Contacts | Program of Study | Major Program in Cinema and Media Studies | Summary of Requirements: Major in Cinema and Media Studies | Grading | Honors | Advising | Study Abroad | Minor Program in Cinema and Media Studies | Cinema and Media Studies Courses
Department Website: http://cms.uchicago.edu
Program of Study
The major program 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 focusing their studies in Cinema and Media Studies major will be trained in critical, formal, theoretical, and historical thinking and analysis. The curriculum fosters discussion and writing skills, and students will gain the tools to approach film history as well as today's media environment within specific cultural contexts and broad transnational perspectives.
Major Program in Cinema and Media Studies
Students wishing to major in Cinema and Media Studies should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies early in their second year to help construct their course plan going forward; this meeting should take place by the end of Spring Quarter of a student's second year. Participation in the major must be declared to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the subsequent approved paperwork will be sent to the student's College adviser for official registration.
The major in Cinema and Media Studies consists of twelve courses—four required courses and eight electives—and the completion of a BA research paper. The following four (4) 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.
CMST 28500-28600 History of International Cinema I-II: 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. Note: Students are also required to register for CMST 29900 B.A. Essay: CMST during their final year in the College, preferably during the quarter they intend to graduate. This is a zero-unit course, but enrollment ensures that a thesis grade will appear on the student's transcript.
Of the eight (8) remaining courses, five (5) 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 from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, 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). The Major Course Agreement Form is to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Autumn Quarter of the student's third year and is available on the Cinema and Media Studies website.
Although the other three (3) electives 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); subfields within area studies (e.g., East Asian, African American, Jewish studies); art forms and media (e.g., art history, theater, opera); or cross-disciplinary topics or sets of problems (e.g., the urban environment, violence and pornography, censorship, concepts of the public sphere). A Further Electives Form explaining the choice of outside electives must be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval.
Cinema and Media Studies courses eligible for the general education requirement in the arts (CMST 14400 Film and the Moving Image; CMST 14500-14599) may not be used to satisfy requirements in the Cinema and Media Studies major or minor.
Before the seventh week of Spring Quarter of the third year, students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss the focus of their required BA project. Students should try to begin reading and research during Summer Quarter. Students must enroll in CMST 29800 Senior Colloquium during the Autumn Quarter of their fourth year. By the end of week four of Autumn Quarter, students select a project advisor 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 B.A. Essay: CMST during the academic year in which they plan to graduate from the College. The final version is due by fourth week of the quarter the student intends to graduate.
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. A creative project in film or video production supplemented by an essay (the Creative BA Option, outlined below) is sometimes an option, contingent on faculty approval.
Creative BA Option: 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 courses (two  of which must originate in Cinema and Media Studies) by the end of Autumn Quarter of their fourth year. These courses should be used to fulfill the electives in the Cinema and Media Studies major; two (2) of the courses must be taken by the end of the student's third year—a third production course may only be taken during Autumn Quarter of 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 23905 Creative Thesis Workshop during Winter Quarter of fourth year. The Creative Thesis Workshop 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 B.A. Essay: CMST during the academic year they plan to graduate from the College.
Summary of Requirements: Major in Cinema and Media Studies
|CMST 10100||Introduction to Film Analysis||100|
|CMST 28500-28600||History of International Cinema I-II||200|
|CMST 29800||Senior Colloquium §||100|
|Five electives originating in or cross-listed with Cinema and Media Studies †||500|
|Three electives relevant to the study of cinema †||300|
|CMST 29900||B.A. Essay: CMST||000|
Students with permission to pursue the Creative BA Thesis Project are required to enroll in CMST 23905 Creative Thesis Workshop during Winter Quarter of fourth year. This course does not count towards major requirements.
Students must submit a Major Course Agreement Form (and a Further Electives Form if necessary) to the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval before a major can be officially declared.
Students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies must receive a quality grade in all courses required for the major. With prior consent of the 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 cms.uchicago.edu.
The College’s Winter Quarter Cinema and Media Studies program in Paris provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to explore the study of film and related media at the University of Chicago Center in Paris. The program includes two courses that can be used toward the College’s general education requirement in the arts, while the third course may be used as either an elective or within the Cinema and Media Studies major. The first two courses may also be eligible for credit within the Cinema and Media Studies major if the general education requirement in the arts has already been fulfilled and with approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Cinema and Media Studies. Program participants also take a French language course. For more information or to apply, visit the Study Abroad website.
Minor Program in Cinema and Media Studies
The minor in Cinema and Media Studies requires the completion of six courses, the first of which should be CMST 10100 Introduction to Film Analysis. Student should aim to take this course 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.
Sample Minor Program: Cinema and Media Studies
|CMST 10100||Introduction to Film Analysis||100|
|CMST 28500||History of International Cinema I: Silent Era||100|
|CMST 28600||History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960||100|
|CMST 23404||French Cinema of the 20's and 30's||100|
|CMST 28202||Contemporary Documentary||100|
|CMST 28002||Sound in the Cinema||100|
Students who elect the minor program in Cinema and Media Studies must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to declare their intention to complete the minor and to select courses. The approved Minor Program Agreement Form will be sent to the student's College adviser by the Cinema and Media Studies Department Administrator once it has been signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Approval forms can be obtained from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Cinema and Media Studies Administrator (Classics 304), or the department's website.
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.
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
Note(s): Required of students taking a major or minor in Cinema and Media Studies.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 20300, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800
CMST 11000. Film Academy At Chicago. 100 Units.
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): J.Lastra; R.Majumdar; D.Morgan; S.Skvirsky; A.Field Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Attendance in first class is mandatory to confirm enrollment. 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 of Arts, Music, Drama (AMD) Courses.
CMST 14502. Cinema and Poetry: The Modern City. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): REES 23015
CMST 14519. Global Melodrama. 100 Units.
CMST 20400. Problems in the Study of Gender and Sexuality: Media Wars. 100 Units.
In our contemporary moment, we have become accustomed to terms such 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 platform as our starting place, this class explores how these terms and their use have been gendered; have situated both gender and sexuality as either weapons of resistance or objects of destruction. This class 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.
