2018-2019 Graduate Timetable

To register for these courses, please consult the Graduate Program Assistant.


F = Fall, S = Spring, Y = year-long course, H = half-course


All locations tentative

Core Courses

CIN1101HS: Theories and Practices of the Cinema (Winter)
Angelica Fenner
Tuesdays 10-12, Tuesdays 1-3
Location IN223 and Media Commons Room 1
(Mandatory for MAs, MAs only)
Organized around a series of issues that have incited ongoing discussion and debate among scholars, cultural critics, and filmmakers, this course takes a topical approach to the study of film theory. In the process it both revisits some of the most canonical texts in the field and attends to more recent attempts to think through our contemporary moment, when digitality and transnationalism are radically changing the nature of film as well as the manner in which it is produced, distributed, exhibited, and viewed. Among those issues to be discussed are medium specificity, spectatorship, narrativity, affect, and the relationship between aesthetics, economics, and politics.
CIN1102HF: Key Developments in Film History (Fall)
Brian Jacobson
Tuesdays 10-12, Wednesdays 10-12
Location IN222 and IN223
(Mandatory for MAs, MAs only)
This course will examine a limited number of important developments in the history of cinematic media. It will extend the in-depth study of these developments in technique, technology, and text to include considerations of the sociocultural forces, economics, theories of the cinematic and aesthetics that have played a role in their development, or in the ways in which we have studied them. The course will cover a wide range of distinct time periods, geographical areas, and stylistic tendencies, and by the range of scholarly approaches that have been devised to investigate the developments we choose to consider. The course aims to ensure that students' knowledge of film history is enhanced, and  that they have the opportunity to engage more critically with the issues surrounding the study of film history that are of interest and importance to them.


CIN1006Y: Major Research Paper in Cinema Studies (Summer)
(MAs only)
This course provides each student with the opportunity to write a major research paper on a topic to be devised in consultation with an individual member of the Cinema Studies core faculty. Students will be encouraged to make use of the special collections hosed with the Media Commons as the basis for their research projects.


CIN1007Y: Internship in Cinema Studies (Summer)
(MAs only)
A variety of placement settings connected to film culture.  Each placement will entail some form of film-related research and/or examination of / participation in how organizations use and study film and disseminate it within a broader cultural field.  Students will produce a report at the end of their internship outlining the learning experience and the implications for research and film scholarship.


CIN2100HF: History and Historiography of the Cinema (Fall)
Nic Sammond
Mondays 1-3, Tuesdays 1-3
Location IN223
(Mandatory for PhDs, PhDs only)
What might it mean to think historically, and what are the unique characteristics of historical inquiry? In his humble 1961 volume What Is History, British historian E. H. Carr claimed that ““History consists of a corpus ascertained facts. The facts are available to the historian in documents, inscriptions and so on, like fish in the fishmonger's slab. The historian collects them, takes them home, and cooks and serves them in whatever style appeals to him.” Today few theorists of history would be as confident—whether in the archive or in the kitchen—that history is just out there, freshly caught and waiting to be cooked up and served. Yet if an unmediated past is beyond our reach, if history requires narration and narration requires an account of the teller(s), how are we to understand the practices of historical inquiry? More to our purposes, how do cinematic media, a collection of texts and practices which are themselves usually understood as indexical, as pointing elsewhere/elsewhen, complicate our understandings of historical practice and discourse? This course has several distinct goals. First we will explore, assess and attempt to theorize around the sorts of archival sources and practices with which historians of media engage. Next, we will explore a representative set of interpretative approaches from which histories of cinematic media have been written. Finally, we will consider how technological change (especially digitization) has altered our sense of cinematic media as discrete and unique media, how that change has altered our understandings of the historical and of memory, and how it has changed the practices of storing, accessing, and interpreting common and divergent histories. In the end, this course seeks to provide space within which to question, with Foucault, whether the things we call facts determine history or whether something we name as history determines the facts—and through them enables us to say something about the world(s) we inhabit. Or, in Carr’s terms, what happens if we take our fish into the parlor instead of the kitchen? What then?
CIN2999HF: Research Seminar in Cinema Studies (Fall)
Tuesdays 10-12 (sometimes Wednesdays 10-12)
Location IN313
(Mandatory for Year 2 PhDs, Year 2 PhDs only)
A mandatory course for second-year PhD students.

