Brandon Arroyo

Undergraduate Discipline

Film History

BA, Brooklyn College. MA, New York University. PhD, Concordia University. Co-editor (with Tom Waugh) of I Confess!: Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019), as well as articles published in Porn Studies, Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture, MedisCommons, Communication, Culture and Critique, ScreeningSex, Synoptique, and a chapter in Handbook of Adult Film and Media (Intellect Press, forthcoming). Primarily interested in theorizing about adult media, affect theory, queer theory, and new media. Currently working on a monograph about Cruising (1980) and teaching at Queens College. SLC, 2023–

Undergraduate Courses 2023-2024

Film History

Cultural History of Music Videos

Open, Lecture—Fall

This class explores how music videos, musical short films, and TikTok videos can be understood as a popular cultural object reflecting a multitude of political, social, and cultural trends from the 1930s through today. While many people think of music videos as being associated only with MTV, this class takes a more wholistic perspective by also considering musical short films—some examples include Len Lye (A Colour Box, 1935), Mary Ellen Bute (Synchromy No. 2, 1936), Normal McLaren (Five for Four, 1942), a multitude of Soundies starring African American performers from the 1940s, and Nam June Paik (Global Groove, 1973)—as a way to expand our understanding of the long historical impact that these shorts have had on global culture. Unlike the majority of music-video syllabi, this class prioritizes a cultural analysis approach to the medium, which allows students to utilize their textual analysis skills and apply them to pressing cultural issues. Some of the theory discussed in the class includes how to read closeups utilizing the work of theorist Béla Balázs; utilize the work of Richard Dyer to understand the role that disco music played in the gay rights movement in the 1970s; contextualize the postmodern aesthetic of MTV as a way to understand Ronald Reagan’s presidency; analyze the role that music/videos play in revolutionary politics—from the Carnation Revolution in Portugal to the fascist attack on Chilean democracy in 1973 to the role that music videos played in critiquing the politics of globalization in the 1990s; and the role that TikTok plays in the new Cold War between China and the United States. We also wrestle with issues of Black respectability politics within rap culture, as well as consider the Frankfurt School’s concept of the “cultural industry” within the framework of South Korean K-pop. Considering that there are far more music videos being made today—by both amateurs and professionals—than in MTV’s heyday, it becomes essential to consider how this media form reflects how musical images can be both a form of utopic escape from political conflict and a primary way in which our culture engages in political conflict.