Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Summary of Requirements | Grading | Honors | Advising | Minor Program in Cinema and Media Studies | Courses

Department Website:

Program of Study

For more than a century, and across widely different cultures, film has been a primary medium for storytelling; it has served to depict and explore the world, to engage and shape the human senses and emotions, memory, and imagination. We live in a time in which the theatrical exhibition of films to a paying public is no longer the primary venue in which motion pictures are consumed. But cinema seems to survive, even as it is being transformed by television, video, and digital media; these media, in turn, are giving rise to new forms of moving image culture.

The major in Cinema and Media Studies provides a framework within which students can approach the history of film and related media from a variety of historical, critical, and theoretical perspectives. Focusing on the study of the moving image, as well as sound, the program enables students to analyze how cinema creates meanings through particular forms, techniques, and styles; how industrial organization affects the way films are produced and received; and how the social context in which they are made and circulated influences our understanding of the medium.

At the same time, the goal is to situate the cinema and related media in broader contexts: modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde; narrative theory, poetics, and rhetoric; commercial entertainment forms and consumer culture; sexuality and gender; constructions of ethnic, racial, and national identities; and international media production and circulation.

Students graduating with a Cinema and Media Studies major will be trained in critical, formal, theoretical, and historical thinking and analysis. The program thus fosters discussion and writing skills. Students will gain the tools to approach film history as well as today's media environment within specific cultural contexts and broad transnational perspectives.

Students wishing to enter the program should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies no later than Spring Quarter of their second year. Participation in the program must be declared to the Director of Undergraduate Studies before registration. 

Program Requirements

The major consists of twelve courses (four required courses and eight elective courses) and a BA research paper.

Required Courses

The following five courses are required:

CMST 10100 Introduction to Film Analysis: This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of film analysis. It should be completed before other Cinema and Media Studies courses; it must be completed before other required courses. It should be completed as early as possible; it must be completed by the end of the third year.

History of International Cinema sequence CMST 28500 and 28600: This required two-quarter sequence covers the silent era (CMST 28500 History of International Cinema I: Silent Era) and the sound era to 1960 (CMST 28600 History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960), as well as major characteristics and developments of each. It is typically taught in Autumn and Winter Quarters. It should be completed by the end of the third year.

CMST 29800 Senior Colloquium: In Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, students must participate in a Senior Colloquium that helps them conceptualize their BA research paper and address more advanced questions of methodology and theory. There are additional stipulations for those pursuing a Creative BA; see BA Research Paper for details.

CMST 29900 BA Research Paper: Students are required to register for CMST 29900 BA Research Paper during the term in which they plan to graduate from the College. CMST 29900 BA Research Paper is a zero-unit course, but enrollment ensures that a thesis grade will appear on the student's transcript. 

Elective Courses

Of the eight remaining courses, five must either originate in or be cross-listed with Cinema and Media Studies. Students must receive prior approval of the five courses that they choose, and they are encouraged to consider broad survey courses as well as those with more focused topics (e.g., courses devoted to a single genre, director, or national cinema). Members of the affiliated faculty often teach courses that meet requirements for the three elective courses; students are encouraged to consult with them when making their selections. A course agreement form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Autumn Quarter of the student's third year is available on the CMS website at

Although the other three courses may be taken outside Cinema and Media Studies, students must demonstrate their relevance to the study of cinema. For example, a group of courses could focus on: traditional disciplines (e.g., history, anthropology/ethnography, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, sociology, political economy); subfields within area studies (e.g., East Asian, South Asian, African American, Jewish studies); art forms and media other than film, photography, and video (e.g., art history, architecture, literature, theater, opera, dance); or cross-disciplinary topics or sets of problems (e.g., the urban environment, violence and pornography, censorship, copyright and industry regulation, concepts of the public sphere, globalization). A form listing and explaining the choice of outside electives must be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Winter Quarter of the student's third year is available on the CMS website at

Note: CMS majors may not enroll in CMST 14400 Film and the Moving Image or any of the CMST 14500-14599 courses.

