Courses in Film and Visual Studies

List of Courses Approved for Graduate Credit

Fall 2021

Graduate Student Course Offerings for Film and Visual Studies – 2021-2022
Please visit https://afvs.fas.harvard.edu/courses-list and https://my.harvard.edu/ for most up to date information on course schedule including additional course attributes for example screenings and prerequisites.
 

AFVS 133 Sun & Shadow, Sculpture Studio

Nora Schultz

This sculpture course considers “distance” and “access” as means of production. Throughout the past year we all gained new and specific experiences of distance that influenced our understanding and making of artworks. In which ways do these experiences have a longer impact on our encounter with sculpture? What do we consider the “land” in Land Art? Can a sculpture be imagined into existence? This course repositions both materiality and the artist, to ask what relationships explored through distance can be productive to accommodate a sculpture studio. Class Notes:FALL 2021: Enrollment and Admission Policies Enrollment in Sun & Shadow, Sculpture Studio is limited to 12 students. While we acknowledge priorities that the Department of Art, Film and Visual Studies (AFVS) gives to: AFVS concentrators, prospective AFVS concentrators, secondary field students, and graduate students who require a studio course (from AFVS, CMP or other programs or universities), we thrive for a most diverse and inclusive classroom. At least a third of available spots can be given to non-concentrators, and students from other fields and programs. Students who are interested in taking the class are asked for a short mutual introduction. These introductions are meant to be informal conversations about students’ interests in taking the course. The instructors don’t come with specific expectations on students’ interests, skills or pre-knowledge. Foremost, these short introductions offer the instructors guidance on what they can focus on in the curriculum and they offer students space for their questions. Students can choose from three options to make this happen: 1. Fill out the introduction form that you will find on our Canvas site OR(Deadline to submit the form is August 25, 5pm)2. Visit the remote introduction meeting on Zoom, held on Monday August 23, 10:00am EDT – 11:00am EDT Visit the course Canvas site for the Zoom link OR3. Visit the remote introduction meeting on Zoom, held on Tuesday, August 24, 9:00am EDT – 10:30am EDT. Visit the course Canvas site for the Zoom link.If you cannot join either of the meetings or submit the form, please contact the instructors by email before Aug 25, 5pm. (noraschultz@fas.harvard.edu, kwildman@fas.harvard.edu) The deadline to apply for this limited-enrollment course is Tuesday, Aug. 24 by 11:59PMFurther schedule for the enrollment process:Wednesday, Aug. 25 by 5:00PM: AFVS Deadline for students to confirm (or release) their spots in class; waitlist consulted.Thursday, Aug. 26 by 11:59PM: College-wide deadline for students to be registered into fall 2021 coursesWednesday, Sept. 1: Fall term courses begin, following a Monday schedule THIS COURSE STARTS ON THURSDAY SEPT. 2, CARPENTER CENTER 203, 2nd floor studio.
 

AFVS 134S Nah; or, gestures of resistance: Performance, Technology, and Refusal

chukwumaa -- E. Jane

With a focus on opacity, refusal, and other gestures of resistance, this studio course will be an experimental testing ground for performance art using new media. We will study performances that refuse, subvert, and question oppressive structures often using new media and technology and the strategies these performances deploy. Students will work intensively to create performance works using sound, video, installation, and networked media (including the internet). Students should be prepared to think critically about the works they produce and be able to articulate their goals for their work. This
course will include readings, class dialogue, lectures, screenings, critiques, and performances. This course is being offered by the sound and performance art duo SCRAAATCH.
Recommended Prep: Previous AFVS or TDM course experience helpful, but not required.
 

AFVS 137P Political Action as Art: A Survey of Artistic Activism (Studio Course)

Anthony Romero

"As political artists with real-world political goals, we need to engage with government systems. That's legislative art." - Why Artists by Laurie Jo Reynolds and Stephen F. Eisenman“...the search for justice is a long durational performance.” - Artivists (Artist-Activists), or, What’s to Be Done? by Diana Taylor Political Action as Art examines the work of contemporary Artist-Activists, with attention paid to the deployment of creative tactics in response to a wide range of systemic inequities. Our scope of study includes protest, rebellion, public policy, policing, border security, urban planning, political theory, as well as art historical perspectives of art and activism.
 

