Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts
LCST 2450 A: Introduction to Media Studies
This course introduces the student to basic concepts and approaches in the critical analysis of communications media. Drawing on contemporary critiques and historical studies, it seeks to build an understanding of different forms of media, such as photography and cinema, television and video, the internet and hypermedia, in order to assess their role and impact in society. Since media are at once technology, art and entertainment, and business enterprises, they need to be studied from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The readings for the course reflect this multi-pronged approach and draw attention to the work of key thinkers and theorists in the field. Moreover, the readings build awareness of the international dimensions of media activity, range, and power.
LCST 3057 A: Film Criticism
This course examines the history of film criticism from its beginnings until today. Students will have the opportunity to track critical developments both inside and outside the academy (e.g., formalism, psychoanalysis, feminism, auteur theory) while also following the careers of leading critics of the twentieth century. Finally, we will pay considerable attention to the state of film criticism today and the different forms it has taken, from blogging to internet journals and magazines.
MCS 294–01: Old and New Media
More than the individual histories of separate technologies, media archaeologies invoke the intertwined desires, anxieties, and aspirations that attend a device’s invention, use, and obsolescence. The designation of “old” and “new” media refer less to specific technologies like the camera obscura or digital computing but to the ways in which the meanings attached to media forms are often relational, multiple, and deeply connected to both the public and private spheres. This course traces numerous media archaeological threads, including media rooted in particular functions like long-distance communication (telegraphy, telephony, television), imaging (cinema and optical devices), the ability to constitute, address, and surveil a mass audience (print, radio, and satellite and Internet networks), as well as the role media play in the practice of art. More broadly, this course theorizes the notion of media itself, particularly as manifest in the technologies we use to make sense of ourselves, others, and the world. What makes a medium new or, for that matter, old? Are we indeed in what Rosalind Krauss has called “a post-medium condition,” and how is the cultural logic of media expressed in a digitized, dematerialized age? The first half of the course will address theoretical debates and methods in the emerging field of media archaeology, while the second will focus on case studies with emphasis on the modernist articulation of medium, alongside the critical uses of media, in art and film.
MCS 294-02: Experimental Film and Video
The history and shape of experimental or avant-garde cinema has been deeply tied to, but also significantly separate from, the practices of the art world, on one hand, and commercial Hollywood filmmaking, on the other. Situated between these two poles, it has developed into a distinct culture characterized by artisanal modes of filmmaking, independent theatrical and distribution channels, auxiliary print and screening practices, and often highly charged debates concerning medium specificity, aesthetics, and politics. This course addresses the range of practices that make up experimental media in two chief ways. The first explores experimental film in its cultural contexts, examining the ways issues of industry, art, and institutional power are routed differently in relation to Hollywood and visual art. The second addresses a historic and contemporary avant-garde impulse to locate, in film, video, and digital media, a space of aesthetic possibility, personal expression, and political resistance. To both ends, the course surveys a broad range of experimental and often non-narrative media, including artist films, activist cinema, experimental documentary, diary or first-person film, found footage compilations, hand-painted film, expanded cinema, video art, and moving image installation. syllabus course blog
MCS 315/WGSS 320: Gender, Sexuality, and Film
This course explores a variety of critical approaches to the representation of gender and sexuality in film and video, including psychoanalytic feminist film theory and criticism, queer theory, narrative analysis, genre, visual culture, and cultural studies of gender and sexuality in relation to race, nation, and class. How have social constructs about gender and sexuality been promulgated and/or contested in film and video within mainstream and avant-garde contexts of cultural production? How have these constructs functioned to uphold and/or challenge other forms of social stratification or privilege? And, how might the woman’s body in particular—both as a sight to behold and a site of looking—offer different ways of thinking representational possibility? In asking these questions, the course considers a wide range of issues, including the gaze, the body, media technologies, spectatorship, identity and identification, realism, mythology, and pornography. Written work emphasizes the close analysis of film texts. Prerequisites: sophomore standing; MCST 128, Film Analysis and Visual Culture, or a course in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; or permission of the instructor. syllabus course blog