Spring 2024 - CA 416 D100

Advanced Seminar in Cinema Studies (4)

Materialistic Turn in Film and Media

Class Number: 6417

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    CA (or FPA) 316 (or 337) or CA (or FPA) 318 (or 335).



Features intensive study and analysis of selected topics in film theory, history, criticism and aesthetics. Examples include: work of specific directors or periods; theories of narrativity; particular aspects of national cinemas, etc. This course can be repeated once for credit if the topic is different. Students with credit for CA (or FPA) 436 may take this course for further credit if the topic is different.


Recent years have seen a wealth of new film and media studies focused on what we might broadly call the materialist turn – that is a move away from the scholarly focus on language and representation and towards a renewed interest in the material world: physical objects, the body, and the environment. This course takes up this new scholarship in order to understand the material conditions of film and media production, distribution, exhibition, and consumption.

This course is divided into three thematic sections: objects, labour, and ecologies. Course readings will examine the material conditions of film and media workers, the development and use of various media technologies, and the environmental impact these technologies and this work can have.

Students will collaborate on a class research project. As part of this project students will research analogue filmmaking equipment to document an object’s history and use. Students will produce a biography of the object.

Students will also undertake an original research project that will be conducted in several stages. Students will develop a project in conjunction with the instructor and based on the course content. Over the second half of the semester, students will write an abstract and preliminary bibliography, a draft of the essay and the final research paper. At each stage students will participate in a process of peer review and revision.


  • Discussion questions 15%
  • Discussion Participation 10%
  • Equipment Biography Assignment 25%
  • Research paper abstract and bibliography 10%
  • Research paper peer review 10%
  • Research paper draft 5%
  • Research paper 25%



All required readings will be available through Canvas and/or on electronic reserve at the SFU Library.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html