Spring 2018 Undergraduate Courses

Tier One

Seminars and small lecture classes that serve as a core curriculum for Cinema Studies MAJORS only.

Film History: Silent Cinema


Claudia Calhoun
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 648
4 points
Class #15072

Examines cinema form and culture from the late 19th-century through the late 1920s, commonly known as "the silent era." Explores the historical contexts that governed the emergence of film as art and mass culture. Investigates the different approaches to filmmaking that developed, internationally, in the silent period. Screenings include early cinema, works of Hollywood drama and comedy, Russian film and Soviet montage cinema, Weimar cinema, and silent black cinema.

CINEMA STUDIES MAJORS and pre-approved minors ONLY.

Room 646
Section 002 / 11:00am-12:15pm, class #15073
Section 003 / 12:30-1:45pm, class #15074
Section 004 / 2:00-3:15am, class #15075

Television: History & Culture


Melissa Phruksachart
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 648
4 points
Class #15076

Who, what, when, where, why, and how is television? This core course moves chronologically through different moments in 20th and 21st century history to negotiate these questions, from the golden age of radio to the rise of the networks, cable TV, and online streaming. Modes of inquiry include the political economy of media institutions; theories of reception and fandom; performance and stardom; and studies of genre. We’ll focus primarily on American television, but will make time to explore programming from outside the U.S., as well as American television in languages other than English.


Room 646
Section 002 / 11:00am-12:15pm, class #15077
Section 003 / 12:30-1:45pm, class #15078
Section 004 / 2:00-3:15am, class #15079

Advanced Seminar: Robert Altman Renegade


William Simon
Mondays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 652
4 points
Class # 15162

This seminar will provide an in-depth study of the films of Robert Altman. Primary emphasis will be placed on his development of a narrative mode which in its emphasis on a multi-character structure constitutes an alternative to classical Hollywood filmmaking. As well, his innovations in the uses of sound, editing, camera movement and performance will be considered. The topic of genre transformation defined in relation to historical, political and cultural characteristics of especially 1970’s America will provide another topic of interest. The seminar will concentrate on Altman's status as a renegade filmmaker during the 1970’s, but also provide a sense of the overall contours of his career. Screenings, readings, class presentations and papers will be required. 

CINEMA STUDIES MAJORS ONLY. Permission code required.

Advanced Research/Writing Seminar


Toby Lee
Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm
Room 635
4 points
Class # 15088

This course will provide the CAS Honors Student with the opportunity to write a departmental Honors Thesis (approximately 40 pages in length). At the same time, this course is open to UG Majors who have an interest in producing a longer paper that is of suitable quality for publication or conference submission.  This will be a very participatory workshop – drawing on individual paper topics to drive the academic content. Students interested in continuing onto the graduate level are also recommended to enroll.

Please be prepared with a paper in hand that you wish to develop and polish during this seminar.  Must have 3.65 GPA to enroll.  All CAS students wishing to be considered Honors MUST take this.  Any TSOA major with a GPA of 3.65 is encouraged to take this course as a Thesis option.

Advanced Seminar: The Western


Claudia Calhoun
Fridays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 652
4 points
Class # 15296

An exploration one of the key genres in cinema: the Western. Narratives of "the frontier" have been central to American identity since the early 20th century, and this course considers the films and television series that have created myth out of history. The course will trace the Western from silent cinema through the present-day, closely analyzing the work of directors like John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Kelly Reichardt, as well as hybrid forms like the musical Western, the post-apocalyptic Western, and the sci-fi Western. The course will also consider film and television that challenge traditional histories of the West, offering alternative ways of understanding the American West and the Western.

CINEMA STUDIES MAJORS ONLY. Permission code required.

Advanced Seminar: Cuteness


Anna McCarthy
Mondays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 635
4 points
Class # 22661

Cuteness is an aesthetic for our times. In this class we will investigate cuteness as a concept under pressure, a deforming way of being in and representing the world. At its edges, cuteness morphs into cruelty or curdles into schmalz. At its centre, cuteness beckons to the infant in all of us. We'll be studying the cute and the cutesy across a range of cultural sites and screen spaces, from rural Ireland to Japan. Our readings span cultural critique, theories of the avant-garde, zoology, and the novel.

CINEMA STUDIES MAJORS ONLY. Permission code required.

Tier Two

Small lecture classes open to all students. Seats are limited. Non-Cinema Studies majors should register for section 2 of each class. It is suggested that non-Cinema Studies majors enroll in Expressive Cultures: Film or Language of Film prior to enrolling in these courses.

Film Directors: Spike Lee


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

Section 001 (Cinema Studies majors) // class # 23100
Section 002 (Outside students) // class # 23101

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 class 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 class 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.

Please note: Limited enrollment.

