Graduate Courses


In addition to the courses listed below, F&DM graduate students are also welcome to take elective seminars and studio courses offered in the Digital Arts & New Media MFA Program; and, also to take graduate courses given by our affiliated faculty in the departments of Feminist Studies; History of Consciousness; Latin American and Latino Studies; Literature; the Social Documentation MA Program; and, the Sociology Department. (Not all courses listed below are offered every year. Prospective courses are numbered "2xx.")

200A Introduction to Graduate Study An inter-disciplinary course designed to orient new students to the research methods integral to our program. The course will be taught by a single faculty member, who will draw on other faculty visitors to integrate their work and areas of expertise into the course so as to expose students to integrated models of theory and praxis. Includes instruction in the philosophy and practice of pedagogy as preparation for TAships. (Faculty TBA)

200B, C Theory and Praxis of Film and Digital Media (2-quarter sequence, 5 units each quarter) In this introductory graduate critical studies/production sequence, conducted over two consecutive quarters, students will investigate various methods for producing arguments. Each year a theme will be developed and students will produce both written texts and visual/aural texts around a central set of questions or research topics. The first quarter will be spent researching and developing project ideas; the second quarter will be structured as a “projects” class, stressing collaboration between students and resulting in a finished piece of scholarship. The foundational questions that this sequence seeks to address are: what are the assumptions that allow us to make divisions between theory and practice and between disciplines? What are the possible relationships between these apparently disparate approaches and modes? What are the possible forms of scholarship that might address them? The foundational skills that the sequence seeks to build are: to devise forms for critical and creative research and production, to engender interchange between approaches and modes, and to set standards for critical and creative engagement and production. (All faculty in teams of two)

Example 200B,C: Theory and Practice of Space Theories of space have been central to the development of film theory since the 1970s and have increasingly animated the work of a wide range of disciplines including cultural geography and cultural studies. In the first quarter of this sequence, we will consider some of these models of understanding space: as lived, practiced, experienced, and produced in relation to cinema as an institution, in relation to the materiality of urban public space, as well as in relation to textual forms that mediate and produce space such as film, video, and digital media. We will concentrate on ways of theorizing and understanding these different spatial modes and environments and their relationship to subjectivities. In the second quarter, we will focus on ways of producing critically grounded and creative explorations of those spaces and modes of understanding by specifically exploring the intersection of architecture and cinema. (Lord and Limbrick)

204 A, B, C Colloquium Series [Note: for Fall 2010, this will be offered as 295 Directed Reading. Please discuss with your faculty advisor]. Core course introduces graduate students to critical methodologies in media studies and offers sustained examination of theoretical approaches to media studies. Methodologies may include (but not limited to) contemporary theory (semiotic, psychoanalytic, ideological), cultural studies, intertextuality, feminist film, and television theory. (Hastie) (Will be offered as an Independent Study course in 2010-2011)

222 Critical Methodologies in Film and Television Core course introduces graduate students to critical methodologies in media studies and offers sustained examination of theoretical approaches to media studies. Methodologies may include (but not limited to) contemporary theory (semiotic, psychoanalytic, ideological), cultural studies, intertextuality, feminist film, and television theory. (Hastie)

223 The Film/Video Essay This seminar focuses on "essayistic" approaches to scholarship and production, emphasizing relationships between theory and praxis that this mode of production requires. (Gustafson)

224 Mediating Difference This seminar considers theoretical and strategic, situated "difference" in the era of (semi-)colonialism, post-colonialism and globalism, examining theoretical writing alongside media works on the topic. (Wang)

225 Software Studies This seminar will explore a new set of work that artists and humanities scholars have forged through and around software.  Matthew Fuller’s recent edited collection, Software Studies: A Lexicon (MIT Press, 2008) is one the written resources we will employ.  New software built by and for software artists will constitute one of the primary foci of study (see, especially, repositories for software art such as Despite its ubiquity, most software ubiquitous to our culture has been designed and implemented by engineers, mathematicians, and scientists who have deployed little or no knowledge of the history of art, media, and culture in their creations and, thus, now the time is ripe for artists, designers and humanists to explore the medium of software to articulate a set of alternatives to the conditions of contemporary technology. (Sack)

