Courses / Undergraduate

Summer 2020

  • Film & Media Cultures

    Film 20 | CCN: 12898

    Kaitlin Clifton Forcier

    4 Units

    Session D

    Lecture: T,W   12:30pm-3:00pm                  Location: Online – Synchronous Instruction 

    Discussion: Th 12:30pm-3:00pm                Location: Online – Synchronous Instruction

    Screening: T 3pm-6pm                                 Location: Online – Synchronous Instruction

    In this course students will learn to think critically about the media that shape our everyday lives. This course will analyze major audio-visual media of the 20th and 21st centuries, from photography and film to television and digital media. We will tackle the question of medium specificity: what are the material, formal, and aesthetic features that define different media and how they produce meaning? How, for example, does photography differ from painting, not just in the process of its production and circulation, but in how it constructs its audience and produces different kinds of publics? We will focus on the cultural and ideological effects of media, considering how their content and form are closely tied to questions of power, class, race, gender, sexuality, ability and nationality. We will consider the historical and societal context that condition how media create and affect their audiences.


    By introducing students to key readings on film and media theory, this course will provide students with tools for analyzing a wide variety of cultural artifacts. One of the aims of the course is to learn how to appreciate the challenge of reading complex theoretical material. We will read theoretical texts spanning from early responses to silent film to current debates on the death of cinema, the rise and/or demise of television, and the ubiquity of digital media. Screenings will provide case studies to ground the lectures and discussions.  Screenings will include contemporary films such as Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 205) and Searching (Aneesh Chaganty, 2018); classical film texts such as Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929), Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954), Blow Up (Antonioni, 1966), and Illusions (Julie Dash, 1982); as well as a variety of excerpts from television, video games, and video and new media art by artists such as Dara Birnbaum, Hito Steyerl, Meriem Benani, Ian Cheng, and Kahlil Joseph.

    By the end of this course, students should be able to understand the concept of medium:

     – specificity and compare various forms of media. They will be able to analyze films and other

    – cultural objects from a variety of perspectives and consider their roles within a larger society.


    (This course will proceed via remote instruction during Session D)