For a list of student documentaries produced in the Culture and Media Program click here.
For information on public programs at the Center for Media, Culture, and History, please visit the CMCH website.
Certificate Program in Culture and Media
The Departments of Anthropology and Cinema Studies offer a specialized joint course of study leading to a New York State Certificate in Culture and Media for NYU graduate students who are also pursuing their
The program’s philosophy takes a broad approach to the relationships between culture and media in a number of domains
This graduate program provides a focused course of studies integrating production with theory and research. Training in this program will enable students to pursue the following:
-Production work in state-of-the-art digital video based on their own research, resulting in a twenty-thirty minute documentary. Student works have shown in festivals worldwide, won multiple awards, and are in distribution. For a list of recent
-Ethnographic research into the social practice of media in a range of communities and cultures. Students from the program have done
-Teaching the history, theory, and production of ethnographic documentary and related issues.
-A career in media requiring an understanding of anthropology, such as specialized programming and distribution of ethnographic film and video, community-based documentary production, management of ethnographic film/video libraries and archives, or work in new media.
Each year, many of our student works are chosen to screen at prestigious film festivals.
Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology
Director, Center for Media, Culture
Director, Certificate Program in Culture and Media
Co-Director, The Center for Disability Studies
Media Production Specialist & Filmmaker-in-Residence
Co-Director, Center for Media, Culture & History
Associate Professor, Cinema Studies
Co-Director, Program in Culture and Media
University Professor, Cinema Studies
NYU Kanbar Institute of Film and Television
The program also arranges supervised internships for course credit, tailored to individual research and professional interests. Students work in a variety of programming and production positions for institutions, such
The Anthropology Department has a film and video screening theater that seats up to forty. Our excellent and expanding study collection of over 2000 ethnographic/documentary film and video works -- from direct cinema to experimental genres -- includes most of the classics, important recent works, and a unique and comprehensive collection of works by indigenous media makers from all parts of the world. The Department of Cinema Studies has a collection of over 38,000 videos and 3000 16mm prints at The George Amberg Memorial Film Study Center, and New York University's Avery Fisher Music and Media Center
THE CENTER FOR MEDIA, CULTURE, AND HISTORY
The program works closely with the Center for Media, Culture, and History, directed by Professor Faye Ginsburg and co-directed by Professor Pegi Vail. The Center sponsors fellows, screenings, lectures
The Center for Media, Culture, and History: cmchnyu.org
THE CENTER for RELIGION & MEDIA
The Center for Religion and Media, directed by Faye Ginsburg and Angela Zito, was inaugurated in 2003 as one of ten Centers of Excellence funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts; it seeks to develop interdisciplinary, cross-cultural knowledge of how religious practices and ideas are shaped and spread through a variety of media. For more information about the Center, visit the website. The Center for Religion & Media: crmnyu.org
DESCRIPTIONS OF REQUIRED COURSES
Students cannot take courses in the Culture and Media program unless they are enrolled in the
(1) take the curriculum outlined below and maintain a grade of B+ or better;
(2) design and complete a project in ethnographic film or video in the form of either
(3) complete their M.A. in Anthropology or Cinema Studies. Students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. can integrate the Certificate Program into their studies for the advanced degree in consultation with their Dissertation Committee. Students with prior training in media may be able to substitute other courses from the extensive curriculum offered in Cinema Studies, Anthropology, or media production – including other forms such as photography and new media.
Courses  &  below can count toward their M.A., and courses  &  can count toward their
CINEMA STUDIES STUDENTS:
Students should contact Toby Lee at email@example.com.
All students are required to take the following courses:
 ANTH GA 1215 / CINE GT 1402
Culture and Media I: History and Theory of Ethnographic Documentary and Indigenous Media (Ginsburg/Ganti, Dattatreyan, Vail) 4 PTS
 ANTH GA 1216 / CINE GT 1403
Culture and Media II: Ethnography of Media (Dattatreyan, Ganti, Ginsburg) 4 PTS
 CINE GT 2001
Cultural Theory and The Documentary (Toby Lee) 4 PTS
 Recommended course or approved elective in opposite dept
/ CINE GT 1998 & H56.0080
SIGHT AND SOUND DOCUMENTARY (Elliot) 6 PTS
(Summer documentary production; mid-May to late June; 6pts.)