AFVS 141BR Making Mischief: A Studio Based Seminar

Sharon Harper

This class supports an independent photographic practice that is an extension of your own interests. The framework of the class will be a comparison of American documentary photographic strategies that arose on the East Coast and on the West Coast in the 1960s and 1970s in order to familiarize you with an array of artists and working methods. We will examine social and historic assumptions regarding photography during this time, and how those assumptions were challenged by emerging uses of photography. This class will ask you to experiment with various photographic strategies demonstrated by the artists we study to expand your understanding of the medium and facility with it. The class is organized around lectures, readings, class discussions, group critiques, guest artist presentations, individual meetings with the instructor and breakout meetings with peers to develop your practice. Technical skill development is supported by the class Teaching Assistant.
Class enrollment limited to 12 students
 

AFVS 144M Photography and Ecology

Makeda Best

Integrating the study of art history, research-based artistic production, theory, and environmental studies, the aim of this course is to critically and actively explore the contemporary interplay between photographic vision and environmental history; the shifting composition, structure, and function of landscapes; cultural constructions of nature and environmental perceptions; environmental justice, politics, and policy; and, the role of photography in responding to how humans create and impact landscape patterns and process.
 

AFVS 152X The Essay Film

Alfred Guzzetti

The essay film is a loosely defined, wide-ranging genre of nonfiction. Students in the course will divide their time between studying and making works in this genre. We will see and discuss well known works, such as Man with the Movie Camera and Sans Soleil, as well as a variety of lesser known films, including those that test the genre’s limits. The practical assignments will center on using digital video to explore the possibilities of creating essays in the motion picture medium. Class Notes: FALL 2021: Students interested in taking this course should attend an introductory meeting on Tuesday, August 24 from 1pm to 1:30pm. Visit the Canvas site for the Zoom link and more information.
 

AFVS 154J Observation and Intervention: Filmmaking as Inquiry

Julie Mallozzi

This course will consider filmmaking as a means to interrogate and analyze the world. Bringing their own passion and topical expertise, students will learn how to use the techniques of filmmaking – including deep observation, montage, interviews, instigation, staging, and narration – to gain understanding around a line of inquiry. We will work individually and in small groups through a series of exercises culminating in final projects. Throughout the course, we will screen examples of successful works and scrutinize the ethics and aesthetics of our roles as researcher/filmmakers. Course Notes: There are no pre-requisites for this course; students with no prior filmmaking experience are encouraged to consider taking this course.
Class Notes:FALL 2021: We ask prospective students to attend a Zoom info session during Course Preview Period on Monday, August 23, 12-1:00pm EST; complete a brief online application form; and sign up for an informal interview, which will take place August 23, 1-3pm, and August 24, 10am-12pm. Links for all three are available on the Canvas site. If you are unable to make it to the info session or interview times, please email the instructors about your interest in the course.NOTE: There will be a mandatory additional section to be scheduled.
 

AFVS 161L Enter the Mediaverse

Lex Brown

Enter the Mediaverse will function like a think tank to investigate media through perspectives of psychology, linguistics, technology, aesthetics, and practice to seek an answer to a fundamental, metaphysical question: What *is* media, what does it mean to have so much of it, and what is it leading to? The course covers topics including media convergence, the magic of filmmaking, early video art, reality TV, televangelism, the Internet, pulp media, the poor image, satellite networks, and hyperobjects, amongst others. Throughout the semester, we will be joined by guest lecturers from different visual and media fields. Students will complete 4 projects throughout the course, which systematically map and decode the various visual and auditory structures of commercials, news, Youtube videos, reality TV, etc., and recombine those structures to deliver information in surprising, effective, optimistic, and useful ways. These projects will be designed to be uploaded onto a public website from the class. The final project for each student is a trend forecast for the future of media.
 

