New York City in Film (SCA-UA 623)

What are the diverse ways in which New York City has been imagined on the silver screen? How does a cinematic perspective shape our understanding of urban spaces? This course analyzes films that portray New York as a site of local encounter and global exchange in both commercial and documentary films since the 1960s. We will investigate the dramatic mapping and remapping of urban space through works that articulate questions of gentrification, immigrant labor, organized crime, and sexual subcultures. In turn, we will examine how these stories have helped shape and contest the city’s image of itself–as a space of struggle, belonging, illegality, emancipation, and transformation. The goal is to see how each particular film captures a distinct moment both in the city’s history over the past fifty years as well as in the history of filmmaking. In so doing, we will blend the perspectives of urban studies, ethnic studies, and visual culture, placing films within their aesthetic, political, and historical context.

Social and Cultural Analysis (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 15 Weeks