Instructor(s): J. Wild; L. Janson Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 20400, GNSE 11005, GNSE 31105, CMST 40400
CMST 20430. Gender, Sexuality, Imagination. 100 Units.
This course explores the relationships between theories of the imagination and those of gender and sexuality, with a particular emphasis on the relevance of this exploration to cinema and media studies.
Instructor(s): K.Keeling Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 30430
CMST 21004. Afrofuturism. 100 Units.
This course focuses on audio-visual cultural productions that have been or might be considered under the rubric of "Afrofuturism," with particular attention to the aesthetic, social, political, and/or cultural contributions and interventions they make.
Instructor(s): K.Keeling Terms Offered: Winter
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.
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 18500
CMST 21703. Weimar Cinema. 100 Units.
German films between the end of World War I and the establishment of the Third Reich in 1933 are extraordinarily eclectic and intensely inventive, encompassing horror film, socially conscious dramas, expressionist fantasies, experimental documentary, early proto-fascist and anti-fascist films, and that ur-German invention, the mountain film. We will consider some of the most important works of the period, including films by Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch, G.W. Pabst, F.W. Murnau, Arnold Fanck, Walter Ruttmann, and Josef von Sternberg, examining their context, style, reception, formal achievements and historical significance.
Instructor(s): David Levin Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 37710, GRMN 27710
CMST 21810. Post-War American Avant-Garde. 100 Units.
In the 1940's the American avant garde cinema gained a new identity with the work of filmmakers like Maya Deren, and Kenneth Anger. Working primarily in 16mm, exhibiting mainly in non-commercial theaters, pursuing new models of sexuality, perception and political action, a generation of filmmakers formulated an alternative cinema culture and a new visionary aesthetic. This tradition gained further definition in the following, with journals, new critical discourses and a network of exhibition. Film modes moved through the mythic and dream-like cinema of Stan Brakhage, Bruce Baillie, the underground cinema of Ken Jacobs, Andy Warhol and Jack Smith, and the structural films of Hollis Frampton, Michael Snow and Ernie Gehr. The course will trace these develops and examine its legacy.
Instructor(s): T. Gunning Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 31810, ARTH 31810, ARTH 21810
CMST 22507. Cinema and the Holocaust. 100 Units.
Focuses on cinematic responses by several leading film directors from East Central Europe to a central event of 20th century history -- the Holocaust. Nazis began a cinematic documentation of WWII at its onset, positioning cameras in places of actual atrocities. Documentary footage produced was framed by hostile propagandistic schemes; contrary to this 'method', Holocaust feature films are all but a representation of Jewish genocide produced after the actual traumatic events. This class aims at discussing the challenge of representing the Jewish genocide which has often been defined as un-representable. Because of this challenge, Holocaust films raise questions of ethical responsibility for cinematic production a search for relevant artistic means with which to engage post-traumatic representation. Therefore, among major tropes we will analyze voyeuristic evocation of death suffering; a truthful representation of violence versus purported necessity of its cinematic aesthetization; intertwined notions of chance hope as conditions of survival versus hagiographic representation of victims. The main goal is to grasp the potential of cinema for deepening our understanding of the Holocaust, the course simultaneously explores extensive continuous cinematic production of the genre its historical development in various European countries, to mention the impact of censorship by official ideologies in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia during the Cold War.
Instructor(s): Bozena Shallcross Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Course requirements: film screenings, class participation, reading assignments, one class presentation, and a final project. All readings for the core texts are in English; they can be downloaded from Canvas.
Equivalent Course(s): JWSC 29550, REES 37027, CMST 32507, REES 27027
CMST 23406. Contemporary French Cinema. 100 Units.
After examining the legacy of the New Wave, as well as the cultural and economic contexts for independent film production in France today, we will screen works by a new generation of filmmakers who have been instrumental in creating innovative approaches to cinematic narrative, form, and style. We will study feature films by Catherine Breillat, Leos Carax, Claire Denis, Bruno Dumont, Alain Guiraudie, Nicolas Philibert among others. Course readings will include interviews with filmmakers, analyses of their films, as well as contributions by Marc Augé, André Bazin, Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, Hammid Naficy, Jean-François Lyotard, Laura Mulvey, Stuart Hall, and Linda Williams, which will provide theoretical frameworks for considerations of modernity and postmodernity, gender, sexuality, postcolonialism and ethnicity.
Instructor(s): D. Bluher Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 23406, FREN 23406
CMST 23412. Philippe Parreno's Media Temporalities. 100 Units.
In the 2013 exhibition "Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World, the French artist Philippe Parreno (b. 1964) turned the monumental space of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris into a living, evolving organism, where music, light, films, images, and performances led visitors through a precisely choreographed journey of discovery, based on the idiosyncratic body of work that he had created since the early 1990s. This course is devoted to an in-depth study of Parreno's work and the highly original form of media thinking that informs it. Rather than focusing on the properties of distinct media or on multimedial forms or presentation, his works explore the new forms of life and social existence that result from the various ways in which 20th- and 21st-century media technologies store, manipulate, and produce time. This is a form of thinking and artistic creation that addresses the realities of formats, programs, and platforms rather than media apparatuses and messages, and that engages everything from architecture and design to social situations, natural worlds, and virtual beings. (The course will be taught in collaboration with Jörn Schafaff).
Instructor(s): I. Blom Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 33412, ARTH 31320, MAAD 21320, ARTH 21320
CMST 23500. Pasolini. 100 Units.
This course examines each aspect of Pasolini's artistic production according to the most recent literary and cultural theories, including Gender Studies. We shall analyze his poetry (in particular "Le Ceneri di Gramsci" and "Poesie informa di rosa"), some of his novels ("Ragazzi di vita," "Una vita violenta," "Teorema," "Petrolio"), and his numerous essays on the relationship between standard Italian and dialects, semiotics and cinema, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary Western culture. We shall also discuss the following films: "Accattone," "La ricotta," "Edipo Re," "Teorema," and "Salo".
