Fall 2020 Graduate Courses

Film Noir
CINE-GT 1304
Video Production 1 Seminar
CINE-GT 1995
Asian Media &
Popular Culture

CINE-GT 2126
Video Production 1 Lab
CINE-GT 1995
PhD Research Methodologies
CINE-GT 2601
Introduction to Moving Image Archiving & Preservation
CINE-GT 1800
Advanced Seminar:
Queer Studies:
Transgender Studies

CINE-GT 1708
Hollywood & LA: California Film Culture between the Fires
CINE-GT 2107
History of Chinese
Cinemas in a
Global Context

CINE-GT 1135
Film Form/Film Sense: Industries & Aesthetics
CINE-GT 1010
Free Culture & Open Access
CINE-GT 1611
Film History / Historiography
CINE-GT 1015
Advanced Seminar: Interactive History: Digital Media as Cultural Memory Prostheses
CINE-GT 3500
Advanced Seminar: Ang Lee
CINE-GT 1202
Hollywood Cinema:
Origins to 1960

CINE-GT 2123
  Script Analysis
CINE-GT 1997
  Culture & Media I
CINE-GT 1402
  Copyright, Legal Issues & Policy
CINE-GT 1804
  Documentary Traditions
CINE-GT 1400
  Film Criticism
CINE-GT 1141

Core Courses

These classes serve as a core curriculum for Cinema Studies MA and PhD students only.


Film History/Historiography

Dan Streible
Wednesdays / 6:00–10:00pm / Room 648
4 points
CINE-GT 1015 / Class # 22118

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 only open to Cinema Studies MA students.

PhD Research Methodologies

Laura Harris
Fridays / 12:00-3:00pm / Room 635
4 points
CINE-GT 2601 / Class # 7854

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; delivering a short scholarly talk; and/or composing a book review, a report or blog entry on a cinema studies or other event you attend or a paper based on the talk or a research portfolio. 

This course is open only to first year Cinema Studies PhD students.

Advanced Seminars

Non-Cinema Studies graduate students should register for section 002 unless otherwise indicated.

Ang Lee

Zhen Zhang
Thursdays / 12:30-4:30pm / Room 652
4 points
CINE-GT 1202 / Class # TBA

Ang Lee is one of the greatest filmmakers of our times. From his feature debut The Wedding Banquet (1983), his literary adaptations such as Sense and Sensibility (1995) and martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001), to his explorations in new film technology and narration manifested in Life of Pi (2012) and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016), Ang Lee has crossed many boundaries—national, cultural, generic, etc.—and endeavored to reinvent film language and address a transnational spectatorship, while constantly returning to his roots in Taiwan and Chinese cultural traditions. This seminar studies Ang Lee’s cinematic output and its cultural significance from a combination of historical and theoretical perspectives: Taiwan New Cinema, post-Cold War Sinophone cinema, literary adaptation, global Hollywood, transnational auteur studies, Asian-American cinema, and so on. Students will engage in active participation and interaction through team presentations, in-class and online discussions, and the development of an original research project. 

Instructor permission required. Permission code required to register. All students should register for Section 001.Prerequisite: fluency or working knowledge of at least one Asian language and some background in Asian film, media and cultural studies. Permission from the instructor.

Permission code required to register. All students should register for Section 001.

Queer Studies: Transgender Studies

Chris Straayer
Tuesdays / 12:30-4:30pm / Room 652
4 points
CINE-GT 1780 / Section 001 class # 7994 / Section 002 class # 7995

This course maps the emerging interdisciplinary field of Trans Studies, which concerns the history and culture of transgender, transsexual, non-binary, and non gender conforming 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 second wave (and ongoing) feminist movement, 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” has typed male homosexuals as well as transsexuals. Genital surgeries forced on intersexuals have been sought by transsexuals. Internal and lateral oppression often truncate coalitions against oppression. Within this complex history of theory and practice, trans* activists, lawyers, health workers, celebrities, scholars, artists, and filmmakers have produced an immense and vibrant culture.

