Film Studies

The Film Studies Program (FST) offers an interdisciplinary minor that teaches students to critically examine cinema as an art form shaped by cultural forces. Within a specific context, students gain knowledge of national film cultures, film history, aesthetics and theory (including auteur, feminist, psychoanalytic, queer, and critical race theories). Specializing in small classes from departments across the campus, our program stresses developing critical reasoning skills, student-driven discussion, research and critical writing.

Many of our students have gained valuable practical experience as interns in the film industry and some have written their honor's essays on film, while others have been awarded summer scholars projects in film. Other minors have gone on to successful careers in law, journalism, business, education, medicine, radio and television, and the film industry.

Curriculum

Minor in Film Studies (18 Credits)

This interdepartmental minor integrates courses that treat film as a major art form or that use film as a specific and unique analytical device in the study of different aspects of society and culture, including literature, history, the arts, and national cultures. It offers a broad introduction to importance and influence of film, variety of film studies methodologies, and history and criticism of the modes of cinema across the world.

  • To minor in film studies, students must take 2 core courses and an additional 12 semester hours from the list below.
  • Students must achieve a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average in the designated courses.
  • No FST courses may be taken credit/no credit.

Course Descriptions

FST 201: Introduction to Film Criticism and History (3 credit hours). Introduction to basic principles of cinematic form and to major movements and issues in the history of cinema. Primary emphasis given to principal methods of critical thinking in film studies, from close analysis of formal and stylistic elements in a single film to more global ways of understanding and interpreting films within their aesthetic, social, historical, and political contexts. Includes screenings of representative films, lectures, discussions, group activities, papers, and exams.

FST 301: Film Theory (3 credit hours). Introduction to the basic concepts of classical and contemporary film theory, such as realism, formalism, structuralism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, cognitive theories, among others. Mandatory weekly screenings.

FST 401: Seminar in Film Study (3). Students critique series of seminal analyses of films as preparation for development of their own research projects. Prerequisites: FST 201 and 9 credit hours of course work in courses cross-listed for the film studies minor.