Elective Courses

CIN1005HS: Special Studies in Cinema: Making Faces: Identity, Performance, and the Face on Film (Winter)

Alice Maurice
Mondays 1-3 (lecture), Thursdays 1-3 (screening)
Location IN313

In this course, we will explore the meaning of the face on screen. Much has been said about the face in cinema, with much of that discourse focusing on the close-up. This course will explore this work while also examining the historical context and material specificity of the face on screen. Beginning in the early silent era, when the close-up was becoming an accepted part of cinematic language, we will examine the numerous ways the face has created meaning on screen, as well as the numerous ways the screen image has shaped our understanding of the face. We will study films and performers that have been central to theories of the screen face, and we will read criticism and theory that takes up the aesthetic, political, and ethical meaning of the face.


CIN3006HF: Media and Philosophy: Difficult Emotions, Moving Images (Fall)
Brian Price
Mondays 3-7
Location IN313
In this seminar we will investigate the role that images play in the acknowledgement and mediation of difficult emotions such as shame, jealousy, anger, hatred, and regret. That is to say, we will take these conditions—as a point of departure—as a problem of the image. In putting it this way, we will consider first how it is that images—whether the ones we make for and of ourselves in thinking, as well as the ones that come to us externally—figure contingently in the constitution of the self. We will ask what it means to understand the self and the reflective activity that attends a contingent conception of self as a process. As a process, it is one that shares something important with how the moving image both comes into being and how it is, in turn, that we can be said to be-with-images. From there, we will consider a host of difficult emotions and the specificity that each requires as a two-fold problem of the moving image: the images we keep for and of ourselves, and the ones that film and related media present to us. Readings will include works by Hannah Arendt, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jean Mitry, Thomas Nagel, Sianne Ngai, Martha Nussbaum, Robert Pippin, Richard Rorty, Silvin Tomkins, Bernard Williams, among others.
CIN3008HS: Topics in Film and Media History: Screens in the 1970s (Winter)
Scott Richmond
Mondays 3-7 (corrected July 10)
Location IN223
This course attends to various screen practices and cultures in the long 1970s (1968–1984, or thereabouts). Beyond the inauguration of neoliberalism as the political economic dominant, the 1970s saw important inventions and upheavals in a variety of domains, including film, computing, and art—all of which prefigure important issues for theorizing about the historical present. This course assembles a variety of cases from and among these developments in pursuit of an archaeology of contemporary screen subjectivity and computational personhood. These include: the development of film theory’s foundational account of cinematic identification and the apparatus; the rise and heyday of Blaxploitation film; the invention of the blockbuster and the resuscitation of moviegoing and Hollywood’s bottom line; the first computer-animated films; the innovation of the computer screen; the development of the graphical user interface; the personalization of computation more generally; and the rise of video art and other artistic practices reliant on video. Students will develop and execute substantial research projects that articulate theory and history, culminating in a seminar paper.


CIN3010HF: Topics in Film and Media Theory: Of Monsters And Media (Fall)
Meghan Sutherland
Tuesdays 3-7
Location IN313
This course will explore the concept and embodiment of "the monstrous," and the pivotal place monsters occupy in the history of moving image media, by gleaning the philosophical, theoretical, and historical insights provided by a wide range of films, TV shows, and multi-media works. In other words, we will be reading both "high" and "low" representations of monstrosity in visual media culture as philosophical meditations on the subject in their own right, each one articulated through a specific set of historical, theoretical, aesthetic, and sociopolitical terms and discourses. The central preoccupation of the course will thus be theoretical in scope, but engaged with historically specific discourses by necessity: what can the history of mass-media, and the seemingly fundamental obsession with monsters that unfolds there, teach us about the ontological relationship between the category of monstrosity, the simultaneously aesthetic and technological act of monstration (or showing), and the social anxieties about media, technology, and being that circulate around them in modern culture and thought? How might the figure of the monster help us rethink the relationship between the multiple different technologies, aesthetics, and cultures of mediation that "converge" throughout the modern history of monster media texts, but also in the more recent technical phenomenon of "media convergence" itself? And finally, how might a different view of these relationships help us make sense of the role that "monster media" have played in the articulation of sociopolitical categories such as "the normal," the human," and "the abject" over time?


