Amy Murphy, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

PhD, USC School of Cinematic Arts MFA, USC School of Cinematic Arts B.Arch, Rhode Island School of Design BFA, Rhode Island School of Design

Amy Murphy is currently an Associate Professor at USC’s School of Architecture. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art as well as a Bachelor of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design, and a M.F.A. in Cinema Production and a Ph.D. in Critical Studies from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Before joining the faculty at USC’s School of Architecture in 1990, Amy taught architecture at Iowa State University and the Boston Architectural Center. After working in Boston and LA at several larger offices, she started her own design practice, Amy Murphy Projects in 1996, completing numerous projects through the LA region (including the renovation of Rudolph Schinder’s Yates Studio in Silverlake). In the mid-1990s, Amy held the position of the Director of Filmforum, LA’s oldest non-profit dedicated to experimental media, and has completed several film and media works which have been accepted into national and regional film festivals. The majority of her written academic research focuses on the relationship between cinema and urban experience. In several of her more recent publications, such as “The Future Tradition of Nature” (2009) and “New Orleans, Nature and the Apocalyptic Trope” (2010) and “Nothing Like New: Our Post-Apocalyptic Imagination as Utopian Desire” (2013), she examines how our post-apocalyptic imagination works limit our culture’s capacity to change its attitude towards. Amy’s current work-in-progress (“Spatial Truths and Temporal Fictions: Cinematic Representations of the American City 1938-1978”) examines the emergence of hypersegregation in the postwar period, through the comparison of two seminal works of film, The City (1939) and Killer of Sheep (1977).

Currently Teaching
  • 203
    Visualizing and Experiencing the Built Environment
    Visualizing and Experiencing the Built Environment
    This course is intended to introduce the processes of visualization in relation to the alert experience of built environments and their inhabitation. Visualizing the built environment is recognition of places and activities, their organization, and the processes of change they embody. Visualization is thus a process of directly seeing and engaging places in order to discern conditions and finding the means to reflect on the findings. Reflection requires not only such direct engagement, but also systematic means for considering experience across multiple times and seasons as well as influenced by culture and dynamic city life. Students are expected to develop an urban sensibility and the ability to use non-verbal as well as verbal methods of inquiry for appreciating the spatial structure and life of built environments.
  • 586
    City Cine Visuality, Media and Urban Experience
    City Cine Visuality, Media and Urban Experience
    In this course each week, we will compare chosen media examples (photography, films, anime/magna, commercials, web content, etc.) with selected seminal readings in urban planning and social theory to tease out latent connection between visual media and urban life. Each week is be structured around a different theme – city symphonies, alienation, gender, globalism, immigration, poverty, surveillance, ecology, noir, etc. Students are expected to select readings that particularly interest them each week and come to class prepared to discuss the major ideas at hand, referencing the required texts and the media example.
  • 793aL
    Architecture Directed Design Research Option I
    Architecture Directed Design Research Option I
    Directed Design Research option for graduate level architecture degree. Credit on acceptance of research project. Graded IP/CR/NC.
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