BA Research Paper

Before seventh week of Spring Quarter of their third year, students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss the focus of their required BA project. Students begin reading and research during the summer. Students must enroll in CMST 29800 Senior Colloquium during the Autumn Quarter of their fourth year. By the end of fourth week of that term, students select a project adviser and prepare to present an outline of their project to the Senior Colloquium. Writing and revising take place during Winter Quarter. All students are required to register for the zero-unit course CMST 29900 BA Research Paper during the term in which they plan to graduate from the College. The final version is due by fourth week of that quarter.

The BA research paper typically consists of a substantial essay that engages a research topic in the history, theory, and criticism of film and/or other media. 

Creative BA Option: A creative project in film or video production supplemented by an essay is sometimes an option, contingent on the approval of the faculty. To be considered for this option, the student will submit a written proposal to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the seventh week of Spring Quarter of the third year. Priority will be given to students who have completed three production classes (two must originate in CMST) by the end of Autumn Quarter of their fourth year.

In addition to enrollment in CMST 29800 Senior Colloquium during the Autumn Quarter of the fourth year, students who supplement their BA thesis project with film or video work are required to enroll in the CMST 23904 Senior Creative Thesis Workshop during the Winter Quarter of their fourth year. CMST 23904 may not be counted toward distribution requirements for the major; it will serve as general elective credit only. All students are required to register for the zero-unit course CMST 29900 BA Research Paper during the term in which they plan to graduate from the College.

Summary of Requirements

CMST 10100Introduction to Film Analysis100
CMST 28500-28600History of International Cinema I-II200
CMST 29800Senior Colloquium §100
5 elective courses in Cinema and Media Studies (courses originating in or cross listed with Cinema and Media Studies) *500
3 elective courses (courses originating in Cinema and Media Studies or elsewhere that are relevant to the study of cinema) **300
CMST 29900BA Research Paper 000
Total Units1200

Students with permission to pursue a Creative BA Project are required to enroll in CMST 23904 Senior Creative Thesis Workshop during Winter Quarter of their fourth year. However, this course will not count toward major requirements.


A course agreement form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Autumn Quarter of a student's third year is required to obtain approval of these courses.


A form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Winter Quarter of a student's third year is required to obtain approval of these courses.

Students are required to register for CMST 29900 BA Research Paper, although it carries no course credit. Students must register for CMST 29900 during the term in which they graduate from the College.


Students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies must receive a quality grade in all courses required for the major. With prior consent of instructor, non-majors may take Cinema and Media Studies courses for P/F grading.


Students who have earned an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher and a major GPA of 3.5 or higher are eligible for honors. To receive honors, students must also write a BA research paper that shows exceptional intellectual and/or creative merit in the judgment of the first and the second readers, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division.


A course agreement form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Autumn Quarter of the student's third year is required to obtain approval of the five elective courses that must either originate in or be cross listed with Cinema and Media Studies. A form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Winter Quarter of the student's fourth year is required to obtain approval of the three additional elective courses. Both forms are available on the CMS website at

Minor Program in Cinema and Media Studies

The minor in Cinema and Media Studies requires the completion of six courses:

CMST 10100Introduction to Film Analysis100
CMST 28500-28600History of International Cinema I-II200
Three courses numbered 20000 or above300
Total Units600

Students are encouraged to take CMST 10100 Introduction to Film Analysis early in their undergraduate career, or at the beginning of their minor course of study. It must be taken no later than Spring Quarter of a student's third year.

Students who elect the minor program in Cinema and Media Studies must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before the end of the Winter Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor and to select courses. The Director's approval of the minor program should be submitted to a student's College adviser no later than the end of Spring Quarter of a student's third year. Approval forms are obtained from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the department website, or the College adviser.

Courses in the minor (1) may not be double-counted with the student's major(s) or with other minors; and (2) may not be counted toward general education requirements. All classes toward the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Sample Minor Program in Cinema and Media Studies

CMST 10100Introduction to Film Analysis100
CMST 28500History of International Cinema I: Silent Era100
CMST 28600History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960100
CMST 23404French Cinema of the '20s and '30s100
CMST 24701Left-Wing Art and Soviet Film Culture of the 1920s100
CMST 25201Cinema and the First Avant-Garde, 1890-1933100

For the most up-to-date listing of Cinema and Media Studies courses, please visit the Courses page on the Cinema and Media Studies website, at

Cinema and Media Studies Courses

CMST 10100. Introduction to Film Analysis. 100 Units.

