At the dawn of the twentieth century cinema emerged as a new mass entertainment, a source of information, and a product of economic and social power. Cinema adapted to and absorbed novel technologies, such as sound, color, 3-D, and, later, digital techniques at a rapid pace. As shifting political and economic forces came into play, cinema continued to assume a key role in moving-image culture. During its history, cinema has absorbed seismic shocks in ideas and ideologies, and responded to the shifting politics of race, gender, class, and sexuality that have defined modern society. Now, in the early years of the twenty-first century, an evolving mediascape driven by digital technologies offers exciting opportunities to assess the ever-changing role of cinema across global cultures.
Because of its status as a major art form and a vital social practice, cinema has assumed a crucial place within the university. The Cinema Studies Institute has, over four decades, developed into a major area of academic research, study, and teaching at the University of Toronto and has contributed in pivotal ways to the development of the discipline both in Canada and internationally.
Cinema Studies offers courses that reflect the diversity of cinematic experience: film analysis, history, social practice, and theory are at the core of the program. Other topics also receive emphasis, including distinct types of film (such as documentary, animation, and the avant-garde), film genres, media cultures, and new media forms. Our courses explore the global dimension of cinema, investigating national and transnational cinema. They raise issues of how race, class, and gender operate in moving image culture. Cinema Studies offers a range of research methods, scholarly frameworks, and learning opportunities; all are designed to develop students’ abilities to understand cinema within a wide range of contexts - critical, economic, cultural, technological, and aesthetic. Graduates of the Cinema Studies Institute achieve learning outcomes that include a strong historical and theoretical foundation coupled with advanced analytical and critical skills. Our graduates are well-equipped to apply their knowledge to a variety of media-related careers and avocations. They have become arts and entertainment journalists, film programmers, and image archivists, and have found a diversity of positions within the film, television, and new media sectors. Cinema Studies does not offer courses in filmmaking, but numerous graduates have successfully pursued professional work in different facets of film and media production.
Since its inception, Cinema Studies has had its administration, teaching, and research home at Innis College, which also houses its faculty. Innis offers specially-equipped facilities and a cordial and intimate setting for cinema students. For more information about Innis College, go to innis.utoronto.ca.
Enquiries: Undergraduate Program Assistant, Room 232AE, Innis College (416-978-8571), firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Cinema Studies website, cinema.utoronto.ca.