AFVS 168T Invisible Adversaries: Video Course

Kenneth Tam

The name of the course is taken from a film by Austrian artist VALIE EXPORT, whose protagonist believes her mind and those of others around her are being colonized by invisible extraterrestrial forces. Imagined or not, these threats come to symbolize the myriad adversaries we all face, opponents that are a part of the various hegemonic and patriarchal systems that govern our lives. This class will look at moving-image artists whose work questions entrenched structures of power and authority, and will encourage students to think about how their own work can function as a space for radical imagination that has the potential to disrupt or transform. The need to respond to various forms of antagonism has always been artistically generative, and students will create video/moving-image works that thoughtfully respond to the issues they care most about. This class will show how artists have approached their adversaries not simply as enemies to overthrow, but as complex relationships that are deeply embedded within our personal and collective histories. Students should have some familiarity with shooting and editing video, though refresher tutorials will be offered. Class sessions will be used towards presentations, individual meetings, group discussions/critique, and general studio/post-production work, while supplemented by regular visits from guest artists/speakers working in video. Students will be expected to be deeply engaged with the course materials, and also in each other’s work in order to create a space for mutual learning. Course Notes: At least one prior course in film or video recommended.
 

AFVS 173 Visual Music

Laura Frahm

This course explores the history of visual music throughout the 20th century. By bringing together experimental and popular approaches to this new art form, we will survey early avant-garde experiments with color music alongside Disney animations and musical choreographies in the 1920s and 1930s. Second, we will dive into the post-war art scenes and pioneers of electronic music while simultaneously tracing the rise of jukebox films in the 1950s and 1960s. Third, we will enter into the history of music videos and crossovers with video art since the early 1990s. Weekly video blogs and three visual music projects will further contribute to our survey of the multi-layered history of the interplay between film, video, animation, and music.
 

AFVS 179 Political Cinema

Dennis Lim

This seminar surveys the landscape of global political cinema from the explosive 1960s to the unsettled present. Our central aims are to explore the relationship between cinema and politics, and to expand our understanding of the ways in which cinema can be political. Some questions we will ask: How can a film be political? Where do a film's politics reside? What does it mean to make films politically, and to read films politically? We will consider the connection between politics and form, the possibilities of cinema as politics, and cinema's representation of politics as well cinema's politics of representation. Course notes: There are required weekly screenings for this course on Tuesdays from 12pm to 2:45pm in the Carpenter Center Lecture Hall. In addition to the seminar and screenings, students will be asked to meet in small discussion groups once a week in their own time.
 

AFVS 189G The Frankfurt School on Mass Media and Mass Culture

Eric Rentschler

This seminar considers the Frankfurt School's deliberations on film, radio, television, and mass culture. We will devote the majority of the course to three seminal figures: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and T. W. Adorno. More generally, we will focus on the debates catalyzed by the emergence of modern mass media and an industrialized visual culture; we will also reflect on the pertinence of these debates for our own contemporary culture of media convergence.
 

AFVS 190T Film Theory in France

Tom Conley

Prior to the Lumière Brothers’ invention of the cinématographe in 1895, France had witnessed precocious anticipations of the seventh art. Baudelaire, Bergson, Hugo, Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Mallarmé, Proust, Zola and other poets and writers considered moving words as moving images. From the beginning of 20th century and well into the 21st, film has been a motive and motor for “French theory.” Our is to see how and why. Coordinating selected viewings and close readings, we will briefly study early and classical theory in Louis Delluc, Jean Epstein, Elie Faure; discern where theory and history thread their way through Georges Sadoul’s History of Cinema; concentrate on André Bazin, often called the father of French theory; examine theoretically charged essays by New Wave artists or adherents: Alexandre Astruc, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Luc Moullet; encounter the structuralist revolution and the imprint of psychoanalysis in theory in or about the tumult of May 1968: Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Jean-Louis Comolli and the editorial collective of Cahiers du cinéma. In a later phase, we will consider Gilles Deleuze, Serge Daney and, with stress, Jacques Rancière. Viewings will be in concert with theory: Lumière and Méliès for early work; Feuillade and Epstein in the 1920s; Eisenstein and Vertov in relation to Sadoul; Renoir (and his writings) in the 1930s, Welles, the American western, Flaherty, et al., who mark the legacy of Bazin; Godard’s cinema as theory; Agnès Varda and cinéécriture; emergence of francophone cinema in Africa and elsewhere; classical and contemporary films seen (in the eyes of Rancière) liberating the spectator. Course Notes: This course includes mandatory weekly film screenings.
 