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring,Winter
Note(s): Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 20000,ENGL 10800,ARTV 20300

CMST 14400. Film and the Moving Image. 100 Units.

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring,Winter
Note(s): Open only to non-CMS majors; may not count towards CMS major requirements.,For non-majors, any CMST 14400 through 14599 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

CMST 14505. Visual Style in Still and Moving Images. 100 Units.

The course surveys elements of styles and techniques common to the visual arts. We will discuss framing and editing, moment and movement, action and narration, and other visual devices as used by artists, photographers, architects, and filmmakers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Instructor(s): Y. Tsivian     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 14507. Margins of the Medium: Text/Image. 100 Units.

In this course, we will study nineteenth- and twentieth-century visual and written texts from primarily French photographic, literary, painterly, and cinematic traditions. These thematically interrogate spatial, cultural, geographic, social, and political margins. By also examining the long-standing and often fraught historical and theoretical relationship between text and image, we will simultaneously investigate the boundaries between divergent media practices (photography, literature, film, painting) in order to question the visual, narrative, and philosophic limits of representation.

Instructor(s): J. Wild     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, this course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

CMST 14560. Cinema and Magic. 100 Units.

This course will explore the connection between cinema and ideas of magic, including the relation of film to magical illusions, the relation of avant-garde films to occult ideas of magic, and the portrayal of magic and the occult in films.

Instructor(s): T. Gunning     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): For non-majors, CMST 14400 and 14500 through 14599 meet the general education requirement in the arts.

CMST 14603. Topics in EALC: Contemporary East Asian Horror Cinema. 100 Units.

Since the mid 1990s, Asian Horror films have been enormously popular. Films like The Ring (Japan) and A Tale of Two Sisters (South Korea) were not only extremely successful in their countries of origin, but have gained worldwide cult followings since their original releases. Their worldwide fans and distributors sometimes distinguish these films by their country of origin (J-Horror vs. K-Horror vs. C-Horror), but sometimes opt for collective designations (Asian Horror). We will be considering the usefulness of each designation by considering both tendencies that are unique to each national cinema (such as the “Haunted Girls High School” trope found in K-Horror films like Whispering Corridors and Memento Mori, or the “Haunted New Media” trope common in J-Horror films like The Ring and Pulse), as well as the marketing of a pan-Asian “extreme” horror in films like Audition and A Tale of Two Sisters, not to mention international co-productions like Three... Extremes. In so doing, we will be considering the relationship of these films to other aspects of contemporaneous East Asian filmmaking, from other genre films that are grouped under the “extreme” designation to the arthouse tendencies of “slow cinema” that can be found in horror films like Visible Secret and Pulse. This course will be an introduction to the major films and filmmakers of horror from Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong from the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s (roughly the peak of its international following).

Instructor(s): William Carroll     Terms Offered: Spring,Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 10703,EALC 10703

CMST 20400. Media Wars: Resistance, Gender and Sexuality, and Discourses. 100 Units.

In our contemporary moment, we have become accustomed to such terms as 'counter-terrorism' that signal an effort to resist internal and external threats, and those suggesting that we live in an age of 'post-truth' dominated by 'corporate media', 'fake news', and 'fact-challenged' journalism. Taking this contemporary platform as our starting place, this course explores how these terms and their use have been gendered; have situated both gender and sexuality within their discursive purview; and have also deployed concepts of gender and sexuality as either weapons of resistance or objects of destruction. This course will be historically organized insofar as we will begin our discussion with ways that media—broadly conceived to include cinema, print, and visual-cultural forms, television, and the internet—have aimed to “counter” patriarchal, heteronormative, and hegemonic systems of representation of gender and sexuality, while also discussing how media discourses of truth and non-truth have been historically constructed and deployed (documentary, propaganda). This course will also function as a research laboratory, where students will be asked to track, evaluate, and theorize contemporary or historical media that situate gender and sexuality within a so-called “media war,” or in their construction and dissemination of “truth” and/or resistance.   

Instructor(s): J. Wild     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMST 21200. Politics of Film in Twentieth-Century American History. 100 Units.