/ ANTH GA 1218-19 & ANTH GA 1218-19
VIDEO PRODUCTION SEMINAR (Furjanic/Vail) 8 PTS
(Prerequisite: Sight and Sound Documentary or equivalent)
COURSE DESCRIPTIONS (REQUIRED)
CULTURE & MEDIA I: History and Theory of Ethnographic Documentary and Indigenous Media. Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Ginsburg/Dattatreyan/Ganti/Vail)
This course offers a critical revision of the history of the genre of ethnographic film, the central debates it has engaged around cross-cultural representation, and the theoretical and cinematic responses to questions of the screen representation of culture, from the early romantic constructions of Robert Flaherty to current work in film, television
CULTURE & MEDIA II: Ethnography of Media. Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Dattatreyan/Ganti/Ginsburg)
In the last decade, the ethnographic study of media practices has emerged as an exciting arena of research. While claims about media in peoples lives are made on a daily basis, surprisingly little research has actually attempted to look at how media is part of the naturally occurring lived realities of people’s lives. In the last decade, anthropologists and media scholars interested in film, television, video, and digital media have been turning their attention increasingly beyond the text and empiricist notions of audiences, to consider, ethnographically, the complex social and cultural worlds as well as political economies in which media are produced, circulated and consumed, at home, in theaters, on phones, and elsewhere. This work theorizes film/media studies from the point of view of cross-cultural ethnographic realities and anthropology from the perspective of new spaces of communication focusing on the social, economic and political life of media and how it makes a difference in the daily lives of people as a practice, whether in production, reception, or circulation.
The class will be organized around case studies that interrogate broader issues that are particularly endemic to questions of cross-cultural media including debates over cultural imperialism vs. the autonomy of local producers/consumers, the instability and stratification of reception, the shift from national to transnational circuits of production and consumption, the increasing complicity of researchers with their subjects over representations of culture, and the historically and culturally contingent ways in which images are read and used. These concerns are addressed in a variety of locations, from the complex circulation of films, photos, and lithographs, to the
CULTURAL THEORY AND THE DOCUMENTARY. Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts. (Toby Lee)
This course considers the actual and possible forms of relation between theories of culture and society and the mode of nonfiction cinema known as
SIGHT AND SOUND DOCUMENTARY (Intensive summer course, mid-May - early July) (Alice Elliott) Taught in the Kanbar Institute of Film & TV, Tisch School of the Arts
VIDEO PRODUCTION SEMINAR. Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Furjanic/Vail/Dattatreyan)
A two-semester seminar that provides training and equipment for advanced graduate students to produce a media ethnography or short documentary. During the fall semester, in-class instruction, lab exercises, and readings introduce digital audio and video production, including shooting and editing with HD cameras, professional audio equipment, and Premiere Pro non-linear editing systems. Focusing on ethnographic media practices, students also address key representational, methodological, and ethical issues in the production of
THE SEMINAR IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS IN THE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM IN CULTURE AND MEDIA. IT IS LIMITED TO TEN STUDENTS AND REQUIRES PERMISSION OF THE INSTRUCTOR. Culture & Media I and Sight and Sound Documentary (summer session) are mandatory pre-requisites.
SELECTED ELECTIVE COURSES/CINEMA STUDIES and ANTHROPOLOGY/FALL 2023
Culture, Meaning and Society ANTH-GA 1222 (Rogers)
This introduction to sociocultural anthropology is designed for graduate students working primarily in other disciplines, and is intended to give them a grasp of specifically anthropological ways of defining researchable questions, collecting data, and drawing inference. In the first half of the semester, we will consider the 20thcentury development of some of the basic concepts and practices that have defined the discipline (notably the culture concept, ethnographic fieldwork methods). In the second half of the semester, we will read a series of recent ethnographic case-studies to further explore current anthropological approaches to a selection of specific topics. These will be chosen largely as a function of student interests, but may include gender, religion, education, among others. *** Open only to non-Anthropology Graduate students.
Documentary Traditions CINE GT 1400 (Bagnall) Mondays 6:20 – 9 PM
Fourteen sessions are devoted to a comparison of current documentaries with those made in earlier decades to illustrate how the art has responded to social, political, and economic realities and to changes in technology and systems of distribution. Undergraduates who take the course for 3 points are required to keep journals in which they respond to each session and compare observations with those made when viewing at least one documentary of their choice seen outside class, as well as in response to critical essays provided at each session and references in the text. Those wishing to earn an extra point (register for one point of H56.1097 Independent Study) may write a substantial term paper based on a topic approved by the instructor.
French New Wave CINE GT 1513 (Stam)
This course offers an historical and critical overview of one of the most dynamic and influential film movements within the history of the cinema -- the French New Wave – a movement that has influenced filmmakers all over the world. After examining the philosophical underpinnings of the movement in philosophical existentialism (Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir) and the theoretical underpinnings in the film criticism of Cahiers du Cinema, we will examine key films and directors. We will explore the three core groups that together formed the New Wave, notably 1) the Cahiers directors (Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rivette, Rohmer); 2) the Left Bank directors (Resnais, Duras, Varda, Marker); and 3) Cinema Verite (Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin). While we will focus largely on the films themselves, we will situate New Wave films within a broader spectrum of philosophy, literature, and the art. Some key themes in the course will be: first-person auteur cinema; artistic modernism and the New Wave; the relation between film and the other arts; the revolution in film language; the filmic adaptation of novels; and feminism and the New Wave; race, gender and sexuality; the evolution of style; and the political evolution leading up to the near-revolution of May 1968. The course will approach the New Wave through 1) critical writing, including by the directors themselves; 2) the screening of a chronologically arranged series of feature films; and 3) the analysis of short clips related to the larger themes. The goal of the course is for students to gain an overall sense of the historical importance of the New Wave, of the characteristic styles and themes of the key directors, and of some of the theories that circulated around such films.
