The Center for Advanced Media Studies

The Center for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS) is a Johns Hopkins based center that organizes workshops, lecture series, and screenings/gallery installations in the field of media studies. It is generally geared toward graduate students with an interest in media studies, but open to the JHU community and the Baltimore community at large.


Spring 2015

  • Waves of Feminism through Film and Media (Syllabus)
    This course examines the movements known as second- and third-wave feminism as expressed in film and other media since the 1950s. Second-wave feminism—influenced in part by the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir but driven by social and economic factors in the US and the post-war, industrialized west—departed from the practical exigencies of suffrage that drove the first wave before it and became concerned with defending the identity of women from being defined in terms of patriarchal norms. From popularized images of working women in US television series to the formalist experimentation of the France’s New-Wave in cinema, the media of the sixties and seventies absorbed and explored many of second-wave feminism’s central themes and critiques. Largely a critique of the perceived Euro-centrism of the second wave, third-wave feminism, coined in the early nineties, focused on the experience of women of color and those from the developing world who did not share the relatively privileged backgrounds of their predecessors. The second part of the course will examine how film and media since the nineties has incorporated and reflected this new inclusiveness, and striven to tell stories of women from a broad spectrum of backgrounds. We will take advantage of the visit to Hopkins by acclaimed media artist Sharon Hayes to examine how her own media practice has been shaped by successive waves of feminist thought and has in turn affected feminism. Other works will include the films of Agnès Varda and Shirin Neshat.

Spring 2014

  • Media of Propaganda
    Today, promoting a particular political or personal point of view is not viewed as “propaganda,” but rather as building a community of equally minded people. But where do we draw the line, and when does the use of a medium in service of a certain message become intrusive and misleading? What role do democracy and cultural values play in this use or abuse of media? In this class the term “propaganda” will be evaluated carefully and applied to such historical media case studies as the informational use of the radio in World War One, Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films, the legendary success of advertisement campaigns in the 1950s and 1960s, the AIDS movement and other mobilization strategies from the 1980s to the 1990s, and the new values of friendship and propaganda in our current facebook nation.
  • Curating Media Artists in Residence at JHU
    Students will be closely involved with JHU’s Program in Museum & Society, JHU’s Center for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS), and the Baltimore Museum of Art (curator Kristen Hileman) in efforts to select new media artists in residence as well as prepare the residency for 2015. We have invited the internationally acclaimed artists, all of whom work in different media. We will examine cutting-edge media artists both in the classroom as well as on sponsored class trips to media art exhibits in DC and NYC. One class excursion will be to the retrospective at the New York MOMA on Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video. Students will also assist with the CAMS media art residency of acclaimed French artist Camille Henrot in March 2014, and be part of the dress rehearsal to her performance “Psychopompe” at MICA on March 7. The class will take place once a week, Thur 10:30-12:50pm, except for two planned class-excursions. It is limited to 10 students.
  • Film Theory and Critical Methods
    This team-taught graduate seminar by Derek Schilling and Bernadette Wegenstein surveys the critical approaches to the study of film. Every week we will examine a different historical/narrative genre, or a different theoretical aspect to discuss films that students will both watch on their own, as well as during the weekly evening screenings. The course is loosely based on the anthology Critical Visions in Film Theory, Ed. Timothy Corrigan, Patricia White, Meta Mazaj, Bedford St. Martins, 2010. Tue 11-1pm, Gilman 479; Screenings Wed 7-10pm.

Fall 2012

  • Film Theory
    This graduate seminar deals with film theory in its history and its current trends. It examines structuralist, feminist, Marxist, psycho-analytic, Deleuzian, and other theoretical approaches to understanding and interpreting the cinematic medium. It looks at several different film samples from European film to Latin American Film, auteur-films to independent documentary collectives, animation films to blockbusters. We are inviting at least one film theorist to class during the semester.
  • Community Based Learning: Documentary Production Practicum The Cure: The History and Culture of Breast Cancer
    This undergraduate seminar accompanies Bernadette Wegenstein and her documentary film team during some months of producing her feature documentary The Cure on the history and culture of breast cancer. It is a hands on experience with director/producer Bernadette Wegenstein, editor/producer Patrick Wright and cinematographer Allen Moore filming at the GBMC’s Breast Care clinic, the Halsted Medical Archives, and many other Baltimore locations.

Spring 2012

  • # internet
    This graduate seminar addresses the history of the internet as participatory platform from such social media as facebook and twitter to blogs and forums of political or activist nature, as well as online gaming environments; the questions raised will regard the social change these platforms produce, the legal implications of sharing information, the political and economical issues around “digital labor” (Scholz), as well as the broader ethical questions about identity and the construction of self in participatory online environments. This class will include a hands-on dimension combining media theory & practice. (Click for syllabus.)
  • Documentary Film
    This undergraduate seminar is an overview of the history of the documentary film format and its attempt at telling the “truth:” we will examine documentaries from different historical moments (e.g., New Realism, Direct Cinema, Cinema Verite) and cultures (e.g., U.S., Indian, French), and asks theoretical and philosophical questions about the construction of argument, and documentaries’ use of reality, ethnography, and storytelling. (Click for syllabus.)