This course examines selected themes in twentieth-century American political history through both the literature written by historians and filmic representations by Hollywood and documentary filmmakers. We will read one historical interpretation and view one film on themes like the following: Woodrow Wilson and World War I, the emergence of Pacific Rim cities like Los Angeles, Roosevelt's New Deal, the Japanese-American experience in World War II, McCarthyism and the Korean War, the Cold War and the nuclear balance of terror, radical movements of the 1960s, and multiculturalism in the 1990s.

Instructor(s): B. Cumings     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): View films on Mondays prior to class.
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 18500

CMST 21806. The New Latin American Cinema and Its Afterlife. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to Latin American film studies through an assessment of its most critically celebrated period of radical filmmaking. The New Latin American Cinema (NLAC) of the late 1950s–70s generated unprecedented international enthusiasm for Latin American film production. The filmmakers of this loosely designated movement were defining themselves in relation to global realist film traditions like Italian Neorealism and Griersonian documentary, in relation to—mostly failed—experiments in building Hollywood-style national film industries, and in relation to regional discourses of underdevelopment and mestizaje. Since the late 1990s, a reassessment of the legacy of the NLAC has been taking shape as scholars have begun to interrogate its canonical status in the face of a changed political climate. In the sphere of filmmaking, contemporary Latin American new wave cinemas are also grappling with that legacy—sometimes disavowing it, sometimes appropriating it. We will situate the NLAC in its historical context, survey its formal achievements and political aspirations, assess its legacy, and take stock of the ways and the reasons that it haunts contemporary production.

Instructor(s): S. Skvirsky     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 31806

CMST 23820. Unsettling Encounters: Colonial Latin America in Film. 100 Units.

This course explores a selection of foundational texts of Latin American literature in conversation with films about colonial Latin America by American and European directors. We will engage questions of how, when, and why images remember historical moments, and will consider the possibilities and limitations of using film to represent history. Students will learn and practice techniques of textual analysis and film criticism while discussing themes such as visual literacy, cultural imperialism, and economic colonialism.

Instructor(s): L. Brewer-García     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor.
Note(s): Taught in Spanish.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 24420,CRES 24420,SPAN 24420

CMST 23904. Senior Creative Thesis Workshop. 100 Units.

This seminar will focus on how to craft a creative thesis in film or video. Works-in-progress will be screened each week, and technical and structural issues relating to the work will be explored. The workshop will also develop the written portion of the creative thesis. The course is limited to seniors from CMS and DoVA, and MAPH students working on a creative thesis.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930; CMST 23931; departmental approval of senior creative thesis project.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23904,ARTV 33904

CMST 23905. Creative Thesis Workshop. 100 Units.

This seminar will focus on how to craft a creative thesis in film or video. Works-in-progress will be screened each week, and technical and structural issues relating to the work will be explored. The workshop will also develop the written portion of the creative thesis. The class is limited to seniors from CMS and DOVA, and MAPH students working on a creative thesis.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Spring,Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930; CMST 23931 or 27600; departmental approval of senior creative thesis project.
Note(s): CMST 23905 cannot be used to meet distribution requirements.

CMST 23930. Documentary Production I. 100 Units.

Documentary Video Production focuses on the making of independent documentary video. Examples of direct cinema, cinéma vérité, the essay, ethnographic film, the diary, historical and biographical film, agitprop/activist forms, and guerilla television will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between documentary fact and fiction, will be explored. Pre-production strategies and production techniques will be taught, including the camera, interviews and sound recording, shooting in available light, working in crews, and post-production editing. Students will be expected to purchase a portable FireWire. A five-minute string-out/rough-cut will be screened at the end of the quarter. Students are encouraged to take Documentary Production II to complete their work.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent enrollment in CMST 10100 is strongly recommended.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23930

CMST 23931. Documentary Production II. 100 Units.

This course focuses on the shaping and crafting of a nonfiction video. Students are expected to write a treatment detailing their project. Production techniques focus on the handheld camera versus tripod, interviewing and microphone placement, and lighting for the interview. Postproduction covers editing techniques and distribution strategies. Students then screen final projects in a public space.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930 or ARTV 23930.
Note(s): This course meets for two quarters.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23931,HMRT 25107

CMST 24568. The Underground: Alienation, Mobilization, Resistance. 100 Units.