CIN6153HF: Race And Cinema: Expanding Black Visuality (Fall)
Kass Banning
Wednesdays 3-7
Location IN223
This seminar takes up the topic of aesthetics and blackness alongside the evolution of black screen practices globally, with an emphasis on recent scholarship on vision and visuality with respect to race in the twenty-first century. Philosophical and theoretical frameworks for thinking through the conceptual and political significance of race in constructions of the human (spanning phenomenological accounts to critical race scholarship to postcolonial to black feminist and queer theories) will be placed in conversation with the extant problematic of the racialization of visuality specifically. One key question concerns divergent positions on the counter-discursive efficacy of representation generally, and the figural specifically, versus abstraction and seriality.
To help us conceptualize black visuality more broadly we will engage with debates in the context of ongoing anti-racist politics, to include the generational shift from deliberations on Platonic/ mimetic representation and “the burden of representation” endemic to scholarship advanced in the 80’s and 90’s, to positions questioning a representational framework tout court exemplified in ‘postblack’ arguments, to recent deliberations that range from Afro-pessimism to Afrofuturism. A range of works from film, video installation, and emergent digital media will be studied.
Readings will include intellectual traditions germane to blackness and visuality: W.E. B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, Homi K. Bhabha, and Achille Mbembe, among others, in tandem with activist counter discourses advanced by a new generation of scholars that are simultaneously grounded in philosophical / theoretical inquiry and the contestation of racialized culture, evinced in the works of Tavia Nyong’o, Alexander Weheliye, Fred Moten, Katherine McKittrick, Saidiya Hartman, Jared Sexton, Kobena Mercer, Darby English, Kara Keeling, Christina Sharpe, and Frank B. Wilderson III, among others. Lastly, we will explore their critiques of interlocutors from the fields of philosophy and visual studies – Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Gilles Deleuze, Nicholas Mirzoeff, among others – finding them both generative and incomplete. While our attention will be trained upon a particular set of texts and contexts, the seminar’s principle objective is to explore implications of black visuality and racialization – generally excised from discourses in cinema studies proper – across contemporary scopic regimes.

Non-CIN Courses

The availability of these courses offered outside of the Cinema Studies Institute may be subject to factors outside our control. This is not an exhaustive list, and more Cinema-related courses will be added to this page soon. If there is a discrepancy between the times listed here, the host institution's website is assumed to be more up-to-date. Please visit their websites for more comprehensive information.

Department of English

Centre for Comparative Literature

Department of German Languages and Literatures

Sexual Diversity Studies

Women and Gender Studies

Department of History

Please note that some courses require special arrangements and/or forms. In those cases, please contact me to obtain the proper formor to make arrangements with the other departments. Some outside courses have very limited space.

HIS1032HS (History, Winter): Modernity and Its Visual Cultures
Brian Jacobson
Tuesdays 6-8
Location IN313
This seminar examines the concept of “modernity” and its expression in visual form and cultural practice. We will focus on developments in visual culture beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century in order to explore a range of transformations in subjective and social experience and economic and cultural practice that scholars from across the humanities and social sciences have described within the rubric of modernity and modernism. This semester we will focus on the visual culture of industry and the role corporations have played in defining modernity since the late nineteenth century. Topics will include: advertising (in film, photography, and print media); industrial film and photography; the “machine” aesthetic in art, film, and design; and colonial visual culture and technology transfer.