AFVS 196R Directed Research: Studio Course

Stephen Prina

This course is intended for students who have developed the beginnings of a practice they are prepared to pursue. The motive is to assemble a group of disparate artists who come together to exchange thoughts across disciplines: painting next to photography next to writing next to filmmaking, and so on.
Course Notes: This course meets from 6pm to 9pm EST on Wednesdays. Recommended for concentrators in Art, Film, and Visual Studies in their junior and senior year but also open to others with permission of the instructor.
 

AFVS 209 Curation, Conservation and Programming

Giuliana Bruno

For research and independent projects in the archives, collections, and exhibitions of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the Harvard Film Archive, or the Harvard Museums and other campus arts institutions. Open only by petition to the Department; petitions should be presented during the term preceding enrollment, and must be signed by the instructor or staff member with whom the project is to be done.
 

AFVS 215 Critical Printing

Matt Saunders and Jennifer Roberts

Incorporating both studio and seminar instruction, this intensive course will explore printmaking’s history, trace its particular forms of intelligence, and test its future potential. The class will meet for three hours of studio and two hours of seminar/discussion per week. Assignments will include weekly readings, a short scholarly paper, and two studio projects. For the first half of the semester, students will pursue a rigorous grounding in a particular historical technique (etching/intaglio); in the second half students will translate what they have learned to another medium, thus exploring printmaking as an expanded field of practice. Class Notes:The course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduates in AFVS, History of Art and Architecture, or any related department.
 

AFVS 231 Studio Language

Nora Schultz

A course that is directed to specific themes in the studio practice of graduate students and junior/senior concentrators in AFVS. The foundation of the course will be discussions on intermedia and interdisciplinary work in the wider fields of art making and art theory, especially focusing on the intersection of text/language and visual work. The course investigates in theory and practice specific notions of conceptualizing, critique and "making" of artworks and in publishing and developing art and textual work. Course Notes: This course is for graduate students and undergraduates in their junior and senior years.
 

AFVS 233 Readymade, Repatriation, Reparations

David Joselit

TBD
 

AFVS 278P Art After Nature: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Process

Carrie Lambert-Beatty

Without starting from pre-determined categories (e.g. eco-art), how might we map artists’ multiple, conflicting, and changing engagements with the more-than-human world? By thinking through a range of critical approaches, could we reframe art as a natural-cultural process? And, by researching specific practices of art-making, institution-building, or exhibition-creation, past, present, or even future, can we make tangible what it would mean to reframe art this way? The syllabus will focus on the period from the
1960s to the present, but students’ individual research projects may take up cases from any place or period.
 

AFVS 279 Materiality and Atmosphere: Media as Environments

Giuliana Bruno

What is the place of materiality in our visual age of changing materials and media? How do media mediate material relations? Can media be understood as environments? This seminar investigates a “material and environmental turn” in philosophy and visual culture, focusing on the atmosphere of visual arts, architecture and media. Topics include: the life of objects, the haptic and ambiance, vibrant materialisms, plant thinking, elemental philosophy and screen media, light and projection, and the immateriality of atmosphere. Course Notes: Pre-requisite: A course in film or visual studies, art history, architecture studies or the equivalent course in cultural history or theory. This course is jointly offered at the Graduate School of Design as HIS 4451; GSD students should enroll in the course via the GSD.
Class Notes:This is an advanced seminar with pre-requisites. Preference for admission will be given to doctoral students in Film and Visual Studies. Students will be selected on the basis of an application posted on canvas and, if necessary, short interviews.
 