The ancient and multivalent image of the underground has crystallized over the last two centuries to denote sites of disaffection from—and strategies of resistance to—dominant social, political and cultural systems. We will trace the development of this metaphor from the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s and the French Resistance during World War II to the Weather Underground in the 1960s-1970s, while also considering it as a literary and artistic concept, from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground and Ellison’s Invisible Man to Chris Marker’s film La Jetée and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Alongside with such literary and cinematic tales, drawing theoretical guidance from refuseniks from Henry David Thoreau to Guy Debord, this course investigates how countercultural spaces become—or fail to become—sites of political resistance, and also how dissenting ideologies give rise to countercultural spaces. We ask about the relation between social deviance (the failure to meet social norms, whether willingly or unwittingly) and political resistance, especially in the conditions of late capitalism and neo-colonialism, when countercultural literature, film and music (rock, punk, hip-hop, DIY aesthetics etc.) get absorbed into—and coopted by—the hegemonic socio-economic system. In closing we will also consider contemporary forms of dissidence—from Pussy Riot to Black Lives Matter—that rely both on the vulnerability of individual bodies and global communication networks. Instructor(s): Robert Bird     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): REES 36068,SIGN 26012,CMST 34568,REES 26068

CMST 24615. Chinese Musicals. 100 Units.

Are there Chinese musicals? It very much depends on what we would consider a Chinese musical. To answer Adrian Martin’s call for “Musical Mutations: Before, Beyond and Against Hollywood,” this course will look for Chinese musicals in both obvious and unlikely places. The “musical mutations” under discussion include traditional opera adaptation, back-stage opera film, martial-arts opera film, Maoist opera film, musical comedy, song-and-dance film, melo-drama, Hong Kong musical, and most certainly the “apocalyptic” musical named by Martin, The Hole (Tsai Ming-liang, 1998). The tripartite developments of Chinese-language cinemas provide a privileged site to chart the ways the musical genre expands, transforms, and rejuvenates across time and borders.

Instructor(s): X. Dong     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Pre-requisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 24614

CMST 24813. South African Fictions and Factions. 100 Units.

This course examines the intersection of narrative in print and film (fiction and documentary) in Southern Africa since mid-20th-century decolonization. We begin with Cry, the Beloved Country, a best seller written by South African Alan Paton while in the US, and the original film version by a Hungarian-born, British-based director (Zoltan Korda) and an American screenwriter (John Howard Lawson), which together show both the international impact of South African stories and the important elements missed by overseas audiences. We will continue with fictional and nonfictional narrative responses to apartheid and decolonization in film and in print, and examine the power and the limits of what critic Louise Bethlehem has called the “rhetoric of urgency” on local and international audiences. We will conclude with writing and film that grapples with the complexities of the post-apartheid world, whose challenges, from crime and corruption to AIDS and the particular problems faced by women and gender minorities, elude the heroic formulas of the anti-apartheid struggle era. (B)

Instructor(s): L. Kruger     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): PQ: one course in the HUM Core
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 24813,CRES 24813,ENGL 24813

CMST 24919. Japanese Cinema: 1950 to the Present. 100 Units.

In this course, we will look at the history and theory of cinema and media culture in Japan. We will closely examine the Golden Age of the 1950s and its precipitous decline, the rise of the new cinemas in the 1960s, and the postmodern and independent cinemas in the face of global capitalism. The course will also pay attention to topics of contemporary media such as media convergence, the media ecologies of contemporary anime (and manga/comic), and media activism after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. We will proceed through careful analysis of films, anime, and digital media, while also addressing larger questions of historiography, and work to integrate such inquiries into discussions of film style and aesthetics, identity, the nation, and other issues.

Instructor(s): T. Tsunoda     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 24919

CMST 24923. Contemporary Media in Japan. 100 Units.

This course will investigate contemporary films, audiovisual media works, and electronic media creations that explore and/or reflect such issues as ambient aesthetics, self-mediation, and new techniques of everyday life.

Instructor(s): T. Tsunoda     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 25204. Media Ecology: Embodiment and Software. 100 Units.

Media ecology examines how the structure and content of our media environments—online and offline, in words, images, sounds, and textures—affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; or alternatively, media ecology investigates the massive and dynamic interrelation of processes and objects, beings and things, patterns and matter. At stake are issues about agency—human or material—and about determinism—how does society or culture interact with or shape its technologies, or vice versa? This course investigates theories of media ecology by exploring systems of meanings that humans embody (cultural, social, ecological) in conjunction with the emerging field of software studies about the cultural, political, social, and aesthetic impacts of software (e.g., code, interaction, interface). In our actual and virtual environments, how do we understand performing our multiple human embodiments in relation to other bodies (organism or machine) in pursuit of social or political goals?