ENG/COM 422: Creative Writing: Screenwriting (3 credit hours). Advanced workshop in feature film screenwriting. Analysis of examples of contemporary screenplays, with emphasis on the craft of writing screenplays. Class discussion and sharing of student-written screenplays.
FST/COM 146: Media Aesthetics (3). Introduction to media aesthetics. Students develop awareness of artistic choices necessary for good television production. They are introduced to design elements and techniques available for use in media production. Students discuss and participate in creative visual thinking. Prerequisite: major status or permission of instructor.
FST/BWS/LAS/MUS/POR 204: Brazilian Culture Through Popular Music (3). Through music, lyrics and rhythms this course raises questions about history, national identity, social, religious, and ethnic diversity in Brazil.
FST/COM 205: American Film as Communication (3). Introduction to the study of communication via American motion pictures. Focuses on analysis of technical and narrative elements found in motion pictures. Screening of films provides backdrop for discussing visual impact of motion pictures as significant form of mass communication.
FST/COM/IDS 206: Diversity and Culture in American Film (3). Analysis of the representation of diversity and culture as portrayed in American motion pictures.
FST/ENG 220: Literature and Film (3). Study of the relationship between film and genres of literature, focusing on a comparison of techniques of rhetoric, fiction, and drama, and those of film. Primary consideration given to film adaptations of works of fiction and drama. Extensive screenings of film.
FST/ENG 221: Shakespeare and Film (3). Study of selected plays of Shakespeare that have been filmed. Students read plays and view one or more versions of each play.
FST/AMS/ITL 222: Italian American Culture (3). A survey and investigation of the history of Italian immigration in America, the development of Italian American communities across the land, and the contributions that Italian Americans have made to American society and culture. Taught in English. No prerequisites. Offered once per year.
FST/ENG 235: Classics of Film (3). Study of film classics from the silent era to the present. Particular attention is given to the evolution of narrative conventions in films such as Birth of a Nation, Potemkin, The Last Laugh, M, Citizen Kane, Rome: Open City, Hiroshima Mon Amour, and others. Weekly screenings. Offered infrequently.
FST/ENG 236: Alternative Traditions in Film (3). Study of major films and cinematic trends in world cinema. Emphasis on film in which the classical conventions of narrative are questioned or disrupted. Study motives and methods of film makers whose concern is not primarily the telling of a story or for whom the conventional entertainment narrative is an object of radical investigation.
FST/HST 250: History and Popular Culture (3). Topical studies of historical imagery as presented in the popular communications media: best-selling fiction, documentaries, school texts, 'popular' histories, and especially film. Students may not take course more than once with same instructor.
FST/HST 252: Representation of History in Film and Video (3). Attempts to familiarize students with ways that history is represented in film and video (as opposed to print). By comparing film to texts, analyzing narrative structure, and studying the techniques of film and video making, students learn how history is depicted in this medium. Introduces history of film by viewing and discussing works of several early directors who represented history. Films and directors selected for inclusion will vary from year to year. Prerequisite: FST 201 recommended (not required).
FST/FRE/GER 255: Visual Representations of the Holocaust (3). Studying the Holocaust is a profound responsibility yet also presents a tangle of critical and philosophical questions. The role of visual representations in the process of Holocaust memorialization has been particularly contested. In this course, we will approach the question of the visualization of the Holocaust through various media: photography, cinema, TV, graphic novel, painting, and architecture. Visual technologies afford an unparalleled means of sustaining memory but are also susceptible to voyeurism and commodification. We will explore the potentialities and limitations of these media and grapple with critical ethical, epistemological and esthetic questions they raise. Course readings and class discussions in English.
FST/GER 261: German Cinema (3). Survey of the German cinema from its golden age in the 1920s to the present day. Representative films studied both as aesthetic works and as historical artifacts. Films with English subtitles. Readings, lectures, and discussions in English.
FST/ITL 262: Italian Cinema (3). Discussion and analysis of major movies and trends in Italian cinema. Topics may vary but attention is given to social and ideological implications of Italian cinema and the way movies produce a critique of cultural mores. Taught in English. No prerequisites. Offered once per year.
FST/RUS 263: Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian Cinema (3). Critical survey of directors, genres, and movements in Soviet cinema. Screening of films from Eisenstein to current directors. Lectures, discussion, and readings in English.
FST/CHI 264: Chinese Cinema and Culture (3). Study of selected films. Introduces Chinese cinema and, through films, Chinese culture. Works are from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and subject matter is both historical and modern. Knowledge of Chinese is not required.
FST/FRE/GER 265: European Jewish Cinema (3). Survey of films by Jewish filmmakers, or films dealing with Jewish themes, from the 1920s to the present. Films with English subtitles. Readings and discussions in English.
FST/JPN 266: Survey of Japanese Cinema (3). This course examines representative Japanese films from the immediate post-war era to the new wave of Japanese anime (animated film). Offered in English.
FST/BWS 267: National Cinemas: African Film (3). Explores the cinematography of Black Africa. Topics may vary but the focus will be given to social and ideological implications of African cinema and the way films produce a critique of cultural mores.
FST/HIN 268: Bollywood and Indian Culture (3). An introduction to major Indian historical, social, and cultural issues through representative Bollywood films. Screening of films from cinema legend Raj Kapoor's 1951 tour-de-force Awaara, inspired by Charlie Chaplin's "Little Tramp," to Director Richard Attenborough's 1982 Academy Awards' Best Picture-winner Gandhi, to Slumdog Millionaire precursor Salaam Bombay! directed by Mira Nair in 1988, to 2011 political crime thriller No One Killed Jessica, helmed by Raj Kumar Gupta. Lectures, discussion, and readings in English.
FST/RUS 272: Cultures and Identifies of Eastern Europe: An Introduction through Literature and Film (3). An introduction to the cultures of Eastern Europe, from Poland to the former Yugoslavia, through representative twentieth-century literary works and films, with particular focus on the history of Eastern Europe's Jewish community and the tragedy of the Holocaust.
FST/COM 281: Mediated Sexualities: Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgendered Persons and the Electronic Media (3). Examines both the treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons by the mass media and the voices of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons as producers of media messages and as activists who influence media messages. The Kinsey Report, the Stonewall Riots, and the AIDS epidemic serve as major culture milestones for tracing the evolving portrayals of diverse sexualities.
FST/COM 282: Sexualities and Film (3). An exploration of film representations of diverse sexualities (e.g., gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered) from the silent era to the present.
FST/HST 302: War and European Cinema (3). Explores how films have constructed ideas about war in 20th Century Europe. Examines films of the First World War, the Second World War, the Balkan War of the 1990s, and the Chechen War. Through readings, discussions, and viewings, students will gain a better understanding of how war is represented on the "big screen" and how wars of the 20th Century have been remembered and recast in film.
FST/ENG 350: Topics in Film (3). In-depth and concentrated studies in film. Focuses on specific topics in film such as national film traditions (American, Japanese, French, etc.), genres (science fiction, western, detective, etc.), and themes (film and society, women in film, political conspiracy, etc.). May be repeated once when topic changes.
FST/FRE 366: French Cinema in Translation (3). Critical survey of major directors, genres, and movements in French cinema. Particular attention devoted to development of film theory and criticism in France and their relation to film production. Screening of films by Renoir, Bresson, Bunuel, Godard, Truffaut, Varda, Resnais, Tavernier, and others. Taught in English; reading in English translation.
FST/ENG/BWS/POR 381: African Lusophone Literature (3). A focus on questions of gender, race, class and stereotypes in the African Lusophone countries. Taught in English. Prerequisite: Any literature course.
FST/ENG/BWS/POR/WMS 383: By or About (Afro-) Brazilian Women (3). Addresses questions about gender, race, class and stereotype of women's bodies in 20th-century Brazil.
FST/BWS/LAS 415: Cuba in Revolution: Its History, Politics, and Culture (3). A history of Cuba in the 20th Century with emphasis on Cuban relations with other Latin American countries, the U.S. and Soviet Union. Examines economic, social, political and cultural issues with attention to race, class and gender. Priority given to LAS minors.
FST/FRE 460: Topics in French Cinema (3). In-depth and concentrated study of French cinema. Focus on specific topics such as film's relation to society, its relation to the other arts and artistic movements, and its productive role as an object of philosophical thought. Topics may also include the work of particular directors, historical periods, and comparative social and aesthetic studies. Taught in English.
PHL 241: Aesthetics (3). Introduction to basic notions of aesthetics, such as the definition of art, truth in the arts, characterization of aesthetic experience, etc. through examination of specific philosophies and problem areas. Readings may range from classical to contemporary thinkers. Offered infrequently.
PHL 410: Special Topics (3). Seminar treatment of selected topics or philosophers. New topics at student initiative. Offered infrequently.
POL 220: Movies and Politics (3). Course uses popular films and television clips to introduce important political issues and processes to a broad set of students. The movies for this course will focus on the actors, issues, and processes that are involved in politics. Offered credit/no credit.

Faculty

Affiliated Faculty