RMeS RMa course: The Materiality of Cinema

The Materiality of Cinema

When: March – May 2024 (exact dates, see below) 17.00 – 19.00 hrs
Where: Hybrid (see below)
Coordinator: Dr Giuseppe Fidotta and Dr Laliv Melamed (University of Groningen)
Guest lectures by: See below
For: First and second year RMa students in Media Studies, who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). Students who are members of RMeS will have first access. RMeS staff and PhD researchers are welcome to sit in on specific sessions; please send an e-mail to RMeS if you intend to attend one or more seminar sessions: rmes@rug.nl.

Registration will open 4 December 2023 via this link.

Responding to rapid changes in media technologies and their increasing integration in everyday life, the field of film and media studies has gradually come to grips with hitherto neglected issues and questions of materiality. Various approaches such as media ecology, media archaeology, and media infrastructure are currently bringing to the fore the need to attend and think through the material aspects of media production, circulation, and consumption as well as the environmental, logistical, and geopolitical implications of film and media industries across the globe. Within film studies—a discipline traditionally concerned with texts, aesthetics, auteurs, and so on—, turning towards materiality affords a broader understanding of the social life of cinema beyond the screen and across media.

Throughout this course, students will be introduced to five distinct approaches to understanding the materiality of cinema through the works of internationally renowned film thinkers and makers: the archival, the environmental, the archaeological, the technological, and the operational. One introductory session led by the course coordinators will introduce the students to the material turn in the humanities, while providing specific insights and tools for thinking the material within the domain of film and media studies. In each of the following five sections, a guest scholar or artist will deliver a lecture preceded by a workshop delving into one of the five key approaches. In the final session students will be invited to pitch their final assignment for the course, which consists of a 2,500-word research paper adopting one key approach to students’ research interests.

The call of this course is to evoke new ways of thinking and working on media cultures as bearers of concrete objects that matter in and for the world we live in.


The final paper will contribute 70% to the overall course grade. The remaining 30% will be based on discussion facilitation, including introduction, workshop moderation, and Q&A moderation, which will be conducted in groups.


5 March 2024 – Antonio Somaini (in person at University of Groningen)
26 March 2024 – Kartik Nair (online)
9 April 2024 – Jennifer Peterson (online)
23 April 2024 – Benoît Turquety (in person at University of Groningen)
14 May 2024 – Mila Turajlic (online)
21 May 2024 – Closing session (online) Exact time to be confirmed