Instructor(s): M. Browning     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 25203,LLSO 27801,TAPS 28452,HUMA 25202

CMST 25505. The Detective Film. 100 Units.

This course will survey the detective genre from its origins in the silent serial film through its development in film noir and neo-noir as well as its transformation in what is often called Metaphysical Detective films which explore the limits of the genre.

Instructor(s): T. Gunning     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 25505

CMST 25611. Line, Trace, Motion: Computation and Experiment in Animation. 100 Units.

Interpreting what we mean by animation broadly, this course will investigate computational moving-image making through the lens of experimental animation. We will take as our point of departure the films of Rettinger, Ruttmann, Fischinger, McLaren, and Breer, but will also draw upon artifacts and 'animated lines' taken from further afield: found footage / artifact films of Jacobs, dance drawings of Brown, kinetic sculptures of Bit International, early plotter art, avant-garde music notation, and contemporary techniques of motion and performance capture.  This course will develop theoretical lines of inquiry that run in two directions: an excavation of a “pre-history” of contemporary new media graphic techniques and a reinterpretation / reinvigoration of our understanding of early animation.  Film production, hand-animation or computer programming experience are welcome (but none are prequisites for the course). Students will be expected to complete regular short “sketches” of techniques towards a final short animated film.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 20004,ARTV 30004,CMST 35611

CMST 25953. Transmedia Game. 100 Units.

This experimental course explores the emerging game genre of “transmedia” or “alternate reality” gaming. Transmedia games use the real world as their platform while incorporating text, video, audio, social media, websites, and other forms. We will approach new media theory through the history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. Course requirements include weekly blog entry responses to theoretical readings; an analytical midterm paper; and collaborative participation in a single narrative-based transmedia game project. No preexisting technical expertise is required but a background in any of the following areas will help: creative writing, literary or media theory, web design, visual art, computer programming, performance, and game design.

Instructor(s): P. Jagoda     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 25953,ARTV 25401,CMST 35953,CRWR 26003,CRWR 46003,ENGL 32311,TAPS 28455

CMST 26302. Ernst Lubitsch: An International Style. 100 Units.

“How would Lubitsch do it?” asks Billy Wilder, who famously hung this question in his office. He asked the question hanging in the minds of generations of filmmakers around the world, most likely including Lubitsch himself. In a career spanning nearly three decades, Lubitsch’s name has come to denote a style about style, first exported from Germany to Hollywood and then from Hollywood to the world. In this sense, Lubitsch is first and foremost a filmmaker for filmmakers, and his style decidedly an international one. It is the goal of this course to examine a broadly defined international stylistic history developed by and associated with Lubitsch, whose legacy cannot be adequately assessed without such a perspective. With dual emphases on formal and historical analyses, we will look at Lubitsch’s early Weimar comedy and epic films, American silent masterpieces, musicals, sound comedies, and political farces, as well as Lubitsch-esque films made in Japan, China, and France.

Instructor(s): X. Dong     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 36302,FNDL 26507

CMST 26400. The Cinema of Charlie Chaplin. 100 Units.

The course looks at Chaplin and his long film career from a number of perspectives. One of these is Chaplin’s acting technique inherited from commedia dell’arte and enriched by cinematic devices; another is Chaplin as a person involved in a series of political and sexual scandals; yet another one is Chaplin as a myth fashioned within twentieth-century art movements like German Expressionist poetry, French avant-garde painting, or Soviet Constructivist art.

Instructor(s): Y. Tsivian     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.

CMST 26500. The Films of Alfred Hitchcock. 100 Units.

No single filmmaker has equaled Alfred Hitchcock’s combination of popular success, critical commentary and widespread influence on other filmmakers. Currently, his work is so familiar it threatens to be taken for granted. This course will reveal Hitchcock as the filmmaker who systematically used the stylistics of late silent film to forge a dialectical approach to the so-called Classical Style. Hitchcock devised a relation among narrative, spectator and character point of view, yielding a configuration of suspense, sensation and perception. Tracing Hitchcock’s career chronologically, we will follow his intertwining of sexual desire and gender politics, and his reshaping of melodrama according to Freudian concepts of repression, memory, interpretation and abreaction, as he navigates from silent film to sound and from Great Britain to Hollywood.

