theory.

Renoir

CINE-GT 2205

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

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21194
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 21195

This seminar will investigate the narrative conception and dynamics of Jean Renoir’s films with two major points of emphasis: 1. Their continuity with the visual culture of France in the 19th century (suggested by the fact that his father was a great painter in the Impressionist tradition); and 2. The development of Renoir’s narrational style (especially the use of long takes) in relation to social, cultural, and political discourses of the period in which he was working. This seminar will concentrate on the Popular Front films of the 1930s, but will also consider shifts in the styles and contexts of the films during his American & Post-World War 2 periods. Class presentations, papers, readings required.

Body: Sex, Science, Sign

CINE-GT 2509

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

Section 001 (current Cinema Studies students) // Class # 20802
Section 002 (non-Cinema Studies students) // Class # 20803

This seminar analyzes representations of the body in a variety of discourses. It examines the operation of explicit imagery within a complex web of attitudes and cultural practices, such as ideologies of gender and the privatization of sex, that covertly and overtly influence viewer-text/body interactions. Critical scholarship on the history and science of sex(ual construction) is utilized to investigate topics such as sexological imperatives, proliferation of deviance, the medicalized interior, phantom pain, body identity disorder, body modification, erotic imagination, and the production of desire and blame in advertising and reality television. We will read such authors as Michel Foucault, Jennifer Terry, Siobhan Somerville, Annemarie Mol, Geertje Mak, Vivian Sobchack, Elaine Scarry, Caroline Bynum, Robert Stoller, Judith Butler, and Linda Williams. Drawing on disability studies and transgender studies, one focus for this semester will be the body contour as a site of difference. We will consider how the film and video texts (many experimental, such as Destricted, Near the Big Chakra, Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes,The Body Beautiful, Materialaktionsfilme, Chop Off, Stigmata, Sick: Bob Flanagan, [P]lain Truth) contribute to and/or resist dominant regulatory schemes.

Theory/Practice Courses

Open to Cinema Studies students only.

Film Criticism

CINE-GT 1141

Richard Porton
Thursdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 652
4 points
Class # 5791

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. THIS COURSE IS OPEN ONLY TO CINEMA STUDIES M.A. STUDENTS.

Script Analysis

CINE-GT 1997

Ken Dancyger
Mondays, 6:20-9:00pm
Room 109
4 points
Class # 5789

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.)

Moving Image Archiving & Preservation Courses

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

Introduction to Moving Image Archiving & Preservation (MIAP)

CINE-GT 1800

Howard Besser
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
4 points
Class # 5637

This course introduces all aspects of the field, contextualizes them, and shows how they fit together. It will discuss the media themselves (including the technology, history, and contextualization within culture, politics, and economics) Topics include: conservation and preservation principles, organization and access, daily practice with physical artifacts, restoration, curatorship and programming, legal issues and copyright, and new media issues. Students will learn the importance of other types of materials (manuscripts, correspondence, stills, posters, scripts, etc.). Theories of collecting and organizing (as well as their social meanings) will be introduced.

Copyright, Legal Issues & Policy

CINE-GT 1804

Gregory Cram
Thursdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 646
4 points
Class # 5639

With the advent of new technologies, film producers and distributors and managers of film and video collections are faced with a myriad of 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

Open to Cinema Studies students only.

Independent Study

CINE-GT 2900
1-4 points (variable)
Class #5642

CINE-GT 2902
1-4 points (variable)
Class #5643

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.

Internship

CINE-GT 2950
1-4 points (variable)
Class #5859

CINE-GT 2952
1-4 points (variable)
Class #5860

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 #5648

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.