Instructor(s): A. Maggi Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 28400, ITAL 38400, CMST 33500, FNDL 28401, GNSE 28600
CMST 23805. Opera in the Age of its Mechanical Reproducibility. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 33805
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.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 24420, CRES 24420, SPAN 24420
CMST 23904. Topics in Latin American Cinema and Media. 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): SPAN 23904, CMST 33904, SPAN 33904, LACS 33904, LACS 23904
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
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930; CMST 23931 or 27600; departmental approval of senior creative thesis project.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 33905, ARTV 23905, ARTV 33905
CMST 23906. Latin American Cinema: 1930 to the Present. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 23906
CMST 23930. Documentary Production I. 100 Units.
This course is intended to develop skills in documentary production so that students may apply for Documentary Production II. Documentary Production I focuses on the making of independent documentary video. Examples of various styles of documentary will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between fact and fiction will be explored. Pre-production methodologies, production, and post-production techniques will be taught. Students will be expected to develop an idea for a documentary video, crews will be formed, and each crew will produce a five-minute documentary. Students will also be expected to purchase an external hard drive.
Instructor(s): J. Hoffman Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Prior or concurrent enrollment in CMST 10100 recommended for undergraduate students.
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 35106, CMST 33930, ARTV 23930, ARTV 33930, MAAD 23930, HMRT 25106
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. Post-production 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, HMRT 25106, or ARTV 23930
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 23931, ARTV 33931, HMRT 35107, ARTV 23931, CMST 33931, HMRT 25107
CMST 24107. Bombay to Bollywood. 100 Units.
This course maps the transformation of the Hindi film industry in India. Starting out as a regional film production center, how did the Bombay film industry and Hindi cinema gain the reputation of being the leader of Indian cinema? This despite the fact that most critical acclaim, by the state and film critics, was reserved for "art cinema." Through an analysis of Hindi films from the 1950s to the present we map the main trends of this complex artistic/ industrial complex to arrive at an understanding of the deep connect between cinema and other social imaginaries.
Instructor(s): R. Majumdar Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 20509, CMST 34107, SALC 20509, SALC 30509, HIST 36709, HIST 26709
CMST 24112. Screening India: Bollywood and Beyond. 100 Units.
Cinema is, unarguably, the medium most apposite for thinking through the complexities of democratic politics, especially so in a place like India. While Indian cinema has recently gained international currency through the song and dance ensembles of Bollywood, there remains much more to be said about that body of films. Moreover, Bollywood is a small (though very important) part of Indian cinema. Through a close analysis of a wide range of films in Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, and Urdu, this course will ask if Indian cinema can be thought of as a form of knowledge of the twentieth century.
Instructor(s): R.Majumdar Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SALC 30511, HIST 36808, SALC 20511, HIST 26808, CMST 34112, KNOW 34112, KNOW 24112
CMST 24201. Cinema in Africa. 100 Units.
This course examines Africa in film as well as films produced in Africa. It places cinema in Sub Saharan Africa in its social, cultural, and aesthetic contexts ranging from neocolonial to postcolonial, Western to Southern Africa, documentary to fiction, art cinema to TV. We will begin with La Noire de... (1966), ground-breaking film by the "father" of African cinema, Ousmane Sembene, contrasted w/ a South African film, African Jim (1959) that more closely resembles African American musical film, and anti-colonial and anti apartheid films from Lionel Rogosin's Come Back Africa (1959) to Sarah Maldoror's Sambizanga, Ousmane Sembenes Camp de Thiaroye (1984), and Jean Marie Teno'ss Afrique, Je te Plumerai (1995). The rest of the course will examine cinematic representations of tensions between urban and rural, traditional and modern life, and the different implications of these tensions for men and women, Western and Southern Africa, in fiction, documentary and ethnographic film, including 21st century work where available.
Instructor(s): Loren Kruger
Prerequisite(s): Second-year standing or above in the College; recommended for advanced undergrads and grad students in CMST, CRES, African studies, English and/or Comparative Lit with interests in race and representation, Africa and the world
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 22900, CMLT 42900, CRES 24201, ENGL 27600, CMST 34201, CRES 34201, ENGL 48601
CMST 24400. From Post-War to Post-Wall: A History of Polish Film. 100 Units.
This course will explore post-World War II film from Poland-approaching the works both as examples of the cinematic art in the region and as a lens through which to view developments and transformations in East European culture. We will view ten films by most renowned directors from Poland. The course will assess what the end of World War II, joining the Eastern Bloc, the fall of communism, and finally the entry into post-Soviet Europe have meant for the film culture and the Polish national film tradition. We will also consider how Eastern European cinematic discourse is undergoing-or should undergo-revision, viewing it as an increasingly transnational phenomenon, rather than the example of a national film industry. The films will be viewed in the original language with English subtitles.
Instructor(s): Kinga Kosmala Terms Offered: Spring
CMST 24414. Soviet Science Fiction. 100 Units.
In the Soviet Union, science fiction played an integral part in intellectual debates about the best way to engage with the new realities of the twentieth century. This literary and cinematic genre was thought capable of reinventing the lives, realties and even beliefs of the Soviets. This course will study the cultural, historical, and political contexts of science fiction from the Soviet Union through literature such as Evgenii Zamiatin's dystopian novel We (the inspiration for George Orwell's 1984), Ivan Efremov's The Andromeda Nebula (1956), and the work Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, as well as through films such as Iakov Protazanov's Aelita (1924), the first Soviet science fiction film, along with later imaginings of space travel such as Pavel Klushantsev's Road to the Stars (1957), and Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris (1972)-a mysterious, human drama set in space. The primary goal of the course is to study how Soviet writers and filmmakers utilizes science fiction to interpret and/or comment upon their present historical moment? What alternatives to Soviet reality were proposed through science fiction? Lastly, how did science fiction texts and films relate to scientific research in the Soviet Union, especially the Soviet space program?
Equivalent Course(s): REES 24414
CMST 24506. Poetics of Visual Style in Postwar Eastern Europe. 100 Units.
CMST 24521. Film and Revolution. 100 Units.
