Daniel Morgan is professor of cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago. He is author of "Late Godard and the Possibilities of Cinema" (2013) and "The Lure of the Image: Epistemic Fantasies of the Moving Camera" (2021).
The past decade has seen a massive interest in the history of film theory. Starting with major reassessments of classical film theory, more recent work has turned to the 1970s and 1980s to seek a more general account of the notions of media, spectatorship, and ideology. This talk explored the overlooked period between them. Drawing on Annette Michelson’s writings of the 1960s and early 1970s, Morgan argued that her work—along with other contemporaries—evinced the contours of an alternate model of film theory, one that was centrally preoccupied with the status of modernism in and for film. Based on a dense and complex account of time and temporal organization in cinema, she turned to a tradition of developmental psychology to think through the relation of film and mind. The result was the model of a cognitively mature spectator, and the modes of thought that came with that maturity, which allowed her to bridge the competing modernist projects of Soviet Cinema, art films, and the American avant-garde into a utopian vision of what cinema could be.
This event was sponsored by the Center for Documentary Research and Practice, the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the Cultural Studies Program.