Instructor(s): T. Gunning     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 - Introduction to Film Analysis, and preferably CMST 28500 - History of International Cinema, Part I.

CMST 27110. Digital Cinema. 100 Units.

Since the 1970s, movies have become increasingly dependent on digital technologies. This course explores a range of issues related to the digitization of cinema’s production, distribution, and exhibition, including the cultural contexts and aesthetic practices surrounding these technological shifts as well as their experiential and political dimensions. In particular, we will explore such topics as digital cinematography’s relation to cinematic realism, emerging trends in editing practices, the political implications of digital special effects, and the ways that other digital media influence cinematic techniques. Texts discussed include works by Lev Manovich, Stephen Prince, Kristen Whissel, Hito Steyerl, Steven Shaviro, and Vivian Sobchack. Screenings include works by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, Agnes Varda, Bong Joon-Ho, Michael Bay, Brad Bird, and Leos Carax.

Instructor(s): J. Schonig     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 27815. Introduction to Art, Technology, and Media. 100 Units.

The course gives an introduction to the relationship between art, media, and technology, as articulated in art practice, media theory, and art theory/history. The key focus is the relationship between 20th-century art and so-called "new media" (from photography, film, radio, TV to computers and digital technologies), but older instances of art- and media-historical perspectives will also be discussed. The objective of the course is to give insight into the historical exchanges between art and technological development, as well as critical tools for discussing the concept of the medium and the relationship between art, sensation/perception, visuality, and mediation. The course will also function as an introduction to the fields of media aesthetics and media archaeology.

Instructor(s): I. Blom     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 31315,CMST 37815,ARTH 21315

CMST 27915. Introduction to Videogame Studies: Art, Play, and Society. 100 Units.

This course is intended as an introduction to the study of videogames in the humanities. Topics include videogame form (visual style, spatial design, sound, and genre); videogames as a narrative medium; embodiment and hapticity in videogame play; issues of identity/identification, performance, and access related to gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, ability, and class; and rhetorical, educational, and political uses of videogames. Just as the videogame medium has drawn from older forms of art and play, so the emerging field of videogame studies has grown out of and in conversation with surrounding disciplines. With this in mind, readings and topics of discussion will be drawn both from videogame studies proper and from other fields in the humanities - including, but not limited to, English, art history, and cinema and media studies.


Undergraduates should be prepared for an MA-level reading load but will write final papers of the standard length for upper-level undergraduate courses (8-10 pages versus 12-15 for MA students). MA students interested in pursuing a particular research topic in-depth will be given supplemental readings. This course will also be designed to take advantage of the University of Chicago's videogame collection, and will require game play both individually and as part of group play sessions.

Instructor(s): Christopher Carloy     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 24515,MAPH 34515

CMST 27920. Virtual Reality Production. 100 Units.

Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of virtual reality, this class will explore and interrogate each stage of production for VR. By hacking their way around the barriers and conventions of current software and hardware to create new optical experiences, students will design, construct and deploy new ways of capturing the world with cameras and develop new strategies and interactive logics for placing images into virtual spaces. Underpinning these explorations will be a careful discussion, dissection and reconstruction of techniques found in the emerging VR “canon” that spans new modes of journalism and documentary, computer games, and narrative “VR cinema.” Film production and computer programming experience is welcome but not a prerequisite for the course. Students will be expected to complete short “sketches” of approaches in VR towards a final short VR experience.

Instructor(s): M. Downie     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37920,ARTV 27920,ARTV 37920

CMST 28003. Issues in Film Sound. 100 Units.

Taking advantage of recent developments in the field of sound studies, this course examines issues in film sound (technology, sense experience, histories of listening, sonic space, soundscape construction, the materiality of sound formats, etc.) that speak to broader concerns in the humanities, especially sound-related arts.  While we will focus on a film or films every week, from blockbusters like Gravity to avant-garde and experimental films, the readings and issues will touch on everything from noise pollution, architecture, musical performance and recording, and mp3 files. Students interested in installation and environmental arts, sound in literary studies, music, and other sound-focused fields are welcome.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Winter

CMST 28201. Political Documentary Film. 100 Units.