AFVS 301 Film and Visual Studies Workshop

Eric Rentschler

TBD

AFVS 310 Directed Study

Giuliana Bruno

Conducted through regular conferences and assigned writing. Limited to students reading specifically on topics not covered in regular courses. Open only by petition to the Department; petitions should be presented during the term preceding enrollment, and must be signed by the instructor with whom the reading is to be done. All applicants for admission should first confer with the Director of Graduate Studies.
 

AFVS 320 Directed Study

Members of the Department

 

AFVS 330R Teaching Workshop

Fall Term, TBA

Giuliana Bruno

This course serves as an introduction to teaching in Art, Film, and Visual Studies, as well as a forum for designing instruction. There will be an emphasis on discussions of hybrid methodologies between research and practice.

 

AFVS 351HF Film Study Center Non-Fiction Filmmaking Workshop

Joana Pimenta

A graduate workshop for Film Study Center non-fiction film and video projects.
Course Notes: Admission Limited to Critical Media Practice graduate students and Film Study Center fellows.

Spring 2022

AFVS 118C Curating Contemporary Art: Exhibitions, Artists, Institutions, and Audiences

Dan Byers

This course introduces the practice and study of curating contemporary art from a number of diverse perspectives. We will look at exhibition, publication, and public program/performance projects that center living artists, and political and social engagement. The class will introduce exhibition typologies such as biennials, solo exhibitions, thematic and historical surveys, and consider ways curators navigate their engagement with artists, the institutional context of the museum, audiences and communities, and the field of art history. We will also consider the art market, and the role commercial galleries play in the reception of artists’ work. Through conversations with numerous leading curators from around the country, we will critically engage the role of curator and art institution within a broad cultural and contemporary art context.
 

AFVS 157L Immersive Experience as Art

Young Joo Lee

This course is a studio class that investigates immersive experience as a form of art. Utilizing moving image, sound, text, and virtual reality, we will experiment and develop different methods to create immersive experiences. Starting with the history of immersive media, the class will discuss the relationship between the experience of art and the technological development. We will screen examples of relevant artworks and analyze the technological aspects and conceptual background of these works. Throughout the semester, students will develop projects, reflecting on the discussions and using the tools learned in the class. Critiques and presentations of the students’ works are essential part of the class. Coding for Artists Workshops will be offered outside of the class time (please visit the course Canvas site for the dates and time). Participation is strongly encouraged. Recommended Prep: There is no prior knowledge of Unity 3D nor Blender required. However, your knowledge and basic skills in visual art and digital media production are helpful in completing the assignments.
 

AFVS 158AR Sensory Ethnography 1

Verena Paravel

Students use video and audio to produce short works about embodied experience, culture, and nature.
Course Notes: Students must also be enrolled in AFVS 158BR, Sensory Ethnography 2. No previous studio experience necessary.
 

AFVS 158BR Sensory Ethnography 2

Verena Paravel Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Students are introduced to current issues in art, aesthetics, and anthropology, and produce collaborative experimental works of sensory ethnography.
Course Notes: Students must also be enrolled in AFVS 158AR, Sensory Ethnography 1. No previous studio experience necessary.
 

AFVS 169S Remapping Latin American Cinema: Chilean Film/Video 1968-2022

Haden Guest Dominga Sotomayor Castillo

This class explores multiple perspectives on Chilean cinema from 1968 to today, looking closely at the political engagement of documentary and narrative filmmakers while also exploring the rich dialogue between film and the other arts that has long animated filmmaking in the Southern Cone nation. A key goal will be to locate Chile on an alternate map of Latin American cinema defined less by national borders than by transnational currents at work across the region. This hybrid making and film studies class co-taught by Chilean filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor and film scholar Haden Guest will include filmmaker visits and interactive workshop
 

AFVS 209 Curation, Conservation and Programming

Giuliana Bruno

For research and independent projects in the archives, collections, and exhibitions of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the Harvard Film Archive, or the Harvard Museums and other campus arts institutions. Open only by petition to the Department; petitions should be presented during the term preceding enrollment, and must be signed by the instructor or staff member with whom the project is to be done.
 

