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Courses

SPRING 2017 (Tentative)

FSCP 81000 – Aesthetics of Film, Professor Cynthia Chris, Monday, 4:15-8:15pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [] Cross listed with THEA 71400, ART 79400 & MALS 77100 This course introduces students to the art of cinema, through examination of the qualities, history, and analysis of cinematic form. Approaching aspects of film aesthetics in a variety of genres and forms (for example, melodrama, action, and the musical, as well as documentary, animated, and experimental films), the course will provide students with opportunities to master the fundamental vocabulary of film analysis, including mise-en-scène, shot composition, montage, continuity editing, camera movement, and other concepts. The course considers relationships among the aesthetics of film, television, serialization, digital and interactive media, as well as aesthetic adaptations to changing technologies and industrial formations, from the nickelodeon to the movie palace and multiplex; and from theater to television screens, home theaters, and small format mobile devices. Interrogating relationships between sound and image, style and meaning, production and reception, we will seek to understand the sensory and narrative pleasures of film art: aesthetics is, after all, the philosophy of beauty. Required Text: The Film Experience: An Introduction (Third Edition) by Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White. Excerpts from: Film as Art by Rudolf Arnheim, What Is Cinema? by Andre Bazin, Film Form and/or Film Sense by Sergei Eisenstein, Film Language: A Semiotics of Cinema by Christian Metz, The Society of the Spectacle by Guy DeBord, Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern by Anne Friedberg, Silent Cinema and/or The Death of Cinema: History, Cultural Memory and the Digital Dark Age by Paolo Cherchi Usai, Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image by Laura Mulvey, The Skin of the Film by Laura U. Marks, The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded by Wanda Strauven (editor), Film Sound by Rick Altman, Visible Fictions by John Ellis, "Video: The Distinct Features of the Medium" by David Antin, Beyond the Multiplex by Barbara Klinger, Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins. Screenings may include clips from or full screenings of the following films, among others: Life of an American Fireman (Edwin S. Porter, 1903), Where Are My Children? (Lois Weber, 1916), Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929), M (Fritz Lang, 1931), Bambi (David Hand, 1942), At Land (1944, Maya Deren), The Ernie Kovacs Show (1952-62), Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954), Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961, Agnes Varda), Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964), Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975), Nashville (1975, Robert Altman), Dog Day Afternoon (1975, Sidney Lumet), She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986), The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988), Just Another Girl on the IRT (1992, Leslie Harris), Girlfight (Karyn Kusama, 1992), Run Lola Run (1998, Tom Twyker), The Matrix (Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999), Grizzly Man (2005, Werner Herzog), Sensitive Skin (Hugo E. Blick, 2005), Wall-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008), Girlhood (2014, Céline Sciamma), Transparent (Jill Soloway, 2014—). Assignments: Students will produce weekly short papers in response to assigned readings; participate in class discussions of the readings and screenings; take turns leading discussions on assigned texts; propose a research paper topic in a short essay; and write a final research paper (approximately 15 pages) on some aspect of film aesthetics that demonstrates their capacity to apply course concepts to an original analysis of a film of their own choosing.
 

FSCP 81000 - Seminar in Film Theory, Professor David Gerstner, Wednesday, 2:00-6:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [] Cross listed with THEA 81600 & ART 89400 This course explores filmmakers and scholars who theorize the relationship between cinematic form and content. Since the late nineteenth century, a great deal has been written about film in terms of its aesthetic properties as well as its political-ideological possibilities. Through close readings of both the films and writings of theorists we will consider what is at stake in the production of film. Since this course is designed as a seminar, your engaged discussion is crucial to the success of the class. Please read and watch carefully! Required Text Film Theory and Criticism [1974]. Edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, 7th edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. This book is on reserve if you prefer not to purchase. Course Reader (CR). Available through University Readers (to order, see instructionspndtw-7 in Blackboard). Assignments Weekly analysis of films and readings (1-1.5 pages). Submit via Blackboard as a Word document only! (see Content folder for assignment uploads) Developing abstract to be presented to and discussed with seminar members One storyboard with close-analysis This project involves analyzing a short sequence from a film screened in class. A storyboard created either by film grabs or hand-designed illustrations must be accompanied by brief scene descriptions and theoretical analysis of the ain sequence. The project follows a series of readings that will support your work. Your storyboard and analysis must be submitted via Blackboard’s Assignment folder (within the Content folder). You may wish to explore PowerPoint or Keynote (Mac) software that helps create formatting for a storyboard. Final paper (7500-8000 words). Due one week after our last meeting.

