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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


FSS Historiographies: Global Film and Media Historiographies

FSS Historiographies: Global Film and Media Historiographies

Course Convenor: Dr Xin Peng (, Centre for Film and Screen and Department of History of Art

This module explores the ways in which film and media histories are constructed. We will focus on different methodologies for retrieving and analyzing primary materials in a global context. The module is structured in two parts. Part I (week 1 – week 3) interrogates the concept of “historicity” and the constructions of the “archive” that will lay the ground for our discussions throughout the course. We will pay special attention to the transition to digital media, as well as gaps and absences – voices that have been historically repressed and erased – in archival institutions and the diverse ways in which to address and redress these absences. Part II (week 4 – week 6) takes a transnational approach to three key critical concepts – hauntology, media archaeology, and the Anthropocene – that have had significant impact on the approaches to the writing of history in film and media studies in the past three decades.


Preliminary Reading

Philip Rosen, Change Mummified: Cinema, Historicity, Theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001)

Jennifer M. Bean, “Towards a Feminist Historiography of Early Cinema,” A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002)

Jacqueline N. Stewart, Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005)

Zhen Zhang, An Amorous History of the Silver Screen: Shanghai Cinema, 1896-1937 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005)

Paula Amad, Counter-archive: Film, the Everyday, and Albert Kahn’s Archives de la Planète (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010)

Ann Cvetkovich, An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003)

Giovanna Fossati, From Grain to Pixel: The Archival Life of Film in Transition (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018)

Katherine Groo, Bad Film Histories: Ethnography and the Early Archive (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019)

Kara Keeling, The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007)

Tavia Nyong’o, Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life (New York: New York University, 2019)

Ackbar Abbas, Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997)

Suzanne Enzerink, “Black Atlantic Currents: Mati Diop’s Atlantique and the Field of Transnational American Studies,” Journal of Transnational American Studies 12.1 (2021): 53-81

Ann Laura Stoler, Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006)

Erkki Huhtamo and Jussi Parikka, “Introduction: An Archaeology of Media Archaeology,” Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications (Berkeley: University of California, 2011)

Thomas Elsaesser, “The New Film History as Media Archaeology,” Cinéma 14.2-3 (2004): 75-117

Sudhir Mahadevan, A Very Old Machine: The Many Origins of the Cinema in India (Albany: SUNY Press, 2015)

Brian Larkin, Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure, and Urban Culture in Nigeria (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008)

Shaoling Ma, The Stone and the Wireless: Mediating China, 1861-1906 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2021)

Jennifer Fay, Inhospitable World: Cinema in the Time of the Anthropocene (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)

Nadia Bozak, The Cinematic Footprint: Lights, Camera, Natural Resources (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2012)

Debashree Mukherjee, Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020)

El Hadji Diop, “From Environmental Degradation to the Waste Economy of Postcolonial Desire: Ecocritical Footprints in Touki-Bouki and Hyenas,” Journal of African Cinemas 11.3 (2019): 193-205

Giuliana Bruno, Streetwalking on a Ruined Map: Cultural Theory and the City Films of Elvira Notari (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993)

Carolyn Steedman, Dust: The Archive and Cultural History (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002)

Saidiya Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” Small Axe 12.2 (2008): 1-14

Jacques Derrida, Specter of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International (London: Routledge, 2006)

James Tweedie, “The Hauntology of the Cinematic Image: Walter Benjamin, Modern Media, and the Mourning Play,” Moving Pictures, Still Lives: Film, New Media, and the Late Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)

Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” Critical Inquiry 35.2 (2009): 197-222

Matthew Pangborn, “Lessons in ‘Bad Love’: Film Noir and the Rise of the American Oil Regime in Edgar G. Ulmar’s Detour,” Journal of American Studies 55:4 (2021): 780-814


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