MEVIT4710 – Screen Histories and Theories

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Of what importance are the histories and theories of screens for understanding our current screen cultures? Screens are now a dominant presence and interface in culture in a number of ways. Screens are no longer defined by their institutional location (the cinema, the living room, the office) but are ubiquitous. They come across as various types and scales, from mobile phones and video games to virtual realities. We carry screens with us, devote our attention to them, navigate our behaviors with them. In return, screens disclose worlds more beautiful and desirable than ours beneath their surface, capturing us into cycles of dreamy consumption. 

This course explores the historical background of current developments in screen-based media. The course looks at the more or less distant past so as to make sense of what is happening at the present, and to come up with critical conceptual tools to understand the various workings of screens – ranging from sites of spectacle and scientific vision machines to the noisy surfaces that fill today’s lived environments. The manifold culture of screens didn’t begin with the introduction of cinema, but its history extends much further, to nineteenth-century panoramas and magic lantern spectacles as well as seventeenth-century camera obscuras, among many other things. This course investigates such a “deep time” of screens. It charts critical moments from the early modern period to the present – moments that involve technological developments as well as cultural and political changes – as well as their diverse theoretical interpretations.

Learning outcome

Candidates who have completed the Screen Histories and Theories course will have acquired the following knowledge, skills and general competences:


After completion of the course, the candidate:

  • has advanced knowledge of the historical development of screen media within wider intellectual, cultural, political and economic contexts
  • has advanced knowledge of key critical theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of screens and their histories


After completion of the course, the candidate:

  • can analyze and interpret texts and artifacts pertaining to the field of screen histories independently.
  • can assess relevant existing theories and approaches in researching screen-based media, and work independently on practical and theoretical problems.

General competences

After completion of the course, the candidate:

  • can analyze and critically assess different sources of information to make scholarly arguments within the study of screen media.
  • can use the general competence of scholarly writing about screen-based media in other academic and professional fields.
  • can communicate about academic questions, analyses and findings in the field of screen histories and theories, with specialists and society at large.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with MEVIT4700 – Screen Histories and Theories (discontinued)


10 Workshops (lectures/seminars), each for three hours.

Compulsory activities:

In order to qualify for the exam, there are two compulsory activities that must be passed: 

  • Participation in group presentation in the class
  • compulsory attendance (at least 75 %)

Read more about compulsory activities at the Faculty of Humanities


Digital home examination

The home examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera.You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

 Read more about home examinations using Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language