 

FSCP 81000 - The Global South & the Cinemas of the Americas, Professor Jerry W. Carlson, Tuesday, 4:15-8:15pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [ ] In recent decades cultural theorists have embraced the concept of the Global South as a way of exploring the many uneven relations of resources, development, and governance that exist between the wealthy industrial nations and their clients, external and internal. Since World War II a considerable body of narrative film has been created that explores these conditions while issuing from the Global South itself. This course maps and explores the many cinemas of the Global South that have been created in the Americas. Close readings of films will be combined with historical, cultural, and theoretical texts The first half of the course will emphasize foundational works from the 1960s and 1970s: Cuban revolutionary cinema (i.e. Memories of Underdevelopment); Brazilian Cine Novo (i.e. How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman); independent African-American films (i.e. Killer of Sheep); and others.The second half of the course will emphasize the emergent cinemas of recent decades. This may include such films as Guarani (Argentina/Paraguay), City of Men (Brazil), Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia), Sand Dollars (Dominican Republic), Ixcanul (Guatemala), Daughters of the Dust (USA) and Smoke Signals (USA) and Sugar (USA / Dominican Republic). Critical texts may include writings by filmmakers such as Julio Garcia Espinosa, Glauber Rocha, and Julie Dash as well as theory by Boaventura de Sousa Santos (Epistemologies of the South), Walter Mignolo (Local Histories / Global Designs), Robert Stam & Ella Shohat (Unthinking Eurocentrism), and Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari (Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature), among others.

FSCP 81000 - Rock & Roll & Film & Video: Noise & Image, 1954-2014, Professor Marc Dolan, F, 11:45am-2:45pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [] Crosslisted with MUS XXXXX This course will examine the ways in which one medium has adapted itself to depict another, how cinema has been changed by fifty years’ worth of attempts to capture the essence and experience of rock ‘n’ roll. Originally depicted in mid-twentieth-century films as a novelty or threat—almost as if it were a new ethnic group that endangered transatlantic consensus culture—rock became more familiar subject matter in films of the 1960s and 1970s. Young filmmakers who prided themselves on the uniqueness of their generation’s experience tried to capture rock performance and fandom at this time in a way that did not necessarily repeat the formal poetics of music-on-film that had been inaugurated thirty years before at the height of swing. In succeeding decades, as both the music and its fans aged, rock became a less literal, more mythic subject for filmmakers, with the figures of the rock star and the rock fan becoming more abstracted the farther away audiences got from the new music’s postwar origins. The course will begin with a short, expositional survey of the first three decades of jazz and film but then move rather quickly to the cinematics of rock itself. The first half of the semester will be taken up with a historical survey of film on rock, moving from 50s exploitation films [The Girl Can’t Help It (d: Frank Tashlin, 1956)/King Creole (d: Michael Curtiz, 1958)] to 60s depictions of the world of the British invasion [A Hard Day’s Night (d: Richard Lester, 1964)/Blowup (d: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)] to the new poetics of American folkrock [Woodstock (d: Michael Wadleigh, 1970)/The Last Waltz (d: Martin Scorsese, 1978)] and British punk [Jubilee (d: Derek Jarman, 1977)/Straight to Hell (d: Alex Cox, 1987)] in the 1970s and 1980s. After a brief investigation of the effects of MTV on both rock and cinema [selected videos by David Fincher, John Sayles, Spike Lee et al/selected episodes of Miami Vice (1984-1989], the course will shift in its second half to a more thematic approach, first examining depictions of local music scenes [Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains! (d: Lou Adler, 1981)/Light of Day (d: Paul Schrader, 1987)] and the music industry itself [Sugar Town (d: Alison Anders & Kurt Voss, 1999)/Laurel Canyon (d: Lisa Chodolenko, 2002)], and then moving on to the consideration of rock and roll as history [Quadrophenia (d: Franc Roddam, 1979)/Absolute Beginners (d: Julien Temple, 1986)], autobiography [Tro, håb og kærlighed [Twist and Shout] (d: Bille August, 1984)/Almost Famous (d: Cameron Crowe, 2000)], and myth [Phantom of the Paradise (d: Brian DePalma, 1974)/Streets of Fire (d: Walter Hill, 1984)], finally concluding with treatments of the figure of the rock star as symbolic figure [Performance (d: Donald Cammell & Nicolas Roeg, 1970)/Pink Floyd The Wall (d: Alan Parker, 1982)] and postmodern subject [Velvet Goldmine (d: Todd Haynes, 1998)/I’m Not There (d: Todd Haynes, 2007)]. If time permits, we may spend a week on the borrowed, self-generated, and imposed iconographies of David Bowie. Readings will be drawn from David E. James, Rock ‘n’ Film (2016), John Kenneth Muir, Rock and Roll on Film (2007), and Marc Wiengarten, Station to Station: The Secret History of Rock and Roll on Television (2002), as well as a number of journal articles. Prior musical experience or training is not a prerequisite for the course, but a good set of headphones might be nice.

