Research is the wellspring of our department. This priority lends us a distinctive profile within our institutional home, the Tisch School of the Arts, in which most departments offer a conservatory-style education.
Our work focuses on the history, criticism, theory and aesthetics of film, television, video, and other moving image media. We take a comparative, transnational approach to understanding the different textual, material and social practices, institutions, and cultures in which the moving image operates. As the new century brings rapid developments in the nature, function and pervasiveness of the moving image, it is all the more important that we study these changes and their histories critically, in all their dimensions. Embracing new technologies and forms of representation, our work seeks to understand the old and the new in relation to each other, from a variety of perspectives including aesthetic, social, political, industrial, technological, and economic.
As cinema and the other audio-visual media we study are, by their nature, multidisciplinary, our research interfaces with a variety of fields including literature, art history, music, dance, theater, performance, visual arts, media studies, history, anthropology, art conservation, information science, and archival studies. Our research results in the production of academic materials such as books, articles, and anthologies, as well as intellectual and material contributions to moving image works (narrative, documentary, new media) and to the preservation of film and media. Other central activities include journal editing, the staging of conferences, curating film programs, and the running and advising of professional organizations. An important part of our work is to train graduate students in research techniques, particularly in the writing of the M.A. thesis and Ph.D dissertation, which we define as the conduct of original research and interpretation of the results. Rigorous scholarly research is also an integral part of the practice of the growing number of our faculty who work actively as moving image artists, programmers, curators, and archivists.
For examples of what we do, see below for information about two of our research intiatives and check out our listing of Past Events.