This course explores the political documentary film, its intersection with historical and cultural events, and its opposition to Hollywood and traditional media. We will examine various documentary modes of production, from films with a social message, to advocacy and activist film, to counter-media and agit-prop. We will also consider the relationship between the filmmaker, film subject and audience, and how political documentaries are disseminated and, most importantly, part of political struggle.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38201,ARTV 20202

CMST 28301. Opera in the Age of Its Mechanical Reproducibility. 100 Units.

Focusing on a diverse set of productions of Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" by Ingmar Bergman, William Kentridge, Martin Kusej, Simon McBurney, and Julie Taymor, we will seek to locate opera in the contemporary medial landscape, exploring some of the theoretical stakes, dramaturgical challenges, and interpretive achievements that characterize opera on film, DVD, and via live-streaming. Readings by W. Benjamin, T. W. Adorno, F. Jameson, M. Dolar, C. Abbate, P. Auslander, et al.

Instructor(s): D. Levin
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 37717,TAPS 28422,TAPS 38422,CMST 38301,GRMN 27717

CMST 28310. Kafka and Performance. 100 Units.

This laboratory seminar is devoted to exploring the texts of Franz Kafka through the lens of performance.  In addition to weekly scenic experiments and extensive critical readings (on Kafka as well as performance theory) we will explore the rich history of adapting Kafka in film, theater, puppetry, opera, and performance.

Instructor(s): D. Levin, S. Bockley     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 22110,TAPS 32110,FNDL 22115,GRMN 23110,CMST 38310,GRMN 32110

CMST 28500-28600. History of International Cinema I-II.

This sequence is required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Taking these courses in sequence is strongly recommended but not required.

CMST 28500. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era. 100 Units.

This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400,CMST 48500,ENGL 29300,ENGL 48700,MAPH 36000,ARTV 20002

CMST 28600. History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960. 100 Units.

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

Instructor(s): Y. Tsivian     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28600,ARTH 38600,CMLT 22500,CMLT 32500,CMST 48600,ENGL 29600,ENGL 48900,MAPH 33700,ARTV 20003

CMST 28700. History of International Cinema, Part III: 1960 to Present. 100 Units.

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the late 1950s through the 1990s. We will focus on New Cinemas in France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. We will pay special attention to experimental stylistic developments, women directors, and well-known auteurs. After the New Cinema era we will examine various developments in world cinema, including the rise of Bollywood, East Asian film cultures, and other movements. 

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course follows the subject matter taught in CMST 28500/48500 and CMST 28600/48600, but these are not prerequisites.

CMST 28801. Computational Imaging. 100 Units.

This studio course introduces fundamental tools and concepts used in the production of computer-mediated artwork. Instruction includes a survey of standard digital imaging software and hardware (i.e., Photoshop, scanners, storage, printing, etc.), as well as exposure to more sophisticated methods. We also view and discuss the historical precedents and current practice of media art. Using input and output hardware, students complete conceptually driven projects emphasizing personal direction while gaining core digital knowledge.

Instructor(s): J. Salavon     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, or 10300
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 32500,CMST 38801,ARTV 22500

CMST 29700. Reading and Research CMST. 100 Units.

This course is primarily intended for students who are majoring in Cinema and Media Studies and who can best meet program requirements by studying under a faculty member's individual supervision. The subject matter, course of study, and requirements are arranged with the instructor prior to registration.

Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring,Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of faculty adviser and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. This course may be counted toward distribution requirements for the major.

CMST 29800. Senior Colloquium. 100 Units.

This seminar is designed to provide fourth-year students with a sense of the variety of methods and approaches in the field (e.g., formal analysis, cultural history, industrial history, reception studies, psychoanalysis). Students present material related to their BA project, which is discussed in relation to the issues of the course.

Instructor(s): J. Stewart     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.

CMST 29900. BA Research Paper. 000 Units.

No description available.

Terms Offered: Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. This course may not be counted toward requirements for the major or as a free-elective credit.


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies
James Lastra
Classics 310

Administrative Contact

Department Coordinator
Traci Verleyen
Classics 304


Daniel Morgan
Classics 308