Mind Games in Film


Marina Hassapopoulou
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
4 points
Class # 23206

This course will explore the film-philosophy of mind-bending cinema. Mind-game films are usually commended for the unusual ways in which they tell stories, experiment with narrative and form, and intellectually engage cinephiles. These films address philosophical issues on the fringes of human perception, and their often-disorienting formal structures could thus be tied to an uncertainty on how to organize and adequately convey such complex inquiry. This course will study mind-bending cinema’s universal, cognitive, and culturally-specific aspects, and question whether the increased popularity of disordered narratives can be regarded as symptomatic of the changing role of the moving image within contexts of “global” connectivity and interactive media. Students will also have the opportunity to study the work of influential international auteurs through the mind-game lens, such as Luis Buñuel, Akira Kurosawa, Dario Argento, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Istvan Szabó, David Lynch, Park Chan-wook, Michel Gondry, Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, and/or others.

Please note: limited enrollment. Cinema Studies majors only, unless approved by faculty member mh193@nyu.edu.

Film Theory highly recommended as a prerequisite for this course.

American Films of the 1960s & 70s


William Simon
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
4 points

Section 001 (Cinema Studies majors) // Class # 15331
Section 002 (Outside students) // Class # 15433

This course will examine a tendency in American narrative film during the 1960’s and the first half of the 1970’s.  This tendency can be generally defined as putting into dialogue two characteristics: 1) innovation in narrative structure and the use of genre; and 2) a critical perspective towards aspects of American culture and politics. We shall study specific narrative and genre qualities which differentiate this period of American film-making from classical norms.  And we shall relate motifs of the films in relation to specific historical manifestations in politics, society and culture.  Film-makers include Kubrick, Penn, Peckinpah, Wexler, Lester, Coppola, Malick, Pakula, Scorsese, and Altman.  Screenings, readings, and papers required.

Please note: limited enrollment.

Asian Film History/Historiography


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

Section 001 (Cinema Studies majors) // Class # 15570
Section 002 (Outside students) // Class # 15571

Critically evaluating select influential scholarship in Asian film studies from the last two decades, this course aims to reconsider and move beyond existing paradigms such as national cinema, world cinema, and transnational cinema, in addition to categories or assumptions derived from traditional area studies with origins in the cold war cultural politics.  While critically reviewing literature on specific cases of national and regional cinemas (e.g.; China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia) or genres (e.g.; kung fu, ghost film), we will explore alternative perspectives on trans-Asian and trans-hemispheric film culture histories (for example, film policy, censorship, co-production, traveling genres, festivals), as well as contemporary formations under the impact of globalization and digital media. (The course satisfies one of the two core requirements for the Asian Film and Media minor.)

Digital Asias: Media Cultures Online and Off


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

Section 001 (Cinema Studies majors) // Class # 23098
Section 002 (Outside students) // Class # 23099

This undergraduate course explores transnational Asian media cultures in the “digital age.” We will examine how digital technologies – from the digital camera to social media to the Internet – have changed habits of media consumption, production, and representation; and how they have enabled new aesthetic, social, and political movements. We will illuminate the connection between these changes and new movements with historical struggles over power, money, land, and the future. Case studies may include orientalist representations in sci-fi films; augmented reality games from Japan; undersea networks in the Pacific; Pandaman memes in China; and media piracy in India.

Tier Three

Large lecture classes with recitations open to all students.  No permission code necessary.

Hollywood Cinema: 1960 to Present


Dana Polan
Tuesdays, 6-10pm
Cantor 102
4 points
Class #15080

This course offers a broad survey of American cinema from 1960 up to the present.  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.

Cross-listed with FMTV-UT 324.

Thursdays, Room 646
Section 002 / 11:00am-12:15pm / Class # 15081
Section 003 / 12:30-1:45pm / Class # 15082
Section 004 / 2:00-3:15am / Class # 15083

International Cinema: 1960 to Present


Rochelle Miller
Mondays, 6:20-9:50pm
Cantor 102
4 points
Class # 15084

This course will oscillate between the national and the transnational to provide an overview of movements, networks, trends, and interactions within global cinema from 1960 onwards. Throughout this film course we will address recurring thematic concerns such as postwar trauma and historical revisionism, the relationship between politics and aesthetics, increasing national consciousness and post-colonialism, the ambivalence towards or embrace of global capitalism, intergenerational conflict, and gender oppression alongside degrees of liberation. We will also consider the growing prestige of art cinema and film festival circuits.

By the end of this course you will have the knowledge, vocabulary, and range required to analyze and write about international films within their broader contexts, while remaining ever mindful of the complexities and problematic nature of what it means to discuss “global cinema.”

Screenings and clips will include works by: Agnès Varda, Ousmane Sembène, Werner Herzog, Larisa Shepitko, Nagisa Oshima, Zhang Yimou, Abbas Kiarostami, Susanne Biers, and Amma Asante.

Cross-listed with FMTV-UT 322.

Wednesdays, Room 646
Section 002 / 11:00am-12:15pm / Class # 15085
Section 003 / 12:30-1:45pm / Class # 15086
Section 004 / 2:00-3:15pm / Class # 15087

Tier Four

Small lecture classes on theory and practice for Cinema Studies MAJORS only.  SEATS ARE LIMITED.

