Fall 2016 Class Schedule (Atlas)

FILM 500: Introduction to Graduate Film and Media Studies


Mondays 1:00-4:00, Rich 103

Mandatory film screening Th 8:00-10:00pm

Course Description:  

This course serves as an advanced introduction to the study of film and media for entering Film and Media Studies M.A. students, as well as other graduate students who want to enhance their grasp of film/media studies methodologies and analytical methods.  The course builds skills in audiovisual analysis while also covering a wide range of moving image texts: narrative films (classical and postclassical, Hollywood and global), alternative filmmaking practices (documentary, experimental, animation), historical media (radio, television), and digital media (video games, digital imaging, the Internet).  The course presents an overview of film and media-related topics, such as narrative structures, genre conventions, historical periods, and modes of industrial production and distribution.  

This course will be part of the Domain of One's Own project; enrolled students will create their own websites and publish their writing online, crafting a portfolio of digital work.  Assignments will ask students to use digital (and non-digital) tools to research media texts and complete a series of related writing projects, culminating in a final project that will likely involve a nontraditional scholarly form, such as a podcast, video essay, or website.  The course emphasizes individual research and writing/scholarly production, prioritizing learning by doing.  Students will have freedom in selecting media texts to work on over the course of the semester, so that they can shape the course to whatever media objects they will study further in the future.

FILM 501: Seminar in Authorship: Problems of Media Authorship


Th 1:00-4:00, Rich 103

Mandatory film screening Tu 6:00-8:00pm

Course Description:  

This course investigates media authorship as a conceptual, theoretical, and practical problem.  Beginning with the auteur theory popularized by midcentury film theorists, we will discuss how the figure of the author has functioned in discourse around contemporary media.  New technologies and new modes of production create new conditions for authorship and, perhaps, new kinds of authors.  While we will focus primarily on film and film theory, we will also discuss issues related to authorship in media such as videogames, television, music, and graphic novels.

FILM 502: Seminar in Genre/ Criticism: Melodrama in Culture and Politics


Tuesdays 1-4, Rich 103

Mandatory film screening W 5:00-7:00

Course Description:  

Melodrama is the dominant art form of modern, industrialized democracies. Melodramatic discourse tremendously influences other cultural forms, including journalism, political speech, and historiography. We aim to get beyond simplistic assessments of the mode (ie, whether melodrama is itself intrinsically “good” or “bad” art or politics).

FILM 506: Methods


Wednesdays 1:00-4:00, Rich 103

Mandatory film screening Mondays 8:00-10:00pm

Course Description:  

This seminar is designed for students in the second year of the Film and Media Studies M.A. program who are in the process of researching and writing their thesis.  Participants will engage in a weekly writing workshop, as well as examine and evaluate scholarly methods in film and media.  These include approaches to close analysis, authorship, genre, and historiography.  What kinds of knowledge can various methods generate?  Which aspects of film and media does a particular approach emphasize, and which does it bracket?  How are various critical or scholarly tactics in dialogue with broader intellectual, economic, social, technological and cultural histories?  Moreover, Participants will read each other’s writing and familiarize themselves with portions of the material their classmates are writing about, so that they can offer informed critique.

FILM 581: Classical Film Theory


TTH 11:30-12:45, Rich 104

Mandatory film screening Tu 4:00-6:00

Course Description and Objectives:  This lecture class, the first part of a year-long course in film theory, provides a grounding in theoretical works on the cinema, most of them written prior to 1980.  Film theorists whose work we will consider include Rudolf Arnheim, Hugo Munsterberg, Béla Balázs, Sergei Eisenstein, Rudolf Arnheim, André Bazin, and others.  Occasionally we will turn to thinkers whose work does not lie strictly within the bounds of film theory, yet has influenced the way people think about film.  Film screenings each week will complement the readings.

In addition to helping students acquire a foundational knowledge of classical film theory, the other major goal of this course is to train students to write about film in a theoretically informed manner, using discipline-specific language.  Consequently, students will write one-and-a-half to two pages every other week in response to the readings and the film.

Course Requirements and Grading:  Attendance at all lectures and screenings is mandatory.  You must submit a film-and-theory response paper (described below) on a bi-weekly basis.  In addition, there will be a midterm examination and a final paper 10-12 pages in length.

Film-and-Theory Response Papers:  These short weekly papers are meant to elicit your sustained intellectual engagement with challenging theoretical texts and complex films.  Papers should be at least 2 pages long, typed.  A paper might show a theory accounts (or fails to account) for a certain aspect of the week¿s film, critique a theoretical work, or place two theoretical texts in dialogue with one another to show how one illuminates  the other.  It is essential to support your arguments with specific evidence from the film and/or the reading.

Course readings will be placed on electronic reserve.

FILM 597: Directed Study


A supervised project in an area of study to be determined by instructor and student.  This could involve a topic in film authorship, genre, antional cinema, or other area.  Permission of the instructor required.

FILM 598: Graduate Colloquium


Th 4:00-6:00, Rich 103

This course, which is required for the completion of the M.A. in Film Studies, consists of bi monthly talks by Film Studies and affiliated faculty and advanced graduate students.  It is designed for the presentation of new research and the professionalization of graduate students in the Film Studies program.  One credit hour.

FILM 599:  Thesis Research


Permission of the Director of Graduate Studies in Film Studies required prior to registration.