Teaching and Assessment

During the first and second years of Film and Visual Culture, students usually attend two, 1-hour lectures per week, per course. In addition to these meetings, students attend weekly screening sessions and weekly 1-hour tutorials. Tutorials are small, guided discussion sessions. They give students the opportunity to ask questions, share ideas, collaborate with their peers, and learn the skills that they will need for Honours-level seminar discussions. Marks for first- and second-year courses are normally based on essays, exams, and participation in tutorials.

At the Honours level, students usually attend one, 1-hour lecture and one, 2-hour seminar per week, per course. During their Honours years, students are expected to take a larger role in shaping and leading discussion. To this end, class sizes in both teaching formats (lecture and seminar) are kept small. We typically enroll no more than 15-25 students per course. Marks for Honours options are normally based on essays, weekly writing assignments, presentations, final projects, and participation.

Level 1: Required Courses (Formal and Theoretical Foundations)

Introduction to Film

This course offers an introduction to the language and practice of film analysis. Each week, we explore a different element of film form and study the ways in which it shapes the
moving image.

This course also introduces the key 
critical and
 theoretical frameworks that have shaped the discipline and our understanding of cinema. Rather than offering a survey of film history or a small collection of classics, this course invites students to think about formal
 elements within and across a wide range of genres, styles, historical moments, and national contexts.

By the end of this course, the successful student will have acquired the necessary tools to continue coursework in Film Studies. Students will be able to recognize, analyse, and communicate the ways in which meaning is made in cinema.

Introduction to Visual Culture

Over the last twenty years, the visual landscape has become digital, virtual, viral, and global.

The image-as-object has disintegrated. The theatre-as-architecture has collapsed. Visual media have been mixed and re-mixed in the museum and online. In turn, a vibrant cross-section of scholars and practitioners from Art History, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Film Studies have responded, not only engaging contemporary image production and consumption, but also the foundations of visual knowledge: What is an image? What is vision? How and why do we look, gaze, and spectate? From the nomadic pathways of the digital archive to the embodied look that looks back, this course introduces students to the key concepts and theories that shape this fluid field.

We engage film, video and mixed media from across the twentieth and twenty-first century, and texts by key theorists such as

  • Walter Benjamin
  • Jacques Lacan
  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Frederic Jameson
  • Donna Haraway
  • Jean Baudrillard

Level 2: Required Courses (History and Theory)

Cinema and Modernity

This course introduces students to a constellation of significant visual and textual sites from the first fifty years of film practice, including the 'attractions' of early cinema, the rise of the Hollywood studios, the kino-eye of city cinema, and the cinematic aftermath of WWII.

Each week, we explore a distinct film-historical moment, a set of key theoretical concepts, and the intersection between the moving image and modernity.

In this course, students not only learn about the relationship between film history and theory, but also aquire a facility with critical and comparative thinking.

Cinema and Revolution

This course continues from "Cinema and Modernity," tracking the practice, reception and theory of important films, film movements and various visual media, from 1945 to the present. These include Italian Neo-Realism, television, international New Waves, post-colonial and third cinemas, New Hollywood, digital animation among many others. 

While the structure for this course mirrors that of "Cinema and Modernity," short assignments as well as the essay and exam all focus directly on close analysis of films, including scene, image and formal reading. 

Levels 3 and 4: Required Honours Courses

Border Crossings

This course explores the concept of national cinema--its consolidation, rupture, and recombination--in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From the height of Hollywood's Golden Age to the state-controlled works of Syrian cinema, we will consider:

  • How do national boundaries structure and shape cinema?
  • How does the national help us to organize and analyse film?

Through seminar discussion and frequent writing assignments (responses, essay drafts, and revisions), students will not only examine the uses of the national as a framework for analysing cinema, but will also interrogate a handful of key counterpoints to national paradigms. Examples may include sixth-generation Chinese cinema, Nollywood, minor film forms such as independent and indigenous video, and co-productions from across the twentieth century.

These distinct sites trouble the boundaries of the national and foreground cinema's complex position in the flows of global capital, language, and visual culture. Readings will drawn from, among others

  • Richard Abel
  • Mark Betz
  • Rosalind Galt
  • Kay Dickinson
  • Natasa Durovicova
  • Ella Shohat

Honours Dissertation

All Film and Visual Culture Honours students are required to conduct an independent research project during their final year of study. The project represents the culmination of each Film and Visual Culture student's training (in academic research, writing, and/or film practice).

Levels 3 and 4: Optional Honours Seminars

Students select from a variety of seminar options for the remainder of their Honours curriculum.

These seminars draw on the Film and Visual Culture staff’s research expertise and vary each half session. Options may include Global Silent Cinemas, Minor Cinemas, Comic Cinemas, Labour, Leisure and the Moving Image, Psychoanalysis and Film, Animate Images, and Looking Up. Courses are also offered on French, Hispanic and German cinema.

In addition, several Honours options integrate theory and practice, including Documentary Film and Panoptic Digital Culture.