Toronto Film Seminar (Spring 2012)

The goals of the Seminar are:
- to encourage intellectual and collegial discussion among the increasing number of Cinema and Media Studies scholars in the region,
- to encourage in-depth scholarly discussion and critical debate,
- to showcase diverse research methodologies and research fields that address a wide range of cinematic technologies (film, television, video, new media, and other forms of moving image and sound screens)
- to model collegial and professional academic discourse for the many graduate students


January 20, 2012: Meghan Sutherland

4:00PM – 5:45PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox
3rd Floor Learning Studios


This talk stages an encounter between Jacques Ranciere’s account of aesthetic politics and the way liberal reformers of the 1950s imagined television’s role in the practice of democratic governance. Highlighting the appeal to an image of mediatic “distance” that animates both of these seemingly antithetical approaches to the art of politics, it argues that a closer examination of the role that distance plays in the history of television aesthetics stands to reframe the stakes of this encounter, as well as the insights it affords into debates surrounding media technology and the politics of representation today.



March 2, 2012: Alexander García Düttmann
4:00PM – 5:45PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox
3rd Floor Learning Studios
A 6:00PM screening of THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC to follow at TIFF Bell Lightbox
Respondent: Brian Price, Associate Professor of Film and Visual Studies at the University of Toronto

Seeing for Others?

This talk considers Bresson's The Devil, Probably, as well as his writing on film, to understand Bresson's conception of automatism and the ways in which representation can be understood as both too subjective and not subjective enough.

Alexander García Düttmann is Professor of Philosophy and Visual Culture at Goldsmiths College, London. He is author of numerous books, including Visconti: Insights into Flesh and Blood (2008), Philosophy of Exaggeration (2007), Between Cultures: Tension in the Struggle for Recognition (2000), and At Odds with AIDS (1997), among others.

This talk has been possible, in part, by the Department of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

March 9, 2012: Shyon Baumann
4:00PM – 6:00PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox
3rd Floor Learning Studios
Respondent: Vanina Leschziner, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto

Viewing Film from a "Production Perspective": Sociological Methods to Illuminate the Significance of Film

The “production perspective” was developed, primarily by Richard Peterson, as a distinctively sociological approach to explaining cultural content. This perspective adapts many of the theories and methods designed for explaining social structures and relationships and applies them to cultural questions. With respect to film, this perspective can be a valuable addition to other approaches prevalent within cinema and media studies. At the same time, the “production perspective” can be enriched by paying attention to the goals and methods of cinema and media studies. This talk illustrates the strengths of the “production perspective” through a study of the changing classifications of Hollywood films over the course of the 20th century, especially concerning artistic merit, and also through reference to other recent sociological studies of film and television content.
Shyon Baumann is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research in the sociology of culture places particular focus on media, arts, and marketing, engaging with questions of cultural evaluation and classification, and processes of legitimation. He is the author of Hollywood Highbrow: From Entertainment to Art (Princeton, 2007).

back to article index