As an undergraduate, I took proper measures to avoid the humanities. I charted a course of study that ensured I would confront as little writing as possible. What drew me to math and science was the thrill of thinking through difficult problems towards satisfying (i.e. fixed) conclusions. I struggled in my writing to find direct pathways to the “correct” answer. In retrospect, I see that I was attempting to write critically without substantive consideration of what it meant to do so. I did not understand that the task at hand wasn't to produce answers, but to generate ideas.
Whether teaching on the practical/production side of the field or on the theoretical/film-studies side, I am committed to nurturing in my students the type of reflective critical practice missing from my own education. I want my students to feel comfortable stepping back to meditate on the rationales for the texts we are studying (“why these films?”) or for the videos we are building (“why does this video need to be made?”). If these were simple questions to answer, the intervention would be rote, but the fact that students’ answers to these questions invariably evolve in complexity through the semester tells me that their critical faculties are being tested and that they are growing as thinkers and as makers.
For students in film and media studies courses, such critical appraisal also means a reflective interrogation of their own (often unexamined) presuppositions, which shape their opinions and readings when viewing film and video works. I find this is most productively accomplished through collective explorations of avant-garde works and methodologies that share formal elements with more familiar films and videos. In my experience, students gain more insight into the familiar when they are able to approach the subject through a framework of difference. Additionally, I believe it is important to include more recognizable forms during long ventures down esoteric theoretical pathways. This promotes a more expansive comprehension that bridges the relevance of the classroom activities with their day-to-day lives.
Film and Media Arts 3011 (Spring 2017, LSU)
The Art of Editing (Practice and Concept)
ENGL 1001 (Fall 2016, LSU)
Composition and Analysis
ARTM 3530 (Spring 2012, Robert Morris University)
Advanced Documentary Studies
Introduction to Film Studies
Introductory undergraduate course
Querying Cinema; Queering Cinema
Upper level undergraduate course