Spring 2023 Graduate Courses

Core Courses

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

Film Theory

Laura Harris
Thursdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 648
CINE-GT 1020 / Class # 7073
4 points

If the image generally describes a relation between the viewer and the viewed, what happens when that relation or even the existence of a separate/d viewer and viewed is troubled, no longer easily mappable, or even verifiable?  How do we think with and through the image that remains?  This will not be a comprehensive history of the way the image has been thought in film and visual studies.  We will consider, instead, some late 20th/early 21st century writers and artists (such as Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Jack Smith, Yoko Ono, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Karen Barad, Wu Tsang and boychild, Hypatia Vourloumis and Sandra Ruiz, and/or others) who explore--through the gaps and portals they might find or create in the image and through whatever inter- or intra-actions or formless formations (anticolonial and anticapitalist, black and brown, feminist, queer and trans) the image might register or assemble--the possibilities of sensing, or what R A Judy has called “thinking in disorder.”

Television: History & Culture

MJ Robinson
Mondays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 648
CINE-GT 1026 / Class # 7214
4 points

This M.A. core course examines the background, context, and history of television with an initial emphasis on broadcast and digital eras in the U.S., then expansion into case studies of international television. The approach is comparative, with a focus on television as cultural, social, and aesthetic formation. Topics include histories of technology, economics of media institutions, local and networked intersectional politics, audiences and reception, and questions of representation. We will also pay particular attention to methods and modes of historiography, especially in light of emerging opportunities for online access and digital research tools.

Advanced Seminars

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

Film Noir/Neo Noir

Chris Straayer
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 652
CINE-GT 1312
Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) Class # 22907
Section 002 (Outside students) Class # 22908
4 points

“Neo Noir” explores the multiple ways that films made beyond the classic period reference, appropriate, extend, pay homage to, and even define that amorphous category called “film noir”: from nostalgia to escalation; from remakes to meta discourse retroactively constructing a “genre;” from genre hybridization to the dispersion of disconnected noir elements (crime, paranoia, the femme fatale, subjective flashback, existentialism); from realist-expressionist black and white to blatantly stylized color; from censorship’s dark sexuality to hyperreal violence; from national to international. To support our study of neo noir, we will simultaneously reference classic film noir from the 1940-50s and its scholarship, considering visual aesthetics, historical/cultural resonances, international/interdisciplinary influences, philosophical/psychological references, and gender relations. However, rather than attempting to rein in Neo Noir insisting on fidelity to film noir, the course celebrates Neo Noir’s exponential extrapolations. A tentative list of films includes  Body Heat, Taxi Driver, Blood Simple, Exotica, Coup de Torchon, High and Low, One False Move, The Grifters, Memento, Usual Suspects, The Last Seduction, Kill Bill, Chungking Express, Mulholland Drive, The Thin Blue Line, and Funny Games.

Black Experimental Cinema

Michael B. Gillespie
Tuesdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 670
CINE-GT 1332
Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) Class # 23442
Section 002 (Outside students) Class # 23444
4 points

What might it mean to consider avant-garde and experimental film and video with attention to the art of blackness? With a focus on Black artists from around the world, the course examines the history, politics, culture, and aesthetics of avant-garde and experimental film and video. With a concentration on new methodologies of black study and interdisciplinary scholarship devoted to black visual and expressive culture, the course will challenge and expand canonical conceptions of avant-garde and experimental cinemas. The artists will include Cauleen Smith, Kevin Jerome Everson, Larry Clark, Ja’Tovia Gary, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, Adirley Queirós, Christopher Harris, Barbara McCullough, Arthur Jafa, Khalil Joseph, Steffani Jemison, Ulysses Jenkins, Ephraim Asili, Tracey Moffatt, Issac Julien, Terence Nance, John Akomfrah, Martine Syms, Noutama Frances Bodomo, Med Hondo, Garrett Bradley, Leah Gilliam, Edgar Arceneaux, Morgan Quaintance, and others.

Artaud & the Psychopathology of Expression

Allen Weiss
Wednesdays, 12:30-3:30pm
Room 613
CINE-GT 3103 / class # 22250
4 points

By Application Only: Please send an email to allen.weiss@nyu.edu including the following: department; MA or PhD; theoretical background; reason for wishing to join seminar. (Sorry but no Auditors/Undergrad students) Deadline December 1st.

Antonin Artaud’s The Theater and Its Double is among the foundational texts of Performance Studies. Its influence has been inestimable, and it continues to inform contemporary theory and practice across the arts. This work takes on all the more urgency as it resonates with our current situation of contagion, confinement, violence, revolt. Its most celebrated chapter, “The Theater and the Plague,” proposes an aesthetic of suffering with the epidemic as its central metaphor: a “theater of cruelty” that prefigures the privation, isolation and incarceration of his last years, from which arose his most extraordinary works. Yet The Theater and Its Double is usually read without a broader context, or more recently – given the current wave of interest in the sound arts – along with his radio piece, To Have Done with the Judgment of God. The other thirty volumes of his complete works are generally ignored by all but specialists, yet the earliest writings composed at the moment of his association with the Surrealists offer a prefiguration of his mature work, while the last pieces (diaries, poems, drawings, radio) are tantamount to a radical transformation of modernist French poetry and poetics.