226  Queer Theory and Global Film and Media
Examines queer subjectivities, practices, and theories in relation to globalization, transnationalism, and postcoloniality, focusing on film/media produced outside the United States. The course addresses representation and also uses queer theoretical work to engage wider contexts of film/media production,  distribution, and exhibition. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. P. Limbrick

227 Representing Memory  Studio-based hybrid practice/theory to explore problems of historical representation in film, video, and new media and engage with the production of new cinematic/visual forms that take on issues of personal, collective, and national memories.  

284 Film, Culture and Modernity Traces the rise of motion picture culture from the late 19th century through the end of the 1920s, looking at film's emerging visual and narrative grammar, its changing cultural status, and its engagement with shifting registers of class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. (Stamp)

2xx Ethnographic seminar/workshop This course will involve both theory and practice of ethnographic film and filmmaking. The course will concentrate on the literature, filmography and practice of ethnographic films. Students will produce several projects, both critical and in production. (Hollander)

2xx Digital Democracy A combined seminar and studio course, students will both review the current state of electronic government used at local, state, national and international levels. Final projects will include the design and implementation of new computer and network technologies for democratic governance. (Sack)

2xx Net.Art+Software.Art A studio, production-focused course in which students will actively participate in online, net art and software art communities (e.g.,; and research the contemporary fields of net art and software art. Students will be required to propose, prototype and then submit for a national or international competition a substantial work of net or software art. (Sack)

2xx Producing Critically: “Sirk and Fassbinder” This course examines the work of two directors, Douglas Sirk and Rainer W. Fassbinder, across a 50-year time period. The goal of this course is to consider the strategies of these two directors through a close examination of their films, to locate them and their work within a historical, social, and intellectual context, and then also to explore “authorship” as a concept with a constantly evolving and historically contingent definition. Students will produce both written scholarship and aural/visual work that explores the themes of the class: melodramas relationship to modernism, the changing conceptions and function of the “nuclear family”, structures of social reality, Brechtian strategies, style, and the relationship between authorship and meaning. (Gustafson)

2xx Theories of Interface | Art as Social Practice The term ‘Interface’ and its various contextual definitions will provide a point of departure from which to explore the ‘shared boundary’ or ‘point of contact’ between art and life, public and private, individual and collective, objects and spaces -- between the thoughts, emotions (motives), and intentions, of the artist and the world. This exploration will proceed through four foci; motives/emotions (for engaging in public discourse) - strategies/tactics (for addressing and resolving motives) - forms (that exist or evolve in which strategies and tactics can operate) - consequences (unmasking, materiality, change and the role of art practice in the social-political and cultural realms). (Daniel)

2xx Screen Ephemera and Popular Culture Examines the popular culture surrounding selected texts in cinema, television and internet culture, looking at how these “non-textual” sources inform our understanding of visual texts and create communities of viewers, fans, and participants. Case Study: Materiality and Moving-Image Media: An emphasis on objects and material forms in relation to representational and timebased media allows a delineation of the social and economic circuits of exchange in which we – and visual culture, in its various forms – participate. Through an examination of the uses of these objects and the intertextual and social practices into which we put them, we can also define those epistemological economies that structure the circuits of exchange within moving-image media culture and theory. These objects and our practices in relation to them suggest how we know media forms, time-based texts, and their histories. This seminar will finally consider how we have historically defined and redefined the “object” of media studies as respective disciplinary and interdisciplinary ventures. (Hastie)