On the fiftieth anniversary of 1968 our course couples the study of revolutionary films (and films about revolution) with seminal readings on revolutionary ideology and on the theory of film and video. The goal will be to articulate the mechanics of revolution and its representation in time-based media. Students will produce a video or videos adapting the rich archive of revolutionary film for today's situation. The films screened will be drawn primarily from Soviet and US cinema, from the 1920s to the present day, proceeding more or less chronologically. We begin with newsreels and a "poetic documentary" by Dziga Vertov; they will be paired with classic readings from revolutionary theory, from Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin to Fidel Castro and Bill Ayres, and from film theory, including Vertov, Andre Bazin and Jean-Luc Godard. Readings will acquaint students with contemporary assessments of the emancipatory potential of film.
Instructor(s): R. Bird; C. Smith Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): REES 26071, CMST 34521, REES 36071
CMST 24530. Cowboys and Tramps in Film and Literature. 100 Units.
The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the invention of two distinctly American literary archetypes: the cowboy and the hobo. Based on historical conditions of labor, economics, and westward expansion, the cowboy and the hobo, though both itinerant workers primarily employed seasonally in agriculture and ranching, were depicted very differently in literature and, later, film, during the decades in which they held influence over America's imagination and mythologization of itself. Evoking responses from fear to admiration and pity to envy, the cowboy and the hobo, both as historical figures and as fictional types, reflected the evolving realities of-and the broad range of attitudes toward-labor, masculinity, and place in a modernizing America. This course will examine literary and cinematic representations of hoboes, tramps, cowboys, and gunslingers from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, tracing their historical and cultural contexts. We will address pulp and dime novels as well as literary masterpieces, stage plays, poems, and feature films from the silent and sound eras, paying special attention to the effects of different media and art forms on the depiction and mythologization of these figures. Other themes include violence and the state, the American West, technology (trains, automation in agriculture, weapons), immigration and migration, race, and material culture. Authors and directors include Jack London, Charlie Chaplin, John Ford, Preston Sturges, Jack Kerouac, Hart Crane, Bret Harte, Terrence Malick, and Martin Scorsese.
Instructor(s): Matt Hauske Terms Offered: Spring 2014
Note(s): Current MAPH students and 3rd and 4th years in the College. All others by instructor consent only. Screenings Thursday 3:30-6:30.
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 34510, CMST 34520, ENGL 25801
CMST 24531. Cowboy Modernity. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 34531, MAPH 35514
CMST 24550. Central Asian Cinema. 100 Units.
Nowhere has the advent of modernity been more closely entwined with cinema than in Central Asia, a contested entity which for our purposes stretches from Turkey in the West to Kyrgyzstan in the East, though our emphasis will be squarely on Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia (especially Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan). This course will trace the encounter with cinematic modernity through the analysis of individual films by major directors, including (but not limited to) Shukhrat Abbasov, Melis Ubukeev, Ali Khamraev, Tolomush Okeev, Sergei Paradzhanov, Gulshad Omarova. In addition to situating the films in their cultural and historical situations, close attention will be paid to the sources of Central Asian cinema in cinemas both adjacent and distant; to the ways in which cinema enables a distinct encounter with modernity; and to the cinematic construction of Central Asia as a cultural entity.
Instructor(s): R. Bird Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): REES 23157, CMST 34550
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.
Equivalent Course(s): SIGN 26012, REES 26068, REES 36068, CMST 34568
CMST 24603. Topics in EALC: Ghosts & the Fantastic in Literature and Film. 100 Units.
What is a ghost? How and why are ghosts represented in particular forms in a particular culture at particular historical moments and how do these change as stories travel between cultures? This course will explore the complex meanings, both literal and figurative, of ghosts and the fantastic in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tales, plays, and films . Issues to be explored include: 1) the relationship between the supernatural, gender, and sexuality; 2) the confrontation of death and mortality; 3) collective anxieties over the loss of the historical past 4) and the visualization (and exorcism) of ghosts through performance.
Instructor(s): J. Zeitlin Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course can replace what used to be the Concentrators Seminar to fulfill a requirement as an EALC major.
Equivalent Course(s): SIGN 26006, EALC 10600
CMST 24606. China's New Documentary Cinema. 100 Units.
Since the early 1990s, the "new documentary" has emerged as one of the most prominent phenomena in Chinese film and video, widely circulating at international film festivals and eliciting considerable critical debate. This course examines the styles and functions of China's "new documentary" over the last fifteen years, paying particular attention to the institutional, cultural, economic, and political conditions that underpin its flourishing. This overview will lead us to consider questions that concern the recent explosion of the documentary form worldwide, and to explore the tensions and imbalances that characterize the global circulation of the genre. We will address such issues as: what is "new" about China's recent documentary cinema; the "national" and "transnational" dimensions of documentary filmmaking, and the ways in which these dimensions intersect in its production and circulation; the extent to which the international demand for "unofficial" images from China has contributed to its growth; the politics involved in documentary filmmaking, and the forms and meanings of "independent" cinema in the wake of intensified globalization; the links between Chinese documentary and the global rise of documentary filmmaking, and the ways in which they challenge extant concepts and theorizations of the genre.
Instructor(s): P. Iovene
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 35402, CMST 44606, EALC 24502
CMST 24913. Making Sense of a Moving World: Japanese Cinema Through 1945. 100 Units.
The aim of this course is to explore a variety of filmmaking practices in relation to historical and cultural trends in Japan from the 1910s to the end of the Second World War. While we will watch films of the great auteurs such as Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Naruse, the increasing number of subtitled films and DVDs of prewar Japanese cinema allows for unprecedented access to a wide variety of filmmaking practices. Hence, in addition to auteur films, we will watch old-school period films and adaptations from popular literature, high speed nihilistic action films, socialist "tendency" films, critical documentaries, melodramas, experimental film and animation, and wartime propaganda. Along with the films, we will read writings on film by a range of thinkers and artists to engage with a variety of issues, including gender, realism, modernism, propaganda, human/animal, violence, and mass culture. We will look at the ways cinema, as both a participant in and a unique reflection on modernity, fundamentally transformed the relationship of Japan to the world.
Instructor(s): Phil Kaffen Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 34913
CMST 25100. Avant-Garde in East Central Europe. 100 Units.
