Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight:Jonathan Rattner
Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Jonathan Rattner, Assistant Professor in both the Film Studies Program and Art Department, talks about his teaching philosophy and interests:
As an artist, I investigate and question accepted truths about place, time, and identity. I am concerned with the stories, memories, and objects that we collect and use to create meaning and understanding in our lives. I primarily work in film and video, and I employ a mixture of documentary and lyrical filmic elements to construct meditative cinematic experiences. I strive to capture the essence of locations, events, and histories and reconstruct the footage into montages in which identity is erased and past and present are intertwined. My work reflects my belief that once these narratives are expressed, distilled, and examined, a new mode of awareness can be achieved.
“My courses are process-orientated and cooperative; I encourage students to consider themselves educational partners and to feel that they have a responsibility to engage and create at their highest potential.”
As the Assistant Director of the Film Studies program, one of my responsibilities has been to help design a nationally competitive undergraduate curriculum in film studies and practice. Over the past three years I have had the privilege to teach a wide range of courses related to the cinematic form: introductory to narrative, experimental and documentary production; nonfiction production, history, and theory; digital cinematography; sound design; 16mm production; film theory; and the cinematic essay.
In all of my courses, I incorporate theory and history with the praxis of film to promote a curriculum that not only trains filmmakers and artists to work professionally, but also to be socially and critically active. In addition to instructing cinematic techniques, I ask my students to read and write analytically, complete web-based exercises, collaborate in group activities, and participate in publicly-engaged projects. My courses are process-orientated and cooperative; I encourage students to consider themselves educational partners and to feel that they have a responsibility to engage and create at their highest potential. My goal as a teacher is to facilitate an environment where students both gain the confidence to explore the techniques and tools I offer them and to communicate their individual visions, voices, and aesthetic choices.