2xx Meta-Televisual Practices This course will explore how television acts as an inherently self-reflexive and intertextual medium. These two characteristics are themselves often inherently linked, together reflecting on and often enclosing the world of television. Indeed, television’s self-reflexivity and intertextuality presents a paradox of sorts, as it both limits and extends its textual borders – creating a self-enclosed world, yet widening that world outside of the television set and television programming. This course will investigate how self-reflexivity and intertextuality function historically and in the present, how the medium’s textual borders are formed, and how television defines itself. By theorizing television’s practices, we will imaginatively reflect upon the medium and will create our own intertextual, critically engaged systems. (Hastie)

2xx Race and Representation This seminar examines televisual discourses of race, both historical and contemporary. How is television involved in the process of racialization and the formation of racial identities? What is the link between the representation of race relations on television and the social practices beyond it? How have representations of race shifted, what stimulated such changes, and in what directions do we see media discourses heading? Such questions embody Television Studies itself, specifically, the tri-polar relationship among: author/producer, text, and reader/viewer. (Kim)

2xx Theories of Visual Perception This seminar forges a comparative analysis of theories of visual perception in film and television. What are some of the aesthetic, psychological, and physiological principles of vision as they relate to ways in which one “sees” film and television, and what are the ways in which these are different from other visual experiences? The notion of visual pleasure will be interrogated and (re)defined with considerations of changing contexts of viewing, and shifting viewing practices emerging with new technology (e.g., dvrs, film and television available on the internet, and mobile phone content). (Kim)

2xx Architecture and Cinema The course will examine architectural work in the context of film and films which exploit architecture and provoke interesting theoretical questions in relation to co-mingling these two seemingly disparate disciplines. Students will create written and studio projects synthesizing and developing questions posed by the readings, films, and architectural projects observed in class. Readings will be from contemporary architectural theory as well as film and geography. (Lord)

2xx Approaches to Media Censorship and Regulation
Examines debates around the regulation of cinema-going and the censorship of moving image media from the earliest period through to the present, incorporating theoretical and historical questions around censorship, sexuality, violence and morality. (Stamp)

2xx New Genres/Video Installation/On Location This workshop provides a brief overview of the types of video installation art practices that have been explored, encourages critical thinking about video, and facilitates the development of one or more video installation projects among the students. It highlights both conceptual and practical strategies that redefine public/site specific visual and aural art experiences. There will be a particular focus on video acquisition, new and old, high and low tech cameras and projection systems, and tactics to stage modes of non-traditional projection/amplification. (Vazquez)

2xx Exploring New Documentary Forms This course is an investigation of new forms for creating documentary videos. Throughout the course we will be addressing various ethical, formal and thematic concerns underlying contemporary thinking about ethnographic and documentary film-making. Experimental documentary film and video makers will be introduced to discuss topics such as Poetic Ethnography, Performance Documentation, The Political Documentary, the use of Found Footage and Self-Reflexive approaches. Students will produce a single documentary project that will challenge, experiment with and question the formal documentary film/video tradition. (Vazquez)

2xx Postcolonial Theories and Cinemas This course will examine issues in postcolonial theory as they pertain to international cinema and media. Central to our inquiry will be questions around the following themes: the relationship between postcolonial theory and theories of globalization; contemporary manifestations and theories of empire and imperialism; the uneven implications of the term “postcolonial;” postcolonial theory and theories of national cinema; gender, sexuality and postcolonial theory. In particular, the course will also interrogate the place of the US in the historical and contemporary modes of imperial, colonial, and postcolonial discourse that we will examine. (Limbrick)

292 Seminar in Thesis Area Students will explore the process of defining and focusing areas of inquiry for the dissertation and will discuss problems of thesis design and exposition.

295 Directed Reading Systematic working through of a prearranged bibliography in each student’s area, which is filed as a final report at the end of the quarter.

297 Independent Study Research with a faculty member, leading to the production of a dissertation proposal.

299. Thesis Research Research with a faculty member in preparation for the qualifying exam.