Courses / Graduate

Fall 2020

  • Screen Dynamics: A Comparative Perspective

    240 - 003 | CCN: 33615

    Weihong Bao

    4 Units

    Seminar: W 4pm-7pm; Location: Starr Library 

    In recent years, the proliferation and ubiquity of screens across the globe has raised new questions about the ontology, archaeology, and ecology of media. What is a screen? Is it a technical device, a material surface, an optical portal, a spatial construct, or a living environment? Or is it a psychic mechanism, a social interface, a cultural articulation, and a political instrument? How are these questions considered beyond the dominant scope of Europe and North America?  

    This course examines the histories and theories of the screen from a comparative perspective. By pursuing the divergent, parallel, and intersecting histories and theories of the screen between China and the “West” from antiquity to the present, we interrogate existing notions and assumptions of media, technology, human, and environment to the effect of destabilizing boundaries of both culture and media.

    Locating the screen’s deep and plural histories in a variety of settings and arrangements–from religious murals to painted screens, from architectural constructs to optical illusions, from advertising walls to museum installations, from theatrical spectacles to portable media, from surveillance technologies to medical devices–our class will test the limits of a wide range of methodologies from phenomenology, psychoanalysis, critical race and postcolonial studies, philosophy of technology, and platform, infrastructure, and network studies. We will rethink the screen in expanded and innovative ways and consider the critical purchase regarding its theoretical, historiographical, aesthetic as well as political implications.