Fall 2015 Class Schedule (Atlas)
FILM AND MEDIA STUDIES GRADUATE COURSE ATLAS, FALL 2015
FILM 500: Intro to Graduate Film Studies
Mueller, MW 11:30-12:45
Mandatory film screening M 5:00-7:00PM
Content: This course serves as an advanced introduction to the study of film and media for entering Film and Media Studies M.A. students, as well as other graduate students who want to enhance their grasp of film/media studies methodologies and analytical methods. The course builds skills in audiovisual analysis while also covering a wide range of moving image texts: narrative films (classical and postclassical, Hollywood and global), alternative filmmaking practices (documentary, experimental, animation), historical media (radio, television), and digital media (video games, digital imaging, the Internet). The course presents an overview of film and media-related topics, such as narrative structures, genre conventions, historical periods, and modes of industrial production and distribution.
This course will be part of the Domain of One¿s Own project; enrolled students will create their own websites and publish their writing online, crafting a portfolio of digital work. Assignments will ask students to use digital (and non-digital) tools to research media texts and complete a series of related writing projects, culminating in a final project that will likely involve a nontraditional scholarly form, such as a podcast, video essay, or website. The course emphasizes individual research and writing/scholarly production, prioritizing learning by doing. Students will have freedom in selecting media texts to work on over the course of the semester, so that they can shape the course to whatever media objects they will study further in the future.
FILM 502: Seminar in Genre/Criticism: The Gangster Film
W 1:00-4:00, Rich 103
Mandatory film screening M 7:00-10:00, Rich 103
Course Description: One of the oldest and most durable of all film genres, the gangster film extends back a full century to the Biograph shorts of D.W. Griffith up through contemporary television serials. This seminar will attempt to take the full measure of the genre, beginning with the silent era (Musketeers of Pig Alley, 1912; Underworld, 1927; The Racket, 1928) and early sound (Alibi, 1929) and continuing up through contemporary television (The Sopranos, 1999-2007; Boardwalk Empire, 2010-2014). The course will take as a working assumption that film genres don’t evolve in isolation from other media platforms so we will be incorporating not just examples from film and television but also plays, short stories, novels, graphic novels, pulp fiction, radio dramas, television and computer games. There will be an emphasis on the original gangster film cycle of the early thirties but we will not ignore either foreign features or such hybrids as the comedy gangster (Night After Night, 1932) or the gangster-woman’s picture (A Free Soul, 1931; Three on a Match, 1932; Marked Woman, 1937). Students will be expected to write up weekly reading responses, participate in and lead class discussions and submit a 20-page final paper to the entire class.
FILM 504: Seminar in Theory: Platforms and Apparatuses
M 1:00-4:00, Rich 103
Mandatory film screening Tu 6:00-8:00, White Hall 207
Course Description: This graduate course will discuss the representational, aesthetic, and ideological implications of media technologies. Readings will include works of technologically-oriented film theory; works in ¿apparatus theory¿ and cinematic and interactive dispositifs; more recent work in the emerging field of ¿platform studies¿; and other approaches to the development and effects of media technologies. Together, we will investigate the relationships between media content and media devices. How do cameras, projectors, game consoles, televisions, and distribution channels inflect the media that they make possible? How does innovation in media form drive the development of media technology? How do media technologies facilitate and constrain the creative endeavors of media makers? The course readings will be complemented by weekly screenings.
FILM 506: Methods in Film and Media Studies
TTh 2:30-3:45, Rich 103
Mandatory film screening W 5:00-7:00pm, White Hall 205
FILM 581: Classical Film Theory
TTH 11:30-12:45, Rich 104
Mandatory film screening Tu 8:00-10:00pm, White Hall 205
Classical Film Theory (FILM 381WR) considers film and media theory that was written before 1960 and remains crucial for contemporary film and media scholars. Theorists whose work we will consider include Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Germaine Dulac, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Epstein, Siegfried Kracauer, and Dziga Vertov. As much as possible, we will pair critical texts with the films they address, so we will watch in class and at screenings films by Dulac, Eisenstein, Epstein, and Vertov as well as films by Charles Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, and Fritz Lang together with more contemporary films. The course aims to give all students a foundational knowledge of classical film theory and to offer them intensive practice in writing about film in a theoretically informed manner, using discipline-specific language. To meet these goals, students will write biweekly response papers as well as a midterm and final paper that will each go through at least two drafts.
Classical Film Theory (FILM 581) considers film and media theory that was written before 1960 and remains crucial for contemporary film and media scholars. Theorists whose work we will consider include Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Germaine Dulac, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Epstein, Siegfried Kracauer, and Dziga Vertov. In addition to these primary texts, students taking the course at the graduate level will also read more recent reconsiderations of classical theorists by various scholars including Danel Morgan, Miriam Hansen, John MacKay, Anne Nesbet, Elizabeth Papazian, Masha Salazkina, Garrett Stewart and Malcolm Turvey. To discuss this extra reading we will have additional, weekly meetings. As much as possible, we will pair critical texts with the films they address, so we will watch in class and at screenings films by Dulac, Eisenstein, Epstein, and Vertov as well as films by Charles Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, and Fritz Lang together with more contemporary films. The course aims to give all students a foundational knowledge of classical film theory and to offer them an opportunity to draft and extensively revise an article-length essay of publishable quality on this topic. All graduate students will also teach twenty minutes of the undergraduate lecture course in cooperation with the professor in order to develop lecture-course teaching skills.
Methods in Film and Media Studies (FILM 506) is designed to assist graduate students in crafting a thesis topic, developing an appropriate methodology, and drafting at least one and a half chapters of their M.A. thesis by the end of the first semester of their second year. Work for the course begins over the summer with the development of annotated bibliographies for one or two possible thesis topics and an initial articulation of those topics. Course sessions are a mixture of seminar discussion and intensive writing workshop. Seminar discussion will revolve around the way accomplished scholars develop a question or thesis in dialogue with, and of interest to, peers in the field; develop a methodological approach to the question; select and defend their primary texts; and create trust in their readers by demonstrating knowledge of the relevant scholarly literature and attentiveness to primary texts. For the writing workshop, all students will be responsible for, and assessed by, their thoughtfulness and thoroughness in responding to peer work. This will include developing some familiarity with the materials about which fellow seminar participants are writing.
FILM 597: Directed Study
A supervised project in an area of study to be determined by instructor and student. This could involve a topic in film authorship, genre, antional cinema, or other area. Permission of the instructor required.
FILM 598: Graduate Colloquium
This course, which is required for the completion of the M.A. in Film Studies, consists of bi monthly talks by Film Studies and affiliated faculty and advanced graduate students. It is designed for the presentation of new research and the professionalization of graduate students in the Film Studies program. One credit hour.
FILM 599: Thesis Research
Permission of the Director of Graduate Studies in Film Studies required prior to registration.