FILM 833: Semiotics
Digging into semiotics tradition, the seminar provides analytical tools for “close readings” of a vast array of objects and operations, from verbal texts to all sorts of images, from cultural practices to all sorts of manipulation. Semiotics’ foundational goal consisted in retracing how meaning emerges in these objects and operations, how it circulates within and between different cultural environments, and how it affects and is affected by the cultural contexts in which these objects and operations are embedded. To revamp semiotics’ main tasks, after an introduction about the idea of “making meaning,” the seminar engages students in a weekly discussion about situations, procedures, objects, and attributes that are “meaningful,” in the double sense that they have meaning and they arrange reality in a meaningful way. Objects of analysis are intentionally disparate; the constant application of a set of analytical tools provides the coherence of the seminar. Students are expected to regularly attend the seminar, actively participate in discussions, propose new objects of analysis, present a case study (fifteen–twenty minutes), and write a final paper (max. 5,000 words). Enrollment limited to fifteen.
Students from Film and Media Studies and the School of Architecture have priority: they are asked to express their choice by August 25. Students from other departments are asked to send the instructor up to ten lines with the reasons why they want to attend the seminar by August 26. The seminar is aimed at bolstering a dialogue that crosses cultures and disciplines.
Film 605 Film and Media Studies Certificate Workshop
The workshop is built on students’ needs and orientations. It is aimed at helping the individual trajectories of students and at deepening the topics they have met while attending seminars, conferences, and lectures. Students are required to present a final qualifying paper demonstrating their capacity to do interdisciplinary work. The workshop covers two terms and counts as one regular course credit.
Open only to students pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Film and Media Studies. Prerequisite: FILM 601.
FILM 617 Section 01, Psychoanalysis: Key Conceptual Differences between Freud and Lacan
Working with primary sources mainly from the Freudian and Lacanian corpuses, this seminar is an introduction to key concepts of continental psychoanalytic theory. Students gain proficiency in what has been called “the language of psychoanalysis,” as well as tools for their critical practice in humanities disciplines such as literary criticism, political theory, film studies, gender studies, theory of ideology, sociology, etc. Concepts studied include the unconscious, identification, the drive, repetition, the imaginary, the symbolic, the real, and jouissance. A central goal of the seminar is to disambiguate Freud’s corpus from Lacan’s return to it. We pay special attention to Freud’s “three” (the ego, superego, and id) in comparison to Lacan’s “three” (the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real). Depending on the interests of the group, a special unit can be added (choosing from topics such as sexuation, perversion, fetishism, psychosis, anti-psychiatry, etc.). Commentators and critics of Freud and Lacan are also consulted (Michel Arrivé, Guy Le Gaufey, Jean Laplanche, André Green, Markos Zafiropoulos, and others). Taught in English. Materials can be provided to cover the linguistic range of the group.
FILM 629 Documentary, Fiction, Docufiction
A seminar on the relationship between nonfictional and fictional media practice, with a particular focus on the “docufiction” form. Topics to be discussed include debates over the coherence of the notion of “documentary”; the epistemological and political claims of fiction and documentary; and the relationship of documentary and fictional practice to questions of nationhood, ethnicity, and gender. Films by directors such as Vertov, Eisenstein, Shub, Flaherty, Ivens, Visconti, Varda, Makavejev, Trinh Minh-ha, Costa, and Kiarostami.
FILM 653 Section 01, Studies in Documentary Film
This course examines key works, crucial texts, and fundamental concepts in the critical study of nonfiction cinema, exploring the participant-observer dialectic, the performative, and changing ideas of truth in documentary forms.
FILM 735 Documentary Film Workshop
This workshop in audiovisual scholarship explores ways to present research through the moving image. Students work within a Public Humanities framework to make a documentary that draws on their disciplinary fields of study. Designed to fulfill requirements for the M.A. with a concentration in Public Humanities.
FILM 775 Post-Stalin Literature and Film
The main developments in Russian and Soviet literature and film from Stalin’s death in 1953 to the present.
Film 900 Directed Reading
FILM 901: Inividual Research