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

Sounds/Image and the Avant-Garde

Allen Weiss
Tuesdays, 1:00-5:00pm
Room 674
CINE-GT 1113
Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) Class # 22266
Section 002 (Outside students) Class # 22267
4 points

This interdisciplinary course will investigate the relations between experimental film, radio, music, and sound art in modernism and postmodernism. The inventions of photography, cinema and sound recording radically altered the 19th century consciousness of perception, temporality, selfhood, and death. The newfound role of the voice — depersonalized, disembodied, eternalized — appeared in poetic and literary phantasms of that epoch, and offered models of future (and futuristic) art forms. This course will study the aesthetic and ideological effects of this epochal shift, especially as it concerns the subsequent practice of avant-garde art and aesthetics. It will specifically focus on the re-contextualization of the history of avant-garde film in the broader context of the sound arts and their discursive practices, from Dada and Surrealism through Lettrism, Situationism, Fluxus and the American Independent Cinema. Special attention will be paid to the transformations of the 1950s and 1960s, the moment when the arts moved toward a more performative mode, entailing the dematerialization and decommodification of the aesthetic domain.

This course can fulfill the MA Film Theory requirement.

History of Chinese-Language Cinemas II: 1970s to Present

Zhen Zhang
Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
CINE-GT 1136
Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) Class # 22912
Section 002 (Outside students) Class # 22913
4 points

The course offers a historical survey of Chinese-language cinema from the emergence of the new waves in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China in the 1970s-1980s to the more recent formations around the turn of the new century.  The distinctiveness of the three important Chinese cinemas and their increasing convergences after the Hong Kong handover in 1997, and under the impact of globalization, offer ideal laboratories for reconsidering the premises and usefulness of the concepts of national and transnational cinema.  Along the same axis, we will also probe questions of cultural nationalism, neo-regionalism, a persistent cold war culture within the trans-Asian context, and the tension between the state's cultural policy and film industry, commercial cinema, and art or independent cinema.  Given the massive transformations in media technology and industrial organization in the last two decades, we will also consider the ramifications of new media for film and screen culture, including new documentary movements, amateur and activist film/video practices, and queer and feminist cinema.  Screenings will include festival favorites, commercial blockbusters, and DV works. Students contribute to the course through in-class and online forum discussions, presentations, and final research projects.

This course is open to advanced undergraduate students with permission of the instructor.

An Eye for the Sound: Jazz and Film and Freedom

Josslyn Luckett
Thursdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
CINE-GT 1314
Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) Class # 22910
Section 002 (Outside students) Class # 22911
4 points

Can a visual archive help to change the discourse of a musical form? How does what we see/screen about this music called "jazz" (in narrative feature films, in PBS documentaries, in music videos, on Grammy night) inform our listening, our purchasing and streaming? Could a different set of films, a wider reaching visual archive transform our understanding of this music, or to paraphrase the late great Gang Starr poet, Guru, could what we see restructure the metaphysics of a jazz thing? Much of what Hollywood feature films and mainstream documentaries have scripted or proclaimed about the history of this music is that it was created by some black genius musicians (all tragic), and a few white genius musicians (some tragic), who were all male (except for an occasional junkie female vocalist) and are now all dead. In spite of decades of academic and cinematic signifying about jazz as democracy and jazz as freedom, this visual archive tells a very limited tale of this music, who played it, and what it meant to communities from the Treme to Sugar Hill to Central Avenue, to the world, and even to the stars ("space is the place"). In this course we will center a different visual archive that tells a wider tale of this music and who made and still makes it and who is energized and challenged by it. We will evaluate this counter-archive of narrative, documentary and experimental film and video keeping in mind Sherrie Tucker and Nichole Rustin's challenge to "grow bigger ears" to listen for gender in jazz studies. This archive and its international, multiracial, multireligious musician participants invites us to grow bigger ears and eyes for the sound. A combination of film studies and jazz studies readings will support our viewing of a wide range of shorts and features, as well as some close listening of film scores by jazz composers.

Cultural Theory & The Documentary

Toby Lee
Mondays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
CINE-GT 2001
Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) Class # 7078
Section 002 (Outside students) Class # 7145
4 points

In this course, we examine the history of documentary form as political discourse and practice. We take as a starting point documentary theorist Michael Renov’s discussion of poetics -- which he defines as the rigorous investigation of aesthetic forms, their composition and function -- in the context of the documentary image. While Renov argues that “poetics must also confront the problematics of power,” so too must an understanding of political documentary take seriously questions of poetics and form. Through close readings of particular films and careful study of their formal strategies and aesthetic choices, we explore how documentary images act, or how they are made to act, within larger structures of power and resistance. We will look at films from a wide range of periods, places and styles — including observational, experimental, compilation/appropriation, performative, propaganda, and essay films — considering these works in relation to a variety of topics including social and political activism, revolutionary movements, state violence, surveillance, sexual politics, colonialism and anti-colonialism, human rights, labor, and the shifting politics of the image in the digital age.