AFVS 301 Film and Visual Studies Workshop

Eric Rentschler

 

AFVS 305 FVS Dissertation Group

Laura Frahm and Giuliana Bruno

A dissertation writing course offered to graduate students within the Film and Visual Studies program in their final years of the dissertation. The course will include discussions of writing practices, professional development components, as well as dedicated writing sessions throughout the week to establish new writing routines that lead up to the submission of the dissertation.
 

AFVS 310 Directed Study Giuliana Bruno

Conducted through regular conferences and assigned writing. Limited to students reading specifically on topics not covered in regular courses. Open only by petition to the Department; petitions should be presented during the term preceding enrollment, and must be signed by the instructor with whom the reading is to be done. All applicants for admission should first confer with the Director of Graduate Studies.
 

AFVS 320 Directed Study Members of the Department

AFVS 330R Teaching Workshop

Fall Term, TBA

Giuliana Bruno

This course serves as an introduction to teaching in Art, Film, and Visual Studies, as well as a forum for designing instruction. There will be an emphasis on discussions of hybrid methodologies between research and practice.
 

AFVS 351HF Film Study Center Non-Fiction Filmmaking Workshop

Joana Pimenta

A graduate workshop for Film Study Center non-fiction film and video projects.
Course Notes: Admission Limited to Critical Media Practice graduate students and Film Study Center fellows.
 

EAFM 111 East Asian Media Studies

Alexander Zahlten

This course explores the explosion of media in East Asia and the resulting forms of media production, circulation and consumption that transform everyday life, economy and politics. From pop culture phenomena such as K-Pop, fan fiction and internet platforms such as Sina Weibo, 2channel or DC Inside, from mobile phone culture to video games and social networks used in political protests, complex media forms and practices are developing with lightning speed across the region and exerting global influence. The starting point of the course are questions such as: What effects does this intense new media environment have in East Asia? How are ways of thinking and behaving adjusting to completely new forms of media? What are the consequences for the future of East Asia? How do media influence us in ways that go beyond the films, music, games, news or other forms that they supply us with?
 

EAFM 201 Media Mix: Representations and Meaning Between Media in Japan: Seminar

Alexander Zahlten

This course introduces ways of understanding the complex media systems we live in. Drawing on a wide range of media theories it maps different histories of the interconnection of media in Japan, from “old” to “new” media. The course will explore the early ties between theater, literature and cinema, fascist media strategies, the popularization of the media mix by anime and publishing companies, current routes between manga, anime, light novels, films and games, or the emerging platform economy. It will consider the consequences of media mix for, among others, our understanding of nation, gender, memory, and the concept of world.Basic Japanese language skills are recommended, though not required, for this course.

 

Nota bene
  • If there are courses not on this list that you feel should count toward credit in Film and Visual Studies, do not hesitate to discuss them with the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Courses of interest may also be found at the Graduate School of Design http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/courses/index.cgi.
  • Harvard has cross-registration agreements with MIT and Brown. You may find interesting and relevant graduate courses there, especially in Comparative Media Studies, http://cms.mit.edu/ and Media and Modern Culture http://www.brown.edu/Departments/MCM.
  • For a list of undergraduate courses of interest see https://afvs.fas.harvard.edu/courses-list. 100-level courses are usually listed as for both undergraduate and graduate students. Many of these courses are available for graduate credit upgrades. For more information, contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Both Yale University and Columbia University have important graduate programs in film. GSAS students have the opportunity to study there, and at eight other universities, through the Exchange Scholar Program https://gsas.harvard.edu/student-life/harvard-resources/exchange-scholar-program