The avant-gardes of the "other" Europe are the mainstay of this course, which focuses especially, but not exclusively, on the interwar avant-gardes of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia. A comparative framework is employed whenever lucrative to comprehend the East/Central European movements in the wider context of the European avant-garde. The course also traces the development and legacy (political and artistic) of these avant-gardes in their contemporary scenes. Plastic, verbal, and performative arts (including film) are studied.
Instructor(s): Malynne Sternstein Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 35100, ARTH 25500, REES 23141, ARTH 35500, REES 33141
CMST 25102. Narratives Suspense in European/Russian Lit/Film. 100 Units.
This course examines the nature and creation of suspense in literature and film as an introduction to narrative theory. We will question how and why stories are created, as well as what motivates us to continue reading, watching, and listening to stories. We will explore how particular genres (such as detective stories and thrillers) and the mediums of literature and film influence our understanding of suspense and narrative more broadly. Close readings of primary sources will be supplemented with critical and theoretical readings. Literary readings will include work by John Buchan, Arthur Conan Doyle, Feodor Dostoevsky, Graham Greene, Bohumil Hrabal, and J.M. Coetzee. We will also explore Alfred Hitchcock's take on 39 Steps and the Czech New Wave manifesto film, Pearls of the Deep. With theoretical readings by: Roland Barthes, Viktor Shklovsky, Erich Auerbach, Paul Ricoeur, and others.
Equivalent Course(s): REES 23137, CMLT 22100, ENGL 26901, CMST 35102, HUMA 26901, ENGL 46901, REES 33137
CMST 25514. Symbolism and Cinema. 100 Units.
In his 1896 essay on cinema, Russian writer Maxim Gorky described the new medium to "madness or symbolism." The connection between cinema and symbolism was not surprising insofar as symbolism was a dominant aesthetic paradigm throughout Europe at the time. However it does suggest (perhaps surprisingly) that from the very beginning cinema was seen as a means of visualizing the non-rational, uncanny and even invisible. This course examines the relationship between symbolism and cinema with particular attention to French and Russian writings and films. Examining how symbolist aesthetics became applied to the cinematic medium, we will pay particular attention the resources it provided for conceptualizing the uncanny and the mystical. We will question whether there exists a distinct symbolist tradition in film history and how it relates to notions of poetic or experimental cinema. Films will represent a broad cross-section of European (and some American) cinema, from Jean Epstein to Sergei Eisenstein and Alexander Dovzhenko, and from Stan Brakhage to Andrei Tarkovsky.
Instructor(s): R. Bird
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 35514, REES 26019, REES 36019
CMST 25600. Magic and the Cinema. 100 Units.
No description available.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 36200, CMST 35600, ARTH 26200
CMST 25951. American Television: From Broadcast Networks to the Internet. 100 Units.
The idea of electromechanically transmitted moving images dates back to the nineteenth century and the first technological demonstration of televised moving images took place in the 1920s. While this course touches upon the early history of television, we will focus our attention on the era between the commercialization of television in the United States (in the early 1950s) and the rise of internet-based television via services such as Hulu (in the 2000s). As we will see, the history of television in these years, intersects with numerous other media, such as radio, film, video, digital games, and the novel. Alongside a study of the medium of television and its role in American culture, we will attend carefully to the form of TV narrative as it changes from an early episodic format to the complex long-form serial narratives that attained maturity in the 1990s. Through historical, formal, and cultural analyses, we will attempt to make sense of the recent renaissance of television narrative characterized by such serial programs as The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men. The course combines theoretical texts with close readings of particular television shows. Requirements include engaged participation in class discussion, weekly blog entries, a mid-term paper, and a substantive final research paper. There will be no exams.
Instructor(s): P. Jagoda Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 25951
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): CMST 35953, CRWR 46003, ENGL 32311, ARTV 25401, CRWR 26003, TAPS 28457, ENGL 25953, ARTV 35401
CMST 25954. Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production. 100 Units.
Games are one of the most prominent and influential media of our time. This experimental course explores the emerging genre of "alternate reality" or "transmedia" gaming. Throughout the quarter, we will approach new media theory through the history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. These games build on the narrative strategies of novels, the performative role-playing of theater, the branching techniques of electronic literature, the procedural qualities of video games, and the team dynamics of sports. Beyond the subject matter, students will design modules of an Alternate Reality Game in small groups. Students need not have a background in media or technology, but a wide-ranging imagination, interest in new media culture, or arts practice will make for a more exciting quarter.
Instructor(s): Patrick Jagoda, Heidi Coleman Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing. Instructor consent required. To apply, submit writing through online form at http://bigproblems.uchicago.edu; see course description. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory. Questions:email@example.com.
Note(s): Note(s): English majors: this course fulfills the Theory (H) distribution requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): BPRO 28700, MAAD 25954, ENGL 32314, ENGL 25970, CMST 35954, ARTV 20700, TAPS 28466, ARTV 30700
CMST 26200. Brecht and Beyond. 100 Units.
Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht's own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920's to the agitprop Lehrstück and film esp Kühle Wampe) to the classical parable plays, as well as the work of his heirs in German theatre (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss) and film (RW Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge), in French film (Jean-Luc Godard) and cultural theory (the Situationists and May 68), film and theatre in Britain (such as Caryl Churchill or Mike Leigh), theatre and film in Africa, from South Africa to Senegal, and if possible a film or play from the US that engages with Brechtian theory and/or practice. (Drama)
Instructor(s): Loren Kruger Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): TAPS and/or Hum Core required; no first years.
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 24400, CMLT 20800, TAPS 28435
CMST 26303. Chris Marker. 100 Units.
CMST 26402. Orson Welles. 100 Units.
Course description unavailable.
Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 36402
CMST 26403. Post WWII American Mise en Scene Directors. 100 Units.
