Graduate Film Historiography
201 | CCN: 24331
The goal of this seminar is to understand film as a historical medium in transition. Approaching the history of cinema from our present perspective, we will consider the promises it once elicited and ask how the past imagined the future(s) of cinema. Using newly available archival sources, we will focus on major shifts in film technology and aesthetics, from silent cinema to sound film, television, and the Internet. We will also discuss foundational theoretical texts, ranging from Walter Benjamin’s musings on memory and media archaeology, to Jacques Derrida’s and Michel Foucault’s reflections on the nature of the archive, and to Hayden White’s theory of the practical past. The seminar will function as a laboratory for new modes of archival research. A conference at the end of the semester will provide students with the opportunity to present their investigations and contribute to a theoretically engaged history of media.