On Teaching & Student Voices Vol. 8, No. 2

This installment of On Teaching and Student Voices features Erica Stein’s Cinemas and Urbanisms course at Vassar College, including Stein’s discussion of her pedagogy and reflections on the course along with exemplary work drawn from her undergraduate students.

Cinemas and Urbanisms

Erica Stein kicks off this issue of On Teaching with an introduction to her course Cinemas and Urbanisms, a course she taught at Vassar College in Spring 2023, which is cross-listed between the Film Studies department and Urban Studies program. Following Stein’s introduction to the course, her aims, and reflections, she previews the undergraduate work from her students featured in this issue of Student Voices and shares her syllabus for the course.

Bollywood’s Blockbusters: The Rise of the Indian Multiplex Theater and its Impacts

Sophie Mode explores how the urban and national spaces and identities generated by popular Hindi cinema generates have become increasingly globalized and privatized through the architecture of new multiplex exhibition spaces. These “multiplexes” are often attached to spaces of international finance and function as disinvestment from traditional, informal spaces of neighborhood commerce and community.

Temporal Possibilities of Set Design and Architecture in Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle
Anna Molloy shows how Jacques Tati satirized the rapid postwar modernization of Paris (especially technologies within the home) through a set design that mimicked Modernist and International Style architectural principles while suggesting an alternative vision of Paris’s future, and the social ties it might sustain, through representations of older neighborhoods.

From a Derelict Mansion to the Malibu Coast: Film Noir, Urban Spaces, and the Articulation of Gender Identity in Los Angeles

Junyi Zhou considers the representation of gender relations in post-war film noir set in Los Angeles. Drawing on Mike Davis’s “Sunshine Or Noir?” teleology of the city, Zhou shows how this dichotomy shapes not only interior spaces, but a gendered negotiation of them, attending to how the moral chaos of noir is plotted through the placing and dis-placing of women in domestic settings.

Columbus Plays Itself

Charlie Tynan’s essay analyzes Kogonada’s 2017 film Columbus, a study of a small city and minor works of modernist architecture. Tynan shows how an exploration of exteriors can access raced and gendered interiority, focusing on the film’s tendency to disarticulate its audio and visual tracks at key moments or hold either the characters or architecture offscreen to help us renew the ways we think about the relationships between buildings and people.