This course will treat the style of a number of American Hollywood feature film directors during the two decades after World War II, including Nicholas Ray, Anthony Mann, Otto Preminger, and others. These directors were singled out at that time by the critics writing for the French journal Cahiers du Cinema as auteurs, directors with a consistent style. Critics in France, England, and the USA used the term mise en scene to discuss their use of framing, performance, editing, and camera movement and especially their use of new technologies such as wide screen and color. This course will explore the concept of directors' style as well as the mode of close analysis criticism that grew out of this concept.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 36403, AMER 26403
CMST 26405. D.W. Griffith. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 36405, FNDL 26405, CMST 36405, AMER 26405
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 ab-reaction, as he navigates from silent film to sound and from Great Britain to Hollywood.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28405, ARTH 38405, FNDL 26501, CMST 36500
CMST 26503. Scandinavian Cinema in the Classic Period (1910-1960) 100 Units.
During the 1910s Scandinavian cinema was among the most popular cinemas in the world. The best directors, actresses, and actors developed a mastery of cinematic expression and screen appearance never seen before in cinema. Erotically charged melodramas and comedies were the most popular genres, but also poetic masterpieces such as The Passion of Joan of Arc are key works from this era. The course will explore the breathtaking appearances of such celebrated female stars as Asta Nielsen and Greta Garbo, and analyze silent masterpieces such as Blom's early science fiction films, the dramas of Christensen, Stiller, Sjostrom, and Dreyer, and the early films of Tancred Ibsen and Ingmar Bergman. All readings are in English.
Instructor(s): E. Rossaak Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 36503
CMST 26504. Ingmar Bergman: Cinema & Theater. 100 Units.
This course will focus on cinematographic representations of theatrical and other artistic practices, primarily exemplified by many of Ingmar Bergman's films (e.g. The Seventh Seal and Fanny and Alexander) but also in the work of other film-directors. It will explore historical and theoretical issues related to the mutual interactions between cinema and theatre also discussing cinematographic techniques in playwriting as exemplified in plays by Henrik Ibsen (e.g. Peer Gynt) and August Strindberg (e.g. A Dream Play and The Ghost Sonata). Throughout most of his creative career Bergman worked both in theatre and film and even if he is mostly known outside of Sweden as a film director, his theatrical career was as innovative. The work of the film-auteur and the theatre director are for Bergman closely connected, not only through the actors he worked with - during summers for the screen and during the theatre seasons in stage productions - but also through the choice of themes, which are often in direct dialogue with each other in the two media, generating complex meta-aesthetic, inter-medial discourses, depicting and problematizing the work and role of the artist in a broad range of social and ideological contexts. Interested 3rd and 4th year undergraduates allowed by instructor consent. ATTENDANCE AT FIRST CLASS SESSION IS MANDATORY.
Note(s): Interested third- and fourth-year undergraduates allowed by instructor consent. Atttendance at first class session is mandatory.
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 28310, TAPS 38310, CMST 36504
CMST 26601. The Soviet Visual Experience. 100 Units.
The Soviet Union was a world in pictures, enabled and shaped by the media revolutions that accompanied every major period in its history, from the rise of cinema to the dawn of the internet. We will try to see communism as history and as promise, and to see how this relates to our own desire for social change in our own worlds. We will examine the interaction between Marxism, state power and image culture by focusing on key moments from the entire lifespan of the USSR (1917-1991) and from across the range of media,from graphic art and film to their reflections in literature and aesthetic theory. In addition to class readings and discussions, we will be able to engage directly with a vast array of material at exhibits of graphic art (three on campus, three more across the city) and film series that will be conducted in fall 2011 as part of the city-wide Soviet Arts Experience.
Instructor(s): R. Bird Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): REES 36017, REES 26017, CMST 36601
CMST 26705. Kieslowski: The Decalogue. 100 Units.
In this class, we study the monumental series "The Decalogue" by one of the most influential filmmakers from Poland, Krzysztof Kieślowski. Without mechanically relating the films to the Ten Commandments, Kieślowski explores the relevance of the biblical moral rules to the state of modern man forced to make ethical choices. Each part of the series contests the absolutism of moral axioms through narrative twists and reversals in a wide, universalized sphere. An analysis of the films will be accompanied by readings from Kieślowski's own writings and interviews, including criticism by Zizek, Insdorf, and others.
Equivalent Course(s): REES 37026, REES 27026, FNDL 24003, CMST 36705
CMST 27011. Experimental Captures. 100 Units.
This production-based class will explore the possibilities and limits of capturing the world with imaging approaches that go beyond the conventional camera. What new and experimental image-based artworks can be created with technologies such as laser scanning, structured light projection, time of flight cameras, photogrammetry, stereography, motion capture, sensor augmented cameras or light field photography? This hands-on course welcomes students with production experience while being designed to keep established tools and commercial practices off-kilter and constantly in question.
Instructor(s): M. Downie Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37011, ARTV 27923, ARTV 37923
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.
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 27110
CMST 27112. Cinema and Movement. 100 Units.
That movies move Is one of the most basic facts about the medium. This course investigates various aesthetic dimensions of movement throughout the history of the moving image-from early cinema and the avant garde to Hollywood musicals and Disney cartoons. Combining philosophical, critical, and historical readings with careful analysis of films, we will cover topics that include early spectators' fascination with the moving image itself, the relation between the natural perception of movement and cinematic movement, the history and poetics of camera movement, different technologies for recording and simulating movement (including cel animation and CGI), and the problems that movement has posed as an object of aesthetic analysis. Texts discussed include works by Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson, Vivian Sobchack, Kristin Thompson, and Arthur Danto. Screenings include works by Busby Berkeley, Maya Deren, Max Ophuls, Chuck Jones, Chris Marker, Chantal Akerman, and Gus Van Sant.
Instructor(s): J. Schonig Terms Offered: Autumn
CMST 27201. Zizek on Film. 100 Units.
Slavoj Zizek has used film as the great expositor of his theories of ideology, perversion, sexuality, politics, nostalgia, and otherness. In this discussion-heavy course we will watch a lot of film from the directorial subjects of his main discussions (Chaplin, Rossellini, Lynch, Haneke, Kieślowski, Tarkovsky, von Trier, Hitchcock, and others) alongside Zizek's theoretical writings on their film. The course examines why for the man who has been called the "Elvis of cultural theory" film is such a perfect lens through which to examine social situatedness and intersubjective "aporia." There is no "paperwork" assigned for the course. The course is conducted seminar style and participants are expected to be vocal, prepared, and somewhat ornery.