These courses are open to Cinema Studies MA students only.

Film Criticism

Stephanie Zacharek
Wednesdays, 6:00-10:00pm
Room 674
CINE-GT 1141 / Class # 22906
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.

The Scriptwriter's Craft

Josslyn Luckett
Mondays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 652
CINE-GT 1500 / Class # 7231
4 points

MGM screenwriter Dorothy Farnum once described scriptwriters as "stokers of a ship, necessary but condemned to the hold of obscurity...we do work so the stars and directors will have a nice time on deck." This course is designed to center the work of the writer by analyzing the storytelling techniques employed by a mix of Hollywood, independent, and international screenwriters from Waldo Salt to Dee Rees, Bill Gunn to Guillermo Arriaga, Julie Dash to Sooni Taraporevala and more (this list of writers is subject to change and in several cases we will screen at least two different films by the same screenwriter). We start in the "hold" by exploring the formal elements of the script (character, scene, dialogue, plot structure, genre). We then move to consider how underrepresented communities are served by the efforts of scriptwriters to bring previously untold stories to big and small screens, thereby changing and challenging film culture.

MIAP Courses

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

Curating Moving Images

Dan Streible
Mondays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 674
CINE-GT 1806 / Class # 7118
4 points

This course embraces a broad conception of curating as the treatment of materials from their discovery, acquisition, archiving, preservation, restoration, and reformatting, through their screening, programming, use, re-use, distribution, exploitation, translation, and interpretation. It  focuses on the practices of film and video exhibition in cinematheques, festivals, museums, archives, web platforms, and other venues. The course 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 activate uses of moving image collections. Specific curatorial practices of festivals, seminars, symposia, and projects will be examined.

Culture of Archives, Museums & Libraries

Juana Suárez
Tuesdays, 12:30-4:30pm
Room 670
CINE-GT 3049 / Class # 7082
4 points

This course studies the different kinds of institutions that collect and manage cultural material: museums of art, natural history, and motion pictures; libraries and historical societies; corporate institutions. It compares and contrasts these types of institution to reveal how they differ from one another, paying particular attention to how different institutional missions affect internal metadata and information systems. It examines theories of collecting, the history and ethics of cultural heritage institutions, the organizational structures of institutions that house collections (including trends in staffing and the roles of individual departments), and their respective missions and operational ethics. The class will visit a variety of local cultural organizations, and will have working professionals talk about their organizations and duties.

Cross-Listed Courses

Culture & Media II

Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan
Wednesdays, 11:00am-1:30pm
25 Waverly Place, Room 612
CINE-GT 1403 / Class # 2660
4 points

This course examines the social and political life of mass & new media and how– in production, reception, and circulation - it makes a difference in the daily lives of people. We will critically engage with how media has become the primary means for the circulation of symbolic forms across time and space and has become crucial to the constitution of subjectivities, collectivities, and histories in the contemporary world. We will cover a range of related topics, including the role of media in constituting and contesting national identities, in forging alternative political visions, and in creating transnational subcultures. In the first part of the course, we will chart 20th century theoretical debates regarding mass media, to frame anthropology’s interventions since the 1990s. We will then spend the remainder of the semester engaging with a range of contemporary ethnographies to explore various approaches to the study of radio, television, film, and new media within and across socio-historical contexts.

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

Stairways & Frames: Korea's Visual Cultures

Yoon Jeong Oh
Wednesdays, 2:00-4:45pm
7 E. 12th Street, Room 134
CINE-GT 1981 / Class # 23202
4 points

This course will explore various visual cultures in 20th and 21st century Korea, including film/cinema, TV, video, photography, art, and webtoons (a type of digital comic originated in South Korea). While looking at what is visualized or visually represented, this course will also investigate powerful visual tropes, such as lights, motions, stairways, and frames, and ask what constitutes the visibility of culture itself. As such, we will discuss the pleasures of the image, the various technologies of vision, the aesthetics and philosophy of the visual, and the politics of seeing/being seen. The privileging of the visual in multimedia suggests a defining property of cultural media, that is, of immediacy and transparency. Approaching culture through visual studies will thus help us rethink how culture is mediated and translated in terms of its relation to the Other(s). Readings will include critical and theoretical texts along with a wide range of filmic and visual texts. No prior knowledge of Korean is required. All levels of graduate students from within and outside East Asian Studies as well as upper-level undergraduates are welcome. 

Video Production II

Cheryl T. Furjanic & Pegi Vail
Fridays, 4:55-7:25pm
Location TBA
CINE-GT 1996 / Class # 7076
4 points

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

For approved Culture & Media students in their second year only after completing Culture & Media I and Sight & Sound: Documentary.


Independent coursework is open to Cinema Studies students only.

Independent Study

CINE-GT 2901 / class # 7079        1-4 points variable
CINE-GT 2903 / class # 7080        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 # 7150        1-4 points variable
CINE-GT 2952 / class # 7151        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.


MAINT-GA 4747-003
Class # 2820