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Academics, Research Centers, & Initiatives
FSCP 81000 – Aesthetics of Film, Professor Kara Lynn Andersen, Thursday, 2:00-6:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits  Cross listed with ART 79400, THEA 71400 & 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.
This course will consider the intersections between animated and live-action forms of a variety screen entertainment media, 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.
FSCP 81000 - Seminar in Film Theory, Professor David Gerstner, Wednesday, 2:00-6:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits  Cross listed with THEA 81600
That the theater is more restrictive than painting is strikingly demonstrated by an experience of [Sergei] Eisenstein. At a time when he still directed theatrical plays he found out by trial and error that stage conditions could not be stretched infinitely—that in effect their inexorable nature prevented him from implementing his artistic intentions, which then called for film as the only fitting means of expression." And thus writes film theorist Siegfried Kracauer. Why make such a bold assertion (as Kracauer does throughout his career) about the cinema’s aesthetic exceptionalism over that of theater? As it turns out, such comparisons between (especially) theater and cinema inform the foundation of film theory.
This course surveys the history of film theory in international thought, with a particular focus on the intersections of cinematic and theatrical frameworks. Concerns over performance, time and space, spectatorship, and movement take place front-and-center for the likes of theoreticians including Arnheim, Panofsky, Eisenstein, Epstein, and Hartmann. Although Kracauer is one of the last modernists to make these claims, later film theorists (particularly through French thought) redirected film analysis to questions of language and ideology. At the same time, and as late as Deleuze’s and Rodowick’s contributions, concepts about mise-en-scène, narrative, and the auteur remain in play. Mixed with discussions about race, gender, feminism, nationalism, and sexuality, film theory continues to engage the foundational properties of the cinematic medium to explore a range of theoretical concerns.
FSCP 81000 - Rock & Roll & Film & Video: Noise & Image, 1954-2014, Professor Marc Dolan, Friday, 11:45am-2:45pm, Room C-419, 3 credits  Crosslisted with MUS 86600
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)], 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 3207, 3 credits [35017 ] Crosslisted with ENGL 89010, IDS 81620 & U ED 75200
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. Registration by permission of instructor.
to request permission.
THE FOLLOWING COURSES ARE EQUIVALENT TO FSCP 81000 AND WILL FULFILL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
SPAN 87100 – Cinema & Television in Contemporary Mexico GC: Wednesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room 3306, 3 credits, Prof. Paul Julian Smith, 
This course, which is taught in English, studies Mexican cinema and television of the last three decades. The course will address four topics in film: the replaying of history, cinematic genres and auteurism, gender and sexuality, and nationality and transnationalism; and will further study the different genres of television fiction: telenovela, miniseries, and daily one-off drama. Methodology will embrace analysis of the audiovisual industry, film form, and theory. Grading is by written exam (25%), student oral participation and presentation (25%) and final paper (50%).
CL 86500 – Lorca, Buñuel, Dalí, Theater, Film, Painting, GC Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Room 3307, 2/4 credits, Prof. Paul Julian Smith, 
This course treats the drama of Federico García Lorca, the silent and Spanish-language films of Buñuel, and some fine art works by Dalí. It involves close reading of literary, cinematic and analysis of the voluminous and contradictory body of criticism on those texts. It also addresses such questions as tradition and modernity; the city and the country; and the biopic in film and television. The question of intermediality, or the relation between different media, will be examined in its historical and theoretical dimensions. The course will graded by final paper (50%), midterm exam (25%), and final presentation, weekly postings to course website and oral contribution to class (25%).