Topics in Documentary Film CINE GT 2002 (Lee)
The term "expanded documentary" points both to the ways in which traditional documentary practices have diversified and transformed over the last few decades, particularly with changes in media technologies, as well as to different ways we might re-examine other film, media and art traditions through the lens of documentary practice. In this course, we consider how the documentary impulse functions in film, video, animation, sound; in the gallery, in the archive, in public space, in cyberspace; in forms linear and nonlinear, online and off. We also investigate the role of documentation in relation to performance and social practice art. In tracing these variations of documentary practice over time, we approach these expanded forms of non-fiction media not as addenda to documentary traditions, but rather as opportunities to reflect critically on those traditions, to connect present developments to historical precedents, and to pry open our sense of documentary as form, endeavor and practice. (Cross-listed with CINE-UT 417)
Nonfiction Film History CINE GT 2307 (Streible, TBA)
This course introduces students to the study of nonfiction film. It explores the history and theory of nonfiction cinema, including—but not limited to—documentary film. The established milestones of the international tradition of documentary—from the romantic mythmaking of Robert Flaherty to the leftist collectives and state propaganda projects of the 1930s and 1940s, through cinéma vérité of the 1960s and the activist and personal styles of recent decades—are considered. But the course also places documentary in a broader context that includes forms of nonfiction typically segregated from the traditional conception of documentary. Some are somewhat familiar forms, such as actualities, travelogues, and newsreels. Others have been largely ignored by scholars until quite recently: sponsored, industrial, educational, scientific, and medical films; home movies and other amateur films; outtakes and other archival footage. Viewed both as discrete works of cinema and as artifacts of social and cultural significance, such orphaned films pose problems of history, culture, and aesthetics that challenge traditional conceptions of making, viewing, and studying films. Students read primary historical sources, as well as new scholarly approaches to the global history of nonfiction film, and to the possible uses and meanings of this vast archive.
Adv. Sem. Paradigms of Globalization CINE GT 2835 (Choi)
This course examines multiple histories, structures, theories and key concepts of globalization, linking them with issues in the nation-state, post/modernity, post/colonialism, cultural imperialism, post/Fordism, empire, and trans/national identities. It brings together different forms of knowledge from anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, and political economy to bear on film and media studies troubled by geo-cultural uncertainty and convergence. ***Those students interested in taking this seminar should email JungBong Choi at firstname.lastname@example.org. The email should state your status in the grad program, any relevant past courses/ reading/ research, your particular interest in the seminar, and particular project, if any, that you would like to work on during the seminar.
Adv. Sem. Comparative Post-colonialism CINE GT 3207 (Stam)
Alongside and in the aftermath of the "culture wars" in the United States, many battle lines, national and transnational, have formed around such inter-related issues as "postcoloniality," "comparative imperialism,""critical race" and so forth. Challenged and debated from many directions, the terms themselves have become subject to diverse political force-fields, in some ways becoming sliding signifiers onto which diverse groups project their hopes and fears, their fantasies and anxieties. Our seminar will focus on the ways these debates are articulated differently in three zones: the Anglo-American, the French and Francophone, and the Brazilian Lusophone. What will interest us specifically will be the process of translation through which the debates are filtered. How do the debates"travel" and what happens to them during the voyage? What happens in the movement from one geographical space and cultural semantics into another? How do these movements translate? What are the different vocabularies? How do the terms themselves shift political and epistemological valence? What happens, then, when "multiculturalism" or"postcoloniality," for example, are seen through other national grids, or enter other "intellectual fields?" How are "out-of-place" ideas reinvoiced, indigenized, co-opted, contained, hybridized, recontextualized, resisted? What is elided or added, or subtly changed, in the process of cross-cultural translation? How do the debates get grafted onto other, preexisting debates? What are the mirrors and grids and prisms through which the debates are seen? What is the role of national narcissism and exceptionalism? What anxieties and Utopians come into play when debates travel? Our approach throughout will be transdisciplinary, drawing on cultural studies, media studies, literary theory, and so forth.We will address the ways that popular culture can filter and reframe the debates. Popular culture, in this sense, will be invoked as illustrative of our larger themes but also as a form of intellectual/cultural agency in a globalized world. ***Those students interested in taking this seminar should email Robert Stam at email@example.com by April 15. The email should state your status in the grad program, any relevant past courses/reading/research, your particular interest in the seminar, and particular project, if any, that you would like to work on during the seminar.