Here is the class blog for my Fall 2015 course at Georgia Tech, Experimental Film and Media.
Here is the class blog for my Spring 2014 course at Georgia Tech, Introduction to Film.
Here is the class blog for my Fall 2012 course at Georgia Tech, Major Filmmakers: The Digital Turn.
Here is the class blog for my Fall 2012 course at Georgia Tech, Experimental Film and Media.
Here is the class blog for my Spring 2012 course at NYU, American Cinema: 1960-present.
Here is the class blog for my Spring 2011 course at NYU, The Cinema of Attractions.
And here is the class blog for my Summer 2010 course at NYU, Home Runs, Touchdowns & Free Throws: Sports on Film.
My philosophy of teaching is based on a belief in the importance of developing critical skills for the analysis and interrogation of experience in every facet of contemporary life. This is the value of a liberal arts education—it equips students to think seriously about their lives, the lives of those around them, and the cultures they inhabit.
The study of the moving image plays an essential role in a student’s liberal arts education. As all forms of culture are increasingly rewritten and interpreted via the moving image, fostering an understanding of how the moving image has and continues to circulate in a variety of contexts for diverse audiences is paramount to developing a deeper engagement with the world. The study of moving image production, reception, and technology challenges students to consider how meaning is made with moving images, the strengths and limitations of that means of communication, and to what extent moving images are employed to serve ideological ends.
My approach to teaching the moving therefore begins with the idea that what entices viewers about the moving image is not its ability to represent the world, but, rather, to renew our engagement with the world via new ways of seeing. These new ways of seeing are made possible by cinema’s ever-changing technical capabilities. Here I have in mind Fernand Léger’s statement that the power of cinema is not found in “imitating the movements of nature,” but rather in the “matter of making images seen.” I believe, moreover, that as the history of twentieth century visual culture is increasingly viewed in terms of an engagement with the moving image, what will linger in students minds will not only be narratives, but also the shots and sequences that comprise distinct visual moments.
To that end, I deliberately link mainstream filmmaking with the avant-garde in my classroom. By introducing moving image materials from the art world, as well as materials such as videos and advertisements that circulate online, I hope to shape my students’ understanding of how mainstream and avant-garde moving image practices operate as mutually imbricated cinemas that inform each another. I believe that this conceptual framework encourages students to cultivate an associative mode of thinking, one that seeks out formal convergences while remaining aware of an array of ideological effects.
My goal is to encourage students to consider questions of the moving image’s past, present, and future, and to counter the idea of cinema’s development as a series of technological progressions with a model of the moving image as a continuum of shared formal concerns and sensibilities. Rather than present video and new media art as technologically wrought ruptures from traditional cinematic works, I emphasize the formal and theoretical commonalities among various moving image practices. At the same time, I attempt to convey the historically shiftinguse of cinematic techniques and technologies, as well as the intentions of the artists who use them and the implications of the sites where the works are viewed.
With each new course that I teach, I seek to refine my methods and my teaching practice. I take pleasure in exposing students to new ways of seeing—both through my eyes as a moving image scholar, and through theirs as participants and observers of today’s visual culture. I will continue to incorporate new techniques of instruction, in order to enhance the conversation and collaboration that I believe are essential to developing students’ analytical abilities and scholarly voices.