Media and Modernity

Academic Year 2023 – 2024

General Information

S-110 Architecture Building

Program Offerings:

  • Certificate

Department for program:

Director of Graduate Studies:

Graduate Program Administrator:


The Program in Media and Modernity promotes the interdisciplinary study of the unique cultural formations that came to prominence during the last two centuries, with special attention paid to the interplay between culture and technology. The program centers on architecture, art, film, photography, literature, philosophy, music, history, and all forms of electronic media from radio to video and information technologies. The program draws on the rich hu­man and material resources that exist at Princeton and provides a focus and forum for research and teaching in the spaces, texts, and media of modernity. The program offers a graduate certificate and collabora­tive teaching, learning, and research opportunities centered on team-taught seminars and cross-disciplinary colloquia.

Students may not gain admission to the University through the Program in Media and Modernity.  They may affiliate with the program and earn a certificate from it after having been admitted through a degree-granting department.  The certificate does not appear on the official transcript.

Program Offerings

Program Offering: Certificate

This certificate does not appear on transcripts.

Program description

The Graduate Certificate in Media+Modernity is conferred each year to Princeton University graduate students that fulfill the requirements listed below.
Ph.D. students may obtain the M+M certificate by fulfilling the following requirements:

  1. enrollment in at least three seminars cross-listed with MOD (Media and Modernity).
  2. regular attendance at M+M events held during the semester.
  3. participation in a dissertation colloquium led by the program's directors.

Masters students may obtain the M+M certificate by fulfilling the following requirements:

  1. enrollment in at least three seminars cross-listed with MOD (Media and Modernity).
  2. regular attendance at M+M events held during the semester.

Students qualifying for the certificate should send the following information (in a single document) to [email protected] no later than May 1 for awarding of the certificate in that academic year:

a) Full name, department, program, year, expected date of graduation, contact email;

b) Name and contact email of primary advisor;

c) A list of courses fulfilling the qualifications for the Certificate, as listed above. Each of these should include all course numbers under which the class was listed, course titles, instructor names, descriptions (as listed on the Course Offerings website of the University) and the grade option for which each class was taken;

d) Any further information that might be useful and is not covered by the points above.


  • Director

    • Beatriz Colomina (co-director)
    • Devin A. Fore (co-director)
  • Executive Committee

    • Basile C. Baudez, Art and Archaeology
    • Ruha Benjamin, African American Studies
    • Beatriz Colomina, Architecture
    • Brigid Doherty, German
    • S.E. Eisterer, Architecture
    • Devin A. Fore, German
    • Hal Foster, Art and Archaeology
    • Rubén Gallo, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Sylvia Lavin, Architecture
    • Thomas Y. Levin, German
    • V. Mitch McEwen, Architecture
    • Paul Nadal, English
    • Spyros Papapetros, Architecture
    • Rachel L. Price, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Irene V. Small, Art and Archaeology
    • Gavin Steingo, Music
  • Associated Faculty

    • Bridget Alsdorf, Art and Archaeology
    • M. Christine Boyer, Architecture
    • Tina M. Campt, Art and Archaeology
    • Jay Cephas, Architecture
    • Zahid R. Chaudhary, English
    • Steven Chung, East Asian Studies
    • Angela N. Creager, History
    • Rachael Z. DeLue, Art and Archaeology
    • Elizabeth Diller, Architecture
    • S.E. Eisterer, Architecture
    • Diana J. Fuss, English
    • Mario I. Gandelsonas, Architecture
    • Daniel Heller-Roazen, Comparative Literature
    • Brooke A. Holmes, Classics
    • Monica Huerta, English
    • Meredith A. Martin, English
    • Michael Meredith, Architecture
    • Paul Nadal, English
    • Mónica Ponce de León, Architecture
    • Jesse A. Reiser, Architecture
    • Efthymia Rentzou, French & Italian
    • Paul E. Starr, Sociology
    • Jeffrey Whetstone, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Carolyn Yerkes, Art and Archaeology

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Permanent Courses

Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.

ARC 571 - PhD Proseminar (also ART 581/LAS 571/MOD 573)

A research seminar in selected areas of aesthetics, art criticism, and architectural theory from the 18th to the 20th centuries on the notion of representation in art and architecture. This seminar is given to students in the doctoral program at the School of Architecture and to doctoral candidates in other departments.

ARC 575 - Advanced Topics in Modern Architecture (also MOD 575)

Case studies in the 20th-century avant-garde. Individual buildings belonging to specific building types are subjected to comparative analysis in terms of their formal organization and their cultural and ideological context. There are six weekly lectures, followed by student reports and discussion.

ARC 576 - Advanced Topics in Modern Architecture (also ART 598/MOD 502)

Explores the critical transformation in the relationship between interior and exterior space in modern architecture, which is most evident in domestic space. Domestic space ceases to be simply bounded space in opposition to the outside, whether physical or social. An analysis of modern houses is used as a frame to register contemporary displacements of the relationship between public and private space, instigated by the emerging reality of the technologies of communicaton, including newspaper, telephone, radio, film, and television.

ARC 577 - Topics in Modern Architecture (also MOD 577)

Explores recent changes in architectural history, theory, criticism, and practice by examining the effects of contemporary critical theory on architectural discourse. Particular attention is given to the ways in which architectural theory has influenced the critical theory of other disciplines and vice versa.