Interactive History

Marina Hassapopoulou
Thursdays / 12:30-4:30pm / Room 635
4 points
CINE-GT 3500 / Class # 22136

This course will critically explore interactive digital works that focus on individual and collective rewritings and negotiations of shared histories, including the emergent practices of i-docs (interactive documentaries) and docu-games (documentary games). The class will engage with works that employ interactivity in order to interrogate the varying relationships between the personal, the historical, and the fictional. We will analyze interactive media that make audiences reflective of the very tools that construct, selectively archive, and universalize shared histories and collective trauma. Such projects and case studies include Digital Humanities projects, interactive museum curation, data-driven and Artificial Intelligence documentaries, docugames, and virtual/augmented reality projects. The class will also explore how a film’s performative and affective aspects – including audience interaction and virtual immersion – enhance its potential to present a compelling argument for historical mythmaking as an integral part of history. Furthermore, students will analyze the ways in which contemporary subjectivity is shaped by mnemotechnical prostheses (external, memory-assisting devices) amplified by interactive media by exploring digital autobiographical films such as Jonathan Caouette’s iMovie Tarnation (2003), autobiographical and historical games, and standardized interfaces/platforms that narrativize memory and curate the public authoring of the self. As a final project, students will engage in theory-practice by applying and extending the critical frameworks acquired during the course to their own historiographical projects. Students will also be given the opportunity to collaborate with a non-profit organization and with local artists to develop projects focused around pertinent social issues. No prior production experience is required for this course; in fact, the final project will demonstrate students’ ability to materialize complex intellectual ideas through easy-to-use and accessible digital (or hybrid) means in order to reflect on critical making as a viable method of scholarship at a time where academic paradigms are gradually shifting towards more multimedia projects.

Space is limited for this seminar. Interested students must email the professor (mh193@nyu.edu) as soon as possible to apply for enrollment. Current students should email the professor preferably before April 20th, and incoming students should contact the professor before their course registration begins. In your email, briefly explain why you are interested in taking this course and how it relates to your research interests.

Permission code required to register. All students should register for Section 001.


Non-Cinema Studies graduate students should register for section 002.

History of Chinese Cinemas in a Global Context I

Zhen Zhang
Tuesdays / 12:30-4:30pm / Room 670
4 points
CINE-GT 1135 / Section 001 class # 22125 / Section 002 class # 22126

Part one of a year-long historical survey, 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 and spectatorship, transition to sound, stardom and propaganda, gender and ethnic identities, and genre formation and hybridization.

Film Noir

Dana Polan
Mondays / 12:30-4:30pm / Room 670
4 points
CINE-GT 1304 / Section 001 class # 22455 / Section 002 class # 22456

Shadowy streets, femmes fatales, and cynical private eyes . . . we can immediately summon the tropes of film noir for it is one of cinema's most popular legacies. The status of film noir, a 1940-50s American film phenomenon named by French critics, remains hotly debated. Was it a genre, a thematic movement, or a stylistic innovation? Was it the product of post war malaise? Was it knowingly existentialist? Was it a voice from society’s underside? Did it admit disrupted gender roles? Was it a commentary on the American dream – or on dreams turned into nightmare? We address such topics as international and interdisciplinary influences, philosophical and psychological references, artistic and literary precursors, historical and cultural resonances, war-time and post-war culture, industrial and technical implications, semantic and syntactic elements, adaptation, production economics, genre hybridity, narrative structure, urban locations, racialized space, masculinity in crisis, as well as the characteristic iconography (femme fatale, urban criminal milieu) and noir’s visual style. We also examine film noir’s relation to modernist literature, hard-boiled fiction, tabloid and photojournalism, German expressionism, French poetic realism, and surrealism.  Whether one understands film noir as a genre, cycle, or style, one cannot deny that it has become an important cultural mythology. Using a broad array of historical and critical frameworks, this course explores why film noir has been so significant, beginning with its roots in 1930s European cinema, moving through its "classic" period in 1940s and 5Os Hollywood films, and concluding with the current success of neo-noir.

Free Culture & Open Access

Howard Besser
Tuesdays / 12:30 - 4:30pm / Room 670
CINE-GT 1611 / 4 points
Section 001 Class # 23191
Section 002 Class # 23192

At the root of "Free Culture" and "Open Access" lies the idea that aesthetic and informational works, once shared with the public, become public resources that should be further shared, built upon, and incorporated into new creative works. This interdisciplinary class examines both ideas from a variety of perspectives: aesthetics, politics, law, and social movements. It pays particular attention to the relationship between these ideas and the rise of new forms of media that allow age-old concepts like "The Commons" to flourish. It also situates these ideas within longstanding practices of scholarship, librarianship, and artistic practice.  The class highlights the positive results that can come from seemingly transgressive acts. The course places a focus on contemporary and very recent activities, and will deal extensively with ways in which the 2020 pandemic prompted a loosening of copyright maximalization and a surge in open access activities, particularly to support distance learning environments. The course will also examine closely related ideas and movements such as "Information Wants to be Free", Illegal Art, Culture Jamming, Appropriation, Remix, Tactical Media, Fair Use, Free Software/Open-Source, CopyLeft, and "Access to Knowledge". Prominent public figures will make presentations to the class.