GER1780HS (German, Winter): Topics in German Visual Culture: Affect and Material Culture in German and European Cinemas (updated May 10, 2018)
Angelica Fenner
Wednesdays 4-8
Location IN223
This seminar engages the ‘affective turn’ in film/media and cultural studies--a movement devoting renewed attention to the role of material conditions, including the visceral, lived experience of the body and the intensities that traverse it, as well as the continuum of the object-world we inhabit. While affect –as distinguished from emotion or feeling—has been theorized as a pre-personal and pre-linguistic phenomenon, this has not inhibited scholars and students alike from striving to put into words what exactly transpires before and between cognition and speech. Indeed, since affects are said to circulate publicly, or even transmit contagiously, they may also serve as a portal to further understanding how cultural production refracts and enact historical and emergent social and political configurations at the scale of both the individual and of collective bodies such as that of the nation. This course uses contemporary German and European cinema as a point of departure for such an investigation. Our weekly readings, our class discussions, and our writing will facilitate a collective striving to think, write and implement the concept of affect, using the curated screenings as a vehicle for both discerning its palpable implications in textual narrative and, at times, perhaps also analyzing own responses to the same.
INF2225HF (Information Studies, Fall): Digital Discourse
Patrick Keilty
Tuesdays 1-4 p.m.
Location TBD
This course provides an introduction to the field of theoretical writing addressing the nature of digital media and the role of technology in modern and contemporary culture. In doing so, this course will consider a range of critical pressure points that have been central to media studies, technology studies, digital humanities, art and performance, cinema studies, and archival studies. How have developments in digital culture and theory impacted the critical commonplaces of analogy, time, space, sound, motion, network, body, and narrative? In dialogue with critical paradigms that have been fundamental to the discourse of critical theory, including affect, power, constructionism, archives, colonialism, nationalism, and the politics of race, gender, and sexuality, this course will provide students with the opportunity to scrutinize the work of a wide spectrum of thinkers central to critical theory in digital discourse.
ITA1815HF (Italian, Fall): Diversity and Mobility in Italian Cinema
Alberto Zambenedetti
Wednesdays 12-2, Fridays 10-12
Location Media Commons 1 & IN313
This seminar investigates how Italian cinema has engaged with the interconnected issues of diversity and mobility both at the level of representation and in industrial and production practices. The critical apparatus blends together some of the key texts of mobility studies, postcolonial and globalization theory, and cinema studies. The overall goal is to learn to approach cinema as an artistic medium capable of interrogating notions of ethnicity, race, gender, class, nation, borders, hybridity, hospitality, and marginality, to challenge hegemonic structures of power and expose entrenched inequalities and received ideas. Moving away from stereotypes and generalizations often created and disseminated by popular media (internet memes, pseudo-journalistic accounts, biased exposés), the course seeks to offer an approach that accounts for diversity and mobility beyond the familiar aesthetics of emergency and crisis. The seminar will be conducted by Professor Zambenedetti with the participation of Dr. Jessica Lynne Harris, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Italian Studies. 


ETH1000H1Y (Centre for Ethics, spans both Fall and Winter Terms): Diversity and Mobility in Italian Cinema
Tuesdays 3-6 p.m., Dates TBD (roughly bi-weekly during Fall and Spring)
Location Centre for Ethics, 200 Larkin
What? This new year-long, half-credit graduate course exposes students to advanced methods employed in the analysis of ethical issues related to the production, dissemination, and application of AI in a variety of contexts. A diverse team of speakers from a range of academic disciplines including, for instance, computer science; criminology; engineering; law; literary studies; media studies; philosophy; or political science, will model various methodological approaches and modes of analysis. Students will write three short responses each semester to specific presentations, and participate in group discussions of the scheduled guest lectures. (CR/NCR)
When? Tuesdays, 3-6pm; Dates: TBD (roughly bi-weekly during Fall and Spring, check the Centre for Ethics website for details)
Where? Centre for Ethics, 200 Larkin


MUS1240HF (Music, Fall Term): Diegetic Music in Film
J. Haines
Tuesdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Location TBD

The concept of diegetic music coined by Michel Chion in 1985 continues to be a central issue in film music studies.  Diegetic music is that which is heard by the characters in a film, as opposed to the non-diegetic musical accompaniment (i.e., film score) heard only by the film's audience.  In this seminar, we will begin by looking at film music scholarship prior to Chion (e.g., Sergei Eisenstein and  Christian Metz) and afterwards (e.g. Rick Altman and Ben Winters).  
The bulk of the seminar will be spent listening to the many ways in which filmmakers cross 'the fantastical gap between diegetic and non-diegetic' (Robynn Stillwell), in selected films - both in and out of Hollywood - from the twenties to the present.

