Courses for Spring 2013

Courses for Spring 2013

FAMS Courses Spring 2013 

The following courses fulfill the FAMS minor. Other courses, including COMM courses, are listed at GMU FAMS Courses.  

For questions on courses or independent studies not listed here, please contact Cynthia Fuchs at 




16953 AVT 377 4.000 Cyberpunk MW 1:30-4:10pm Art and Design Building 2001

Mark Cooley

Traces the ways that cinema, music, fiction, cultural theory, visual art, television, theater, and performance have embraced and been shaped by cyberpunk and cyberculture. Includes readings, writings, discussion, screenings, guest speakers, and research projects.


13954 CHIN 320 001 3.000 Contemporary Chinese Film T 7:20-10pm KH 242 TBA

Explores China from 1949 to present through cinematic and literary representations. Discussions focus on representations of cultural, social, and political changes in the movies. Also introduces critical readings that address issues of gender and youth, family, ethnicity, modernity and the nation, as well as visuality and memory. (Taught in English.)


10456 COMM 380 001 3.000 Media Criticism MW 12-1:15pm R B208

(Required course for FAMS minor). Cecilia Uy-Tioco


14650 ENGH 318 001 3.000 Introduction to Cultural Studies 12-1:15pm MW Innovation Hall 209

Jessica Scarlata


17212 ENGH 319 001 3.000 Intro to TV TR 09-10:15am AQ 219

17213 ENGH 319 002 3.000 Intro to TV TR 01:30-2:45pm IN 133

Stephen Groening

Television has become the preeminent communications system in the world. But pervasiveness and ubiquity are not the only reasons to study television. Television calls into question many long-held ideas regarding aesthetics, ontology, and epistemology; terms normally reserved for philosophy, not the mass media. Additionally, television is emblematic of modern industrial society; pointing to the universalization of the commodity form, the paradoxes of individualism, the administration of culture and the ideological control of capitalism as a global system. Television can also be conceived as mindless, entertaining, and superficial even as it creates communities, national imaginaries and seems to bring the world into our homes. This course will examine some of these contradictions. We will explore what television is, what television does, and how television shapes our fundamental assumptions about space, time, image and sound. This course will emphasize television’s place in a larger historical context of media forms, consumerism, industrialization and globalization.


17235 ENGH 370 001 3.000 Introduction to Documentary MW 10:30 -11:45am IN 207

Cynthia Fuchs

This introduction to the study of documentary considers fundamental concepts of form, style, and subject matter, as well as aesthetic, political, and ethical issues. We will conduct close analyses of a series of representative films to ask these questions: how are documentaries like or unlike news or reality TV or YouTube? How are documentaries personal or political? How are they objective or persuasive? How do they manipulate story, create knowledge or convey truth? How do they tell stories, for whom and about whom? Workload includes essays, quizzes, and blackboard assignments. 


11734 ENGH 372 001 3.000 Introduction to Film MW 09:00 am-10:15am IN 207 (Required course for FAMS minor) Cynthia Fuchs

This class considers movies as economic, aesthetic, and political texts, within historical contexts. We will look at a variety of generic and genre-bending films in order to discuss varieties of representation (as films speak to and for communities and individuals) as well as cinematic production and distribution (as films are deemed independent or mainstream, by whom and to whose benefit?). Classroom discussions will focus primarily on formal analyses and cultural frameworks. Workload includes essays, quizzes, and blackboard assignments.


14427 ENGH 400 001 3.000 Birth and Death of Cinema TR 10:30 -11:45am

Carla Marcantonio

This course will look at films that both straddle and follow the transition to digital that began around the turn of the 21st century in comparison to the beginning of film’s history. The advent of digital cinema, and how successfully it has come to replace film’s photographic base at the level of production and projection, has led historians and theorists of film to posit the "death" of cinema as we know it. Certainly, for its first 100 years, the cinema has been a photographic medium and understanding the aesthetic conditions of film was tied to this basic fact. This course will consider what it means when these conditions change by asking questions such as whether the end of cinema has come or is it just undergoing a profound transformation? What does this death/transformation tell us about the cinema as a medium, in retrospect? And how does it reconfigure film’s ontological, temporal, and aesthetic parameters? Is the turn to 3D filmmaking related to this change? Will it prove to be a new possibility for the medium or is it just a profitable gimmick, a passing fad?  


