Fall 2021 Graduate Courses

Core Courses

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

Film Form/Film Sense: Industries and Aesthetics

Anna McCarthy
Mondays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 648
CINE-GT 1010 / class # 7206
4 points

This core course introduces the methods and areas of study in the Cinema Studies MA program. In keeping with the department's evolving profile, we'll also learn about research idioms that blend theory and practice, such as documentary, data visualization, and curation. The course is divided into modules that reflect this range of possibilities. Assignments comprise both written and practical projects and will involve some group/collaborative work.

The class meets online each week for clips/lecture and discussion. Screenings, with some exceptions, are all available online through Bobst Library streaming services.

This course is only open to Cinema Studies MA students.

Film History/Historiography

Dan Streible
Wednesdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 648
CINE-GT 1015 / class # 7443
4 points

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. 

Advanced Seminars

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

Cinema, Migration & Diaspora

Feng-Mei Heberer
Wednesdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 652
CINE-GT 1025
Cinema Studies students: Section 001 / class # 23036
Outside students: Section 002 / class # 23037
4 points

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.

Trans Studies

Chris Straayer
Tuesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Online instruction
CINE-GT 1780
Cinema Studies students: Section 001 / class # 7416
Outside students: Section 002 / class # 7417
4 points

This course maps the interdisciplinary field of Trans Studies, which concerns the history and culture of transgender, transsexual, non-binary, and non gender conforming (TGN) people. From 19th century (and ongoing) sexology, to 1950s (and ongoing) genital “corrections,” 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, feminist, and queer histories in complicated ways. The phrase “a woman in a man’s body” has typed male homosexuals as well as transsexuals. Transgender and intersexed people have experienced overlapping yet contrasting negotiations regarding genital surgery.  Internal and lateral oppression often truncate coalitions against vertiginous oppression. Within this complex history of theory and practice, trans* activists, lawyers, health workers, celebrities, scholars, and artists have produced an immense and vibrant culture, including burgeoning TGN film production and scholarship during the last decade.

When We See Us: Asian American and Black Documentary Traditions of Resistance

Josslyn Luckett 
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 635
CINE-GT 2002
Cinema Studies students: Section 001 / class # 23045
Outside students: Section 002 / class # 23046
4 points

While decades of Asian American filmmaking has engaged and critiqued the manifold ways that anti-Asian policies, rhetoric, and violence have impacted Asian American and Asian immigrant communities in the U.S., mainstream media discourse too frequently centers conversations on the topic of "race" in black/white binaries. It has taken multiple pandemics in the past two years to bring about increased discussion of racism and racial violence against Asian/Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and yet the conversations still tend to happen in silos as if racial violence directed at African Americans and Asian Americans bears no relationship. In this course we will take a comparative and relational look at recent (1990s to the present) documentaries produced by Asian American and Black Independent filmmakers (Marissa Aroy, Damani Baker, Vivek Bald, Garrett Bradley, Arthur Dong, Yance Ford, Thomas Allan Harris, Grace Lee, Tadashi Nakamura, Spencer Nakasako, Marlon Riggs, Celine Parrenas Shimizu, and Renee Tajima-Pena) to explore convergences and contrasts in style, themes, practices of resistance, and strategies of media activism/programming/education across the two communities.

Interactive History: Digital Media as Cultural Memory Prostheses

Marina Hassapopoulou
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
CINE-GT 3500 / class # 23850
4 points

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. 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.

After you have received permission of the instructor, request a permission code here.


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

French New Wave

Robert Stam
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
CINE-GT 1513
Cinema Studies students: Section 001 / class # 23039
Outside students: Section 002 / class # 23040
4 points

This course offers an historical and critical overview of the French New Wave. Along with examining the philosophical underpinnings of the movement in philosophical existentialism (Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir), the artistic underpinnings in modernism, and the theoretical underpinnings in the film theory/criticism of Cahiers du Cinema, we will examine key films and directors. We will explore the work of the three core groups that together formed the New Wave, notably 1) the Cahiers critic-directors (Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rivette, Rohmer); 2) the Left Bank directors (Resnais, Duras, Varda, Marker); and 3) Cinema Verite (Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin), along with 4) precursors like Jean-Pierre Melville and Roger Vadim, and 5) mavericks like Jacques Demy and Louis Malle. While we will focus largely on the films themselves, we will also situate New Wave films within a broader artistic, historical, and social context. Some key themes in the course will be: first-person auteur cinema; artistic modernism and the New Wave; the relation between film and the other arts; the revolution in film language; the question of adaptation; treatment of love, romance, and adultery; representations of race, gender and sexuality; the theory of style and aesthetics; the impact of Brecht; the hauntologies of war, collaboration, and colonialism; and the political changes, reflected in film, that led to the near-revolution of May 1968 and to dramatic changes in the film world.