Hollywood & LA: California Film Culture between the Fires

Josslyn Luckett
Wednesdays / 12:30-4:30pm / Room 674
4 points
CINE-GT 2107 / Section 001 class # 22164 / Section 002 class # 22165

The Watts Rebellion of 1965 and the L.A. Uprising following the Rodney King verdict in 1992 frame the period of Southern California film history we will explore in this course. The course will engage key works and filmmakers of the "New Hollywood" or "Hollywood Renaissance" of the late 1960s and 1970s (Ashby, Jewison, Pakula, Coppola, Scorsese, Mazursky), in conversation with emerging works created by Los Angeles based independent filmmakers of color working outside of Hollywood in the same period (Burnett, Gerima, Larkin, The Visual Communications filmmakers, Morales, Esparza, Osawa), many of whom trained in programs funded in the years just after the Watts Riots aimed at addressing the so-called, "urban crisis." While we will foreground the creative work of these Hollywood and Los Angeles filmmakers, we will compare and analyze their various media making practices against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and within the context of the changing post-WWII racial demographics of Los Angeles; the growing local activist movements (Black Power, Chicano Power, the American Indian Movement, Asian American Movement, Second Wave Feminism) and the sometimes related activism of mainstream Hollywood celebrities (Brando, Fonda, Belafonte); and the fertile collaborations of many of these filmmakers with the iconic musicians contemporaneously changing the city's soundscape (from the Pan-Afrikan People's Arkestra to Hiroshima to the Doors). The course will benefit from the tremendous scholarship of the past decade on the New Hollywood filmmakers, the L.A. Rebellion filmmakers, and recent studies of Chicanx and Asian American media activism, and it will provide an opportunity to compare these streams of filmmaking with these streams of criticism, evaluating how they collectively speak on race, social change, and media activism in the City of Angels between the fires both times.

Hollywood Cinema: Origins to 1960

Dana Polan
Tuesdays / 6:00-10:00pm / Room 648
4 points
CINE-GT 2123 / Section 001 class # 7978 / Section 002 class # 7979

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.

Asian Media & Popular Culture

Feng-Mei Heberer
Wednesdays / 12:30-4:30pm / Room 670
4 points
CINE-GT 2126 / Section 001 class # 22128 / Section 002 class # 22129

This course surveys Asian media and popular culture with an emphasis on cultural developments from the 1990s onward. The material we explore hails from various parts of Asia and the Asian diaspora, including East and Southeast Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia. Rather than looking for a single meaning of “Asianness,” we examine the transnational flows, fissures, and movements of images, capital, and politics associated with the term (think memes, BTS, anime). Likewise, we scrutinize the “popular” in popular culture, asking how it might signify beyond mass entertainment, as an omnipresent yet invisible infrastructure defining our daily life.

Theory/Practice Courses

These courses are open to Cinema Studies students only.

Film Criticism

Richard Porton
Thursdays / 6:00-10:00pm / Room 652
4 points
CINE-GT 1141 / Class # 7835

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 graduate students.

Independent Study & Internship

Independent Study

1-4 points variable
CINE-GT 2900 / Class # 7732
CINE-GT 2902 / Class # 7733

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
CINE-GT 2950 / Class # 7870
CINE-GT 2952 / Class # 7871

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.  

Moving Image Archiving & Preservation Courses

Students outside of the Moving Image Archiving & Preservation (MIAP) MA Program: please email tisch.preservation@nyu.edu to request enrollment permission number.

Introduction to Moving Image Archiving & Preservation

Juana Suárez
Mondays / 12:30-4:30pm / Room 674
CINE-GT 1800 / Class # 7728 / 4 points

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

Gregory Cram
Thursdays / 6:30-9:30pm / Room 670
CINE-GT 1804 / Class # 7730 / 4 points

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.

Cross-Listed Courses

Documentary Traditions

David Bagnall
Mondays / 6:20-9:00pm / Room 017
4 points
CINE-GT 1400 / Class # 7726

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

Faye Ginsburg
Tuesdays / 6:00-9:00pm / 25 Waverly Place, Kriser Room
4 points
CINE-GT 1402 / Class # 7727

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, andsocial 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?

For approved Culture & Media students only. Other students must request permission of instructor.

Video Production I

Pegi Vail
Seminar: Tuesdays / 11:00am-1:45pm
Lab: Thursdays / 11:00am-1:00pm
25 Waverly Place, Room 502
4 points
CINE-GT 1995 / Class # 7731

For approved Culture & Media students only. Permission code required to register.

Script Analysis

Kenneth Dancyger
Thursdays / 3:30-6:10pm / Room 109
4 points
CINE-GT 1997 / Class # 7835

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.

This course is open only to Cinema Studies graduate students. Limited seats available.