ARC 580 - Gender, Cities, and Dissent (also GSS 580/MOD 580)

This course asks how intersectional feminism, queer, and trans theory can spearhead new methods of research, objects of study, and ways of seeing and analyzing spaces, buildings, cities, and human alliances within them. Overall, the seminar focuses on practices and forms of organizing around LGBTQ+ rights and how historical actors have formed networks and associations to resist dominant spatial and political regimes.

ARC 594 - Topics in Architecture (also ART 584/HUM 593/MOD 504/SPA 559)

This course covers various topics related to the history and theory of architecture.

ART 565 - Seminar in Modernist Art and Theory (also ARC 585/MOD 565)

The seminar focuses on the study of a particular problem in modernism. Possible topics include the advent of modernist abstraction, the different uses of advant-garde devices of collage and photomontage, the readymade and the construction, art and technology, art and the unconscious, art and political revolution, and antimodernism.

ART 567 - Seminar in History of Photography (also MOD 567)

The seminar is concerned with the work of a single European or American photographer or with a significant movement in the 20th century.

COM 513 - Topics in Literature and Philosophy (also MOD 513)

Chance and contingency were long thought to lie outside the realm of knowledge. Then there arose new means for measuring probabilities of the most varied kinds. This seminar will explore the conditions and occurrence of that shift, as well as its consequences, as they are reflected in a few literary and philosophical works.

ENG 567 - Special Studies in Modernism (also MOD 569)

Selected topics and problems in modern literature, culture, and criticism.

ENG 568 - Criticism and Theory (also AMS 568/MOD 568)

A study in the major texts in criticism and theory. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Sidney, Shelley, Derrida, and Foucault, among others. Topics include mimesis, structuralism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and new historicism.

ENV 596 - Topics in Environmental Studies (also AMS 596/ENG 517/MOD 596)

This topics course offers seminars with a focus on climate change and/or biodiversity. Seminars under this topic examine environmental and societal issues associated with two of the key defining challenges of our time: climate change and/or biodiversity loss. The course uses a multi-disciplinary combination of perspectives and approaches grounded in the Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences.

GER 520 - Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory (also MOD 521)

Course treats a wide range of theoretical and historical issues concerning the interpretation of literary and cultural materials. Topics include psychoanalytic approaches to literature, the Frankfurt School and its legacy, feminist theory, German-Jewish Acculturation, relations between literature and the other arts, theories of literary reception, and fascism and culture.

GER 521 - Topics in German Intellectual History (also COM 597/MOD 520)

The course examines in their entirety mostly short texts that advance solutions to the intellectual problems preoccupying major German religious thinkers, writers, and philosophers, viz. justification, selfhood, theodicy, play, contingency, asceticism, estrangement, malaise, authenticity.

GER 523 - Topics in German Media Theory & History (also COM 518/HUM 523/MOD 523)

Historical and theoretical investigations of media from the advent of writing systems, paper and the construction of single-point perspective to phonography, radio, telephony, and television and up through the critical reflection on cyberspace, rhetorics of PowerPoint, surveillance and data shadows. Issues explored include the relationship between representation and technology, the historicity of perception, transformations of reigning notions of imagination, literacy, communication, reality and truth, and the interplay of aesthetics, technics and politics.

GER 525 - Studies in German Film (also COM 524/MOD 510)

Course explores movements in German cinema, with attention given to the cultural and ideological contexts as well as recent debates in contemporary film theory. Attention may focus on such pivotal topics as Weimar or the New German cinema, issues in German film theory, questions of film and Nazi culture, or avant-garde cinema, and on genres such as the "Heimatfilm," the "Street Film," and works by women and minority filmmakers.

GER 530 - Topics in Aesthetics and Poetics (also MOD 530)

The course explores a range of problems in the history of aesthetics, poetics and cultural techniques. These include intersections of aesthetics and politics, art and literature¿s relationship to social context and social theory, the history of perception and knowledge practices, performance theory, the problem of judgement, aesthetic critique, and ecological aesthetics.

HOS 595 - Introduction to Historiography of Science (also HIS 595/MOD 564)

Introduces beginning graduate students to the central problems and principal literature of the history of science from the Enlightenment to the 20th century. Course is organized around several different methodological approaches, and readings include important works by anthropologists, sociologists and philosophers, as well as by historians of science.

HUM 595 - Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (also ARC 593/CLA 595/MOD 595)

In the IHUM tradition, this course is team-taught, often by faculty from two different departments. Courses that fall under this topic are widely cross-listed and intended to attract students from many departments and programs. These topics are the most interdisciplinary of the IHUM offerings, aiming to bring together combinations of art, philosophy, literature, history in theory and practice, criticism, and methods from the qualitative social sciences.

HUM 597 - Humanistic Perspectives on History and Society (also ARC 597/LAS 597/MOD 597/SPA 557)

In this seminar we locate Spinoza and the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) in the exciting currents of seventeenth-century philosophy, theology, biblical scholarship and exegesis. Resituating Spinoza in Golden Age Holland we examine the resources and relevant controversies that shaped the Tractatus, with an eye to common concerns and traditions: the legacies of humanism and Reformation in the Netherlands, for instance, the larger worlds of his friends, as well as the vibrant Jewish community in Golden Age Amsterdam and the varieties of Christian lay piety that fall broadly under the banner of "the Radical Reformation."

HUM 598 - Humanistic Perspectives on the Arts (also CLA 591/HLS 594/MOD 598)

The study of the arts at the intersection of the disciplines.