The course will approach the New Wave through 1) the screening of a chronologically arranged series of feature films, mainly from the key 1958-1968 period; 2) the reading of critical and theoretical texts; and 3) the analysis of short clips from other films by the major directors or related to broader cultural themes. The goal of the course is for students to gain an overall sense of the historical importance and social resonances of the New Wave, an awareness of the characteristic styles and themes of the key directors, and an understanding of some of the theories that circulated around such films.

Avant Garde Films of the 60s and 70s

Laura Harris
Tuesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
CINE-GT 2021
Cinema Studies students: Section 001 / class # 23042
Outside students: Section 002 / class # 23043
4 points

This class will consider the ways various filmmakers attempt to reinvent film practice in the 60s and 70s, in a context marked by student protests, third world revolution movements, sexual liberation, feminism, and other forms of insurgency.  It will not be a comprehensive survey of the now canonical avant-garde works of the period (though we will look at excerpts from many other landmark films and there will be plenty of opportunities to view more, individually or together in class).  We will linger instead in a few notable, sometimes problematic experiments in which filmmaking intermingles with social movements and with political theater and performance art to reapproach notions of staging, recording, editing, disseminating and viewing.  We will likely also consider some unedited footage and some recent works that look back on that period and remix and redeploy material generated then.  How do these experiments and/or their failures open up new possibilities for film and the social scenes or movements these experiments emerge out of and help shape?  What kinds of film forms do these experiments generate?  What new theoretical insights?  What might be the value of revisiting this “dated” material now? 

Hollywood Cinema: Origins to 1960

Dana Polan
Tuesdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 674
CINE-GT 2123
Cinema Studies students: Section 001 / class # 7413
Outside students: Section 002 / class # 7414
4 points

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.

Theory/Practice Courses

These courses are open to Cinema Studies students only.

Film Criticism

Stephanie Zacharek
Thursdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 652
CINE-GT 1141 / class # 7315
4 points

This course will examine the history and practice of film criticism as a means of helping students to sharpen their own critical thinking and writing. We'll focus on the finer points of film scholarship and film criticism, and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of theory as applied in criticism. We'll also examine the role of criticism in the age of the internet, and the specific demands of covering the festival circuit. Students will explore the practicalities and challenges of writing about film across all genres—including mainstream comedies and action films, art cinema and avant-garde film, political films and documentaries—and we’ll discuss modes of critical practice useful in addressing those films. Course readings will include essays by Pauline Kael, Manny Farber, André Bazin, Molly Haskell, Andrew Sarris, James Agee, and others. Students will be expected to write an essay of 800 to 1000 words each week evaluating films screened in class or playing in the New York City area.

Independent Study & Internship

Independent Study

CINE-GT 2900 / class #7213            1-4 points variable
CINE-GT 2902 / class # 7214           1-4 points variable

A student wishing to conduct independent research for credit must obtain approval from a full-time faculty member in the Department of Cinema Studies 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 submit an Independent Study Form. Once the information from your form is verified by your faculty supervisor, you will receive a permission code.


CINE-GT 2950 / class # 7342            1-4 points variable
CINE-GT 2952 / class # 7343            1-4 points variable

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 Reading

CINE-GT 3907 / class # 7219
4 points

Please fill out the Directed Reading form, to be verified by your faculty advisor, in order to receive a permission code to register.

Moving Image Archiving & Preservation Courses

Students outside of the Moving Image Archiving & Preservation (MIAP) MA Program: please email MIAP Academic Program Manager Jess Cayer at tisch.preservation@nyu.edu with your N-ID number to request enrollment.

Please wait to email for Fall 2021 registration until after Albert opens for registration on Monday, May 24.

Introduction to Moving Image Archiving & Preservation

Juana Suárez
Tuesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
CINE-GT 1800 / class # 7209
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
Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30pm
Room 670
CINE-GT 1804 / class # 7211
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

Culture & Media I

Pegi Vail
Tuesdays, 4:55-7:35pm
25 Waverly Place, Room 107
CINE-GT 1402 / class # 7208
4 points

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, and 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?

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

Video Production I

Pegi Vail
Lab: Thursdays / 9:30am-12:30pm
25 Waverly Place, Room 107
CINE-GT 1995 / class # 7212
4 points

For approved Culture & Media students in their second year only. Prerequisites include completion of Culture & Media I and Sight & Sound: Documentary.

Permission code required to register. Request a permission code here.