Instructor(s): M. Sternstein
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 18600
CMST 27205. Film Aesthetics. 100 Units.
The main questions to be discussed are: the bearing of cinema on philosophy; or in what sense, if any, is cinema a form of philosophical thought? What sort of distinctive aesthetic object is a film, or what is the "ontology" of film? What, in particular, distinguishes a "realist" narrative film? What is a "Hollywood" film? What is a Hollywood genre? Authors to be read include, among others, Bazin, Cavell, Perkins, Wilson, Rothman. Films to be seen and discussed, among others, include films by Bresson, Ford, Ophuls, Cukor, Hitchcock, and the Dardenne brothers. (I)
Instructor(s): J. Conant, R. Pippin Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 30208, PHIL 20208, SCTH 38112, CMST 37205
CMST 27230. Modern Film Theory. 100 Units.
This course will examine influential writings on photography, film, and film narrative published in the post-war period in the context of semiology, structuralism, and narratology. We will examine how questions of form, structure, and narrative in film and photography are addressed by critics writing from the end of World War II until the early seventies, especially in France and Italy. In what ways can the image be considered a sign? How do images come to have meaning in a denotative or connotative sense? What are the principal codes organizing images as narrative media and how do spectators recognise those codes? Readings will include work by Roland Barthes, Christian Metz, Jean Mitry, Noël Burch, Raymond Bellour, Umberto Eco, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and David Bordwell, among others.
Instructor(s): D.N. Rodowick Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37230
CMST 27700. Advanced Photography. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37700
CMST 27800. Theories of Media. 100 Units.
This course will explore the concept of media and mediation in very broad terms, looking not only at modern technical media and mass media, but at the very idea of a medium as a means of communication, a set of institutional practices, and a habitat in which images proliferate and take on a "life of their own." The course will deal as much with ancient as with modern media, with writing, sculpture, and painting as well as television and virtual reality. Readings will include classic texts such as Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Cratylus, Aristotle's Poetics, and modern texts such as Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media, Regis Debray's Mediology, and Friedrich Kittler's Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. We will explore questions such as the following: What is a medium? What is the relation of technology to media? How do media affect, simulate, and stimulate sensory experiences? What sense can we make of concepts such as the "unmediated" or "immediate"? How do media become intelligible and concrete in the form of "metapictures" or exemplary instances, as when a medium reflects on itself (films about films, paintings about painting)? Is there a system of media? How do we tell one medium from another, and how do they become "mixed" in hybrid, intermedial formations? We will also look at recent films such as The Matrix and Existenz that project fantasies of a world of total mediation and hyperreality.
Instructor(s): W. J. T. Mitchell Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Any 100-level ARTH or COVA course, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 30800, ARTV 20400, ENGL 32800, CMST 37800, ENGL 12800, ARTH 35900, ARTH 25900
CMST 27803. The Body of Cinema: Hypnoses, Emotions, Animalities. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 47803, ENGL 37803
CMST 27805. Framing, Re-framing, and Un-framing Cinema. 100 Units.
By cinema, we mean the art of the moving image, which is not limited to the material support of a flexible band called film. This art reaches back to early devices to trick the eye into seeing motion and looks forward to new media and new modes of presentation. With the technological possibility of breaking images into tiny pixels and reassembling them and of viewing them in new way that this computerized image allows, we now face the most radical transformation of the moving image since the very beginnings of cinema. A collaboration between the OpenEndedGroup (Marc Downie and Paul Kaiser), artists who have created new modes of the moving image for more than decade, and film scholar Tom Gunning, this course will use this moment of new technologies to explore and expand the moving image before it becomes too rigidly determined by the powerful industrial forces now propelling it forward. This course will be intensely experimental as we see how we might use new computer algorithms to take apart and re-experience classic films of the past. By using new tools, developed for and during this class, students will make new experiences inside virtual reality environments for watching, analyzing, and recombining films and that are unlike any other. These tools will enable students, regardless of previous programming experience, to participate in this crucial technological and cultural juncture.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 30805, ARTV 20805, CMST 37805
CMST 27810. Cinema and New Media. 100 Units.
Over the past two decades, new media such as television, computers and the web, digital image production, and video games have begun to transform, and even supplant, the social and cultural prominence of cinema. This course will look at how these media work: the history of their development, the changes they have brought about in a broader media culture, their political implications, and their social status and significance (e.g., the place they occupy in culture, the kinds of interactions they make possible). The focus will equally be on the ways in which cinema has responded to the changing digital landscape, which will be explored through both blockbuster and experimental films as well as video and web-based art. Readings will be taken from the history of film theory, recent work in media history and archeology, and theoretical studies of digital media and technology.
Instructor(s): D. Morgan Terms Offered: Autumn
CMST 27911. Augmented Reality Production. 100 Units.
Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of augmented reality, this class will explore and interrogate each stage of production of AR works. Students in this production-based class will examine the techniques and opportunities of this new kind of moving image. During this class we'll study the construction of examples across a gamut from locative media, journalism, and gameplay-based works to museum installations. Students will complete a series of critical essays and sketches towards a final augmented reality project using a custom set of software tools developed in and for the class.
Instructor(s): M. Downie Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37911, ARTV 27921, ARTV 37921
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.
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 34515, ENGL 24515
CMST 27916. Critical Videogame Studies. 100 Units.
Since the 1960s, games have arguably blossomed into the world's most profitable and experimental medium. This course attends specifically to video games, including popular arcade and console games, experimental art games, and educational serious games. Students will analyze both the formal properties and sociopolitical dynamics of video games. Readings by theorists including Ian Bogost, Roger Caillois, Nick Dyer‐Witheford, Mary Flanagan, Jane McGonigal, Lisa Nakamura, and Katie Salen will help us think about the growing field of video game studies. This is a 2018-19 Signature Course in the College. (Theory)
Instructor(s): Patrick Jagoda Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 12320, SIGN 26038
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.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 27920, MAAD 27920, ARTV 37920, CMST 37920
CMST 28006. Minimalist Experiment in Film and Video. 100 Units.
