Codruța Morari

Associate Professor of Cinema & Media Studies

*/ Film Theory and Media Aesthetics, Media Ecologies, History of Ideas, French Culture and Intellectual History, Surveillance Studies, Environmental Humanities.

Trained in film theory at the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle, I completed a dissertation that focused on the cognitive, affective, and ideological properties of film perception. I went on to write The Bressonians: French Cinema and the Culture of Authorship (2017), a book that revisits the legacy of the so-called politique des auteurs and incorporates previously underappreciated aesthetic, epistemological, and sociological perspectives. In particular, the study ponders the interplay between the singularity of individual filmmakers and the plurality of professional communities, talking about film authors not as solitary geniuses but as working artists. in addressing the key concepts in our understanding of authorship, the book relies on close analyses of exemplary films by Robert Bresson, Jean Eustache, Maurice Pialat, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Rivette. My scholarly work, though to a great extent devoted to film and visual studies, takes its larger impetus from 20th- and 21st-century intellectual history. To date my articles include studies on such topics as art, labor, and the market, Roland Barthes's ambivalent relation to the film medium, Jacques Rancière on the democratic potential of cinephilia, and French film criticism of the early 1960s. I have also written essays on the films of Olivier Assayas, Alain Resnais, Claire Denis, Thomas Bidegain and Valeska Grisebach. My current research focuses on the place of cinema in the public sphere, media ecologies, and the status of film industries in the age of climate change.
In addition to chairing the Cinema and Media Studies Program, I offer classes on such subjects as film theory, mass media in the public sphere, surveillance media, film festival culture, world cinema, and the history and theory of French cinema. In my classroom endeavors I train students to understand the historical and political implications of aesthetic forms, to fathom the shaping power of moments in time for artistic expression, and to appreciate both the historical determinations of theoretical discourses as well as the theoretical ramifications of historical constructions. I also teach cinema courses in French where I aim to enable students to expand their sense of the real and the possible as they partake of a foreign culture.
As a scholar, teacher, and program director, I am committed to fostering an academic environment that stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and movements for racial and social justice.
Recent publications:
"Jean Eustache, L'Autorisation de l'intime: Je(ux) d'Auteur dans La Maman et la putain," in La Maman et la putain de Jean Eustache, ed. Arnaud Duprat de Montero, Paris: Éditions du Bord de l'eau, coll. Ciné-focales, 2020
"'Equality Must Be Defended!' Cinephilia and Democracy," in Distributions of the Sensible: Rancière, Between Aesthetics and Politics, eds. Scott Durham and Dilip Gaonkar, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2019, 97-118
"Properties of Film Authorship," in The Anthem Handbook of Screen Theory, eds. Hunter Vaughan and Tom Conley, London, New York: 2018, 157-172
"Le Cinéma comme festival d'affects: Roland Barthes et le septième art," in Roland Barthes: Création, émotion, jouissance, ed. Maja Zoric Vukusic, preface Eric Marty, Paris: Flammarion/Classiques Garnier, 2017, 147-158
"Art, Labor and the Market: Jacques Rivette and Maurice Pialat at Cannes," Contemporary French Civilization, Vol. 41, no. 3-4, 2016, 477-488

Education

  • B.A., University of Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • M.A., University of Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • Ph.D., University of Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle

Current and upcoming courses

  • Examining cinematic forms and styles, this course retraces film's emergence and development as an art and its relations to other artistic, cultural, technological, and socio-economic practices. Analysis of representative films will help understand cinema's relationship to reality, including its reproduction and construction of the "real," the changing terms of spectatorship, and the ways in which film aesthetics have been employed to build ideology and interrogate it. Understanding form as inextricably bound to content, we will appreciate the aesthetic significance of formal choices and innovations within particular films, directorial oeuvres, periods and movements, from classical Hollywood cinema to European New Waves of the 60s and 70s, to the contemporary cinemas of Asia and Latin America.
  • Why is it that only a limited number of filmmakers and national cinemas figure prominently in histories of cinema? Why do film scholars tend to prioritize artistic direction and ignore the labor of technicians or seasonal employees? Why is Alice Guy-Blaché overshadowed by the “great men” who, it is claimed, “invented” cinema? With such questions in mind, we will re-scan conventional film historiography and claim places for previously overlooked individuals and practices. We seek to create an inclusive canon that acknowledges the work of women, minor cinemas, and indigenous communities. In an endeavor to decolonize film history, this course will take a global approach to cinema’s rich and vastly unsurveyed legacy of more than a century.
  • What makes an informed and engaged citizen of media, culture, and society in the second quarter of the 21st century? This course will equip students with crucial skills for navigating contemporary media environments: how to engage in formal and visual analysis across media, how to be discerning consumers of information, and how to think critically about the political and economic systems that structure our heavily mediated lives. Critical terms for the study of media, such as industry, information, infrastructure, interactivity, networks, publics, screens, will be examined through the analysis of various media artifacts from photography, cinema, broadcast TV and digital platforms.