ENG6533HS (English, Winter Term): The Art of Mourning
M. Ruti
Thursdays 2-4 p.m.
Location JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Situating itself at the intersection of the personal and the political, the affective and the ethical, this seminar considers the role of mourning in the life of both the individual and the collective. After considering some foundational psychoanalytic texts on mourning by Freud, Winnicott, Klein, and Kristeva, the seminar fans out to a more general analysis of mourning in relation to subjective experience, character formation, creative process, ethical conduct, and political potential. Moving between the autotheoretical texts of Barthes, Derrida, Nelson, Rankine, and Wunker, and the more diagnostic texts of Cheng, Butler, Brown, Santner, and McAfee, the seminar grapples with the implications of mourning as a theoretical, existential, and social experience. At its core is the question of whether morning is truly capable of the kind of ethical and political work that most of the theorists on our reading list ask of it. Might it just as easily lead to a depoliticizing turning-away from the world as the mourner attempts to gather up the pieces of a broken life? In other words, does mourning open to something new, such as creative potential, ethical capacity, or political passion? Or does it paralyze the subject to the point of disengagement? 
FAH1489H? (Winter Term): Re: Vision (Comparative Histories of the Senses)
Even as “visual culture” was emerging as a field of study, in the late 1980s and early 1990s art history was reckoning with critiques of “ocularcentrism” or the primacy of vision. While much of that rethinking was channelled into an “affective turn,” this seminar foregrounds postcolonial approaches in asking what a focus on comparative sensoria might add to discussions about the politics of the sensible, and the status of vision in relation to the other senses. After revisiting earlier debates on ocularcentrism, the seminar seeks to “provincialize” histories of the senses centred on Euroamerican modernity by seeking out work on heterogeneous sensory regimes from a range of periods, locations, and/or cultural formations – Western and non-Western, pre-modern and modern/contemporary – that challenge not only the dominance of vision and its separation from the other senses, but also, perhaps, the celebration of these challenges as politically subversive (a case in point here is the privileging of touch in South Asian practices of caste.) The aim here is twofold: to rigorously interrogate our methodological presuppositions about the visual in approaching images and artworks, and, working with a nonlinear notion of layered temporal circuits, to further illuminate the work of the senses in our increasingly complex global present. This broad conceptual and methodological orientation means that the seminar is intended to speak to students across geographical and temporal specializations; participants are encouraged to collectively shape the reading list by contributing their interests to a proposed list of topics and readings. The latter will include work from art history, history, anthropology, philosophy, music, film studies and literary theory (among others), covering topics such as the acousmatic, the corpothetic, synesthesia, kinesthetics, olfaction, Indigenous life-worlds, varying forms of religiosity, and untouchability.

Fall term 
COL5081H Benjamin’s Arcades Project/R. Comay
JGC1855H Critical Theory – The French-German Connection/W. Goetschel
JLA5082H The Rhetoric of Photography/ A. Sakaki
DRA3907HY Collisions and Common Ground: Art – Technology – Performance/P. Kleber
Winter term
COL5033H Visual Portraitures in Contemporary Autobiographical Narratives/J. LeBlanc
COL5027H Memory, Trauma, and History/T. Lahusen
COL5117H Freud and Psychoanalysis/J. Zilcosky 
COL5128H Tragedy: Instantiations of a Dramatic Form in Theatre, Philosophy, Opera and Popular Cinema/M. Revermann


Updated June 25, 2018