History of Art 5001: Experiments in Film and Media Theory


Film theorist Thomas Elsaesser argues, "theory is never historically stable, but takes on new meanings in different contexts." In this course, we'll take his claim as a starting point for exploring different approaches to theorizing film and other moving image media. We will read feminist and realist film theories, as well as theories centered around the relationship between screens, perception, and the human body. We'll address how film and media theorists have revisited classical, avant-garde, and ideological theories of spectatorship in light of recent transformations and mobilizations of the moving image. We will also explore the interaction of real reception space and imaginary media space, the anthology of the photographic image, and the crisis of the commons. We will consider how cinema has been understood as an ocular-specular phenomenon and how more recently it has come to be understood as an immersive perceptual event. In the process of this inquiry, we'll delve into theoretical accounts of identification, synesthesia, haptic vision, and virtuality, and consider how Third Cinema, animation, and YouTube videos provide opportunities for critically re-evaluating these different theoretical models and approaches. 


Professor Erica Levin

Graduate Class # 35520; Undergraduate Class # 35522
In person, Wed & Fri 2:20-3:40