German 150. Under Surveillance: Media, Security, and the Loss of Privacy





Top of stack of books installation at Bebelplatz, Berlin


This course is not being offered during the current academic year.



With a camera positioned at the entrance to the director’s factory, Louis Lumière’s famous early film of 1895, La Sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon, captured workers as they left for the day. Today, surveillance practices have infiltrated daily lives around the globe, from the ubiquitous cameras on city streets and public spaces to tracking systems that monitor, store, and monetize even our most intimate activities. In this class we will probe and problematize the modern history of surveillance technologies and monitoring practices, from the first manifestations of police photography to CCTV, drones, racial profiling, GPS technology, and user security on social media and digital platforms. To this end we will look at exemplary features such as The Conversation (1974), Strange Days (1995), Caché (2005), Red Road (2006), The Lives of Others (2006), and Snowden (2016), documentaries like 13th (2016), The Creepy Line (2018), and The Great Hack (2019) as well as selected videos and tv programs. We will also consider the analytical and theoretical perspectives of, among others, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Wolfgang Ernst, Gilles Deleuze, Harun Farocki, Shoshana Zuboff, Catherine Zimmer, Lev Manovich, Mark Andrejevic, Thomas Levin, Patricia Pisters, and Christian Parenti.

This course is cross-listed as AFVS 184E.