FSCP 81000 - Race and Gender Theory in the Undergraduate Humanities Classroom, Professors Cathy N. Davidson and Michael Gillespie, Tuesday, 6:30-8:30pm. Room TBA, 3 credits [ ] Crosslisted with ENGL XXXXXX & IDS XXXXXX   This course is designed as both an introduction to core concepts of race and gender theory and as a course in the pedagogy of teaching race and gender in the introductory undergraduate humanities classroom. We will be reading a number of key texts, largely in the disciplinary areas of film, literary, and cultural theory, from the perspective of critical race theory, feminist theory, queer theory, visual culture studies, and gender and sexuality theory. We will also be reading constructivist, student-centered, activist, engaged learning theory.The course begins from the premise that profound work in race and gender theory occurs in introductory courses throughout the humanities. Introductory courses are among the most challenging to teach and our CUNY graduate students, early in their graduate careers, have sole responsibility for teaching them on the CUNY campuses. This course is specifically designed to help prepare them for their crucial role in higher education at CUNY and beyond. In demographic terms, the drop-out rate is highest in introductory undergraduate courses. In disciplinary terms, introductory courses are where students are most likely to determine a later course of study—a major or graduate school. In intellectual terms, introductory courses help create the critical lens through which students view the rest of their learning, in school and out. Yet, very little pedagogical training in graduate school focuses on methods for engaging students who are encountering race and gender theory for the first time, on how to integrate race and gender theory into a general introductory humanities curriculum, on how to connect the core concepts in an introductory course with a graduate student’s own specialized research, and on how race and gender are interconnected and converge in the terms of intersectionality.This course will be offered to Graduate Center students by permission of the instructors. First priority will be to GC students currently teaching courses on a CUNY campus. We will build upon graduate students’ own experiences as teachers and learners. We will have a site on C-Box/Academic Commons for our course and also sites that will link all the undergraduate courses being taught by the graduate students in the course.We will focus on such basics as designing syllabi, creating engaged pedagogical exercises, rethinking formative assessment methods, interrogating both the lecture and the standard discussion models used in traditional humanities courses, and in building online portfolios to showcase student work. Both graduate students and the undergraduates they are teaching will be required to publish some of their work in public online forums and to participate in at least one project that offers a public contribution to knowledge, possibly in partnership with colleagues at LaGuardia Community College as part of our new Mellon-sponsored Humanities Alliance. Since this course will be a student-led course with graduate students creating some or all of the syllabus together via a Google Doc exercise that models student-centered pedagogy, we will not finalize all the readings and viewings in advance However, it is assumed there will be some combination of DuBois, Dewey, hooks, Fanon, Freire, Lowe, Butler, Lorde, Sedgwick, Berlant, Ahmed, Rich, Moten, Fleetwood, Davidson, and Gillespie.