Upcoming Courses

Graduate Courses for Fall 2018


CHIN 2088 New Chinese Cinema

Mo 12:00PM - 3:55PM

Kun Qian

This course focuses on how film lends itself to capturing visually distinct features of cultural ethos, social customs and personal psychology encompassing the greater China region (mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) in the global era. The aim of this course is to introduce different ways of reading Chinese cinema in relation to issues of modernity, nationalism, gender, cultural identities and beyond. Well-known Chinese directors such as Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Ang Lee, Edward Yang, and Wong Kar-wai will be studied through the 1980s and 1990s "New Wave Cinemas." We will also study the distinct techniques and styles of the rising "Sixth Generation" directors (such as Jiang Wen, Wang Xiaoshuai) to see how key values of traditional Chinese culture and society have been contested and reinvented under the global conditions. Different genres, including romance, action, and martial arts movies will be explored.


COMMRC 3326 Seminar in Media Studies: Television Studies

Th 5:30PM - 8:30PM

Brent Malin

What do we mean when we say television today?  This course works through answers to this question by exploring how such things as Netflix, iPads, YouTube, mobile phones and other digital technologies have altered television’s economics, aesthetics, and representational practices.  How, for instance, have televisual representations of gender, race, and class changed as television has transformed from a three-channel broadcast medium to the more narrowly targeted, on-demand medium characteristic of on-line streaming?  How have these transitions changed both television itself and the academic study of television as a field?  In pursuing such questions, we will combine a survey of classical work in television studies (e.g. Raymond Williams, Lynn Spigel, Todd Gitlin, Jane Feuer)—and classical network and early cable-era television programming—with an exploration of more recent research upon and examples of the “post-network” television of the digital age.  Our readings and discussions will explore issues within television and television studies itself, while also taking up questions of cultural politics, the philosophy of technology, platform studies, and infrastructure that are central to media studies more generally.

Counts for Cultural Studies Category B


ENGFLM 2452 Film History/Theory 2

Tu 1:00PM - 4:50PM

Robert Clift

This seminar will focus on the history and theory of cinema from 1960 to the present.  While individual theorists and historians will be discussed, there will be special attention paid to historical and theoretical arguments within film studies, such as: psychoanalysis and theories of spectatorship; apparatus theory; historicism and archival research; film and philosophy; theories of genre, adaptation, and performance; neo-formalism and cognitive theory; and the rise of new media, from television to digital cinema and from Imax to video games.  These arguments will be explored through major film movements and film-makers, taking up topics such as international art cinema, the changing Hollywood studio system, the role of political cinema, and the growing importance of documentaries.

Film and Media Studies Core Requirement. Counts for Cultural Studies Category A


ENGFLM 2695 Horror Film

We 1:00PM - 4:50PM

Adam Lowenstein

The Academy Award nominations bestowed on Get Out and The Shape of Water in 2017 are a recent sign of a phenomenon that has been gaining momentum steadily over the last forty years: the recognition that horror films need to be taken seriously as contributions to art, culture, and politics. Observing the state of research on cinematic spectatorship in 1995, the film scholar Linda Williams noted “how analysis of a supposedly exceptional genre – the horror film – may end up offering the most comprehensive analysis of gender and sexuality in spectatorship in general.” The deluge of scholarship on the horror film since 1995 not only bears out Williams’s prediction and signals the emergence of horror studies as a field in its own right, but teaches us over and over again how a genre often assumed to be an exception to core debates in film theory and film history winds up illuminating foundational assumptions about cultural studies in general and film and media studies in particular. This seminar will investigate the key films and critical discussions surrounding the genre from its beginnings to the present, but not merely to perform a genre survey – instead we will use horror as a lens to ask wide-ranging questions about spectatorship, theory, history, aesthetics, and politics that have shaped and continue to transform film and media studies in profound ways. The seminar will be enhanced by city-wide events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landmark independent horror film Night of the Living Dead, along with the career of its Pittsburgh-based director, George A. Romero.

Counts for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies and Cultural Studies Category B


RUSS 2474 Neoliberalism and Cultural Production

Tu 2:00PM - 5:55PM

Nancy Condee

We will examine this contested term as it circulates in debates about cultural practice since the late 1970s.  Course segments are likely to include contrastive models of the concept; their ascripted affinities to Marxist and Weberian traditions; distinctive concepts (“shock doctrine,” thought collective,” Comaroff’s “occult”); key historical figures and institutions (Kojève, Polanyi, Schumpeter, Hayek, Mont Pelerin); and the term’s contradictory symptoms under different ideological systems, such as post-socialist modernity.  While cinema (e.g. Jia Zhangke, Ken Loach, Aleksei  Balabanov) may be a core cultural emphasis, the course welcomes contributions from the fields of art history, literature, music, as well as sociology, history, and anthropology.  The intent is to move beyond two tendencies in current debates: 1.) the deployment of the term exclusively as moral judgment; and 2.) its explanatory capacity for All the Things.  Core texts will include Morowski, Harvey, and Klein, as well as critiques of Harvey (Abercrombie, Hindess).  The course will ask participants to bring their fields of expertise (both regional and disciplinary) to these debates, situating their own departmental investments in relation not only to textual content, but also to production, distribution, and exhibition.

Counts for Cultural Studies Category C