Writing Genres: Scriptwriting


Ken Dancyger
Mondays, 5:20-8:00pm
Room 670
4 points
Class #15432

Genre is all about understanding that there are different pathways each genre presents to the writer. Genres each have differing character and dramatic arcs. In this class students will learn about different genres and using that knowledge will write two different genre treatments of their story idea. This is an intermediate level screenwriting class.

Cinema Studies Undergraduates ONLY.   

Independent Study and Internship

CINEMA STUDIES MAJORS ONLY.  Permission code required. Students may register for a maximum of 8 points of Independent Study/Internship during their academic career.

Independent Study

1-4 points variable
Class # 15089

1-4 points variable
Class # 15090

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.


1-4 points (variable)
Class # 15405

1-4 points (variable)
Class # 15406

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

Cross-listed, Graduate & Outside Courses

War and Cinema


Ruth Ben-Ghiat
Wednesdays, 2:00-4:45pm
Room TBA
4 points
Class # 23096

This course investigates the relationship of cinema and war around the world from the early 20th century to the present. From the Italo-Turkish War for control of Libya (1911-1912) onwards, film has been integral to shaping public consciousness of military events as they unfold and the public memory of wars after the guns have fallen silent. The course looks at both feature films and non-fiction: we will watch government propaganda, commercial entertainment films and independent documentaries. Topics to be addressed include representations of violence and the enemy; the aestheticization of violence and war as spectacle; how changes in military technology have generated new modes of witnessing; the war film as history film. Case studies include the two World Wars, civil wars, colonial conquest and anti-colonial struggle, Vietnam, the Israel-Palestinian conflict; and the Arab Spring. 

Very limited seats.  This section open to Cinema Studies majors only.  All others register through HIST-UA 276.

Cinema & Social Change


Ed Guerrero
Wednesdays, 6:20-9:00pm
Room 674
4 points
Class # 20244

In this course we will explore how commercial cinema forecasts, initiates, records, depicts, historicizes and overall, mediates social change. But conversely and obviously cinema is changed by tidal shifts and sudden upheavals in society. So our readings, screenings and critical writing will examine how Hollywood, as well as a number of national and emergent cinemas, and independent cinema movements, coopt, repress, diagnose, or call for social change, but also how change creates new cinematic styles, genres, narratives and formulas. We will also look at various modes of change in society including nationalist, independence and anti-colonial struggles, resistance movements, emergent identities, eco-change and gender and sexual shifts. Moreover, we will interrogate a number of key theories and concepts related to social change and the cinema, such as “third cinema” “cinema novo” “blaxploitation” “the social problem picture” “the historical epic” “crossover” and “imperfect cinema.”

VERY LIMITED SEATS / For Cinema Studies Majors ONLY.  All other students must enroll under SCA-UA 180.04 (sponsor course).

Documentary Traditions

CINE-GT 1401

Marco Williams
Mondays, 6:20-9:00pm
Room 108
4 points
Class # 6856

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.

Curating Moving Images

CINE-GT 1806

Dan Streible
Tuesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
4 points
Class # 6924

The word “curating” differs in meaning in different contexts. This course embraces a broad conception of curating as the treatment of materials from their acquisition, archiving, preservation, restoration, and reformatting, through their screening, programming, use, re-use, exploitation, translation, and interpretation. This course focuses on the practices of film and video exhibition in museums, archives, cinematheques, festivals, and other venues. It examines the goals of public programming, its constituencies, and the curatorial and archival challenges of presenting film, video, and digital media. We study how archives and sister institutions present their work through exhibitions, events, publications, and media productions. We also examine how these presentations provoke uses of moving image collections. Specific curatorial practices of festivals, symposia, seminars, and projects will be examined in detail.   Active participation in class discussion is essential to the success of this seminar, and therefore mandatory. 

Please email tisch.preservation@nyu.edu to request enrollment permission number.

Culture of Archives, Museums & Libraries

CINE-GT 3049

Howard Besser
Tuesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 652
4 points
Class # 6965

This course studies the different kinds of institutions that collect and manage cultural heritage material: museums of art, history and science; libraries, archives, and historical societies; corporate institutions. It compares and contrasts these types of institutions to reveal how they differ from one another. It considers, for example, how different types of institutions may handle similar material in significantly different ways (from what they acquire, to how they describe it, to how they display or preserve it). The course also examines the principles followed by the different professions that work in these institutions (librarians, archivists, curators, conservators). The course examines theories of collecting, and the history and culture of heritage institutions and the professions that work there. It studies their various missions and professional ethics, and the organizational structures of institutions that house cultural heritage (including professional positions and the roles of individual departments). Experts who are professionally concerned with cultural collections will visit the seminar to discuss their organizations and duties, while the class will also visit a variety of local cultural institutions.

Please email tisch.preservation@nyu.edu to request enrollment permission number.