This multilevel studio will investigate minimalist strategies in artists' film and video from the late 1960s to the present day. Emphasis will be placed on works made with limited means and/or with "amateur" formats such as Super-8 and 16mm film, camcorders, Flip cameras, SLR video, and iPhone or iPad. Our aim is to imagine how to produce complex results from economical means. Important texts will be paired with in class discussion of works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Kurt Kren, Jack Goldstein, Larry Gottheim, Bruce Baillie, James Benning, John Baldessari, Morgan Fisher, Stan Douglas, Matthew Buckingham, Sam Taylor-Wood, and others.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 33815, CMST 38006, ARTV 23805
CMST 28010. Sound / Image Mapping. 100 Units.
This class will examine the history and production of "hard" sound-image relationships through the lens of computational form. Through studying the range of digital and mechanical tools that have sought to couple the senses - from 19th century color organs and dreams of synesthesia, through music videos and contemporary new media installations, to recent advances in "machine listening" - students will complete a series of critical essays and sketches leading towards a final project using custom software developed in and for the class.
Instructor(s): M. Downie Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 27922
CMST 28100. Issues in Film Music. 100 Units.
This course explores the role of film music in the history of cinema. What role does music play as part of the narrative (source music) and as nondiegetic music (underscoring)? How does music of different styles and provenance contribute to the semiotic universe of film? And how did film music assume a central voice in twentieth-century culture? We study music composed for films (original scores) as well as pre-existent music (e.g., popular and classical music). The twenty films covered in the course may include classical Hollywood cinema, documentaries, foreign (e.g., non-Western) films, experimental films, musicals, and cartoons.
Instructor(s): B. Hoeckner
Note(s): This course typically is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 30901, MUSI 22901, CMST 38100
CMST 28118. Listening to Movies. 100 Units.
This course shifts our critical attention from watching movies to listening to them. Amid a strong emphasis on cinema-ranging from musical accompaniment during the silent era to sound in experimental films; or from classical Hollywood underscoring to Bollywood musical numbers-we will consider the soundtrack of moving pictures within a growing variety of audiovisual media, including television, music videos, and computer games. Interactive lectures (Mondays and Wednesdays) and discussion sections (Fridays) combine a historical overview with transhistorical perspectives. Supplemented by screenings and readings, the course will address a variety issues and topics: aesthetic and psychological (such as representation, narration, affect); cultural and political (such as race, ethnicity, propaganda); social and economic (such as technology, production, dissemination).
Equivalent Course(s): SIGN 26021, MUSI 20918
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.
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 23110, TAPS 32110, FNDL 22115, GRMN 32110, TAPS 22110, CMST 38310
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 provides a survey of the history of cinema from its emergence in the mid-1890s to the transition to sound in the late 1920s. We will examine the cinema as a set of aesthetic, social, technological, national, cultural, and industrial practices as they were exercised and developed during this 30-year span. Especially important for our examination will be the exchange of film techniques, practices, and cultures in an international context. We will also pursue questions related to the historiography of the cinema, and examine early attempts to theorize and account for the cinema as an artistic and social phenomenon.
Instructor(s): A.Field Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 29300, ARTH 28500, CMST 48500, MAPH 33600, ARTH 38500, ENGL 48700, ARTV 20002, CMLT 32400, CMLT 22400
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): R.Bird Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 48900, ARTV 20003, REES 25005, CMLT 32500, CMST 48600, REES 45005, ARTH 28600, CMLT 22500, ARTH 38600, ENGL 29600, MAPH 33700
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): J.Lastra 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.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38700
CMST 28810. Advanced Study Theater: Games & Performance. 100 Units.
No description available
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 21118, TAPS 28810, TAPS 38810
CMST 28921. Introduction to 16mm Filmmaking. 100 Units.
The goal of this intensive laboratory course is to give its students a working knowledge of film production using the 16mm gauge. The course will emphasize how students can use 16mm technology towards successful cinematography and image design (for use in both analog and digital postproduction scenarios) and how to develop their ideas towards constructing meaning through moving pictures. Through a series of group exercises, students will put their hands on equipment and solve technical and aesthetic problems, learning to operate and care for the 16mm Bolex film camera; prime lenses; Sekonic light meter; Sachtler tripod; and Arri light kit and accessories. For a final project, students will plan and produce footage for an individual or small group short film. The first half the class will be highly structured, with demonstrations, in-class shoots and lectures. As the semester continues, class time will open up to more of a workshop format to address the specific concerns and issues that arise in the production of the final projects. This course is made possible by the Charles Roven Fund for Cinema and Media Studies.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23808, ARTV 33808, CMST 38921
CMST 29002. Motion Pictures in the Human Sciences. 100 Units.
This course will examine the relationship between moving images, particularly motion-picture films, and the human sciences, broadly construed, from the early days of cinema to the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). It will use primary source documents alongside screenings to allow students to study what the moving image meant to researchers wishing to develop knowledge of mind and behavior, and what they thought film could do that still photography and unmediated human observation could not. The kinds of motion pictures we will study will vary widely, from infant development studies to psychiatric films, from documentaries to research films, and from films made by scientists or clinicians as part of their laboratory or therapeutic work to experimental films made by seasoned filmmakers. We will explore how people used the recordings they made in their own studies, in communications with other scientists, and for didactic and other purposes. We will also discuss how researchers' claims about mental processes-perception, memory, consciousness, and interpersonal influence-drew on their understandings of particular technologies.
Instructor(s): A. Winter Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 25208, CMST 39002, CHSS 35208, HIST 25208, HIST 35208
CMST 29300. Aesthetics: Phil/Photo/Film. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 27301, PHIL 31301, CMST 39300, PHIL 21100, ARTH 37301
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
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. Lastra Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100: Introduction to Film. Required of seniors majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
CMST 29900. B.A. Essay: CMST. 000 Units.
This course provides guided research on the topic proposed by their senior paper. Students arrange the program of study and a schedule of meetings with their senior paper advisor.
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.
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 cms.uchicago.edu/courses.
Undergraduate Primary Contact
Director of Undergraduate Studies