My goal as an educator is to guide students to think critically about the world and the structures and systems that represent and shape it, developing their own voices as innovative researchers and creative practitioners. I am prepared to teach a wide range of theory and history courses for students of all levels in Cinema and Media Studies, Community Media, Gender Studies, and Critical Race Studies, including special topics and concentrated seminars such as Personal Documentary, Media and Environment, and Japanese and East Asian Cinema, in addition to studio courses in Experimental and Documentary Film and Video production. I have gained extensive experience as an instructor through teaching courses at The New School, University of Rochester, and SUNY Purchase College since 2015, being invited to guest lecture at undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as working with community media organizations as an educator—which constitutes both a pedagogical practice and research subject. My commitment to grow as an educator has been supported by the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Teaching Fellowship and is a career-long pursuit I am excited to continue expanding with my rigorous academic research agenda.
My research in personal documentary and community media brings a material and historical understanding to the value of people telling their own stories along with an analysis of the structural conditions of those narratives’ circulation as media forms. At a time when the value of arts education is challenged by quantitative professionalism and policies of austerity, my teaching practice stresses the urgency of media studies and independent artistic expression. Media literacy connects personal perception and collective vision, deconstructing assumptions around representations to better understand the histories, technologies, and systems around us. I seek to create liberatory spaces in which research and creative practice provokes questions of not what do I see, but how do I see? What is unseen that nonetheless constitutes my field of vision? These are questions that repeatedly come up in my classrooms discussing the aesthetics and social, economic, and political conditions surrounding the production and circulation of media, and the histories that shape the theory and practice of personal expression through audiovisual forms. These questions lead to exploring methods of formal analysis and media theory for students to integrate into their work, encouraging open-mindedness and critical thinking toward equity and justice.
Introduction to Cinema Studies (The New School, Fall 2018) Syllabus
A survey of major theories and the critical literature on film from the 1920s through to the present. The course builds an overall view of film theory and criticism with respect to the various modes of inquiry that have impacted on the study of cinema including Structuralism, Semiotics, Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Race and Ethnicity Studies, Post-Colonial Theory, Queer Theory, and Cultural Studies. Students additionally become familiar with key concepts in Cinema Studies including realism, montage, auteurism, genre, and Star Studies. As students acquire a general familiarity with the literature that defines film theory and criticism, they become better prepared to form surer and sounder judgments about their own film experiences and to speak and write about those judgments with greater clarity and skill. Pairing readings with screenings and discussions about a range of films students expand and refine their own impressions and responses to the cinema, variously incorporating and responding to the theories, key concepts, and critical approaches studied in class.
The Art of Film (The New School, Fall 2018) Syllabus
The Art of Film lays the foundation for understanding the practical techniques, specialized language, and unique aesthetics of motion pictures. We will explore the expressive range of cinematic language and the ways in which complex emotions and ideas are communicated to the viewer. Students analyze the basic elements of cinematic form as seen through essential properties of the medium including editing, cinematography, production design, and sound design and gain an appreciation of film history and for the impact of culture and technology on the development of the cinema. The filmmaking process and the impact of the “industry” on this collaborative art are also studied. While the work of the director is only one aspect studied, we discuss various films by directors including Michelangelo Antonioni, Alfred Hitchcock, Yasujirō Ozu, Agnès Varda, and Orson Welles among many others. Supplemented by readings, students acquire a general familiarity with the range of cinematic expression and become better prepared to form surer and sounder judgments about our own film experiences and to speak and write about those judgments with greater clarity and skill.
Experimental Workshop (SUNY Purchase, Fall 2018, Spring 2019) Syllabus
This two-semester hybrid production/history course invites students to expand their creative horizons and sharpen their conceptual approach with a hands-on introduction to moving-image art and truly independent filmmaking. Students will have a unique opportunity to experience, discuss, and make a number of their own experimental media productions. Lectures and screenings will be complemented by group critique, visits with contemporary working artists, and multiple trips to the city for screenings. Experimental Workshop will explore the outer fringes of non-commercial cinema and moving-image art through an engagement with canonical works, key filmmakers, landmark movements, contemporary artists, amateur dabblers, stylistic genres and general aesthetic concerns. We will screen a broad selection of narrative and non-narrative, diaristic, abstract, structural, lyrical, and unclassifiable works by artists from all milieus and eras. While screenings are an important part of the course, we will not focus on traditional film analysis. We watch historic and contemporary works to better inform our own practice moving forward. The goal is not to recreate or imitate, but rather to understand what has preceded us in order to push to new creative realms. As the class title implies, experimenting (and sometimes failing) will be at the core of our practice. We will work with the knowledge that an experiment must have a control; it is not random, but done with great care and intention.
Women’s Personal Cinema (University of Rochester, Fall 2015) Syllabus
This course approaches issues in women’s studies through the heterogeneous genre of personal cinema, understood as autobiographical documentary, autoethnography, diary, and first-person cinema. Women’s access to the technological means of cinematic production has historically been limited due to patriarchal systems of commercial media and entertainment, however female artists and filmmakers have produced extensive bodies of work. Often utilizing amateur equipment (16mm and 8mm film, consumer video cameras) and found footage, these sophisticated works interpenetrate private and public spheres and subvert dominant practices to produce new meaning. Examining films, videos, and photographic projects by women in different national and cultural contexts, we will ask: how does the production and consumption of still and moving image media contribute to the formation of modern social subjects? How can memory, identity, gender, and sexuality be interrogated through cinematic forms? Can personal cinema produce spaces of aesthetic possibility, personal expression, and political resistance? We will consider these questions through forms transgressing the categories of narrative, documentary, and avant-garde, in addition to critical texts from the fields of cinema and media studies, feminist theory, and art history.