14412 ENGH 362 001 3.000 Globalization and Film T 4:30-7:10pm IN 207

Carla Marcantonio


14439 ENGH 474 001/ENGH 670 3.000 Dangerous Bodies 4:30-7:10pm ENGR 1108

Jessica Scarlata

This course addresses representations of the body in film, art, and media, paying close attention to deviance, rebellion, and transgression. Looking at how visual culture helps to shape and challenge constructions of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nationality, the course will explore an array of deviant bodies—unruly women, bodies of mixed genders, martyrs, revolutionaries, migrant bodies, diseased bodies, the undead—considering how certain identities are constructed as threats to security and stability and how such constructions preemptively sanction the regulation and restriction of as well as violence against specific bodies. Screenings include: X-Men: First Class, Mangal Pandey: The Rising, Bridesmaids, Madame Satã, Paradise Now, Hunger, Fire, Biutiful, and more. Students concerned about the differences in workloads between 474 and 670 should contact Dr. Scarlata.


14790 FAVS 225 001 3.000 The History of World Cinema TR 1:30pm-2:45pm IN 136

Michael Jeck


16993 FAVS 225 DL1 3.000 The History of World Cinema INTERNET

Benjamin Steger

This course is a survey of the history of cinema. It explores the development of world cinema from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century to the present day. Emphasis is placed on major directors, films and movements that contributed to the development of narrative cinema. The course will investigate several major film movements and individual films, focusing on their aesthetic, historical, technological and ideological contributions to the evolution of the art form. In doing so, the principles of narrative construction in film will be considered. The course will enable students to comprehend the evolution of the history and language of cinema in order to connect the art of filmmaking with the “outside forces” (i.e., the economic institutions, key figures, historical events and social issues) that profoundly shape and influence it. 


13589 FRLN 331 001 3.000 International Mysteries TR 3-04:15pm PLANET 212 TBA


20812 HIST 389 014 3.000 Slavery in Film M 7:20-10pm IN 133

Dexter Gabriel

The institution of slavery had a profound impact on the Atlantic world. Yet it has not always been the easiest topic for public discussion. Outside of the classroom much of what we know, or think we know, about slavery often comes from popular media--especially film and television. Classics like Gone with the Wind, television miniseries like Roots, and even lesser known independent films like Sankofa have done much to shape our perspective and how we "remember" the slave system, its victims and its participants. This course examines slavery in the Atlantic world through the lens of this popular medium, exploring film depictions of slavery, famous figures or related events. These films are both foreign and domestic, and range from historical dramas to the surreal. In examining these films we will take into account the time period, location and social atmosphere in which they were created. And we will see how much they actually tell us about slavery and, most important, what they might tell us about ourselves.

17124 HIST 393 001 3.000 Uncovering the US Past Through Film T 10:30am-1:15pm R B222

Alison Landsberg 

The course looks at how even big Hollywood films engage the dominant issues, debates and concerns of their day. By looking at films made at different moments in the 20th century, and contextualizing them against the contemporary debates about race, gender, class and nation, students will see how the films manage social concerns and anxieties. The final paper will ask students to select a film such as King Kong (Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933), Tarzan of the Apes (W.S. Van Dyke, 1932), and Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954) and analyze the historical and societal concerns. 

17078 JAPA 320 001 3.000 Japanese Cinema TR 5:55-7:10pm R B202 TBA

Comprehensive analysis of Japanese cinema based on cross-cultural perspectives and cultural criticism. Major developments and trends as viewed in selected Japanese films with emphasis on post war and contemporary eras. Knowledge of Japanese history, communication, and cultural studies or film and media studies helpful. (Taught in English.)